Jameco ExchangeMay 21, 2016 - July 17, 2016
Between May and July 2016, No Longer Empty presented Jameco Exchange, a site-responsive exhibition and socially engaged education platform that revolved around the art of storytelling about a place: Jamaica, Queens. Located on 165th Street in the heart of downtown Jamaica–between the old trail and the former Beaver Pond–Jameco Exchange interwove themes of commerce, movement, and travel, considering how both objects and stories create resonant forms of communication and exchange.
Jameco Exchange takes its name from the etymology of “Jamaica” (Queens)–a distortion of the name of the Jameco (or Yamecha) Indians–and the first settlers’ purchase of Jamaica for two guns, a coat, powder, and lead. From its origins as an ancient trade route to a rural village, today’s downtown Jamaica is a vibrant commercial and intermodal corridor.
With a plush history of trade and commerce, jazz and hip hop; Jamaica’s rich political heritage includes the abolitionist spirit of 18th century New York Senator Rufus King; the activism of 19th-century farmer, abolitionist, and publisher Wilson Rantus; and the political activism of former Black Panther Assata Shakur. “The Green,” an African American homestead from the 1800s that once ran parallel to Jamaica Avenue is now concealed by concrete, industrial buildings, and garages, weathering the next crux of significant change.
The artworks featured in Jameco Exchange were informed by the retail vernacular of the two-story storefront and the cobblestone pedestrian mall in which it was situated, the social culture of Jamaica Avenue, and the histories of Jamaica, Queens, through the lens of collective narrative.
Location: 89-62B 165th Street (between Jamaica and 89th Ave.), Queens
Addam Yekutieli also exhibited works at Think Before You Ink tattoo studio, with a response by owner, visual artist and tattoo artist Richard Parker.
Jameco Exchange was curated by Rachel Gugelberger. Education and Public Engagement projects were curated by Sara Guerrero, including the Community Advisory Council, work experience programs for teen curators and docents, and an educational hub and social practice projects that engage education as an art form. Jameco Exchange was created with the ongoing assistance of PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Education and Public Engagement Fellow; Lo Ehrhart, Education and Public Engagement Intern; Juliana Steiner, Curatorial Intern; and Project Manager Sneha Ganguly.
Jameco Exchange was made possible through a Neighborhood Challenge grant received by No Longer Empty from the NYC Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. This project was in partnership with Jamaica Center BID and was supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and with generous support from NYC Department of Small Business Services, New York City Economic Development Corporation, The Malka Fund, the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. The five-part series “Once Upon a Place” was supported by the New York Council for Humanities.
We gratefully acknowledge the Community Advisory Council*, a network of community partners and experts who shared ideas, made recommendations and made collective use of the project space and educational hub. Special thanks to Kelsey Brow, Jocelyn Goode, Kareem Hayes, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery; Instituto de Visión; Think Before You Ink, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts and Richard Hourahan at Queens Historical Society.
Community Advisory Council: Saiku Branch, Director of Afrikan Poetry Theatre; Kim McNeil Capers, Outreach Coordinator, Queens Library; Stephanie Davis, poet and Poetry Editor of Newtown Literary, and Queens Council on the Arts Jamaica Arts Leaders 2015-16 Program Fellow; Sherese Francis, poet, writer, Blogger of FuturisticallyAncient.com; Heng-Gil Han, Director & Curator, Jamaica Flux; Cathy Hung, Director of Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning; Simone Jhingoor, Co-Founder Jahajee Sisters; Brandon Lee, artist and Teaching Artist at Children’s Museum of Art; Rejin Leys, Visual Artist and Queens Council on the Arts Jamaica Arts Leaders 2015-16 Program Fellow; Monica O. Montgomery, Director of Lewis Latimer Historic House; Tunisia Morrison, independent curator and Founder of VOYCE; Odathrowback, visual artist and carpenter; Richard Parker, visual artist and owner of Think Before You Ink; Prerana Reddy, Director of Public Events, Queens Museum; and Kenrick Ross, Director, Indo-Caribbean Alliance.
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Please see past conversations at #nolongerempty #jamecoexchange @jamaiacaavenue #theave