Flushing Town Hall, like other cultural organizations, has temporarily closed its doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While some events have been rescheduled or canceled altogether, the global arts center has created free virtual programming to continue bringing world music and performing arts to its audience.
“In times of crisis, the arts remind us of our shared humanity,” Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek said in a prepared statement. “Though we may find ourselves more physically isolated than usual, none of us are alone.”
“Flushing Town Hall At Home!” includes daily activities for families offered by the center’s teaching artists. “Global Arts for Global Kids at Home,” an arts education series, is available weekdays, when participants can enjoy short videos of music and dance from various cultures, such as China, Colombia and India. An at-home activity follows each lesson, and families are encouraged to post short videos of themselves trying the dances and activities in their own homes.
“It’s how to engage everyone, bring everyone together. That’s our main purpose,” Chinese dance Teaching Artist Ling Tang told the Chronicle. Tang said the prerecorded programming includes not onlydance tutorials, but further research materials for viewers to explore beyond the class.
“We developed DIY tutorials because some content uses specialized props,” said Tang, referring to the portion of her class that focuses on chopstick dancing. “If kids don’t have access to chopsticks at home, because that’s cultural-specific, we have DIY instructions on how to make their own ... they follow my instructions with home-found materials — you can roll up two magazines together.”
Tang said that lessons are packaged with links to further educational materials and culture histories. The series is available at flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home-gagk.
Flushing Town Hall is hosting a “Facebook Watch Party Live!” every Tuesday and Friday at 7 p.m. where visitors can tune in and stream prior live performances right on their screen. The family-friendly shows range from world music to Latin, jazz and more, and can be found at facebook.com/flushingtownhall.
A performance by The Brubeck Brothers will be streamed on April 10 as part of the center’s “Celebrate JAM Month with jazz music” week, followed by “Discover World Music,” “Dance to South American Music” and “Clap to Asian Beat.”
Additionally, the arts center has launched a “Zoom Community Hangout” every Thursday at 1 p.m. to establish close connections in a time when separation is not only encouraged, but mandated. Participants can take part with or without video, and instructions on how to join the hangout can be found at flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home.
The Queens Chronicle will not be publishing What’s Happening — our Community Calendar for the time being. We look forward to resuming publication as soon as possible.