A community art fair and community- building workshops are coming to Jackson Heights.
The Hibridos Collective, a relatively new community-based art group in Jackson Heights, has begun asking for proposals from individuals who live in the neighborhood or nearby in East Elmhurst or Corona who wish to lead art workshops or show their creations at the event on June 22.
“We’re not against formal art institutions, but in this neighborhood it can be hard to find these cultural institutions,” said Hibridos Collective co-founder Beatriz Gil, a writer and translator who works with immigrant youths.
Gil and photographer and community liaison for Partnerships for Parks Carlos Martinez, who started the collective together, hope the festival will be the beginning of bringing more cultural offerings to the neighborhood they both live in.
The Jackson Heights Arts Festival will kickoff with a community cleanup of Diversity Plaza, at 37th Road between 73rd and 74th streets, where the festivities will be held. The plaza has been home to several community events from rallies to traditional dance performances for the last year, ever since the nonprofit Sukhi took ownership of programming there.
“The art is here. You just have to give it a space,” Gil said.
As part of the plaza’s cleanup Martinez and Gil received grants through the Citizens Committee for New York City to paint the rocks and planters in bright colors. The grant will also go to replacing the many dead plantings in the pots.
Additionally the duo would like to provide chalk for temporary artworks, but that would require more permits since the city considers chalk art graffiti, Martinez said.
So far no artists have formally submitted a proposal to Hibridos Collective; however, one workshop is definitely a go.
Martinez and Gil will launch their newest project, “Queens DiverCity Mapping Project.”
For the project, they will work with the community to create a map that shows individuals where hard-to-find local resources are located such as bike racks, cultural space, immigration services and other unique Jackson Heights offerings.
“Things we might not think are necessary, but are,” Martinez said.
The end project will come in many forms — printed, digital and maybe even as a smartphone application, Martinez said.
After the workshop the duo hopes to work with city agencies to expand the map further.
“We want it to be a tool to help newcomers navigate the city,” Martinez said.
The community mapping workshop will also serve as a way for residents to voice concerns in a forum other than at a town hall or at a community board meeting.
More information is available online at hibridos.co.
Additional funding for the festival will be provided through the Queens Council on the Arts, Coro’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program and the city.