Admit it, you are curious.

What else could we, a local arts council in Queens, do for artists that we aren’t already doing?

You are a struggling artist looking for some money to frame your work.

Or you are a writer seeking a place to do a live reading of your newest novel.

Maybe you don’t need financial support  but you need moral support, a salon to share your latest work with other artists.

Without money, a performing space or a tribe in your corner, being an artist can be a lonely and difficult life.

Queens Council on the Arts can help with many of your pressing needs as a creative professional with grants, workshops, and events.

Here are 5 other ways we get artists out in the spotlight:

1. We bring artists to our board meetings

2. We take artists to national conventions

But wait, there’s more!

Did you know we throw block parties where:

3. We give artists a huge platform to be seen

4. We feature artists in blogs, guest blogs and all kinds of social media visual eye candy

5. We commission artists to create awards

Let me repeat:

We commission artists to create awards

This is something we have done in the past realizing how people truly value a specially created piece of art that is given to them as a symbol of recognition.

We asked Pablo Tauler, a Queens artist who lived in Astoria for many years, to create the awards for our Neighborhood Stars –  Mackenzi Farquer of Lockwood Shop, George Anza and George Rallis of William Hallet.

They will be presented with these one of a kind art pieces and publicly recognized as this year’s Neighborhood Stars at the QCA Block Party on Saturday, June 21, 2014 to acknowledge how much we appreciate their creative energy in our community.


 me, the awards in process & Pablo

They are made from local woods and there is a story behind the assemblage of each one.

Here they are, finely sanded by hand and ready to have a custom black commemorative plate affixed in the lower left hand corner.

Pablo is a meticulous and sensitive craftsman as well as a noted artist.

In the back, the fastening screws reveal a history of how the piece was put together, picture framing hardware is countersunk so the piece can lay flat against the wall and there is Pablo’s seal.

Makes me wish I was one of the lucky and well deserving honorees.

Commissioning an artist to create pieces like this is one of many ways we can infuse creative energy into memorable moments of our lives.

Its secret power is that it honors the artist who created the award as well as the person receiving it.

Who wins?

We all do.

20140618_2026213 awards on Pablo’s piano

headshot compressed for web 9-28-08About the Author:  Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer is the Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts and is on a mission to help you create a rich life by doing work that matters with people you love.  Get her new ideas, drawings and the inside scoop on the art world here.




Sol Aramendi - Migrant Camera Project LuzSol Aramendi’s Project Luz has worked to empower new immigrants in the area for nearly ten years both with photographic skills and through the creation of a fledgling form of alternative media with the creation of a publication at the end of each class.

What will you be doing at the QCA Block Party on Saturday, June 21st?

I will be bringing my walk in Camera Obscura, called Migrant Camera, is an educational tool to learn how a camera works, how our eyes work and great to be in.

Would the High School to Art School program been helpful for you when you were in High School?

Back in Argentina my connection to Arts in High Schools was making art and learning trough books about the artists.

What does it mean to you to be a local artist performing at the Kaufman Arts District?

Is a great opportunity to share and exchange my work with the community where I leave in.

What do you love best about Astoria?

The diversity in the community, the sunny outdoor social life, The Museum of the Moving Image, the uprising art community and the feeling that spite of being in New York it has a familiar taste.

Come on over to the QCA Block Party Saturday, June 21st!


Buy your tickets here

Join us at the QCA Block Party on Saturday, June 21, 2014 for a good time and a good cause! Astoria/LIC’s best food, bands, and artists will be there along with you to benefit the High School to Art School program (

From 4pm-10pm, Kaufman Astoria Studios backlot (36th Street at 35th Avenue) in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.

Get Your Tickets Here (lighter)

Sal (Sparrow )

Meet Filmmaker Sal Milazzo from The Sparrow Film Project !

What will you be doing at the QCA Block Party on Saturday, June 21st?

I will be representing The Sparrow Film Project not only as the presenter but as one of the filmmakers whose short film is being shown.

Would the High School to Art School program been helpful for you when you were in High School?

I wish I had something like the High School to Art School Program when I was a teenager.  I had so much creativity bottled up at that age.  It came out in other ways, filming small skits with friends but I never really learned to focus it.  Life happened, paying bills took over and it wasn’t until my thirties that I got back that urge.  The focus came naturally with age but having that ability at an early age would have been extremely valuable!

How has the film-making community evolved over the past several years in Queens?

Just from my point of view being involved in The Sparrow Film Project I’ve seen the film-making community evolve drastically in Queens.  When it started it was a small circle of friends filming things to make each other laugh.  A lot of inside jokes and things of that nature.  But the pure joy of the event caught on, and more and more people wanted to get involved.  Now we attract not only the locals who started it but we also have brave neighbors coming out of the woodwork.  We are surrounded by creative souls in this neighborhood and they are coming out in droves to participate in anything that allows them to create.

What do you love about Astoria?

What do I love about Astoria?…  In one word; community.  The sense of community in this neighborhood is like no where else in New York.  Events, contests and get together are constantly being organized.  If you are plugged into this community it’s astounding how many unique things there are to do in a given week.  And they aren’t necessarily bar events or anything promotion based.  They’re just made out of love.  I don’t know how long it will last, New York is always changing but I feel that right now, in this neighborhood… we’re in sort of a golden age and I’m enjoying it while I can.

Come on over to the QCA Block Party Saturday, June 21st to watch the Best of Queens Film Festivals screening!


Buy your tickets here

Don and Katha CatoMeet Don and Katha Cato from the Queens World Film Festival!

In a few words, can you tell us what the mission statement is of the QWFF?
Screening challenging films from around the world and around the corner.

What’s the most rewarding part of being the Director of the QWFF?

We love bringing the world to Queens. We love meeting the filmmakers from around the world, having them meet the audiences here. We love walking into a full theatre and knowing that the audience is about to see something unique, challenging, inspiring, infuriating, exciting. When filmmakers get a chance to talk to each other, talk to their audiences, it is very exciting for us.

What’s something a typical human wouldn’t know about putting together a film that screens in the QWFF? (Weird challenges, behind the scenes stuff, etc)

Film-making is a collaborative effort and it takes a lot of moving parts and a lot of people understanding and believing in a director’s vision. That is very heady. Then the production is over and the filmmaker is left alone with their work – many edit themselves now – and that is long, solitary and grueling work. They are left alone to arm-wrestle their film. Most indie films are under financed, so there are things that need to be addressed in the editing process – some can be fixed and some are heart-breakingly impossible to fix. Filmmakers who finish their films and submit them to the festival are very dear to us because we know what those filmmakers have sacrificed to get their film finished. They have chosen us to help them get their film out into the world and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

What will you be doing at the QCA Block Party on Saturday, June 21st?

We are screening Recursion, an excellent short film that won big with our festival in March and has gone on to pick up some good hardware in other wonderful festivals all over the world.

Would the High School to Art School program been helpful for you when you were in High School?

Yes assuredly, I grew up in a very rural community in the Southwest and having mentors to encourage me would have been a significant piece in my development. Sadly since I wanted to work in the arts, I was not really supported in that, I was more ridiculed for wanting to be something so different from what our rural community recognized as viable. So I left. And here I am in NYC.

How has the film-making community evolved over the past several years in Queens?

The density of filmmakers here in Queens is quite interesting. There are seasoned pros, who have done big films all over the world and they are living in great apartments in Jackson Heights filled with their Hollywood relics as they continue to make films in the new ages of technologies. There are scrappy young filmmakers creating new forms, new techniques, new stories all over the place. It is becoming easier to make films here and with the Kaufman lot, well, we are looking like a great place to shoot films all year round.

What do you love about Astoria?

it’s vibrancy.

Come on over to the QCA Block Party Saturday, June 21st to watch the Best of Queens Film Festivals screening!


Buy your tickets here