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QTIP’s latest arts series focuses on black culture

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Queens Theatre in the Park is trumpeting the borough’s diversity by targeting the black community in the second of its cultural outreach programs for the performing arts.

The theatre, which is located in the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, was once a community-based center but has now grown into a nationally known producer of unique talent.

Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the nation and one of the goals of Queens Theatre in the Park is to meet the needs of all its people. And this is why it has decided to take on more culturally varied programs.

Executive director Jeffrey Rosenstock said the mission of the theatre is to “present the ethnic diversity of the borough.” He said “this outreach program is the future of the theatre.”

The cultural series first started in 1997 with the theatre’s Latino Cultural Festival. QTIP’s most recent project is the Fleet Black Cultural Series, which is an array of culturally focused programs for people of African or Caribbean descent. Some of these programs include “Harriet’s Return,” “Lackawanna Blues,” and Dionne Warwick and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

The artistic director of the Queens Black Cultural Arts Series, Leon Denmark, who was once executive director of the Apollo Theatre Foundation and founder of the Valiant Theatre Company, has had a great deal of experience in black culture and knows just how to pick the acts that would be performing.

This particular project has a few important goals, Rosenstock said. First, it is an outlet for black artists to display their work to the public. It is also a way to build the attendance of the black audience in other QTIP programs year-round and a way as well to provide the black community with different programs they can culturally connect with.

Rosenstock said “the theatre invested financial, artistic, and human resources into a high-quality program curated, performed, and attended by black constituents.”

QTIP wants everyone to feel welcome in the theatre — people of all races, all cultures, and all religions — and hopes that people interested in one specific cultural program will cross over to other programs, he said. This, in turn, will support the theatre.

After seeing the successful results from the Black Cultural Series over the last four years, Rosenstock said “QTIP is even more motivated to further expand its cultural outreach program.” The programs started on Feb. 15 and run throughout the spring. For more information, call 718-760-0064.

The Fleet Black Cultural Series has given opportunity to both rising black artists and already established artists to share their work. “QTIP has almost fulfilled its goals that were set and will continue to build its audience with such projects as this,” Rosenstock said.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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