When artists step into the dressing rooms within this building, they change in what was once a jail cell. When visitors pop into the gift shop, they shop in what was once a civic office, and when they visit the administrative offices, they meet in what was once a cafe and event hall.
Flushing Town Hall is a Romanesque Revival-style building constructed in 1862. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it was used as civic offices, a courthouse, bank, and later, a jail. In recent decades, the building was transformed into an art center to bring diverse artists from across the globe to Queens.
The art center bridges Queens’ past and present. It has been recognized as the foremost presenter of jazz in Queens, a borough that was home to many of the 20th century’s greatest jazz artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, Count Basie, and John Coltrane. It regularly features jazz concerts featuring NEA Jazz Masters, offers monthly jazz jams, and distributes its Queens Jazz Trail Map.
But you’ll find much, much more than jazz events happening within its walls. Its cross-cultural programming has evolved with its surrounding community, strengthening its focus on the arts and cultures of China and Korea. And its programming regularly features art from Latin America and South Asia. Nowadays, presentations fuse or bridge different cultures from across the globe, such as its Global Mashup series where presenters from different regions blend their unique styles on stage for a unique experience.
Since 1979, the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts (FCCA), the organization that stewards Flushing Town Hall, has advocated for arts equity, supported local, national, and international artists, including immigrant artists, and developed partnerships that have been true to its mission to provide global arts to a global community.