We are truly fortunate to have a dedicated champion of the arts in Queens who makes sure that there is funding and support for the cultural sector city wide as well as in his home borough. Jimmy Van Bramer, a past Queens Council on the Arts Board Member, represents District 26 as a twice elected New York City Council Member.
Jimmy is one of a select group of honorees being celebrated by the Queens Council on the Arts at the upcoming Caribbean Carnival 2018 Gala.
Tell me about your work.
I am the New York City Council Member for Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside. Within this role, I also chair the Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations – and have since taking office in 2009. As a lover of arts and a long-time supporter of libraries, I am really proud to chair this committee. It allows me opportunities to ensure that our city’s arts and culture remain vibrant and accessible. In fact, last summer, we released CreateNYC, the city’s first-ever comprehensive cultural plan. The plan is based on feedback from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers from every corner of the city and will help ensure that arts and culture are equitable and accessible to everyone.
What is your interest in the arts?
I think that art and creative expression connect us all. It’s part of what makes us human and helps us better understand our world. I enjoy visiting museums and galleries and my husband and I love the theater! I also firmly believe that it’s the responsibility of our city government to ensure that our cultural sector remains strong. During my tenure, City Council has allocated more than $1 billion in cultural capital funding. Last year alone, we were able to provide funding for over 1,500 cultural institutions. So to simply say that I am interested in the arts is an understatement. I truly believe that art sustains us, inspires us and allows space for hope.
Do you think art can change the world?
Absolutely! Art has been central to societies, cultural changes and revolutions since the beginning of time. Art encourages free expression and new ideas. Art challenges those in power by allowing people to question truths in deeper ways. Art allows people to tell their stories, connect with one another and to see the world from a different perspective. Art has and will continue to change the world.
What are your thoughts about the arts in Queens at this moment in time?
The Queens arts community is so vibrant and so strong! My first visit to a cultural institution was a fieldtrip from PS 70 in Astoria to Queens Museum, which of course, remains an important arts institution in the borough. It’s exciting, though, to see how the Queens cultural landscape has changed since then. MoMA PS1 is expanding. The Chocolate Factory Theater has just purchased a new space. Museum of the Moving Image now has a permanent Jim Henson exhibition. There’s The Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica, The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College, The Knockdown Center in Maspeth, The Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Flushing, The Queens Theatre in Corona… Every pocket of this borough is rich with arts and cultural offerings, and as one of the most diverse counties in the country it’s no surprise that we have such a range of art and artists here.
Come join us at our 2018 QCA Gala: Caribbean Carnival! Where we will celebrate accomplished Queens leaders. Thursday, Friday 15th at 7pm at the Knockdown Center!
Buy Your Tickets here: https://www.queenscouncilarts.org/qcas-gala-2018
About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.