By Jonathan Sperling
Flushing Town Hall celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a gala honoring former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and Emily Lin, principal at Lin + Associates on June 6.
The annual benefit gala, which supports the historic institution’s year-round arts and cultural programs, saw attendees greeted by the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the venue’s tranquil garden.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants: Jo-Ann Jones, the founder of Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts; Claire Shulman, the Queens Borough president who helped save Flushing Town Hall; Howard Graf, our long-time Board President; and, many others who are in the room tonight,” Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director, said during her welcome remarks.
Shulman was the first woman to serve as Queens Borough President. Her tenure lasted from 1986 to 2002. She received the inaugural Jo-Ann Jones Award for Devoted Leadership, which is named for Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts founder Jo-Ann Jones.
Kodadek added in her remarks that Jones, “had a vision that Queens needed a new kind of arts organization that would celebrate all of the different cultures being brought to the borough by different immigrant groups, and she dedicated her fledgling organization to the mission of ‘intercultural exchange.’”
During her tenure as borough president, Shulman focused on ensuring the development and growth of a number of Queens cultural institutions, including Flushing Town Hall, and shepherded the rezoning of dozens of neighborhoods to create appropriate zoning restrictions and the economic revitalization of communities, including Downtown Jamaica and Western Queens. She also expanded the borough’s infrastructure and increased funding for senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries.
Lin, who founded Lin + Associates Architects, PC, in 1995, received Flushing Town Hall’s second annual Howard Graf Award for Creative Design & Architecture at the gala. The award is named after former Board Chair Howard Graf.
Lin’s practice includes a wide range of condominium, residential, commercial, institutional, religious, retail, interior and multi-use projects throughout the tri-state Area. She and her husband have developed and managed multiple real estate development projects in New York City.