The annual benefit supports Flushing Town Hall's year-round arts and cultural programs that serve more than 58,000 people annually.
As guests arrived at the landmark Northern Boulevard venue, they were greeted by the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in Town Hall’s garden.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants: Jo-Ann Jones, the founder of Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts; Claire Shulman, the Queens Borough president who helped save Flushing Town Hall; Howard Graf, our long-time Board President; and, many others who are in the room tonight,”
“Forty years ago, in 1979, Jo-Ann Jones founded Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts,” artistic director Ellen Kodadek said during her welcome remarks. “Jo-Ann had a vision that Queens needed a new kind of arts organization that would celebrate all of the different cultures being brought to the borough.”
Forty years later, Flushing Town Hall, a Smithsonian Affiliate and member of New York City's Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), is drawing audiences from near and far.
Just last year, the institution welcomed nearly 60,000 new Yorkers, including 22,000 students, seniors and disabled populations served through its arts education programs.
JHS 189 students, The Balsam Trio, and the Cumbia River Band entertained the more than 200 attendees through the evening, and the event’s Paddle Raise for Education exceeded Flushing Town Hall’s expectations.
“We were very grateful for the generosity of our guests, with some pledges coming in by phone and even overseas during the event,” Kodadek said.
At the celebration, Flushing Town Hall presented its first Jo-Ann Jones Award for Devoted Leadership to Shulman, who was Queens’s first female borough president, serving from 1986 to 2002.
During her tenure, Shulman was pivotal in ensuring the development and growth of a number of Queens cultural institutions, including Flushing Town Hall.
Flushing Town Hall presented its second annual Howard Graf Award, named after Flushing Town Hall’s longtime former Board Chair, for Creative Design & Architecture to Lin.
Located in Kew Gardens, Lin’s practice includes a wide range of projects throughout the tristate area. She and her husband have developed and managed multiple real estate development projects in New York City.
“Flushing Town Hall has always been one of the institutions in my heart,” Lin said.
Born in Taiwan in 1956, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1971 with her family, attended public high school, and received her architectural training and professional degree from Pratt Institute in 1979, as well as completed advanced studies at Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1992.
She has served on the boards of the American Institute of Architects, Asian American Business Women Association, Garden of Hope, Queens Botanical Garden, and Queens Economic Development Corporation.
She received a Lifetime Achievement Award and Business Person of the Year Award from the Queens Chamber of Commerce and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2012.