Flushing Town Hall is looking to paint the town red this new year; well, decorate the Hall red is more like it.
This historic venue is partnering with curator Bert Chau of the Grumpy Bert gallery for the Red Envelope Show in honor of the 2019 Lunar New Year and Flushing Town Hall’s 40th anniversary. The show will feature red envelopes designed and submitted by the community in December.
“I hope this show demonstrates that we can all be united with art,” Mr. Chau says. “Red envelopes may come from Chinese culture, but the artists in this show come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.”
The Red Envelope Show is an homage to the red celebration envelopes the Chinese community distributes during the Lunar New Year. Traditionally, money is included in envelopes to bring prosperity and health, but many artists include a special “mystery” gift or prize.
Chau, who previously curated an inventive Red Envelope show in Brooklyn, and Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director, have put out a call to artists – budding and professional, from students and school groups to community members – to submit red envelopes to the institution by December 30 (so mailed by December 18!).
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Bert Chau for this unique show and celebration of the Lunar New Year,” Ms. Kodadek says. “It is our hope that many different communities will come together to create their own imaginative red envelopes.”
Flushing Town Hall’s partnership with Mr. Chau began by happy coincidence. Mr. Chau was seeking a location to host his annual art show, and his phone rang: Flushing Town Hall was calling to see if he’d curate their show.
“One of the reasons I was attracted to Flushing Town Hall is because the building itself is beautiful and has a lot of character,” says Mr. Chau. “It’s important for every community to have a space where they can enjoy and participate in the arts, and Flushing Town Hall is that kind of space.”
Artists should visit Flushing Town Hall’s website at www.flushingtownhall.org to learn how to receive the red envelopes and instructions on how to submit them. And, they are encouraged to add a mystery gift, if desired, and can focus on the Lunar New Year, which in 2019 is the Year of the Pig.
Some visual artists already are preparing some creative submissions.
Rose Wong, who is painting a mural of a money tree as a backdrop for the envelopes, grew up receiving the envelopes and is eager to put her own spin on the tradition.
“My envelopes will be minimal in color, using the red of the envelope with little bits of black and white and with intricate line work,” Ms. Wong says. “I visited China this summer and I’ll incorporate the imagery I saw there.”
Shin Yeon Moon of Brooklyn followed the Year of the Pig, saying “I wanted people to just have fun with their imagination and enjoy getting lost in the world of these random characters.” And Mark Wang of Washington Heights, said he envisioned “space junk” when crafting his!
Once all submissions are curated, Flushing Town Hall is inviting all of the artists and the community to an Opening Reception on Saturday, January 5, and the show will continue until Sunday, January 27.
Visitors who are entranced by the artwork will be able to take many of them home – and do good in the process. Submissions by visual artists will be displayed and for sale in Flushing Town Hall’s gallery– with 25% of the proceeds going towards Flushing Town Hall’s visual arts programming. And, submissions by community and school groups will be displayed throughout the building.
And there will be a chance to learn how to design your own Red Envelope, too. As with much of Flushing Town Hall’s programming, the venue will host a Red Envelope Show workshop on January 13 led by its Teaching Artist Tina Seligman.
Mr. Chau provides a bit of advice to anyone wishing to participate, “Do what inspires you. The red envelope is just the canvas.”
For more information, click here.