The arts are an economic booster in the New York metropolitan region and Queens Theatre in the Park is no exception. Located in the heart of one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the country, the nonprofit organization caters to more than 100,000 people from various cultural backgrounds, the majority of whom come from the local community.
Queens Theatre in the Park produces as many as 300 performances annually. The theatre strives to reflect the diversity of Queens in its productions as well as feature artists from around the world. It has a unique dedication to producing works from up-and-coming directors and playwrights, while fostering cultural awareness.
During the recent challenging economic times, Queens Theatre Founding Director Jeff Rosenstock maintains that the Queens community has relied on its neighbors to weather the economic downturn.
“It’s an entire revenue that we’re generating and most of the money we generate is staying within the community. We do bring talent from around the world, but our business-to-business really stays local; we try to do as much business in Queens as we can,” said Rosenstock. “You really look and say, ‘how do we all stay in this business together?'"
Since its rehabilitation in 1993, the theatre’s annual operating budget has grown from $500,000 to nearly $3 million. Rosenstock supports his theatre and surrounding neighborhood by developing long-term corporate partnerships. Bank of America has been a devoted partner to the theatre for more than ten years. The Bank has provided capital to help expand the facility, providing increased access to the arts, as well as additional jobs and economic opportunity for those in the local community and beyond.
“It’s a real economic driver in Queens,” said Bank of America New York City Market Manager Connie Verducci, who works with the organization as part of her role in the Bank’s philanthropic and community outreach. “People feel really good that the city and organizations invested in Queens Theatre in the Park.
Before, the park was just a place where people went and kind of saw the park and hung out, and now having Queens Theatre in the Park be a real destination, it’s actually helped visitorship at partner organizations.”
Queens Theatre in the Park partners with a wide range of community organizations including Vallo Transportation, which uses its buses to transport students to performances; the Pine Restaurant, which offers catering services for the theatre; and William Charles Printing, which produces playbills and brochures to advertise programming.
"Business is hard to find,” said Ed Simon, account manager at William Charles Printing. “People aren’t spending money like they used to and even when they did spend money it’s still hard times. When you get somebody who appreciates what you’re doing and likes your quality and thinks your price is right, you can’t take that for granted.”