“I Want to Do More Than Survive, I Want to Thrive!:” Queens Workspace Initiative

David Johnston

From left to right, first row: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Prentice Onayemi, Richard Khuzami, David Johnston, Jeff Fairbanks, Enrique Olaya, Ursula Eagly, Alberto Denis. Second row, left to right: Terri Osborne, Brian Woodruff, August Schulenburg, Mark Wade, Sarah Council, Karla Florez. Front, kneeling: Tom Wojtunik


Last Tuesday, in the new Astoria digs of Queens Council on the Arts, we held the first focus group for our Queens Workspace Initiative. This group of Queens-based performing artists wrestled with questions about space, attracting audiences, definitions of success and the rewards of working in one’s own community.  Our Artists Group (pictured above) included representatives from the fields of jazz, Middle Eastern percussion, folk and modern dance, and the vibrant theater scene of western Queens.  We’d also like to give a shout to Terri Osborne, Director of Culture and Tourism at the Queens Borough President’s Office, for her help in targeting key constituents to bring to the table.

With the help of our focus groups, we are refining surveys to go out to the field to get data on the shifting space needs of Queens artists, the role of facilities and presenters, Queens districts with fewer options for access to quality arts, and how artists and stakeholders enrich their communities.

Simply put, we are having an awesome time here at EtM.  This week, we’re revising surveys and reviewing notes from both our Artists Group and our Facilities/Presenters Group last Thursday.  We’re eager to get these out and start hearing what these groups need to succeed and thrive in the future.

Thanks to Queens Council on the Arts for hosting the Artists Group (yes, you Hoong Yee and Lynn), the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation for hosting the Facilities and Presenters (Andy, Charlene, Douglas, and Angela – thanks!) and the David Rockefeller Fund for their support for this ambitious project.

Check back for more soon – web updates, surveys, more in-depth focus groups and lots of ways you can participate!


The Queens Workspace Initiative is funded by the David Rockefeller Fund and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.  The Queens Workspace Initiative is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


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