Curating Magic in Queens

text Noelia De La Cruz

photography Lizabeth Nieves

Audrey Dimola stands as a beacon for the literary and artistic community in Queens. She’s been hugely successful in uniting the community in her native borough and once you’ve met her, it is easy to see why. Her dynamic energy and passion for life shine through.

Dimola has loved to write, perform and create since childhood. In college, she decided to become an arts journalist. Her life after graduation began with an internship turned full-time job at a local Queens magazine called Ins & Outs (now defunct), which allowed her to re-immerse herself in her neighborhood by interviewing local people and businesses. When she started writing again, she also began to showcase her personal work publicly, which she stopped doing in college. “A big turning point for me was coming back into myself as a performer and a writer,” Dimola says. Meeting with people in her community she realized her passion for cultivating the local arts while also working a mix of unrelated jobs. She also proudly self-published two books of poetry and prose (“Decisions We Make While We Dream“ and “Traversals”) that explore the natural world, spirituality, love (and loss), resilience, wildness. 

What’s made her the happiest, however, are the threads she’s weaved for the ever-growing web of Queens artists. In October 2013, she organized the first ever Queens Literary Town Hall. Literary events were burgeoning throughout Queens—many of which she participated in—led by an array of interesting people, all bubbling underneath the surface. “I wanted to put [everyone] in a room and make them meet each other,” she says. Through social media she connected with NY1’s Rocco Vertuccio, who publicized the event and propelled its success. The participants were people and organizations she still continues to work with today including the Queens Council on the Arts, Boundless Tales Reading Series, and the Astoria Bookshop. On the eve of her 30th birthday this year, she curated another event—a gathering one August night inviting family, friends, and fellow artists to display their art or perform. All of the positivity Dimola radiates to everyone she knows was reflected back to her through a moving series of performances. In the past she’s always identified with Peter Pan’s childlike qualities and sense of adventure. That night she vowed to let go of this identity while still committing to retain the sense of wonder and curiosity she’s always admired.

Last year was an especially difficult time in Dimola’s life, filled with challenges that forced her to reset and reevaluate her life. After a long, cold winter she landed a full time job in public programs at Socrates Sculpture Park in April, just in time to celebrate its 30th anniversary season.

And Socrates Sculpture Park has had a great 30th, too, celebrating one of its most successful seasons yet, breaking a record for highest attendance in the park in one day: 6,600 people. The park, which resides along the East River, was established in 1986 by acclaimed sculptor/artist Mark di Suvero. For Dimola, there is no more perfect occupation to transition into her 30s after a tumultuous and exciting 20s. “I’ve been on a journey of darkness and of trying to really own myself, my identity—who I am and what I want to do and be in the world.” For the first time, Dimola is able to fuse her passion with her work at Socrates—a park within walking distance of her childhood home, and a place where she often spent playing. Full circle.

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