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Politics

The Greek Presence at the Queens Council on the Arts Awards

January 27, 2018

LONG ISLAND CITY – The Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) held its awards ceremony on Jan. 25 at the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City. Among the artists who were awarded grants this year, Greek-American playwright Jonathan Alexandratos and Cypriot-American artist Nicolas Savvides AKA Nick Water who both received New Works Grants, and members of Eclipses Group Theater New York- Katerina Alexaki, Demetri Bonaros, Ioanna Katsarou, and Alexandra Skendrou. Eclipses received two grants this year, the Community Arts Grant and the Arts Access Grant.

The artists all noted that they were honored to be a part of the diverse group of grant recipients and to have the opportunity to meet at such a charming venue and on such a wonderful occasion. Ms. Katsarou told The National Herald that the theater group is very happy to have been awarded the two grants this year which will help them produce their new production for the fall.

The talented theater group has presented some wonderful recent productions including a sold-out run of Agamemnon by Aeschylus at La Mama ETC in Manhattan and Marriage a la Russe, based on three acclaimed comedic one-act plays by Anton Chekhov at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. They told TNH that they plan to bring the work of more modern Greek playwrights to New York City.

The QCA’s 2018 Queens Arts Fund awardees along with four Artist Commissioning Projects and two ArtHotel Residencies, received 136 grants in the amount of $465,000 to fund the work of 56 Queens individual artists and 67 community organizations in the disciplines of visual arts, film, theatre, multi-media, literary arts, dance, and music.

Also awarded grants were 28 Su-Casa artists who have been selected to partner with 28 senior centers across the borough. The awardees will provide community programs and arts projects that enhance the cultural vibrancy of Queens and make the arts more accessible to all. With an exceptional increase in applications for all three programs, the peer panel selection process was especially competitive this year, QCA’s Grants & Resource Director Lynn Lobell noted.

Ms. Lobell gave the welcoming remarks at the event and thanked the QCA staff members, Board of Trustees, and panelists who helped with the increased number of applications this year.

New York City Councilmember Costa Constantinides attended the event and congratulated the grant recipients, noting that he is proud to be a part of a council that supports the arts in Queens. “We know how important the arts are, how every dollar counts,” he said, adding that the artists have a passion, they are doing something that they love, and sharing their art with the world.

New York City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer for District 26 and chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations thanked the QCA for its work in helping the artists of Queens. “Keep doing what you’re doing so Queens will remain the cultural capital of the world.”

Councilmember Van Bramer added that he looked forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming QCA gala which takes place on Feb. 15 and has a Caribbean carnival theme.

Mr. Alexandratos told TNH that the evening was a great opportunity to meet with other Queens artists. Composer and visual artist Michael Poast who also received a New Works Grant this year told TNH about his Color Music Manuscripts book. After years of producing works through Color Music, he is writing the theory down finally.

Interested readers can read some of Alexandratos’ plays on the New Play Exchange website: https://newplayexchange.org/users/3845/jonathan-alexandratos.

More information on Savvides’ work is available online at: www.artseastny.org/renewlots and his website: www.nicolas-savvides.com.

More information about Eclipses Theater Group New York is available online at: www.egtny.com.

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