Describe your involvement in QCA. What have you participated in?
My involvement with QCA stems from having been selected as a 2013 recipient of a SPARC residency at the HANAC JVL Senior Center in Astoria. I’m also honored to have been one of several featured artists for this year’s QAX. I hope to continue to cultivate this relationship and to explore some of the other programs this vital organization provides for artists and communities in our borough. The SPARC program, under the auspices of QCA, was also instrumental in helping me secure funds for transporting seniors I work with to perform with my company in the city earlier in June.
How has QCA helped you grow both professionally and personally?
It has helped me develop a sense of what it takes to be a more professional and mature artist. Everyone possesses innate talent to create, to make beautiful art. The paths and means by which it is actualized, however, are sometimes unclear or unknown. QCA is revealing to me paths towards making the sharing of my art more possible. When I was younger, these ideas of developing this ‘business’ aspect of my artistry were disdainful to me. I felt thinking about such things would somehow compromise what I wanted to create. I foolishly thought the merit of my art would simply be acknowledged. But as with everything, you need to research, to work, and to cultivate relationships to be a more impactful artist, or risk, to quote Faulkner, ‘signifying nothing.’
Can you describe a QCA highlight?
Having been selected as a SPARC artist is a culmination of many dreams. Without even talking about the seniors who participated in my own private project, I would simply say that spending time with them, interacting and having a truthful exchange with them, has been a highlight of my life. Watching them activate, challenge themselves and one another, laughing along the way, and feeling every bit as vital as they should, is beyond easy description.
Why Queens? What is it about living here that draws you in?
It is a real place, with families, local businesses, and ethnic and cultural variety. It is more or less affordable, ever changing, ever adaptive, and the time and distance away from the city—even though it may be metaphorical—is something I need and desire on an essential level.