“Just like all New Yorkers, our elderly population seeks opportunities to showcase its talents and achieve self-enrichment, which are so important to healthy aging” - Donna M. Corrado, Commissioner of the Department for the Aging (DFTA)

We are wrapping up another successful cycle of SPARC projects across Queens. The program culminated in the inaugural  “SPARC Week” featuring exciting public events in all five boroughs.

One of the public SPARC Week events took place at the CCNS Catherine Sheridan Senior Center in Jackson Heights. Over the past 5 months, seniors worked with SPARC artist, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, exploring a variety of mediums through workshops, critiques and museum visits and grapple with a range of subject matter. This exploration lead to the creation of autobiographical art books that were constructed by each participant in the program. The work was presented in a public exhibition held on June 20th – check out the photos below.

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To read more about the event, please view this article in DNAinfo New York!

As we plow through final reports and reflect on this past year’s SPARC activities, we are excited to develop ways to improve the program to better serve artists and seniors across the city. Stay tuned for updates on SPARC and how you may be involved in the 2015 program cycle!


Calling all artists and cultural organizations in the lovely borough of Queens County! The Queens Council on the Arts has just launched applications for the 2015 Queens Arts Fund!

For the 2015 Queens Arts Fund (QAF) we have made a few changes. Don’t worry. They’re all good changes. Not bad changes.

The major changes come in the form of increased opportunities for individual artists. Previously, QCA offered just one Individual Artist Grant via Department of Cultural Affairs Greater New York Arts Development Fund (DCA GNYADF). That DCA GNYADF Individual Artist Grant is the same as past years, but now there are two more funding opportunities for individual artists.

Let’s discuss these new opportunities.

The NYSCA Community Arts Commission for Individual Artists

This baby is brand spanking new. It is targeted at socially engaged artists or artists who have a socially engaged project that they want to get off the ground. This is meant to be a highly collaborative work between the artist/applicant and whatever specific community of people they choose to work with. A good example of this would be 2014 DCA GNYADF individual Artist Grantee, Roshani Thakore’s, MOVE WITH US, which brings in recent immigrant populations in Queens to express themselves via physical poses. Check out the guidelines and the application itself for more details.

The NYSCA Community Arts Program for Organizations and Individual Artists with a Fiscal Sponsor

This is actually the same NYSCA Organizational grant that QCA has offered in previous years, but we are now opening it up to Individual Artists who obtain a fiscal sponsorship from a partnering nonprofit. To read more about fiscal sponsorship, refer to our fiscal sponsorship worksheet. Check out the guidelines and the application for more details.

So that’s three opportunities for individuals:

- The DCA GNYADF Individual Artist grant is an art-for-art’s sake/creation of new work grant (for grants between $1,000 – $5,000).

- The NYSCA Community Arts Commission is for individual artist who collaborate with a specific population/community to create new work (set award of $2,500).

- The NYSCA Community Arts Program was formerly only for nonprofit organizations, but we are now opening it up to artists who obtain a fiscal sponsorship from a nonprofit (for grants between $1,000 – $5,000).

And two opportunities for organizations:

- The DCA GNYADF Organizational Grant for Queens-based nonprofits and their cultural programming (for grants between $1,000 – $5,000).

- The NYSCA Community Arts Program for Queens-based nonprofits (for grants between $1,000 – $5,000).

The deadline for every grant application is October 9. Be sure to stop by one of our Grant Workshops in August and September throughout the borough. Contact Sam Dalsheimer by phone: 347-505-3019 or email: qcagrants@gmail.com for more information.


This post was written by Sam Dalsheimer, Queens Arts Fund Administrative Assistant.

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 (http://queenscouncilarts.org/student/).

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

Get Your Tickets Here (lighter)