Last weekend, the Queens Council on the Arts presented the first of what is expected to be an annual professional development event, the Queens Arts Connection. Held in the lovely sunken event space at the recently renovated Queens Museum, it was a great opportunity for artists to get consultations on their work and current projects from museum curators and other arts professionals.
Representatives from New York's leading arts services organizations - including NYFA, Creative Capital Foundation, and the Cue Foundation - were there to share information about their programs. Queens based organizations were particularly well represented. Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning director Cathy Hung encouraged artists to apply for JCAL’s upcoming exhibition of work by artists in the borough. Local Project’s Carolina Peñafiel distributed catalogues for this year’s LIC Open Arts, a massive open studio and exhibition festival that will take place in Long Island City in mid May. Because the arts scene in the borough is widely scattered geographically, this was a great opportunity to get an overview of what resources are available and to meet artists based in the different neighborhoods.
Colleagues I spoke with were especially interested in having their portfolios reviewed. Unfortunately, with over 200 artists in attendance, very few were able to see the Queens Museum’s curators during the limited number of appointments. Perhaps if registration had been done online ahead of time, organizers would have had a better sense of the demand and could have recruited curators from other institutions as well. Other arts professionals were available to consult on various topics including Marketing and Community & Special Events Production. One artist friend who makes delicate work was especially happy with advice she received from the museum’s art preparator, and another got helpful suggestions about presenting a public art project. In general this kind of one-on-one attention was very valuable to artists who otherwise tend to work alone and without a lot of professional support.
The event would not have been complete without a Slide Slam. Artists appreciated the chance to network and to see each other’s new work, projects and performances.
Hopefully even more arts service organizations and Queens based galleries will attend next year’s Queens Arts Connection.