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Jamaica Non-Profit to Provide Affordable Art Space to Local Talents

 Southeast Queens artists to get discounted workspace at JCAL.
Southeast Queens artists to get discounted workspace at JCAL.
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QUEENS — Local artists in Jamaica's burgeoning arts scene will soon have the opportunity to rent more affordable rehearsal and performance spaces thanks to Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL), which is making its studios available at reduced prices, the center recently announced.

The non-profit group, based in a 3-story neo-Renaissance building, which has a 99-seat theater and newly renovated dance and music studios, said that numerous artists in the neighborhood lack affordable space.

To try to nurture local talents, JCAL, at 161-04 Jamaica Ave., near 161st Street, will start renting spaces to artists at prices lower than market rates, although it was not immediately clear how much the organization planned to charge artists. The center did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

But Carl Fields, Jr., Interim Executive Director of JCAL, said in a statement: “There’s such a critical need for quality, affordable cultural facilities where artists, arts instructors, and the community can come together to learn and make new work.”

“We’re very fortunate to have a facility like JCAL that can offer professional level spaces for dance, music, theater and crafts,” he added.

The center said it would also consider residencies for artists.

Local organizations advocating for Jamaica's development, said they hope the entire neighborhood will benefit from attracting young artists.

“The availability of JCAL for use by a wide range of arts groups is of terrific benefit to Jamaica,” said Carlisle Towery, President of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. “JCAL’s initiative furthers the goal of establishing Jamaica as an affordable place for artists to make and present their work, as well as to live, in a welcoming, diverse, dynamic community.”