Forbidden Gathering by Gina Samson

Forbidden Gathering by Gina Samson.

Queens Public Library will be hosting an eight-week Caribbean Arts Festival featuring artists from as far away as Bangladesh and Argentina and as close as Queens.

The festival will take place at nine branches: Cambria Heights, Central, Douglaston/Little Neck, Hollis, Laurelton, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, St. Albans, and South Hollis.

Three years ago, the library had Festival an Koulè, an exhibit of the vibrant Haitian art of Queens. This year’s exhibition is being organized by QPL staff in partnership with the Friends of Queens Public Library. Reginald St. Fort, who is the manager of South Hollis Library, is curating and co-directing with co-director Florence Palomo, a librarian at Hollis Library.

The festival kicks off with an opening reception on Saturday, November 16 from 6-10 pm at Cambria Heights Library. An art exhibition will run at all nine branches through January 2020.

Camille T. Barrett, QPL’s assistant director of government and community affairs, says that she hopes the festival will give customers the opportunity to experience great art in their own communities without traveling to museums in Manhattan.

Konvesation by Reginald St. Fort; Contrast by Gina Samson; Lilacs for Mamiche by Patricia Brintle

From left to right: Konvesation by Reginald St. Fort; Contrast by Gina Samson; Lilacs for Mamiche by Patricia Brintle.

The festival’s art exhibition will be complemented by lectures, workshops by the artists, and films, as well as interviews of the artists that will be collected by the Queens Memory Project and by teens at Cambria Heights. Events during the festival will include mask-making, a lecture on Haitian painting, sip and paint, bowling, a documentary series, and a Kwanzaa celebration.

Each branch’s art display will have a theme, including history, religion, and different styles of art, from impressionist to abstract to surreal. Artists from Trinidad, Haiti, and Jamaica will participate, in addition to numerous artists from around the world.

St. Fort says that the Caribbean is a “microcosm of this planet” with influences as far ranging as French, Spanish, British, East Indian, Chinese, African, and European. “People of all shades and colors” make up the region, he explains, part of the inspiration for the festival’s title Migration of Colors, which also refers to the diverse artwork created there.

In addition to exposing local talent and heritage, St. Fort hopes Migration of Colors provokes people to see the library in a different light. As St. Fort says, the festival is a way to “try to highlight the role of the library and create outreach. Each artist has followers who may not have been to the library. This is a way to introduce them to libraries and our wonderful programs and services.” He also hopes that customers will travel between locations—for example, from St. Albans to Douglaston/Little Neck or from Rosedale to Cambria Heights—to see the different artwork on display.

Stay tuned for more information on the festival, or visit a participating library location!