SU-CASA 2019 Artists-in-Residence

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SU-CASA 2019 Artists-in-Residence

SU-CASA is a community arts engagement program that places artists in residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. Over the past 8 years, QCA has administered the program in partnership with more than 100 Queens-based senior centers. This year’s SU-CASA Artists-in-Residence include: Deborah Wasserman, Shenna Vaughn, Karl Lorenzon, Carol Sudhalter, Anthonia Akinbola, Aurora Reyes, Wojciech Gilewicz, Adam Weisehan, Evie McKenna, Radha Singh, Katya Khan, Alacia Stubbs, Valerie Skakun, Justin Cimino, Cecilia Lim, Simona Minns, Mari Meade, Sandra Vucicevic, Guillermo Severiche, Barbara Westermann, Che Min Hsiao, Aileen Bassis, Bao Ru, Yvonne Shortt, Sherese Francis, David Mills, Emma Brown, and Jinyu Li.

SU-CASA, funded in FY19 by the New York City Council, provides grants to artists and organizations for the creation and delivery of arts programming for seniors. Teaching artists engage participating seniors in an art project or series of cultural programs over the course of the residency, which takes place January 1 - June 30, 2019. The program includes a public program component – an exhibit, reading, performance, open house or other cultural interaction open to the surrounding community.

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Art Producer Brittany Wilson On Representation, Equity, and Community

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Behind the Scenes of the
Artist Commissioning Program Panel

After the Artist Commissioning Program panel, we sat down with Jamaica, Queens-based art producer Brittany Wilson for her thoughts on issues of representation and inclusion that arose during the panel. A Queens native, Brittany is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, arts administrator, and funder who began her training at Jamaica’s Edge School of the Arts. For more on Brittany’s background, as well as her fellow art producers, check out her bio here.

Jamaica & Southeast Queens Art Producers & Artists at the 2018-19 ACP Kickoff Party From Left: Tyra Emerson, Darrell Bridges, Jesus Ward, LaNeese Ray, Brittany Wilson, Y? Guyadin, Kerri Edge, Linette Townsley, Brendez Wineglass, and Yolanda Johnson

Jamaica & Southeast Queens Art Producers & Artists at the 2018-19 ACP Kickoff Party
From Left: Tyra Emerson, Darrell Bridges, Jesus Ward, LaNeese Ray, Brittany Wilson, Y? Guyadin, Kerri Edge, Linette Townsley, Brendez Wineglass, and Yolanda Johnson

I am a firm believer that representation breeds courage and innovation.
— Brittany Wilson, ACP Art Producer

QCA: As a 2018-19 Art Producer, you were recently part of a panel representing Jamaica and Southeast Queens. What are your thoughts on how issues of representation were handled during the panel?

Brittany: Disclaimer, my thoughts around representation are purely my own interpretations based on experience.

In the last few years this idea of representation has started to become apart of many conversations. First starting with the big screen and inevitably trickling down into the commercials, workspace and now the arts. I am a firm believer that representation breeds courage and innovation.  If I see don’t myself, an African American women, represented in a hair product commercial, it is unlikely that I will purchase that product. The same can be said for my application review process. While reading through the 30 + submissions I realized there were certain stories that these artists wanted to tell without representing those who were most affected by said story. I found this unsettling but also understand that even with there being a larger conversation, we still have a ways to go. Nonetheless, I was less drawn to those submissions because of the lack of representation.  I personally believe it is very important that we as artists are in tune and responsible with stories we are trying to tell.

 

QCA: With these issues in mind, what is your advice for 1) future Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) applicants, as well as 2) artists submitting grant proposals in general? 

Brittany: A piece of advice I would lend to future ACP and other grant applicants is to allow those outside their circle to read their submission before they submit. During the review process I found myself wondering if the applicant allowed “other voices” to read what they wrote. I think this would have greatly cut down on the privilege driven approach. This also goes for the supplemental materials they choose to share. Some of the more sensitive topics that were being tackled (gun violence, #MeToo movement, etc) were not always successfully supported by the work samples because they seemed to be contradictory.  On a more technical note, I would advise artists to check their links and any other attached documents to be sure they are working properly. Sometimes something as small as faulty or incomplete links can disqualify a qualified applicant.

QCA: In the spirit of enabling community members to make decisions for their own neighborhoods, this panel was comprised entirely of individuals from Jamaica & Southeast Queens. How do you think this local lens impacted the panel’s conversation and priorities?

This idea of the local lens connects directly back to representation and why it is important. As someone who was born and raised in Jamaica/Southeast Queens, I know what my community experiences.
— Brittany Wilson, ACP Art Producer

Brittany: This idea of the local lens connects directly back to representation and why it is important. As someone who was born and raised in Jamaica/Southeast, Queens, I know what my community experiences. I know what my community will respond to. I know what my community will come out to see because they will see themselves in it. Not everything will resonate with everybody. With this in mind, me and my fellow panelists were pretty much always on the same page. Our first question was, will our community connect to this topic? If they did, our next question was, was our community being represented in the applicants’ narrative? This guided us rather smoothly through the process. And to clarify, although Jamaica/SEQ is made up of predominantly Black & Brown families, we were not looking strictly at color. We were considering experiences and what we want the children of our community to be exposed to in order for the important conversations to be continued.

 

QCA: Part of the mission of ACP is to democratize who can become a “gatekeeper” in the arts, a role traditionally reserved for the privileged few. How does expanding who can become an arts patron change the type of art being created?

Brittany: It wasn’t until very recently I started hearing people use the word “gatekeeper” as a way to describe those who choose what gains mass support and what doesn’t.  I don’t consider myself a gatekeeper; far from it. This process of democratization isn’t about passing the gate keys; it’s about leveling the playing field. I may be an art producer/patron but that doesn’t make me any less of an artist. With this in mind I’m already on the same page as the artists I am helping to fund. I’m not above them, and I’m not below them. Therefore there is no privileged bias or decisions driven by envy. I’m there in the trenches with them. I also believe that because I am a working artist, I have a pulse to culture that the privileged few do no possess which changes the type of art that is being funded. It won’t always be safe and fluffy because the reality of my community is not always safe and fluffy. Artists and entrepreneurs as art patrons make for realistic work being funded. Parents and teachers as arts patrons make for holistic work being funded. It’s time to change up who we have in the room.

 

QCA: As an artist, arts administrator, and emerging arts patron, how do you want to foster a more inclusive creative sector?

Brittany: In my work as an artist, arts administrators and emerging arts patron, I have learned a valuable lesson about change. It’s not going to happen overnight, over a decade or quite possibly over a lifetime. It will be messy, and possibly get much worse before a glimmer of light. With this in mind I like operating from a place of acquiring more knowledge for myself that I can eventually share with others. An inclusive creative sector starts with having knowledge for myself. I would like to foster this type of environment by creating spaces for learning and sharing. It is hard to create spaces of inclusivity if you don’t understand people's experiences.

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Meet QCA's Gala Honoree - Himanshu “Heems” Suri

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Punjabi-American rapper, founder of Greedhead Music, and native New Yorker, Himanshu "Heems" Suri launched his solo career while a member of alternative hip-hop group Das Racist.

QCA had a chance to interview Heems.
Check it out below!


How are you inspired by the artistic communities of Queens?

I'm inspired by the world around me and Queens is a perfect microcosm for this world. I'm inspired by immigrant journeys and this is where it all begins for people coming to New York. In Queens I found a community of like-minded creatives who like myself straddle multiple identities. 

How does your work address a need for cultural equity?

My work is intended to make noise, to be seen and to be heard. While South Asians in this country are equated with professional success we're often limited to this role in capitalism instead of the other facets of our lives, work, and experiences. I hope to give these facets a voice and existence and to shatter stereotypes of Asian-Americans in the process.

What has been your experience as an artist/advocate living/working in Queens?

In Queens I've found a community of artists coping with the same issues I am in a post-9/11 America and a constant source of inspiration for the stories I tell. 

Which of your projects would you like to tell our readers about?

I think my work on Eat Pray Thug and on Swet Shop Boys' Cashmere does a good job of setting my first-generation experience to music. 


QCA will honor Heems at the 2019 Gala - Bollywood Carnival!

Join us! It will be a fun and festive celebration of our borough's artistic community. 
Come and experience the customs and cuisine of a rich culture. 

Thursday, February 7th, 2019
7pm - 10pm

The Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378
~ festive attire ~

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Meet ArtSite Artist Annabelle Popa!

Interview with artist Annabelle Popa by ArtSite Program Manager, Marissa Lazar

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What inspired you to apply to ArtSite?

I saw that ArtSite was doing a project in Jackson Heights, the neighborhood I grew up in, so I though what a special opportunity it would be to have my art in the very place I spent most of my life.

Please discuss your connection to Queens.

My parents moved to Jackson Heights when I was born and I have lived there ever since. As I grew I was able to explore the larger queens area, from Astoria and Steinway street to my favorite bubble tea and dumpling spot in Flushing. Jackson Heights will always be my home base that continues to grow, change, and flourish.

Briefly describe your ArtSite project and what inspired your idea?

Jackson Heights is known as the neighborhood of gardens. Growing up I would take different routes home and would discover some gorgeous courtyards of certain apartment complexes. I found the majority of courtyards and apartments would have 'guardian' animals standing in the pathways. From griffins to lions, to fish over windows, I felt like I was discovering magical lands that were attainable only to those with 'the key'. I feel these creatures have been overlooked and forgotten, so with my project, "Guardians of Jackson Heights", I wanted to bring them into the forefront. By bringing attention to these characters I hope people of the neighborhood will begin to notice and appreciate them once more.

Where will your project be exhibited and why did you choose this particular site for your ArtSite project?

My project will be on a wall along 76th street and 37th avenue at Image Heights Pharmacy. This site is particularly special due to its length, which allows enough room for a narrative to evolve. As viewers walk by the story within the art will be revealed to them. It also has an awning above with lighting so even at night it can be seen.

Will ArtSite be your first public art project? What are some of the key differences between your normal practice and working in the public sphere? 

ArtiSite is my second public art project, but the first that I have full creative control over. In my normal practice I have a commissioner. While I do get some creative freedom, there is a established goal that needs to be met. In my personal work, I do have a narrative or meaning I want to communicate, but it is not often seen by many. This project, I have full creative freedom within the theme that I have established, but I need to keep in mind that this is a piece created for the public. I have an amazing opportunity to make something that will be seen by many, and a responsibility to make something thought provoking.

How do you want/envision the public to interact with your work?

The location of the mural is quite an active block. Busses pass by it and its right on an active avenue. I want people to initially get a glimpse of it, be intrigued, and then go back (whether its on their way home from work or while they're out shopping) to get a closer look. Various elements in the mural are large enough to see from across the block, but many details will be small so going up close will be necessary for the full experience. The wall is right on street level so viewers can get as close as they'd like. I hope the mural encourages viewers to take a closer look at the architecture of the Jackson Heights and find the elements that I tried to emulate within the mural.

 

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Meet ArtSite Artist Jimmy Ferguson!

Interview with artist Jimmy Ferguson by ArtSite Program Manager, Marissa Lazar

What inspired you to apply to ArtSite?

 A neighbor posted the call for proposals in my building. I had recently moved to Queens from Brooklyn and was looking to connect with the local arts community. Everything aligned perfectly. I live and work in Jackson Heights.

  

Briefly describe your ArtSite project and what inspired your idea?

Between Neighbors: Jackson Heights is a large-format public projection. The black and white video, on continuous loop during the evenings, will be projected against a building beside the 82nd Street platform of the 7-train.  The video captures the subways of Jackson Heights, and the neighbors who ride them. I began shooting on the subways for a short documentary film that explores the distance between the self and the other in modern urbanity. On my initial exploratory trips for the documentary film, I was immediately struck by the differences across the boroughs. In the vast diversity of New York, each neighborhood, and subsequently each segment of train that passes through a neighborhood takes on its own personality. Of particular note in Jackson Heights is the extraordinary variety of cultures, languages, and faces.

 

Where will your project be exhibited and why did you choose this particular site for your ArtSite project?

The work will project on a building above Pollos A La Brasa Mario, whose owner, Oscar, has been wonderfully supportive of the project. The location is ideal as it’s right along the train platform in the heart of Jackson Heights. The projection can be seen from the corner of Roosevelt and 81st street, but the ideal view is from the west side of the 82nd street platform of the 7-train.

 

Will ArtSite be your first public art project? What are some of the key differences between your normal practice and working in the public sphere?

ArtSite is my first public art project. Working in the public sphere is very different from film in both practical and artistic terms. Normally I make a work and count on another to present it; here, I am responsible for the display itself, which has a lot of practical challenges. I reached out to Rooftop Films, who have been extremely generous with their support and technical expertise.  Artistically I find it very compelling to be in a public space. Between Neighbors demands a platform that directly engages those who I am filming. I filmed in public, and thus, the exhibition of the footage must be public. For me, the project could only exist in this way. I don’t wish to simply create a document of this fascinating area, but rather, a work that incites a dialog within the community.

 

How do you want/envision the public to interact with your work?

 By projecting our subway dynamics in large format on a building in the public space, I’m hoping to give us the pause we typically avoid in our daily commute. By focusing my lens on our individual interactions within the masses of commuters, I hope to spark reflection, and ultimately, a dialog between us as neighbors.  

 

Catch Between Neighbors: Jackson Heights on view every evening through February 2, 2019.

 

See more of Jimmy’s work!

www.jwjfilms.com

https://www.instagram.com/jwjfilms/

 

 

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Meet ArtSite Artist Margaret Rose Vendryes

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Interview with artist Margaret Rose Vendryes by ArtSite Program Manager, Marissa Lazar

 

What inspired you to apply to ArtSite?

 Jamaica audiences have enjoyed my work in the past and regretted seeing it taken down.  ArtSite offered an opportunity to bring The African Diva Project back to them and others in an even more public and interactive way. 

 

Please discuss your connection to Queens.

I grew up in Cambria Heights and, although I have lived in a number of other cities as an adult, my ties to Southeast Queens have remained through my position on the faculty at York College.  I now live in Richmond Hill.

 

Briefly describe your ArtSite project and what inspired your idea?

Jamaica Center has thousands of commuters, shoppers, and visitors to government offices passing through each day.  Perhaps more than any other audience, these people deserve a reason to slow down, stop, look, and enjoy what can be seen and learned from engaging with an art installation.  Standing Ovation: The African Diva Project is comprised of select figures taken from The African Diva Project, printed to life-size, and installed on the Jamaica Performing Arts Center lawn.  The location is appropriate given its role as a central space for this community to enjoy performances.  Each figure, mask, and rationale for their pairing will be on a sign/ legend installed just inside the JPAC fence.

 

Will ArtSite be your first public art project? What are some of the key differences between your normal practice and working in the public sphere?

 This is not my first "re-envisioning" of The African Diva Project paintings.  The inspiration to continue finding ways to allow the local population of Jamaica began with Jameco Exchange in the summer of 2016.  The interactive component of that indoor installation was more complex than Standing Ovation where the work will be out in the open for audiences to learn about the divas and their masks and to take photographs with them as if they were inside a painting.

  

Catch Standing Ovation: The African Diva Project from January 17th, 2019 through March 2019.

 

See more of Margaret’s work!

https://www.mrvendryes.com/

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ARTSITE ARTIST INTERVIEW: JASON LALOR

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ARTSITE ARTIST INTERVIEW: JASON LALOR

Jason Anthony Lalor is a new media and performance artist based in Cambria Heights. Check out this video where he shares how ArtSite impacts his work and how he hopes his project engages the community.

ArtSite aims to establish an ecosystem of local artists and art producers to create new work that reflects the diverse cultural stories particular to the communities of Jamaica and Jackson Heights. By allowing the artists to partner and create dialogue with the local business community, we can reinvent the external perceptions of these two communities as sources of inspiration and epicenters of the new America canon of dance, theatre, music, and art.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTSITE HERE

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Announcing the 2018 Queens Emerging Artist Business Prize Awardees

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About the Scholarship Award

Founded in 2017, the Queens Emerging Artist Business prize is a scholarship opportunity for students and alumni of Queens Council on the Arts’ (QCA) High School to Art School portfolio development program. A partnership between QCA and KOTRA (Korea-Trade Investment Promotion Agency), this year’s award is generously sponsored by LG Household and Health Care America, Inc. (LGHHAI) – the company is awarding an unprecedented $10,000 to seven emerging artists. LGHHAI collected designs for two products, the VDL Cosmetics Package Set, and Lucky Fiji Packaging. This competition aims to provide a platform for the best and brightest young artists in Queens, as well as help LGHHAI grow their brand with visually striking artwork.

2018 Awardees, from left:  From Left: SooA Kim, Shanjida Kibria, Clara Jeong, Deanna Cepeda, Kunning Huang, & Alexander Li (not pictured: Yuricik Canas); photo by Ken Brown

2018 Awardees, from left: From Left: SooA Kim, Shanjida Kibria, Clara Jeong, Deanna Cepeda, Kunning Huang, & Alexander Li (not pictured: Yuricik Canas); photo by Ken Brown

Read more about the seven awardees & their designs below, or check out photos from the event
on facebook and flickr!


FIRST PLACE: CLARA JEONG (HS2AS ‘13)

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When HS2AS opened the door to the language of art, the college experience taught me to explore different ways to communicate with it.
— Clara Jeong

Clara enrolled in the HS2AS portfolio program for the Summer and Fall of 2013. Upon graduation from the program, she attended Fashion Institute of Technology as a Fine Art Major in 2014, graduating this year in May. “When HS2AS opened the door to the language of art, the college experience taught me to explore different ways to communicate with it,” she writes. “My goal as an artist is to successfully understand the relationship between visual representations and human behaviors - how one influences the other.” Currently, Clara is studying User Experience Design to help gain further insight.

SECOND PLACE: YURICIK CANAS (HS2AS ‘16)

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Art has always defined my character in many ways. I can remember being surrounded by artwork from a very young age, and how this passion only grew with time.
— Yuricik Canas

“Art has always defined my character in many ways,” writes Yuricik. “I can remember being surrounded by artwork from a very young age, and how this passion only grew with time.” While Yuricik majored in engineering, she loves to create and design new things. “I´m sure it has been this aspect of art what has led me to choose what I wanted to do in life,” she says.

FINALIST: SHANJIDA KIBRIA (HS2AS ‘13)

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Shanjida Kibria was a HS2AS student in the Summer and Fall of 2014. At the time, she attended Laguardia Arts High School. Today, she is enrolled at Parsons School of Design as a communication design major. “My design focus has primarily been in branding, print, and package design,” she writes. “I hope to have a career focusing on branding and advertising.” Currently, she works part-time at the NYC Department of Sanitation's Recycling & Sustainability Bureau as a design intern. She grew up in Queens, New York, and hopes to travel a bit once she is finished with school.

FINALIST: KUNNING HUANG (HS2AS ‘12")

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Kunning Huang was born in Changsha, China, and moved to America when he was 15 years old. A graduate from The Cooper Union, he completed his studies in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. A 2011-12 HS2AS student, Kunning says, “It was an unforgettable learning experience that broadened my mind and changed my perspective on art, and helped me to get in my dream school.” In college, he pursued a multidisciplinary study that included disciplines as Sculpture, Photography, Graphic design, Video, Printmaking and Painting.

FINALIST: SOOA KIM (HS2AS ‘10)

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An alumni of HS2AS from 2008-10, SooA Kim is a multimedia artist based in New York. She works primarily with the mediums of video, sound and performance. Kim's current works examine socially constructed ideas within the sphere of performing arts, creating interdisciplinary work in live interactive spaces and also in VR/AR platforms. Her work has been selected for eminent exhibitions in United States, Canada, Germany, Russia, Vietnam and Czech Republic. She received her BFA from Parsons the New School for Design and is currently a candidate for Video and Media Design MFA at Carnegie Mellon University.

FINALIST: ALEXANDER LI (HS2AS ‘13)

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Alexander Li is New York based Illustrator and designer. He graduated from Parsons the New School of Design. He attended the HS2AS program in the 2013, during my senior year of High School.

FINALIST: DEANNA CEPEDA (hs2as ‘15)

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Deanna Cepeda participated in HS2AS in the summer of 2015. Currently a sophomore at Pratt Institute, she is currently studying Art Direction/Advertising. “I had a great time designing the front of this package,” she writes.


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ARTSITE ARTIST INTERVIEW: JOSE CARLOS CASADO

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ARTSITE ARTIST INTERVIEW: JOSE CARLOS CASADO

Jose Carlos Casado is a multimedia artist whose work is grounded in community. His work includes sculpture, painting, animation, and installation art. Check out this video where he shares how ArtSite impacts his work and how he hopes his project engages the community.

ArtSite aims to establish an ecosystem of local artists and art producers to create new work that reflects the diverse cultural stories particular to the communities of Jamaica and Jackson Heights. By allowing the artists to partner and create dialogue with the local business community, we can reinvent the external perceptions of these two communities as sources of inspiration and epicenters of the new America canon of dance, theatre, music, and art.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ARTSITE HERE

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2018-19 Artist Peer Circles

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2018-19 Artist Peer Circles

On Monday, November 26, 2018, we hosted an orientation for this year’s Artist Peer Circle program participants. The Artist Peer Circle program is designed to provide artists a structured support system in an effort to help advance their professional development. The artists meet once a month for nine months and finish the program with a public event. Our first two cohorts of the year consist of one peer circle for visual artists and one for interdisciplinary artists.

QCA 2018-19 Artist Peer Circle

This year’s Artist Peer Circle facilitators are Ran Yan, Executive Director of Lewis Latimer House, and Malcolm Chang, writer and Newtown Literary Alliance board member. Peer Circle artists include Zonia Tsang, Allison Escoto, Melanie LaRosa, Pichchenda Bao, Symin Adave, Kaiser Kamal, John Day, Aileen Bassis, Helen Quinn, and Will Kaplan. Learn more about the Artist Peer Circle program HERE.

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