BY MELINDA KATZ
I invite you to join me in discovering the wealth of cultural vitality and artistic vibrancy in “The World’s Borough,” the Borough of Queens.
Queens is a unique destination in that it provides visitors and residents with global cultural experiences reflecting its incredibly diverse population, which includes people born in more than 100 countries and speakers of more than 160 languages.
If you imagine a musical instrument from any part of the world, someone in Queens will be playing that instrument. If you think of a movie or television show, there is a good chance it was filmed in Queens at Kaufman Astoria or Silvercup Studios.
If you want to feast on an international array of artistic talent, you’re in the right borough. Artists from around the world have made new homes for themselves in Queens and are shaping our cultural destiny.
From contemporary visual and performing arts institutions like PS 1 and the Chocolate Factory to those who preserve a distinct culture and heritage such as Afrikan Poetry Theatre and Thalia Spanish Theatre, our borough’s large roster of arts organizations are building their own legacies through embracing the needs of an ever expanding audience. And our audiences participate in the arts not only as a leisure time activity, but also as a way of life since the arts are a part of who they are and where they came from.
Our cultural future is shaped by our past. The great Louis Armstrong, whose home in Corona is now a museum and whose music is listened to by audiences all over the world. We can also boast of the ever popular Tony Bennett, who helped establish the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria.
Queens is a borough rich with artists of renown. It is even richer with emerging artists whose dedication to their crafts will make them artists the world will soon recognize and celebrate.
I grew up knowing that Queens is a cultural haven. My father started the Queens Symphony Orchestra 60 years ago. My mother founded Queens Council on the Arts. Today, both of those organizations are major parts of the cultural life of Queens.
I also spent a great deal of time in my youth backstage at Colden Auditorium at Queens College hearing some of the legendary classical artists sharing their music and their stories with my father and the audiences who filled the auditorium to hear great concerts in Queens.
We have the best of the best today in Queens. There is no need to go over a bridge or through a tunnel to discover a wealth of talent. That’s the reality my parents wanted to create 60 years ago. As their daughter and as your Borough President, I will do everything I can to strengthen our cultural life, our opportunities for top notch entertainment and the ability of our school children to receive a quality education in the arts.
Explore the arts, culture and entertainment in Queens, and in turn you will discover what Queens is all about. We are The World’s Borough!
Melinda Katz was sworn in as Queens Borough President in January.