QCS Studio Residency @ Queens Museum

EVENT: BQX the Gentrification Express / Privatizing Public Spaces

BQX express event
On Wednesday, October 25th Queens Creative Solidarity joins in with Queens Anti-Gentrification Project for their event “BQX the Gentrification Express / Privatizing Public Spaces” with a two-part documentary screening of “FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK: WHAT IT’S WORTH” and “GENTRIFICATION EXPRESS: BREAKING DOWN THE BQX” and dialogue with the filmmakers. This event is FREE and refreshments will be served. Please join us!
Details on Facebook event page: 
Join us for a two-part documentary screening that rips the veil off the Mayor’s luxury trolley plan AKA Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) and the shadow activity behind privatization plans for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Following the screening, we will share an intimate Q&A with the film directors and hear from local grassroots groups about how you can participate in their efforts.

Wednesday, October 25 at

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Astoria Historical Society: 3520 Broadway, 4th Floor, Astoria, NY 11106


FREE FOOD AND REFRESHMENT + COMMUNITY BUILDING

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE FILMS:

“FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK: WHAT IT’S WORTH” by Queens Creative Solidarity (QCS) encourages dialogue around free and equal access to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As a shared community resource which has been vulnerable to private interests in recent years, the park is an example of how a public park space is vital to the health and vibrancy of the diverse communities and families in New York City. The video highlights the extremely diverse voices and experiences of these park-goers and represents a snapshot of how free and equal access to city parks impacts hundreds of lives every day. On the 25th, the filmmakers will give backstory on threats to community access, and discuss how to get involved to prevent future privatization of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Filmmakers: Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, Zahida Pirani, Juanita Lara, Ran Yan

GENTRIFICATION EXPRESS: BREAKING DOWN THE BQX: In January of 2016, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), a streetcar that would run a 16-mile waterfront route from Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The announcement arrived with a PR campaign that claims the BQX as a transit option that would, amongst other things, serve the low-income communities along the corridor. A closer look at who is pushing the plan and how it will be funded reveals that the BQX relies on the displacement of the communities they are currently trying to sell it to.

Filmmakers: Amanda Katz and Samantha Farinella

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Event: Artist-Presenter Dialogues

Flushing Town Hall

 

Artist-Presenter Dialogues

WED, FEB 22, 7 PM

Flushing Town Hall

137-35 Northern Boulevard

Tickets: FREE (No RSVP Required)

http://www.flushingtownhall.org/event/8c5d9f51c76652f5b6464eb68d70a98c

Artists: What do you wish arts organizations understood better about artists?

Organizations: What do you wish Artists understood better about how organizations work?

What needs do artists and organizations share?

How can we work better together?

We want to foster greater understanding among artists and arts presenters, and the best way to do so is dialogue!  We are starting a series of open-ended conversations on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7pm at Flushing Town Hall.  We hope you join us!

Artists of all disciplines, and Arts Organizations of all kinds, are encouraged to participate.  Send your thoughts and burning questions in advance to: sshumays@flushingtownhall.org

Recap: QCS Video & Zine Projects!

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Words by Roshani Thakore/Photos by Juanita Lara.

As part of the residency with the Queens Museum, Queens Creative Solidarity highlighted the importance of free and equal access to a historical space in New York City: Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As a shared community resource which has been vulnerable to private interests in recent years, the park is an example of how a public park space is vital to the health and vibrancy of the diverse communities and families in New York City.

QCS engaged with park-goers, got their input and perspectives about the park, and involved them in creating a film and zine to share the collective community perspective about Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Local community members, tourists, parents, children, friends and many others voiced their concerns about the impact privatization and limited access would have on their lives.

In the making of the video “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: What It’s Worth” the QCS video team interviewed dozens of park goers who talked about what the park means to them, what makes this particular public space so special, and their concerns about the park’s future. The video highlights the extremely diverse voices and experiences of these park-goers and represents a snap shot of how free and equal access to city parks impacts hundreds of lives every day.

The QCS zine team hosted two drop-in workshops to engage park-goers and have them design pages of the zine, “Flushing Meadows Corona Park: What It’s Worth.” Using a survey QCS created, the zine team interviewed workshop participants about their experiences and perspectives about the park and invited them to help design and produce the zine using their own content. Through drawings, text and poetry, participants shared how valuable the park is to them and how changes to accessing the park impacts them. In addition to the rich and vital content by participants, the zine also includes information about local community participation, the recent developments of FMCP including the Alliance of FMCP and the Community Advisory Board, along with information of local organizations invested in Queens community members. At the QCS closing event, each participant received a digital and hard copy of the zine, and QCS has published additional copies to give to Queens community organizations to use and distribute.

You can view the video online, here – and the zine, here.

Reach out to QCS to learn more about the video, zine, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and how you can get involved.

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Recap of October 19th Event: PoeTREE and Capoeira demo

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Words by Lorie Caval/Photos by Juanita Lara (additional by Lorie)

Wednesday, October 19th was unseasonably warm – 80-degrees! Lucky for us at QCS since the events we had planned for that day were all outdoors.

Carina, Zahida and Juanita set off in the early afternoon to find folks around the park to participate in our Video Collaboration: A Day in Flushing Meadows Park (FMCP). In the meantime I started setting up tables outside of our studio trailer with lots of art supplies for the PoeTREE project (paints, pastels, markers, colored pencils and crayons). Queens-based writer/educator Nancy Agabian joined me in preparation for the event, along with Sami, to offer people assistance with their poetry and art-making.

The purpose of PoeTREE, was to tie into the overarching theme of our QCS residency project, “FMCP: What it’s Worth” regarding ideas around worth, value and access, especially as it pertains to FMCP. Park-goers were invited to choose a tree that had some significance to them, and to create their own poem or drawing/painting about it – while contemplating questions such as, “Why is this tree valuable to me?” Participants weren’t given too many guidelines, but rather were free to express their own ideas and feelings creatively. (The images and poems made during PoeTREE will be used during our QCS residency closing and What it’s Worth zine presentation on 11/13.)

Next, Contra Mestre Omi and some (my fellow) members of the capoeira group Ilê De Palmares (IDP) started showing up in preparation for their demonstration (in the meantime, I wrangled a few of them in to make poems and art too!). They set up a roda (circle) right in front of the Queens Museum and began to play instruments and jogo (play capoeira). Folks started to gather and watch the games and seemed to be intrigued. At one point Omi stopped the demonstration to address the crowd, some of whom had questions about the origins of capoeira. Omi took some time to explain how capoeira was created by enslaved Africans in Brazil as a means of resistance, resilience and freedom – and how it lives on today as an art-form practiced by an international community. The IDP roda resumed and kept going until after dark.

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Recap of Oct. 9 Event: What it’s Worth: Values and Making $ome Money

By Priscilla Stadler/Photos by Juanita Lara.

What do you value? Who do you value?
What does this “valuing” affect where you put your energy?
How does your work produce or retain value for the communities you work with?
Do you think we are at a moment of crisis (economically, politically, socially)? If so, how does your work confront that crisis? What aspects of the crisis are specific to Queens and NYC?
What role do you think a movement to organize artists could play within the broader landscape of social justice? What role could it play in Queens specifically? How could you see your work intersecting with such a movement?

These are several of the questions are selected from the many we developed to prepare for the first Queens Creative Solidarity (QCS) public event: “What it’s Worth: Values and Making Some Money”. In conjunction with our collective Studio in the Park residency through the Queens Museum, Artbuilt Studios, and the NYC Parks Department, the two-part event consisted of an “open table” discussion and a hands-on homemade currency-making workshop.

The Open Table
The conversation started with invited artists and organizers, most of whom are based in or have worked in Queens: Rejin Leys, Tania Mattos, PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Carlos Martinez of Hibridos Collective, and Antonio Cerna (please see below for their bios.)

Inspired by The City as Commons: a Policy Reader  I had wanted to make space to explore a broader conversation on value in communities (especially relevant to property value, potential displacement of vulnerable communities targeted for development) and the role of artists and organizers in this landscape. Since we share many related interests, fellow QCS member Sami Abu Shumays and I worked together to develop questions and themes for this event.

All were invited to participate in the open table conversation. We covered topics ranging from the lack of art education in schools to underfunding of culture in Queens compared with NYC’s other boroughs to acknowledging that artists are part of, not separate from, communities – and that all communities already have artists. We noted the problematic of non-profit organizations acting as intermediaries between communities and power structures, and the necessity for working long-term when doing community engaged art, and much more.

29931486950_ff699495c9_bMaking $ome Money and Playing Patoli
For part two, we shifted to hands-on activities based on value and exchange. Sami Abu Shumays has been making his own currency for months, based on his interest in thinking beyond a traditional economic model. He invited us to “make some money” from art materials and consider how this artwork can be tied to values and exchanged with others who share those values. Artist Rejin Leys is a papermaker who uses junkmail and other discarded paper for pulp, giving it value and another cycle of potential use. She donated some of her paper so that we could use it to make our currency.

Artists Fran Ilich and Gabriela Ceja invited us to participate in another dimension of interaction with value by playing Potoli, an Aztec game based on the interplay of individual and community property, chance, and divination. Several of us used our freshly-made currency to play this challenging and fascinating game.

Next Steps
During the conversation we asked for input about the potential work of QCS and what it should do. Suggestions included:

*Strategize on how to get voices heard beyond the community board structure, which has no legal power
*Make visuals in the street that challenge the term “beautification”
*Occupy the park with art for the people
*Create more visual ways of education for the park and use dance!
*Build on the momentum of Queens is Not for Sale (which held a recent protest against developers conference)
*Use the Queens Museum as a more permanent social justice space, as artists are doing in the Brooklyn Museum, connected with anti-gentrification work
*Connect with other grassroots Queens organizations that do meaningful work for their communities
*Use the museum’s headsets for simultaneous translation in order to include more speakers of different languages

By having these conversations and developing them into actions we can cultivate “an equitable network of artists and creative people in Queens that acknowledges and respects the cultural richness already present in our neighborhoods, learning together how to be involved in community where art, art making, dignified living, learning, parenting and working conditions are an equal right for all.”  This commitment comes directly from the QCS mission.

On November 6 we will hold a public meeting to get input on how to create and develop this network. Please join us for that and our other residency activities if you ou can!

Priscilla Stadler

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Brief Bios of October 9 Open Table invited guests

Rejin Leys is a mixed media artist and papermaker. Her mobile papermaking studio, based in Jamaica, is a site for community building and creative engagement.

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Tania Mattos is an immigrant and worker rights organizer who was born in La Paz, Bolivia and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. She is co-founder of Queens Neighborhoods United, a community-led grassroots organization that builds power to fight criminalization and displacement in Jackson Heights and Corona. Tania is also the Education Director at UnLocal, a non-profit immigration legal organization that represents children in their immigration cases.

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Carlos Martinez is a Colombian-born artist, environmentalist, and advocate based in Jackson Heights. He co-founded Hibridos Collective, an interdisciplinary collaborative working to reenvision spaces through community-based art practices. The collective works at the intersection of art and community through collaborations with neighbors and artists in sidewalks, parks, plazas and other unexpected and unprecedented spaces.

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PJ Gubatina Policarpio is a community arts engager: a socially-engaged artist, curator, programmer, and educator. His multidisciplinary practice utilizes research, archive, collaboration, curatorial, education and public engagement as both art and tool.

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Antonio Serna is an artist, activist, and educator living in New York who, above all, believes in cultural self-determination. His current project ‘Documents of Resistance: Artists of Color Protest’, is inspired by the art and activism of people of color from 1960–2016. A previous project of note was the year long pilot project for artCommons in Jackson Heights that created new relationships between artists and community and provided a total of thirty-six months of artshares within a year, spanning 2013-2014.

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Fran Ilich is a media artist and writer based in New York City. He has written novels and a book-length essay, and been a fellow at Eyebeam and A Blade of Grass. Fran was the Editor of Sputnik Culture Digital magazine in Mexico City. He’s taught at the University of California San Diego and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía in Sevilla. Fran’s work has shown in many venues and festivals including the Walker Art Center, Creative Time Living as Form, Open Engagement, Bronx Museum and the EZLN’s Festival Mundial de la Digna Rabia. The Vera List Center for Art and Politics and No Longer Empty have comissioned Fran’s work.

QCS Studio Residency @ Queens Museum!

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As our first public action, Queens Creative Solidarity (QCS) is proud to have been chosen to participate in Queens Museum‘s Studio in the Park mobile residency, in partnership with ArtBuilt and NYC Parks. The six-week residency will take place between October 1st and November 16th, 2016. PLEASE SEE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (BELOW) FOR DETAILS – ALL ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE!

Project Title: Flushing Meadows Corona Park: What it’s Worth

Artist/Collective: Queens Creative Solidarity

     Queens Creative Solidarity: Lorie Caval, Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, Juanita Lara, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, Zahida Pirani, Sami Abu Shumays, Priscilla Stadler, and Roshani Thakore.
     FMCP: What it’s Worth is focused on engaging local artists and community organizations who are interested in the topic of equitable access to, and preservation of, Flushing Meadows Corona Park to collaborate on a collective art action based on that shared interest.  As a shared community resource, Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) is a living example of a space that can be best preserved if varied communities come together to recognize its value.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

(All  events are FREE, open to the public and take place in or around the QCS mobile studio [unless it rains, then they will be hosted inside of the Queens Museum building]. All events are RAIN OR SHINE!)

10/9 Sun, 12 – 4 pm – What it’s Worth: Values and Making Some Money, facilitated by Sami and Priscilla
     This two-part event encourages participants to discuss how – or whether we value resources including the park and our communities, learn about related creative projects and organizing efforts, and make some exchangeable artwork based on the resources that are important to us. Open to all, the event will feature artists and organizers from a variety of communities who are actively working with community value, the Commons, and exchange, including: Tania Mattos, Rejin Leys, Antonio Serna, P.J. Gubatina Policarpio, Hibridos Collective, and Dominique Hernandez. Part One (12 – 2 pm) will be focused on dialogue and learning, and Part Two (2:15 – 4 pm) on (literally) making money by creating our own currencies.

10/11 Tues. 3 – 7 pm – Open Studio – Video Collaboration with Zahida and Carina Video Collaboration: A Day in Flushing Meadows Park. Open Hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10/11, 10/12, 10/18, 10/19 from 3-7 pm, and Saturday 10/22 from 1-5 pm
     This video collaboration explores issues of public and private land use, and the value Flushing Meadows Corona Park holds for the people who use it. We will ask park visitors to use their own smart phones to record 2-5 minutes of footage that answers the question: “What is a day in the park worth to you?” The culmination will be an edited video made up entirely of footage shot by participants.

10/12 Wed. 3 – 7 pm – Open Studio – Video Collaboration with Zahida and Carina.

10/18 Tues. 3 – 7 pm – Open Studio – Video Collaboration with Zahida and Carina

10/19 Wed 3 – 7 pm – Open Studio – Video Collaboration with Zahida and Carina
3 – 6 pm PoeTREE facilitated by Lorie
4 – 6pm Capoeira with Ilê De Palmares
     PoeTREE. Park-goers are invited to walk around and choose a tree that has some significance to you and make a piece of art about it, while contemplating questions like, “Why is this tree valuable to me?” The artwork could be a poem (written in your own language) and/or a drawing or painting. The art will reflect the various experiences, perspectives and backgrounds of participants – as well as the importance of the park’s trees, nature conservation and public access to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We will collect the poems and art and in the end to be displayed; some to be included in the QCS  What it’s Worth zine (presentation at the 11/13 closing event).
Capoeira roda and demos by group, Ilê De Palmares. Capoeira (cap·o·ei·ra) is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance. It was created in the 16th century by enslaved Africans in Brazil who used it to liberate themselves. Played as a game (jogo) between two practitioners inside a circle (roda), capoeira is a dialogue using the body, each movement is like a word forming a dynamic conversation that can be beautiful, tough, slow or fast and sometime everything at once. The game of capoeira is commanded by the berimbau (musical instrument), the traditions are carried on through the rich history of liberation and the artform is kept alive by the vibrant growing community of practitioners throughout the world (iledepalmares.com).

10/22 Sat – 10 am – 2 pm/ 12 pm – 4 pm Open Zine Workshop
2 pm – 4pm – Community Conversation: Our Park Stories with Priscilla and Bridget Bartolini
     Open Zine Workshop. The What It’s Worth zine on Flushing Meadows Park is missing some important pages! Come and add your response through a drawing, text, or a photo to make the zine complete! Outside our mobile studio, we’ll have set up a workshop with all kinds of art materials for you to express your story. What it’s Worth will be released at QCS’s closing party on Sunday the 13th with free copies for people to add to their home libraries. You can learn how to make your own mini zine during the launch too! No prior experience necessary.
Community Conversation: Our Park Stories. Join a community conversation and story circle about Flushing Meadows Corona Park! You are invited to share your experiences, memories, concerns, and hopes for the park, and join a discussion with Queens neighbors. How much Is a day in the park worth to you? This story circle workshop will help us better understand the value of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Snacks will be provided. Presented by the Five Boro Story Project, a project that brings New Yorkers together through sharing true stories and art inspired by our neighborhoods.

11/6 Sun 1 – 4 pm – Open Zine Workshop
4 – 6 pm – QCS Open Meeting with Silvia, Roshani, Sami, Carina, Juanita
     Calling all community members, artists, creative people, and community organizers in Queens! How can we help each other support creative social justice in our Queens communities? What role can QCS (Queens Creative Solidarity), a new grassroots organization, play? We invite you to help us build this movement with us. We’ll spend some time introducing ourselves, discussing our values and potential actions, and then open it up for discussion, suggestions, and questions.

11/13 Sun.- Residence Closing: 3 – 7 pm – Video Screening and Zine Launch and Workshop, Zahida, Juanita, Carina, Silvia, Roshani, Priscilla, Sami
     Come celebrate the residency closing, see the premiere of our video and take home the What it’s Worth zine (or make your own!).

Directions to Queens Museum: http://www.queensmuseum.org/directions

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/queenscreativesolidarity/?fref=ts

Instagram: @Queenscreativesolidarity

#Queenscreativesolidarity #QCSmobileresidency2016 #QCSWhatitsworth