Last Friday evening, The Queens Museum held its 2023 Gala bringing together 350 artists, fashion designers, musicians, curators, and civic leaders to celebrate the Museum’s vision of uplifting the diversity and creativity of Queens. This year’s Honorees included Awake NY Founder Angelo Baque and artist Sable Elyse Smith, both members of the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
The evening began with an outdoor cocktail party that offered Queens’ iconic Unisphere as a backdrop for guests as they enjoyed their cocktails in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Digital creator Jaeki Cho of Righteous Eats curated and introduced a Queens-inspired selection of small bites prepared by some of the Borough’s most exciting vendors and restaurants: Evelia’s Tamales, Trinciti Roti Shop, Bolivian Llama Party, Al Naimat Sweets, and Bad for Business Pop Ups.
During the cocktail, attendees also toured exhibitions Tracey Rose: Shooting Down Babylon, Aliza Nisebaum: Queens, Lindo y Querido, and Christine Sun Kim: Time Owes Me Rest Again, and discovered The Panorama of the City of New York’s new “Digital Twin,” which made its premiere during the event. Developed in collaboration with Pratt Institute, Cyark, and with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the beta version of this digital interpretive tool encapsulates a new era of educational and experience-oriented programming related to the crown jewel of the Museum’s permanent collection.
Guests then headed to the central atrium for a seated dinner presented by Erica Sarlo & Co. and catered by Abigail Kirsch. Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City Laurie Combo opened the dinner, welcoming guests to the celebration. Queens Museum President and Executive Director Sally Tallant then followed with a Living Land Acknowledgment recognizing the past, present, and future generations of Matinecock, Canarsie, Lekawe (Rockaway), Munsee Lenape, and the interconnected Matouwac communities across the Greater Long Island region, as stewards of the land. Following Tallant’s remarks, musician Nick Hakim took to the stage for the main musical performance of the night.
Trustee and Vice-Chair Paula Kirby made her way to the stage to open the second portion of the dinner, announcing the night’s presenters, honorees, and culminating paddle raise. Artist, researcher, and Director of NEW INC. Salome Asega introduced Honoree and friend Sable Elyse Smith while artist Shaniqwa Jarvis presented Honoree and collaborator Angelo Baque to the audience. This year’s honorees speak to the Museum’s mission to foster creative collaboration across art and design.
The outpouring of support for the Museum’s core programs invigorates the ongoing commitment to being one of the most inviting and accessible museums to view the art of our times. This year’s paddle raise led by Mattos Paschal from Christie’s celebrated the Museum’s ongoing work investing in youth for a better shared future, centering artist’s voices, and supporting QM’s collection.
Festivities followed with an after-party celebration hosted by EBBS Brewing Company and San Bartolo Mezcal. Guests mingled and danced to sets by DJ Skype Williams and DJ Bearcat.
More than 350 guests attended the event, including a vibrant mix of art patrons, elected officials, philanthropists, artists and designers including: Laurie Cumbo (Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City), Thomas Finkelpearl (Former Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City), Shekar Krishnan (Queens City Council Member), Nicole Berry (Executive Director, The Armory Show), Jahleel Weaver (Creative Director, Fenty), Jane Hait (Patron/Founder, Center for Art, Research and Alliances), Mario Sorrenti (Photographer), Aliza Nisenbaum (Artist), Naima Green (Artist), and Sage Elsesser (Model).
2023 Gala Committee included Hanna Miller, Angelo Baque, Paula Kirby, Elle Hankinson, Jennifer Ifil-Ryan, and Geraldo Rodriguez.
The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park presents contemporary art, events of hyperlocal and international impact, and educational programs reflecting the diversity of Queens and New York City. Changing exhibitions present the work of emerging and established artists, both local and global, that often explore contemporary social issues, as well as the rich history of its site.
The Museum works outside its walls through engagement initiatives ranging from multilingual outreach and educational opportunities for adult immigrants, to a plethora of community-led art and activism projects. The Museum’s educational programming connects with school children, teens, families, seniors as well as those individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The Queens Museum is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Darian DiCianno & Madison Voelkel/BFA.com