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Local Artists, Representing a Range of Disclipines, Form Group in Quest For Art Center

Melissa Orlando and Trevor Bowen

Jan. 3, 2014 By Christian Murray

A Western Queens arts group—consisting of dancers, filmmakers and musicians—has formed with the goal of finding permanent space for an arts center in Sunnyside.

The organizers—mainly Sunnysiders– are inviting the community to join them for their official launch this Sunday at Claret Wine Bar, located at the corner of 46th Street and Skillman Ave., at 4pm.

The organization, called artspaceQ, has also been established with the mission of bringing the arts community together under one big tent. Furthermore, its members plan to put on events and educate children.

“The art scene has flourished here compared to just five years ago,” said Melissa Orlando, one of co-founders of artspaceQ. “We are reflecting a movement already begun and are reaching out to artists in all disciplines, and those interested in art, to come together.”

The organization was co-founded by four local artists who are involved in different fields. Sunnysider Trevor Bowen, who initiated the idea, is a musician and composer; Melissa Orlando is a dancer and teaching artist at Sunnyside Ballet Studio; Nick Reiner is a filmmaker with several feature films under his belt; and artist Patricia Dorfman founded SunnysideArtists.

Bowen said that the group has the support of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in its quest to acquire space. “We hope long term to have an actual building here,” Bowen said.

Orlando, Bowen and Reiner all have young children, and future projects include those to nurture artistic growth for the younger set.

Reiner is already putting together a film class for kids. Meanwhile, Orlando has plans to introduce a dance scholarship program to benefit children who currently do not have the opportunity to study classical dance. founder Pat Dorfman, whose independent group has sponsored 24 fine art events since 2007, said she is “thrilled to be a co-founder among such strong talents and people with such good hearts, and have the support of a team from multiple disciplines.”


Location: Claret Wine Bar (Skillman Ave/46th Street)

Date: Sunday, Jan. 5

Time: 4 p.m.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Why don’t these hipsters start a civilian patrol since we have had an increase in robberies?

Ben David

First…. I think it would be a nice gesture if the one of the persons pictured cared enough about the community to shovel and clean the front of his house. Let’s start there…


Good theatre worth the price. Great MacBeth by The Secret Theatre last year. Far superior to Hip to Hip. It’s not just their “abridged versions” that bother me, but the cheesy costumes and lousy sets. I know they don’t have a big budget, but they could do it all in jeans if they don’t have money for costumes. If you make suggestions to them, they become indignant and nasty. Artistes!

Celtic Bark

@Jane Grissom

Secret Theatre is good. I saw their View From the Bridge recently. Good stuff. But Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry and the rest of the Globe cast have ruined me for Shakespeare forever, I’m afraid. I can’t imagine anyone topping them.

Celtic Bark

@Jane grissom

In that case, I suggest going to see Twelfth Night and/or Richard III at the Belasco in Manhattan while it still has a few weeks left. That is, if you can get tickets as many performances are sold out.


Hip to Hip is lousy – and the “adorable” kids rushing onto the “stage” really ads to the authentic flavor. And I am willing to pay for good theatre.

Celtic Bark

Think of all the money wasted on that piece of junk exhibit under the 40th and Lowery Station. It looks like someone grabbed the first twisted pieces of metal they could find in a scrap yard and bolted them to the ground. Whoever is responsible for that eyesore should be banned from having anything to do with the arts ever again.

Salt Chunk Mary

Wow @JaneGrissom – Way to dis artists in the comments section right under an article which is about supporting them. I’m sure it must have been hard for you to sit in some beautiful park somewhere and watch a free show. Maybe you should left instead of posting your negativity here.

Celtic Bark

@Jane Grissom

Hip to Hip Theater do a good job bringing Shakespeare to Sunnyside and other parts of Queens. Sure, their productions are modest compared to certain world-renowned Shakespeare companies, but that is no doubt because their financial resources are also far more modest. If you want to shell out and hundred-plus dollars to see top-notch Shakespeare on Broadway, now is the time.


Shakespeare productions from Hip to Hip are absolutely lame – poorly acted and poorly produced.

Patricia Dorfman

yes, lots of writers, lorraine. more filmmakers than any other group when trevor took an informal poll. also photographers, musicians and performing artists and very nice to see, fundraisers and non profit gurus, and nice neighborhood people, all ages, just there to network and/or willing to help.

thank you everyone for coming out in this weather!

House of O'Shea

🙁 was hoping for a medical marijuana store next. All the better to see those lovely art forms.


Hope this would include writers too. Astoria already has a center like this and it’s a good idea to have something more permanent, that offers classes and gives artists a chance to teach.

Patricia Dorfman

•carly — wow, comic art. send your email to [email protected] and will get u on list

•patrick — one or more of us is not hipstery; this is a big tent. we love our alpha donuts and no-stress local scene. i think we do have some degenerate art, actually

•annie — my personal long term goal is a museum for art and history here, so yes, please email [email protected]! great!

•celtic bark — as one who helps set up some of these art events you mention, it is a huge slog. if we all had even a utility closet/ofc, it would be a huge help!

•any of you VISUAL artists out there not familiar with, who want to get email on coming 2 shows, please also email [email protected]. (manny in colombia but almost home!)

•sunnysider, nativenyr & jor: THANK YOU

• it would help both artspaceq and sunnyside artists, if you “liked” on fb. we promise not to clog up your news feed

•EVERYONE is invited. today is low stress and we hope just fun. see u at 4



Oh man, I would totally go to this if not for the plans I already have to be meeting up with a comic artist’s group tomorrow at that time. Can we get an email to sign up for a listserv for news and such?

Annie D

Sounds great. I’d like to help out/be involved if you need some art historians in the mix 🙂

Celtic Bark

Why do they need an arts center? In this neighborhood the arts are frequently hosted in venues such as jazz concerts and art fairs in churches, free concerts under the arch, Shakespeare in Sunnyside Gardens Park, parades and art shows in pubs and bars such as Claret. It seems the arts are already well accommodated in this neighborhood.

" Sunnysider"

This is fantastic news for our community… we have alot of very talented artists in our area and this would allow them to get together as a group… what a new year present to our town… hats off to the organizers abd Pat dorfman who is also involed with our artists and a activist for them as well..

Patricia Dorfman

Thank you, Sunnysidepost!

small clarification: Councilman Van Bramer initiated a meeting last summer about shared permanent space for art and youth groups, asking Unity Stage to help get us all to the table – the idea being a long term project which would doubtless take perhaps even 20 years – enhancing the concept of the center that he and the Boys and Girls Club and others had already been working on.

so that is still ongoing — and desired by all!

artspaceQ seeks and is part of that, of course, but also space right now!


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