Queens Art Fund Distributes Almost Half a Million to Local Artists

More than 135 Queens-based artists, collectives, and nonprofits received over $457,600 from the Queens Art Fund, a grant program run by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). This year’s recipients run the gamut from textile artists to performance collectives to musicians.

The project-based awards are distributed in two categories — Arts Access Grants ($1,000–$5,000) for collectives and nonprofits and New Work Grants ($3,000) for collectives and individual artists. All projects must include a public component, whether online or in-person.

This year, Hyperallergic contributor Jesse Lambert secured funding to create a comic about the Bowne House in Flushing, one of the oldest homes in New York City and the longtime residence of the eponymous Quaker family that influenced historic activist efforts including the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Lambert will lead a series of public drawing workshops at the historic site.

CAO Collective 离离草, a queer feminist art and organizing group founded in 2022, received an Arts Access grant to perform a new edition of their ongoing performance series Ciba Punch 女拳手打糍粑. 

Ciba, a southern Chinese rice cake, is made by repeatedly punching steamed sticky rice,” CAO Collective told Hyperallergic. The performance, “rooted in queer/feminist ethics of care,” invites community members to punch the rice into cakes and then share the finished products. 

“By punching and making together, we channel our rage to create, not destroy, celebrating a radical non-violence,” the group said. The performance will be staged in September, timed with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Jackson Heights-based textile artist Lee Jensen received a New Work Grant for her exhibition Sewn Cities, Woven Worlds, which comprises a series of hand-sewn quilts constructed of reclaimed fabrics. Jensen spent the first half of her life in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the second half in NYC, and she described the work as “abstract textile portraits of my cities.”

“Each quilt represents a moment of feeling deeply rooted in my environment and connected to the feeling of home,” Jensen said. She explained that the grant makes it financially possible for her to continue her series, but that “equally important is the recognition that my work has value.” 

“The support and encouragement to continue to make work means a lot to me and I’m very grateful,” said the artist.

Other Queens Art Fund projects this year include Woomin Kim’s exhibition The Warehouse, a series of textile collages representing the Material for the Arts program that offers free art supplies, and David Manrique’s photo series Made By Us, which showcases immigrant cooks in Queens. A complete list of the 2024 grant recipients can be found on the NYFA website.

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