By Trone Dowd
As the holiday season winds down, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is ramping up their efforts to make sure that 2016 is just as successful as 2015-with more family friendly free events for the community at large to enjoy. In order to do that however, donations from other institutions and individuals are crucial.
In a letter to the Queens Tribune, Executive Director of JCAL Cathy Hung expressed the importance of the Arts Center.
“Our students have spoken and want to be heard,” Hung wrote. “They want the opportunity to explore the world through the arts at the JCAL.”
Hung is referring to the many children and teens who take advantage of the centers free educational programs every week. In fact, the center is known for their wide variety of unique performances local upcoming artists and shows that one can’t find anywhere else. Just recently, JCAL wrapped up its month long holiday special Boro-Linc, which brought many of Lincoln Center’s biggest shows to Southeast Queens for the first time. Performances included free creative workshops beforehand free to the public. It was just one example of what the long time staple of the community brings to the borough on a weekly basis.
“I have been taking classes at JCAL since I was three years old,” 12-year-old Ella West said. “I cannot wait for Saturday to come around each week. I have been able to explore ceramics, dancing, acting, sing and cartooning. The entire staff makes JCAL feel like a second home.”
JCAL, which was founded in 1972 to revitalize the failing business district of Jamaica, welcomes more than 28,000 visitors from all over the city every year.
“Last year, donations from our supporters helped us to accomplish [a lot],” Hung said.
In 2015, JCAL was about to conduct over 40 Art Center Workshops to more than 300 children and adults, provide School Assembly programs to more than 3,200 students, raise $20,000 for expanded children’s programs and scholarships and much more.
“Next year, we want to connect with more children and families to the arts and embrace the rich diversity of Queens,” Hung said. “With your help, we can make a difference in the lives of our youth.”
Hung explained that JCAL is looking for $50 dollar donations or more to keep the center’s beneficial programs going. Donations are tax deductible.
“With a donation of $100, you can support a child for six weeks,” Hung explained. “With $250, you can support a class of students for one in-school arts workshop. With $1,500 raised, we can support 400 students for a free assembly performance at JPAC.”
“Your donations will provide the program support that strengthens our students, their families and the community,” Hung continued. “More importantly, your gift supports local teaching artists who look to JCAL as a multi-disciplinary outlet for artists to learn and grow.”
For more information and updates on events happening for the rest of 2015 and 2016, visit jcal.org.