With music pumping, happy people gathered and the food and spirits flowing, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) began its series of First Fridays.
First Fridays are a monthly social event which brings together professionals from the area with local residents for networking and fun. It is part of the initiative to revitalize the nightlife in Downtown Jamaica. Judging from the turnout and festivities of this first event, a resurgence is well underway.
This first in the series was well attended and full of good spirits. Professionals from the area mingled with passersbys who stopped in after hearing the music flow out from the doors. Participants danced, snapped photographs, swapped business cards, networked, browsed the art in its galleries and even celebrated the birthday and anniversary of interim Executive Director Carl Fields Jr. with song and cake at this feel good event. Those gathered connected with friends to recruit them up to participate in the next event.
The Downtown Jamiaca area has suffered from a lack of nightlife opportunities for its upscale and professional crowd. “You go to a club and its shutdown..but that is not the case at JCAL. We are inviting you all as business professionals to network with other business professionals coming to share your ideas,” said Akua-Akilah Anokye, Sr. Program & Development Director JCAL.
Akua believes the series will grow with participants for each event. As the event grows, it will move to a larger space, JCAL's performance venue the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
Local businesses are partnering in the event. Sangria Restaurant donated the food for this initial event and the Jamaica BID provided funds for the music.
First Fridays will take place at JCAL the first Friday of every month from 7-10PM. The next event will take place on December 6th. The entry fee was waved for the inaugural event. Entry fees for future events in the series will be $5 with a business card, $10 without. Future events also promise raffles, prizes and artists showcases.
JCAL is located at 161-04 Jamaica Avenue.