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Art Raises Awareness in Jamaica

Here is a photo of the 2015 JCAL work. The artist is John L. Lock and he called it the "Inflato Dumpster." Photo Cred: Heng-Gil
Here is a photo of the 2015 JCAL work. The artist is John L. Lock and he called it the “Inflato Dumpster.” Photo Cred: Heng-Gil Han.

By Valerie Victor

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) announced the 19 artists commissioned to create site-specific pieces for Jamaica Flux: The Workspaces and Windows 2016 in Queens, NY. The art exhibits will be displayed throughout the Jamaica community to draw public attention to key community issues.  The project will be open for display from April 16 to May 28, 2016 at JCAL which is located in Jamaica, NY. Interactive works are set to be displayed in storefronts, parks, vacant lots, and sidewalks.

“Each panel member was asked to choose a project that he or she thinks would help transform the community as an attractive place to live, work and visit, counteracting stigmatic perceptions or impeding realities of Jamaica,” said JCAL curator, Heng-Gil Han.

The  artists were chosen based on their ability to show and reinforce the positive movement in the community as well as raise public awareness of environmental, social and educational issues, among other issues whose impact would last far beyond the six week period of the project.

The project’s mission is to draw attention to community concerns through artistry and illustrations of the problem at hand. The display of art throughout the borough, and the specific depiction of various issues are supposed to get  members of the public to think about the problems Han explained. “Jamaica Flux is devoted to bridging art and the community, and public engagement is important if art is seen as a way of communication. There are many issues in the community and it is left to each artist to choose an issue he or she would like to address in their art. The project is not a measure to solve the issue…but he or she can point out the complexity of the issue for people to think about and discuss,” said Han.

In addition to raising awareness, Jamaica Flux provides an opportunity for the participating artists to grow. The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning provides the artists with production costs and funds their public art projects. The organization also declares that participation in Jamaica Flux builds artistry. “The artists get an opportunity to show their arts, to express their thoughts, visions, and ideas,” said Han.

The exact dates in 2016 for the works of art to be displayed throughout Jamaica have not yet been declared. All 19 artists will begin working on ideas and issues to highlight in the community with their projects. Program Curator Heng-Gil Han promises the next year displays to be as rewarding as past editions.

         “Most art projects were a learning process for artists and related parties,” Han said adding, “Through the learning artists expanded their ways of making art and talking about art, and the community fixed issues that could be fixed easily.”

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