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ArtHotel – A Unique Community-Based Residency

"Astoria Park" by A. King McCarty

"Astoria Park" by A. King McCarty

Mirror Painting by Kamille Ejerta (OGMillie)

Mirror Painting by Kamille Ejerta (OGMillie)

With two new artists taking part in the 2018 ArtHotel Residency, QCA invites the Queens community to visit their open studios.

At QCA, we are so lucky to work in such a diverse borough where so many disciplines are represented, but regardless if they’re a visual artist, a dancer, a filmmaker, a musician, or do any other type of practice, one of the biggest challenges facing them is for suitable (not to mention affordable!) studio space to rehearse and create work, as well as spaces to present. Oftentimes it forces artists to be a bit more adventurous and creative to find a place to produce work.

That’s is why our ArtHotel Residencies are such an exciting opportunity, one at the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City and one at the Springhill Suites LaGuardia in Corona.

Kamille Ejerta (OGMillie)

Kamille Ejerta (OGMillie)

By having artists work in a non-traditional art space – a Queens hotel – the residency not only gives them plenty of appropriate space to create, it also gives them the opportunity to focus on their work in the public realm and build relationships with new audiences throughout the borough.

We hope these residencies can give access to the public to view a working artist’s creative process, and hopefully raise interest and increase dialogue in how cultural life can grow in Queens.

For this year’s residency, we are proud to invite two artists: Kamille Ejerta (artists name OGMillie), a self described “visually impaired Street Pop Artist with a vintage flair,” and A. King McCarty, a multidisciplinary artist that looks to use her work to tell stories about herself and her community.

When we asked them both about their projects, both Kamille and A. King highlighted the inspiration they’ve taken from Queens, and how much they look forward to working in a public space that invites Queens residents and hotel guests alike to experience the art-making process in person. They mentioned how important being in the Queens community was in order to learn and gain insights for their projects.

A. King McCarty

A. King McCarty

Kamille’s project at the Paper Factory Hotel will be large-scale paintings on vintage mirrors, beginning with the Queens Unisphere and then 4 works depicting different cultural icons.

A. King will use her residency at the Springhill Suites to grow her project “Splendid Astoria,” where she combines colored pencil and pen sketches with short essays to illustrate daily life and her relationship with her neighborhood. By expanding the project to “Splendid Queens,” she hopes to speak with visiting community members and inspire them to explore their borough and perhaps even create art based on their neighborhoods themselves.

The artists will have open studios throughout the run of their residencies, and we hope you will come through, view their works in process, and talk to A King and Kamille, and be part of the Queens story they’re hoping to tell. Take a look on our calendar for upcoming open studio dates, and we'll also post more open studios throughout the residency.

To see more upcoming open studio dates, QCA Event Calendar click here

For more information about the 2018 ArtHotel Residencies, click here

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Apply to the SU-CASA Residency Program

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Apply to the SU-CASA Residency Program

In 2014, I was a SU-CASA (formerly SPARC) Artist-in-Residence. Although I had taught the arts to young people for almost a decade at that point, this was the first time that I would be teaching older adults. I was both excited and a bit nervous.

Programs like SU-CASA are very important and can make such a great difference in the quality of life our city's elders. The majority of older adults in New York have no income beyond social security benefits and so many live at or below the poverty level. So this is a great opportunity for seasoned arts educators who would like to work with older adults and artists who are new to arts education to provide valuable service to their communities. 

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I was placed at Hillcrest Senior Center in Jamaica, Queens. Since I'm originally from South Jamaica, it was great to have the opportunity to do some good work in my old 'hood. At the time my grandmother was ill and the senior center was only a 15-minute walk from where she lived. So, during my residency, I was in the company of elders all of the time.

For two days a week I taught my senior students the fundamentals of drawing and painting and the class culminated in a large-scale mural on canvas. But I also learned a lot from my students as well. There were the small things that you can only learn by teaching older adults, but I also learned some amazing history and wisdom. 

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Hilda, my oldest student, was a 90-year old Cuban expat who witnessed when Castro came to power and talked about how he went from loved and supported to feared and distrusted. Rosa, my 60-something year-old makeshift assistant teacher and Spanish translator (all but one of my students were native Spanish speakers) always beat me to class and would give me a hard time if I was even five minutes late. Since the residency begins in the dead of winter, I was always impressed to see most of my students show up through rain, sleet, or snow. That was one of the small things that showed me how important the class was to each of my students.

In an effort to improve the quality of arts education programming for our elders, the Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council, and Department for the Aging has continued to support the SU-CASA residency with an award of $4500 with a 40-hour commitment. I encourage my fellow artists to use their talents and experience to bring some joy to the lives of our city's elders by applying to the SU-CASA program. APPLY HERE.

Are there any artists out there who can share their experiences working with and teaching seniors? If so please comment below!

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