Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Visual Arts Department
Jamaica Flux: Workspace & Windows 2007
Deadline: June 15, 2006
Please send your materials to:
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Attn: Curator, Visual Arts Department
Jamaica Flux: Workspace & Windows 2007
161-04 Jamaica Avenue – Jamaica, NY 11432
For additional information, please contact Heng-Gil Han at 718-658-7400 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) seeks creative proposals from visual artists for Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007. This multi-disciplinary and co-curatorial project, which was first initiated in 2004, encourages artists to engage in a dialogue with the community, residences, and businesses of Jamaica, NY through their creative activities. The project focuses on site-specific, experimental and/or participatory art practices for both indoor and outdoor spaces, exploring the specific cultural geography of Jamaica, NY within the broad scope of the relationship between art, economy, and globalization. If you would like to participate in the project, please send the following items to JCAL by June 15, 2006 (postmarked deadline):
• A brief description of your intended work with preferred site and logistic information
• If available, digital reproductions (drawings, designs, or segments) of your proposed work
• Digital reproductions of past works that are related to your proposed work
• A list of the digital reproductions, which includes the title, year, media, and dimensions for each work. You may also add a brief description of each work.
• An Artist’s Statement of 250 words or less
• Your CV
We strongly recommend that you visit JCAL and Jamaica Avenue (148th Street – 168th Street) prior to your proposal conception and propose works that are appropriate for the theme and our curatorial approach of this project. We will not entertain works that are not site-inspired. For additional information about this project, please visit the initial Jamaica Flux 2004 page on JCAL’s website at http://www.jcal.org/detail.asp?item=214&p=1&r=sum and review the catalogue, Jamaica Flux, which is distributed by the Distributed Art Publishers and is available at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, Queens Public Libraries, and online bookstores.
Artists will be selected based on the strength of their artistic creativity and vision as well as their ability and commitment to the realization of their proposed work that meets the conceptual framework and the physical settings of this project. Selected artists will be invited to further develop and realize their visions during a 14-month period from August 2006 through September 2007. Each invited artist will receive a stipend of $500. Depending upon funding, up to $2,000 could be available to subsidize the costs of production and/or materials.
A curatorial team, currently comprised of Heng-Gil Han, JCAL’s Curator, Koan Jeff Baysa, independent curator, and Olu Oguibe, artist and art-historian, will collectively review each proposal. Additional curators and scholars will join the team as the project develops during the spring of 2006. Selected artists will be announced by the end of July 2006.
I. Premises of the Project and its Goals
Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007, organized by the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, is a contemporary public art commission project which includes the creation, presentation, and interpretation of 25 ephemeral artworks. As an outgrowth of the previous, very successful Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2004, this project assumes the point of view that an exhibition is not just a show representing an idea or an entity. An exhibition, when considered seriously, is a programmatic action with corporeal effects and consequences. Through this project, JCAL, a multi-disciplinary and community-based organization, performs its vital function to serve the NY art world and the community by promoting contemporary art culture and providing seminal aids to improve social, political, and economic conditions of urban renewal.
Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 challenges existing assumptions about community-based art institutions and exhibition practices, and simultaneously explores the cultural geography of Jamaica with a hope to contribute to the elucidation of the relationship between art, commerce, urban renewal, and community. This collaborative and multidisciplinary project is designed to stimulate interaction between artists, residents, and commercial vendors about ways that art can provide cultural and social understanding, be a catalyst for economic improvement in communities, as well as strengthen the relationship of JCAL to community residents and the artistic community.
The goals of Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 are to:
• Make contemporary art practices accessible and an integral part of daily life in the community.
• Raise the cultural profile of Jamaica, New York and encourage cultural tourism to this community.
• Provide artists, curators, and writers with opportunities and material support to realize their ideas and creative endeavors.
The project also serves as a catalyst for residents and businesses to celebrate the past and future arts and culture of Jamaica through exhibitions, performances, and forums. Hence the title Jamaica Flux, derived from the historical “Fluxus” movement, represents the transformation of Jamaica Avenue; Workspace the opportunity to provide artists with stipends and a space for creative expression; and Windows, a transparency between art, community life, and economy.
II. Project’s Themes, Process and Media
Themes: Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 seeks prominent artwork with an explicit awareness of place and time. Due to the demographic profile, economic status, and geographical factors of the community of Jamaica, the artwork could deal with a variety of issues relevant to contemporary art and culture, including issues of constructive identity, cultural heritage, or immigrants’ experiences. In addition, the artwork could explore the issues of cultural tourism, commodification of art and culture, and urban development as it relates to issues of displacement, economic stratification, and class division. Additional possibilities could embrace subject matters such as the examination of the institutional functions of JCAL or other organizations within the community, or could identify specific characteristics of the urban landscapes of Jamaica, NY. Artwork could be realized as maps, audio tours, directional signs, show-window designs, and architectural designs that transform commercial spaces into a space for artistic expression of the personal experience. Other possibilities include day and night street photography, video documentations of interviews with community members, images that address concerns of community members, or performances that involve the participation of community members. These themes and examples are not meant to limit, but rather to stimulate artistic creativity. Any ideas that explore the cultural geography of Jamaica, NY, in relation to the issues of art and global/local economy, are welcome. The proposed work should be suitable and exciting for the public spaces, stores, and outdoor spaces.
Collaboration between artists, curators, community members, and organizations: Works will be newly created for the project, giving participating artists the flexibility to respond to the opportunities and limitations of each site while engaging in a truly collaborative process with business owners and community members. JCAL will work closely with neighborhood institutions, businesses, and residents to facilitate the project. Organizations such as Queens Public Library, Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, Greater Jamaica Development Corp., and King Manor Park will support the project. Businesses such as The Farmer’s Market, Kids World, Jimmy Jazz, and Nubian Heritage will be encouraged to collaborate with artists in the creation of art that will be shown in windows and stores, which will expand the horizons of the integration of art into life. Participating artists are also encouraged to interact with members of the community as well as to identify a specific site that they would like to incorporate in their work. Though JCAL will be responsible for securing the proposed sites, the artists’ willingness and commitment to the engagement with the community is vital and highly required to gain optimal outcomes and a meaningful experience of making site-specific art that will be presented in a non-art space setting. Once selected, artists will attend several meetings with curators and participating site hosts. They will then submit drawings, sketches, and maquettes and work in collaboration with host site representatives and curators to determine the scope and details of each project. Proposed projects will be approved by the end of December 2006, giving artists more than nine months to complete their work.
Media: Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 seeks a broad range of visual artists working in any media at any stage of their careers. 25 artists or artist collectives will be selected and will be requested to create site-specific ephemeral works. Artists working in any media, including sculpture, installation, performance, video, film, drawing, design, and painting will be eligible for selection to create work that integrates art into life. Artists are encouraged to create artwork in hybrid forms that fuse art and life in different aspects such as art and commerce, art and science, art and politics, and art and technology. Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 seeks process-oriented artwork that fosters the involvement of the community and the audience in the arts.
III. Project Components and Tentative Schedules
1. October 6, 2007 – November 17, 2007: The centerpiece of Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2007 is a six-week exhibition featuring site-specific visual art in a variety of locations along Jamaica Avenue from 148th to the 168th street, including banks, mall lobbies, stores, restaurants, street corners, phone booths, parks, and other public spaces.
2. October 6, 2007 – January 12, 2008: A ten-week companion exhibition in JCAL’s main gallery. In an effort to give historic context to site-specific art practices as well as to provide visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at art-making processes, the gallery exhibitions will feature art-historically paradigmatic works along with participating artists’ sketches, inspirational notes, and experimental renderings generated during the process of project conception and realization.
3. Public programs throughout the duration of the project: JCAL will offer educational and public programs throughout the duration of the project to enhance the experience of the exhibition and contemporary art. Programs include neighborhood walking tours to visit the site-specific art installations, artist talks and discussions, a one-day symposium, and educational activities for young audiences.
4. Publication, Printed Materials, and Dissemination of Experience and Knowledge: JCAL will publish a comprehensive, full-color exhibition catalogue that documents the project in all aspects and includes artist profiles, reproductions of artwork, and critical texts on site-specific art practices.
IV. Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning History and Introduction
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is a 34-year-old multidisciplinary urban arts center serving the residents of Southeast Queens and New York City. Tens of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds participate in our wide array of education, performing arts, and visual arts programs annually.
JCAL’s land-marked, neo-Renaissance building features a 1,650 square foot visual arts gallery, a 99-seat proscenium theater, three painting and three dance studios, a ceramics studio, a computer lab, and a soundproof music studio. JCAL’s programs include contemporary visual arts exhibitions and an artist-in-residency program; a multicultural series of music, theater, and dance performances; free arts and educational programs for youth; in-school artist residencies; and an extensive series of affordable workshops in fine and applied arts, drama, dance, creative writing, and music.
The Visual Arts Program has been the cornerstone of JCAL’s programming since the Center’s inception and JCAL continues to present up to four major gallery exhibitions each year. JCAL also offers a yearlong artist residency program and provides individual artists with support through lectures and discussion events, networking opportunities, and career development workshops. Over the last three decades, JCAL’s gallery has featured contemporary artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Isamu Noguchi among other mid-career artists in order to support their continuous creative endeavors and devotion to arts. Through the Workspace Program, JCAL has featured solo-exhibitions of Lorna Simpson, Wangechi Mutu, Rajkamal Kahlon, and others at early stages of their careers. JCAL continues to support the creation and presentation of thought-provoking new works by emerging and under-represented visual artists.
Through its Visual Arts Program, JCAL aims to:
• Encourage the development and exhibit the work of under-represented artists, especially artists of color, women, and emerging artists.
• Provide our constituency with free access to contemporary visual art that reflects the rich cultural diversity and urban relevance of Southeast Queens.
• Serve as an arts advocacy organization providing New York artists, particularly those residing in the outer boroughs, with career resources and support.
V. Location and Community Profile
Jamaica, NY is one of the mostly ethnically diverse communities in the country. The neighborhood is home to primarily African-, Caribbean-, Latin-, and Asian-Americans, as well as a growing population of recent immigrants from countries including Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, India, and the Philippines.
Jamaica was a prominent center for commerce and government in the early part of the century, but, like many neighborhoods across the United States, saw a significant period of economic decline in the 1960s. The establishment of the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in 1972 played a pivotal role in the early efforts to revitalize the community and in the last three decades, Jamaica has seen a flurry of growth and expansion. The AirTrain, Queens County Family Courthouse, several major hotel chains, and the renovation of the former First Reformed Dutch Church are just a few of the large-scale construction projects that have taken place in our community in the last five years alone.
Today, Jamaica Avenue is once again a thriving commercial district featuring hip-hop clothing stores, electronics shops, shoe stores, independent shopping malls, and restaurants ranging from Caribbean bakeries to fast food restaurants to cafés serving Salvadoran, Columbian, Guyanese, or Pakistani specialties. Recent growth has brought large retail chain stores, new banks, and a multiplex movie theater to the area.
Foot traffic in front of JCAL averages approximately 13,000 people per day and Jamaica Avenue attracts busloads of shoppers, from as far away as Detroit and Baltimore, every weekend. The neighborhood houses several government buildings and is also a major transportation hub: the Long Island Railroad, several subway lines, countless busses, and the AirTrain, which provides a ten minute ride to JFK Airport, all stop within five blocks of the Center.