Tag Archives: Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning

Jamaica Flux to transform public spaces

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of JCAL

Jamaica storefronts, sidewalks, parks and vacant lots will be transformed by 19 artists as part of “Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016,” a public art project organized and presented by the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL).

The project, which is curated by Heng Gil Han and Kalia Brooks across downtown Jamaica, was previously mounted in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Next year’s project focuses on emphasizing public engagement and contemporary art as a vehicle to examine and discuss solutions to critical issues in the community, according to a press release.

The 19 artists were chosen by a selection panel of nine people, including JCAL Executive Director Cathy Hung.

“[Jamaica Flux] could not have come at a better time, with the public sector focusing on downtown Jamaica revitalization and tourism,” Hung said. “Through this effort, Jamaica faces a number of critical challenges that can benefit from artists’ creative ways of thinking. It has been my priority since I resumed the role of executive director that JCAL provide artists with resources to use art as a vehicle to examine critical issues in the community and to combat negative public perception.”

The commissioned artists will visit the neighborhood to investigate the sites that will be home to their art and this research will be the basis for their public artwork. Artist will explore topics such as the urban conditions of Jamaica, public interaction and engagement, community empowerment, environmental concerns and wellness.

The project will serve several purposes including giving artists resources to produce experimental art in public spaces, aiding community members in combating negative public perceptions of southeast Queens through art, and acting as a forum to discuss meaningful community involvement.


Jamaica arts organizations to receive $115K in funding

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning

The Jamaica arts scene is receiving a boost from Councilman I. Daneek Miller, who has allocated $115,000 in discretionary funding to local arts organizations that provide theater, music and dance programs for the community.

Miller, who chose 14 arts organizations to disperse the funds to, said it was not an easy decision.

“The decision-making process is never an easy one, given the shortage of available funding, but I look to organizations who have consistently provided vibrant, flourishing programming, as well as newer organizations who have shown their commitment to making a significant contribution to the arts in our area,” Miller said.

The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is among one of the recipients and they will receive $15,000 for their student workshops. The Caribbean American Repertory Theatre will also receive $5,000 to provide free tickets to students for their performances at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, which is owned by JCAL.

“On behalf of the board and staff, everyone at JCAL is thrilled about Councilman Miller’s unwavering support through the years,” said Cathy Hung, executive director for JCAL. “The fund will support JCAL’s comprehensive array of in-school, after-school, and Saturday Arts Center Workshops that supplement academic learning and provide young people with opportunities to explore and refine their artistic talents.”

Jazz Knights, will receive $5,000 to provide free jazz concerts and jazz education in the community.

Two theater companies, Afrikan Poetry Theatre and Black Spectrum Theatre Company, were granted $7,500 and $30,000 respectively. Afrikan Poetry Theatre will allocate its money toward operating expenses for after-school programs. Black Spectrum Theatre Company, which produces the St. Albans Jazz Festival, will use the money to train children and adults in theater production and acting, producing films and plays on issues affecting the Jamaica community and more.

A Better Jamaica Inc. will provide family-friendly movies in district parks with a $5,000 grant they received from the councilman while Dancing Classrooms, which received $5,000, will provide ballroom dance instruction to fifth- through eighth-graders through its 10-week CORE program.

“I am proud to continue supporting and promoting southeast Queens’ long history of significant arts and cultural contributions,” Miller said. “The evidence is clear that exposure to arts enhances the value of one’s education, and by funding programs that primarily educate our youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders, I am doing my small part to shape the future of our great neighborhoods.”


Queens College students exhibit artwork at JCAL

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning


The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning welcomed a new exhibition by Queens College students on June 4, which was inspired by the Daghlian Collection of Chinese Arts that is being hosted at the school.

The exhibition, titled “Metempyschosis,” was curated by Professor Sin-Ying Ho, who chose artists Cindy Leung, T.J. Meadows and Liza Rong to display their work.

T.J. Meadows — who was inspired by the Daghlian Collection of Chinese Arts, a selection of cups, jars, figurines and other clay vessels from different Chinese dynasties — created and designed his own set of vessels.

“I want viewers and other artists to see beautiful art as something to be looked at and admired, but at the same time the viewers can follow through with their the urge to pick up and feel the work due to the fact that my art is all functional,” Meadows said. “I have a passion for making art that people have a use for.”

Liza Rong, who works with mediums including stoneware, ceramics, cast molding and wood sculpture, made cast-molded guns from porcelain. She decorated each gun with flowers and calls the collection Harmless Beauties Guns.

“In today’s society the image of the gun is so strong and is always used to portray violence, harm and death,” Rong said. “I was hoping to desensitize this image of the gun and give it a vibe of elegance and preciousness by hand-decorating each one with flowers. I wanted viewers to be able to approach my guns with a feeling of trust and comfort rather than fear and terror.”

Rong said she wants her art to show that though guns are usually associated with violence and death, it all depends on how people use them.

The exhibit will be on display until August 25.


Jamaica to welcome artists with free residencies

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning


In keeping with their mission to become a one-stop shop for artists, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is partnering with Exploring the Metropolis (EtM) to provide free workspace residencies for choreographer-composer duos.

EtM, the only New York City-based nonprofit focused exclusively on workspace issues for the performing arts, has created a new program in partnership with JCAL to address these problems.

“We are extremely excited to partner with EtM in this pilot program for Queens artists,” said Cathy Hung, JCAL’s executive director. “It aligns with JCAL’s founding vision to serve artists, especially emerging Queens artists. This program also expands our residencies program from visual art, dance, to music.”

The EtM Choreographer + Composer Residencies will provide 120 hours of free rehearsal space to four choreographer and composer teams at JCAL, and the winners will also receive a stipend. The teams will have access to three months of free rehearsal space beginning in September 2015.

Though the residencies are for teams collaborating on new work, the application process is also open to choreographers working alone. At the end of the residency, artists will perform a free public program at JCAL or the Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts.

This opportunity is a result of the Queens Workspace Initiative, a project conducted to help ensure that the performing arts offerings in Queens are thriving, according to EtM Executive Director David Johnston.

The nonprofit surveyed performing artists and cultural facilities and held focus groups to gauge the needs of performing artists in Queens and to learn if local facilities were meeting those needs.

“We discovered from the study that Jamaica had a lot of resources that weren’t really being maximized as far as space for artists,” Johnston said.

According to the report, Queens has approximately 96 nonprofit performing arts spaces compared to 274 in Brooklyn and 2,721 in Manhattan. Queens’ city-owned cultural institutions receive the lowest amount of per capita arts funding.

The report found that Jamaica is the best neighborhood in Queens to engage artists because the increased funding in public transportation improvements and underutilized residential spaces provide easy access to performing arts organizations and artists.

Applications are due July 1 and Johnston said that a panel of judges will begin to look over the applications in August. EtM has decided to give preference to Queens artists and is seeking people with a wide range of genres in dance, people with expertise in music and overall artistic merit.

According to Johnston, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation has pledged to provide multiyear funding for this program so that it can continue to exist for at least two rounds.

Applications can be found here.


Queens arts center looks to become one-stop shop for artists and community

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning


After experiencing financial struggles amid an economic downturn, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is restructuring to sustain its programming.

JCAL, created in 1972 to revitalize a section of New York City that was lacking cultural opportunities, has opened its doors to the community to inspire children to take an interest in the arts and to artists as a place to cultivate their work.

Tonya Cantlo-Cockfield, president of JCAL, said the restructuring was necessary to preserve the quality of the center’s programs and events.

“We’ve tried to sustain the programming at JCAL but we couldn’t continue in the manner that we were for the organization,” Cantlo-Cockfield said. “So we decided to restructure, which unfortunately resulted in layoffs from staff.”

Staff members received a “generous severance package for their service to the organization for many years and to the community,” according to Cantlo-Cockfield.

Executive Director Cathy Hung, who joined JCAL last year after working at the New York Chinese Cultural Center as executive director for almost five years, said this change would not affect the big plans they have envisioned for the center.

“Nothing has changed in result of the structuring,” Hung said. “In the process of setting up all the programs for next year, we are really, truly excited about the new upcoming season and we will share with the public shortly when this information is finished.”

JCAL’s headquarters recently underwent a $10 million renovation, which includes an array of art galleries, dance spaces, music studios, visual arts classrooms and a visitor’s center. The renovation was subsidized by the city along with the conversion of the Jamaica Performing Arts Center located three blocks away, which used to be a Dutch reformed church.

JCAL staff members work closely with schools in the area, specifically with principals, teachers and parent teacher association coordinators to curate in-school, after-school and summer arts programs.

The Art Center Workshops offer a variety of classes in dance, movement arts, drama, visual arts and music. At the end of each session, children present what they have learned at an annual student recital, which will take place this year on Friday, June 13.

JCAL also fosters local artists and allows them to use the center’s space for free, Hung said.

Artists Co-Op is a program designed specifically to give Queens-based artists a chance to produce and present their work at a respected gallery for free.

Artist residencies, which last from three months to a year, allow artists to work on their art in designated studios and showcase their work at any point of production. Once the artist is ready to show his or her work, JCAL is in charge of all the press and promotion.

The addition of the Jamaica Performing Arts Center allows for JCAL to exhibit “high-quality” performances for the community, Hung said.

The 400-seat auditorium hosts a variety of performances including opera performances, Shakespeare productions, dance productions and more. The dance residency was recently added to provide individual dancers, companies and choreographers a space to rehearse and present their work.

The annual Making Moves Dance Festival, which takes place this year on September 27, stemmed from an effort to make the space available to dancers, according to Hung. JCAL also commissions new work so that dancers can use the space to create a performance and receive compensation.

Hung said the center strives to become a place where the community can access affordable programs, educators and students can receive quality workshops and classes, and artists can utilize the space for all of their activities.

“Basically, we are the one-stop shop,” Hung said. “We really, truly have the capacity to realize that and to make it happen and we are slowly going to that direction.”


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Friday: Overcast with snow, then a chance of snow and rain in the afternoon. High of 41. Breezy. Winds from the North at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of snow 80% with accumulations up to 1 in. possible. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 34F with a windchill as low as 25. Breezy. Winds from the North at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Humps and Bumps

Starting Friday, March 8, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning presents Humps and Bumps, a large-scale public art installation commissioned with the NYC Department of Transportation.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Winter weather advisory remains in effect as round 2 of storm continues

A wintry mix of snow and rain fell Thursday night across the Tri-State Area during the second part of a winter storm that already brought lashing winds and flooding across the Jersey Shore and parts of Long Island. Read more: CBS New York/AP

City’s jobless rate in January hit 4-month high

New York City’s unemployment rate rose back above 9 percent at the start of 2013, even though the city started the year with more jobs than it had ever had, according to reports released on Thursday. Read more: New York Times 

More thieves swipe unattended iPhones at NYC bars

Reports of iPhone thefts have spiked across the city, but it appears to be in nightclub and bar-packed neighborhoods where victims more frequently pay a hefty cost for a moment of distraction. Read more: NBC New York 

Faux fur at Century 21 fur real, activist claims

Fake fake fur, perhaps, but the fake fur on display may be anything but. So it seems at discount department store Century 21, which has come under fire for allegedly labeling garments as “faux fur” when they were real fur. Read more: Crains New York 

Teen pregnancy posters criticized by Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood of New York City says a new campaign targeting teenage pregnancy stigmatizes teenage parents and their children. Read more: ABC New York 

Congressman King: Bin Laden’s son-in-law captured in Jordan

U.S. officials have captured Osama bin Laden’s spokesman in Jordan, Rep. Peter King announced Thursday. Read more: CBS New York

Halloween events in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Here’s your guide to all the Halloween happenings in Queens this October.

Pumpkin Patch
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Thru October 28
Saturdays & Sundays
11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Haunted House at the Poppenhusen

The Poppenhusen Institute
114-04 14th Road College Point
Friday, October 26-Saturday, October 27
Wednesday, October 31
5:00-6:00 p.m. (ages 6-8), 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (ages 8 and up)

Halloween Haunted House

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Children’s Fall Festival
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Sunday, October 28
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Dead or Alive
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111 Street, Corona
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28

Thriller at the Battery
Fort Totten Park
Cross Island Parkway between Totten Avenue and 15 Road
Friday, October 26
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Boo at the Zoo
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Saturday, October 27-Sunday, October 28
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Halloween Walking Tour
Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park (on Shore Boulevard)
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.

Rockaway Canine Festival
Rockaway Freeway Dog Park
Beach Channel Drive at Beach 84 Street, Rockaway Beach
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Family Halloweenfest
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
161-04 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Trick or Treat!
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107 Street, Corona
Saturday, October 27
1 p.m.-4 p.m.

3rd Annual Halloween Costume Party
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Saturday, October 27
8 p.m.

Bayside Village Halloween Family Festival

Bell Boulevard

between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue

Saturday, October 27

Noon-5 p.m.


Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
12:00 p.m.

Halloween on Ice
City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32 Place, Long Island City
Sunday, October 28
12:00 pm.-3:50 p.m.

CenterStage Halloween Concert
Sky View Center
40-24 College Point Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
3:30 p.m.

Haunted Halloween Hike
Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston
Monday, October 29
4:30 p.m. (ages 5-7), 6:30 p.m. (ages 8-12)

Playground For All Children
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Tuesday, October 30
4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Queens Zoo Trick & Treating and Halloween Festivities
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Wednesday, October 31
3:00–5:00 p.m.

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade
Line up near P.S. 222  (87th Street and 37th Avenue)
Wednesday, October 31
5 p.m.

Halloween Party! Devil Science Theater 3K
Laughing Devil Comedy Club
47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City
Wednesday, October 31
8 p.m.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Breezy. Winds from the SSW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 63. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NW after midnight. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: Making Humps & Bumps exhibition

This is the last day to see the exhibition Making Humps & Bumps at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, featuring rendering photographs and models of the sculpture, presenting the process of making the public art sculpture behind the scenes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens bike horror

A father of two biking to work in Queens died on his birthday yesterday after smashing into a truck, police said. Read more: New York Post

PCB leak worries at Queens school

A PCB leak at a school in Long Island City has parents and local leaders outraged. They gathered outside IS 204 on Tuesday morning to draw attention to the matter. Read more: Fox New York

New $2.3 million Elmhurst Park bathrooms have lots of style and room

So this is what a $2 million public bathroom looks like. The long-awaited comfort station at Elmhurst Park, with its edgy design and spacious bathrooms, has finally opened its doors. Read more: New York Daily News

City plans to open 5 new homeless shelters

New York City plans to open at least five new homeless shelters by the end of the year. The expansion is in response to a sharp increase in the homeless population. Read more: NBC New York

MTA announces schedule for potential fare hike public hearings

The MTA announced Tuesday scheduled dates for public hearings on its plan to raise fares. Read more: NY1

Controversial pro-Israel subway ads immediately defaced, stamped as hate speech

Some controversial subway ads have been up for just one day — and already, they’ve been vandalized and have generated thousands of complaints. Read more: CBS New York

Obama urges UN to confront roots of Muslim rage

President Barack Obama told world leaders Tuesday that attacks on U.S. citizens in Libya “were attacks on America,” and he called on them to join in confronting the root causes of the rage across the Muslim world. Read more: AP



What to do with the kids this weekend

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Saturday, September 8

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., This first-ever LIC Block Party will feature artist-led activity tents, a stage with live music, interactive performances and a community-built, large-scale temporary sculpture. Guests will also find the Artist Market with a selection of the best affordable and functional art and objects and a family-friendly food court with goodies from local restaurants. Activity tents include Tarot readings, pom-pom making, Cubist face painting, carnival games, “discover your inner child,” balloon activities, ask a lawyer, neighborhood walks, wondrous disguises and costumes

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning will celebrate its 40th anniversary with workshop previews, face painting, a DJ, arts and crafts, on-site workshop registration and one-day-only discounts.

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Come to the Back to School festival at Little Bay Park for an afternoon full of fun activities including inflatable rides, arts and crafts projects, and free giveaways.

Sunday, September 9

10 a.m. – 6 p.m., The Richmond Hill Block Association will be hosting its 39th Annual Park Fair  at the Buddy Monument in Forest Park. There will be food, crafts, live entertainment, raffles for prizes, a pet adoption event and much more.

1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., The whole family can come to the Queens Museum of Art for tours and hands-on art making workshops connected to the exhibition Tiffany: The Glass. The exhibit explores the colors, patterns, textures and types of glass made for and used by Tiffany Studios. With the transition from summer to fall, this Sunday attendees can look at the change of the seasons depicted in Tiffany Glass.



Saturday, September 8

Explore the movement in New York City at the Center for Architecture. Children and parents can come and watch video examples of dance on city streets and in buildings, then learn how to create simple dances together as a family. Each family will receive a recording of their dance as a keepsake of their kinetic design.

Saturday, September 8 – Sunday September 9

11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., At the 32nd Annual Brookhaven Country Fair there will be fun activities and entertainment the whole family, including traditional crafts, primitive cooking, Irish step dancing, Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactments, pony rides, live music and more. Admission to the fair is $2 for adults and children under 12 are free. Parking is free.

Sunday, September 9

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Watch the epic story of New York City’s drinking water supply unfold in an original production by Arm-of-the-Sea Theater in Central Park‘s natural playground, the Peter J. Sharp Children’s Glade, through puppets, music and poetry.

2:00 p.m. (Doors: 1:30 p.m.), Come to the Hip Tot Music Fest, family-friendly live music series in Brooklyn. There will also be arts and crafts, face painting, local food and giveaways.


What to do this weekend in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Friday September 7

5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., The Noguchi Museum continues its summer practice of extending hours and offering free admission on the first Friday of the month. Visitors can explore the galleries and enjoy a cash bar in the outdoor sculpture garden. This Friday will feature Center of Attention, an extended conversation around a single work in the collection at 6 pm, followed at 7 pm by the film My Playground, a documentary about movement, tricking, freerunning, and parkour –a sport in which participants go from one city to another as quickly and efficiently as possible.

6 p.m. – 9 p.m., This exhibit/live occurrence mixes artworks at the Flux Factory gallery and actions in public spaces and institutions throughout New York City, including re-enactments of protests staged by artists groups since the 1930s through the present; a mobile pacifist library making the rounds at NYC libraries; recommended reading lists curated by incarcerated New Yorkers; physical audits of the dirt inside banks; and a pamphlet using the Hayden Planetarium Sphere to describe the space junk in Earth’s orbit. The exhibition intends to get audiences to experience something unexpected at a familiar cultural cornerstone and explore and/or interrogate the assumptions that institutions make about their relevance to daily life. Public Trust is on display/in action from Sept. 7 to Sept. 30.


Saturday, September 8

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., This first-ever LIC Block Party will feature artist-led activity tents, a stage with live music, interactive performances and a community-built, large-scale temporary sculpture. Guests will also find the Artist Market with a selection of the best affordable and functional art and objects and a family-friendly food court with goodies from local restaurants. Activity tents include Tarot readings, pom-pom making, Cubist face painting, carnival games, “discover your inner child,” balloon activities, ask a lawyer, neighborhood walks, wondrous disguises and costumes

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning will celebrate its 40th anniversary with workshop previews, face painting, a DJ, arts and crafts, on-site workshop registration and one-day-only discounts.

7 p.m. – 9 p.m., KC and the Sunshine Band is going to perform at Resorts World Casino New York City.


Sunday September 9

10 a.m. – 6 p.m., The Richmond Hill Block Association will be hosting its 39th Annual Park Fair on at the Buddy Monument in Forest Park. There will be food, crafts, live entertainment, raffles for prizes, a pet adoption event and much more.

11 a.m. – 4 p.m., At the 32nd Annual Antique Motorcycle Show check out motorcycles that have been out of production for years. Music, farmhouse tours, hayrides and food provide fun for the entire family. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Glen Oaks, 718.347.3276, www.queensfarmmuseum.org.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m., During the Civil War in 1862, Flushing Town Hall‘s cornerstone was laid and a time capsule was created. FTH will exhibit the capsule’s historic items, such a coins and a copy of The New York Times, as well as historic Flushing photographs, postcards, and clothing from the Victorian age. Archivist Angelo Vigorito will give a lecture on FTH’s history at 1 p.m. and a family workshop will include decorative fans and dance cards from the Civil War ballroom from 1 pm to 5 pm. Suggested admission: $5 (free for members).

3 p.m., Papo Ortega’s CubanoSon mixes the music genres of Punto Cubano and Son Montuño. The group combines traditional Cuban music with New York City-style Salsa. Free.

3 p.m., A trained classical guitarist and composer from Northern California, Gyan Riley performs classical and electric guitar throughout New York City and Europe. Free.

3 p.m. – 9 p.m. (doors open at 2 p.m.), Experience the excitement as various local bands compete for a $5,000 prize at the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Battle of the Bands.

4 p.m. – 7 p.m, Queens Fashion Week concludes with the Queens Fashion Week Gala Runway Presentation. In addition to a runway show, it also features a trunk show, vibrant entertainment and a designer meet and greet. All attendees will receive a special Queens Fashion Week Gift Bag at the event.