Mission: TOPAZ Arts was established in 2000 by two artists who had worked together on projects in New York City since 1993 and saw a need for a space where they could explore collaborations, meet the needs of other artists, and share the process of art-making with the local community.
About the Organization: Located in Woodside, Queens, TOPAZ Arts is both a venue and an arts program. The 2,500-square-foot facility provides a contemporary dance studio and a light-filled gallery space. Formerly a warehouse, the space was redesigned with the input of artists and incorporated sustainability concepts such as reused and recycled materials, radiant heat for the dance floor, and an organic roof garden. As an arts programmer, TOPAZ ARTS brings contemporary artists and new works in the fields of dance/choreography and visual arts into contact with the community and other artists, encouraging dialogue among different disciplines and diverse cultures.
Current Programs: TOPAZ Arts Dance Productions explores the works of founding artists Todd B. Richmond (composer/filmmaker) and Paz Tanjuaquio (choreographer/visual artist), which combine dance, original music, and visual design. Recent honors for the organization have come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Meet the Composer Commissioning/USA, the Asian American Arts Alliance, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. The organization's Artist Services program provides New York State-subsidized rentals ($10 per hour) of the facility's 25' x 48' dance studio, which features thirteen-foot ceilings, full-length mirrors, and audio/video equipment. The Artist Services program also offers a Dance in Queens summer residency for contemporary choreographers based in New York City that includes thirty hours of free rehearsal time in the studio. In addition, the organization's Visual Arts program presents four exhibitions a year featuring the work of emerging and established artists in painting, photography, printmaking, installation, performance art, new media, and sculpture, while the organic roof garden crowns the organization's Sustainability program with a yearly harvest of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and berries.
Website: Visitors to the TOPAZ Arts website can read biographies of the organization's founders, Todd Richmond and Paz Tanjuaquio, as well as press coverage of the organization. A new pictoral history shows the space's transformation from a mailing distribution warehouse into the space it is today, including step-by-step construction of the special sprung-wood dance floor. The website also lists upcoming events, including artist talks, open rehearsals, and multi-venue exhibitions, as well as in-house art shows and dance performances.
Funding: TOPAZ Arts is funded by private foundations, local and federal government arts grants, and the public.