Flushing is most heavily populated with Asian Americans. In fact, it has the largest Chinese population in New York.
For that reason, the Lunar New Year — celebrated by the Chinese diaspora to begin the lunar calendar — will be celebrated in all of Flushing and other parts of Queens in February and March.
This Lunar New Year we enter the Year of the Horse.
In Chinese astrology, it’s believed to be a year of adventure and surprise, of good luck and high energy.
In that case, Flushing Town Hall’s Lunar New Year celebrations, among the largest in the city, are perfectly suited to the season.
From jazz performances to calligraphy workshops to poetry in a truck, the arts venue — recently revamped to appeal to a larger audience — will be offering a diverse and exciting program that has something for everyone in the family, regardless of cultural descent.
The celebrations begin on Jan. 31 at 8 p.m., with a performance by the Young Joo Song Quartet.
It’s an appropriate kickoff; Young Joo Song exemplifies the program’s spirit of bringing together diverse arts and cultures, in that she creates music that draws on gospel, funk and jazz, and one of her motivations as a performer is to inspire a love of jazz across the globe.
From February 8 to March 30, Flushing Town Hall will be displaying an array of Minhwa prints in The New Vision exhibition. Minhwa is a centuries-old form of Korean folk art, produced for the common people by anonymous artisans. Minhwa generally portrays both magical elements and themes or ordinary life, in vibrant color, with simplicity and humor. The prints showcased come from the Baraem Art Research Institute in Korea.
Gamin, one of the most celebrated piri, taepyeongso and saenghwang — all part of the ancient traditional Korean wind instrument family — players will perform traditional and contemporary Korean music on Feb. 7 for members and students.
A New York art-scene staple will also be participating in the celebrations this year. The POEMobile, a project of City Lore and Bowery Arts + Science, will present readings by Korean poets, accompanied by projections of texts and translations onto Flushing Town Hall’s garden wall.
For those of you who learn by doing, it won’t all be spectator sport. A variety of workshops will teach you how to write calligraphy, make art on traditional Korean hanji paper and decorate Korean dance masks.
The calligraphy workshop will be lead by Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou, an expert on Asian arts and a veteran of the Flushing Town Hall Lunar New Year. Hsing-Lih Chou has also curated this year’s dance sampler, which features demonstrations of dances from China, Korea, Taiwan, and India, on February 16 at 1 p.m.
Malika Granville of Flushing Town Hall says the Lunar New Year program proves that “you don’t need lots of money or a passport to see the world.”
She hopes the events and activities will “expand the minds of our audiences by exposing them to artists and musicians that they have never experienced.”
In all, the celebrations promise some colorful fun to get you through the winter, and a reminder that when you live in Queens, a world of art and culture is always at your doorstep.