A Cultural Connector
This next Woman I’m highlighting in my Women’s History Month Empowerment Series is a GIANT of a Woman. Do understand that Tyra isn’t much taller than 5'7"/5'8", but her heart, her mind, and her spirit are huge! Truly, in the decade plus I’ve been able to call this Woman my friend/sister, I’ve watched her consistently provide resources, coordinate opportunities and fight for basic necessities for folks in her community.
Here, read about incredible Woman below:
Tyra Emerson, Executive Director for the first Collaborative of Arts, Education & Business Organization in Southeast Queens, has been the driving force and example of how community partnership can work together with one common goal. Her success with the Collaborative and the community has been the model for other partnerships such as the (LACE) and the Harlem Arts Alliance. Nationally recognized as a ‘cultural engine’ of community development by the Center for Urban Futures, CCJ has successfully created and managed a wide range of collaborative programs that support its members and greatly impact community knowledge of and access to local cultural offerings and tourism opportunities.
Ms. Emerson is responsible for providing leadership for all management activities of Cultural Collaborative Jamaica. Her responsibilities include program development and the overseeing of staff and a myriad of consultants and volunteers. Under her tutelage she has created unique partnerships
that enrich and spur cultural & economic development in Southeast Queens and support CCJ member’s commitment to the people of Jamaica through educational, cultural, and special events.
Ms. Emerson holds a BA from C.W. Post, Long Island University and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Columbia University and stays abreast of conferences and courses regarding the cultural arts and Economic Development. She has worked as the Program Director for Queens Council
of the Arts and Grants Administrator for the New York State Council on the Arts and Dept. of Cultural Affairs Regrant Funds. Ms. Emerson held a variety of positions, each increasing her responsibility in education and government, including positions with the Pratt Institute Center for Community &
Economic Development, (PICCED) and the United States Coast Guard, Office of Procurement and Provisions in the area of contract management.
Her accomplishments include developing the first Jamaica Arts & Music Summer (JAMS) Festival on ten blocks of Jamaica Avenue. A 2-day summer celebration of Queens that attracts 200,000 people from the tri-state area, more than 500 vendors and various Fortune 500 Corporations; the creation of
the first Jamaica Tourism Project with Assemblywoman Vivian Cook; bi-monthly Cultural Events Calendar for Southeast Queens; Arts in the Parks for children with NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation and “Holidays” on the Avenue with CCJ Members and the Jamaica businesses. Ms. Emerson shares
with the Executive Directors of Black Spectrum Theatre and the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) the creation and management of the restoration of the former First Reformed Church, located on 153rd Street and Jamaica Ave., as a state of the art, multi-purpose 400-seat performing arts facility, now called the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC).
You see, although Tyra’s bio gives you a glimpse into what she does, it doesn’t measure the impact of what she does, nor of who she is. By organizing the JAMS festival she provides economic growth opportunities for local businesses while simultaneously blending cultures, connecting people and empowering an entire community in the process.
Tyra deserves this write-up, her flowers and a vacation. It is my absolute honor and pleasure to write about this phenomenal Woman who since the day I met her, has seen me as her little brother. I’m so grateful.
Thank you Tyra for your immeasurable contributions to society and to Black people specifically. We are all grateful for you.