Featured Organization: Flushing Town Hall
NEW FEATURE FROM THE CON EDISON IMMIGRANT ARTIST NEWSLETTER NO. 66
In this month’s issue we highlight Flushing Town Hall, a major cultural institution and multidisciplinary arts center located in the diverse immigrant community of Flushing, NY. Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek elaborates on their extensive celebrations to mark the Lunar New Year, community involvement, and support for artists.
NYFA: We know Flushing Town Hall has celebrated Lunar New Year for many years. Have there been any key changes to your approach over the years? What’s the spotlight for this year’s programs?
EK: This season, Flushing Town Hall has amplified our Lunar New Year programming, adding new events and a Lunar New Year Bazaar, and also offering cross-cultural
events in which we bring two different cultures together around a
Flushing Town Hall is in the middle of an
extremely vibrant Asian community that is predominantly Chinese and
Korean. We feel it is very important as an arts and cultural
organization to reflect the neighborhood.
For example, we’ll celebrate the Year of the Ram with Asian dance on February 22nd at our
Lunar New Year Dance Sampler. Curated by Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou, this year’s
sampler will present demonstrations of dance from China, Korea, Taiwan,
India, Mexico and more.
This year, we also are unveiling an
exhibition, Dynamic Writing: A Century of Calligraphy (from February 22
to March 22), which will demonstrate the extraordinary essence of
harmony between two great cultures in the Chinese Hsu-Fa and Korean
Hangeul scripts. They will feature works of great masters of calligraphy
from two traditions, Mr. Chao-Lin Ting (103 years young) and Dr. Yoo
Sung Lee, who are both highly respected by the Chinese and Korean
Tied to that there will be calligraphy workshops on
Sunday, March 1. The workshops will be led by Chao-Lin Ting and James
Shan, and Yoo Sung Lee. At these workshops, attendees will be able to
learn the basics of calligraphy to write their New Year’s wishes in
Chinese and Korean.
This year, for the first time we held a
Lunar New Year Bazaar on February 14. For centuries, Chinese people
celebrated Lunar New Year at local temple fairs, and for the Year of the
Ram, we highlighted this tradition with a celebratory bazaar that
featured a lion dance, music, magic, and martial art.
Town Hall is about performance as well, and we will host Dancing Wind –
Earth, Water, Fire and Wind on February 20, and the EastRiver
Ensemble, presenting a program of traditional Chinese folk music and
dance, as well as acrobatics, with a focus on the Dongbei and Hebei
regions of north China, on February 28.
This also speaks to
another initiative we have happening this season, a series of “Global
Mash-ups” in which two countries or cultures take the stage the same
night, and then blend their musical expertise. So in April, May, and June
guests will be able to watch as Cuba Meets Hawaii, Scotland Meets New
Orleans, Antigua Meets France, Mexico Meets Greece, and Haiti Meets
NYFA: Flushing Town Hall is located in the center of diverse immigrant communities. How do you promote LNY events to engage the local
EK: Anchoring all that we do is a visually
dynamic website, which we recently launched. The website features an
easy-to-use ticketing system, and also showcases all of the upcoming
events this season. We maintain active social media channels, such as
Facebook and Twitter (and even have “Tweet Seats” in which people are
awarded free seats at our shows in return for tweeting about the
We also advertise in a variety of area
publications and on Crossings TV, work with journalists to showcase our
exhibitions and performers, and promote through our institution’s
Chinese and Korean Cultural Committees. And, we’ve brought on a Chinese
Community Coordinator to work closely with leaders and media in the
Each season, we print and distribute brochures
that highlight all of our robust programming for people of all ages,
including our popular family workshops and performances.
organization offers various opportunities for artists. Can you
briefly talk about that? What is the easiest way for individual artists
to contact you if they are interested or have any questions?
Town Hall has a tradition of supporting new and emerging artists and
performers. About six years ago, we launched a Space Grant program, in
which we provide free use of our theater to artists who are developing
or completing new work.
Artists need a place to develop and
perfect their work. Across Europe, many countries are extremely
supportive of artists. In the United States it is a very different and
costly experience, particularly when it comes to identifying a dedicated
space to develop their projects.
We felt that one thing
Flushing Town Hall could provide would be a space during the times that
our theater is not being used, between performances. We have since
provided free Space Grants to dozens of artists, choreographers,
puppetry and circus artists, and dancers.
Artists who wish to discuss a possible Space Grant should Contact
Flushing Town Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek to
schedule an appointment. Local, national, and international artists, in
any discipline, are welcome to apply.
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