Jamaica House & Garden

Anna Lise Jensen

Jamaica House & Garden

Plaque and related events

For Jamaica Flux 16, I am simultaneously celebrating two communities in Jamaica, one of the past and one in the present, one related to a house and one related to a garden.

In 1923, Clarence Williams bought eight lots and a house on 108th Avenue in Jamaica, living there with his wife, Eva Taylor – starting the first jazz community in Queens. My artist plaque for the house serves as a substitute while realizing an actual city plaque, and my distribution of booklets to current inhabitants on block contain information about its significant jazz history. I hope attention will bring about an eventual increase in value to these homes through a historical context – an idea born of my anger when reading about Jamaica foreclosures and being the number one neighborhood in the US for mortgage frauds.

Around the corner from the Clarence Williams home is a community garden, sustained by volunteer Alberta Crowley for over 11 years, with support from Green Thumb and Partnerships for Parks. With Ismael Abdul-Quadir, I have organized a free Garden Concert, featuring music by Clarence Williams, that serves as a platform for a community tribute to Alberta for her service. I am making posters and distributing them along Jamaica Avenue, containing information about Clarence Williams & Eva Taylor, their house as well as Alberta’s Trees of Life Organic Community Garden and concert information.

April 16: 12:30 – 1:30 pm: Jamaica Flux Placement gathering. A celebration of Michael Wilson’s 2013 portrait of Jamaica community gardeners being up at Don Nico for the duration of Jamaica Flux and discussion about the upcoming Clarence Williams and Eva Taylor concert. Don Nico, 9014 161st St, Jamaica, NY 11432

May 21st, 2 – 5 pm: Free Garden Concert, inspired by Clarence Williams and Eva Taylor, takes place across from Alberta’s garden by Detective Keith Williams Field House, 106-16 173rd St, Jamaica, NY 11433.   event info>

Photos by Dominique Sindayiganza unless otherwise noted.

 

Anna Lise Jensen is a transdisciplinary artist, combining art-making (mostly photo and text based installations) with the activation of overlooked sites – through local research, interviews, social cooperation and merging her communities. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in International Relations from University of Chicago, IL.