04/17/15 2:00pm

Andrew Berman Architect

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has bestowed one of its highest honors to a Queens arts gallery. On April 30, the SculptureCenter will receive the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, which recognizes individuals or groups that have made extraordinary contributions to preserving buildings in New York City. (more…)

04/16/15 9:45am

NYCEDC

The city unveiled a multi-faceted economic development “action plan” to prevent foreclosures, improve streetscapes, create affordable housing, and increase job-training opportunities in Jamaica on Wednesday.

The actions include creating a Jamaica-specific marketing and branding program, expanding free WiFi access via the LinkNYC program, and capital improvements to Rufus King Park and Brinkerhoff Mall Park in St. Albans.  (more…)

03/30/15 2:00pm

Sophocles, front, #2162, Athens Square Park, 3.26.15, photo by S. Drago

This Saturday, the Parks Department, Borough President Katz, local elected officials and elected officials from Greece unveiled the newly finished Sophocles sculpture in Athens Square. According to Parks, the sculpture of the Greek dramatist is the last of four sculptures to be installed at the park, which wraps up a longterm plan for Athens Square established in the late 1980s. (Socrates, Athena, and Aristotle are already on display here.)

Sophocles was fully funded as a gift to the city by the Athens Square Committee in Astoria. The artist, Astoria-based sculptor Chris Vilardi, designed a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall bronze full-standing figure which was cast at the Modern Art Foundry. It’s pedestal is made of Mountain Green granite quarried in Jay, New York.

Here are more details on the design from the Parks Department: “The artist has taken a “modern stylistic approach” that pays homage to the past, and represents Sophocles in ancient attire typical for a man of his stature. In his left hand he holds the mask of tragedy, a prop of Greek theater. Inscribed in classic Greek font on the base are details of his life, as well as signature quotations from his plays.”

NYC Parks Queens Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski stated that “This beautiful park feels complete with the installation of its fourth and final sculpture, Sophocles. The sculpture represents years of dedication and hard work and we give our sincere thanks to the Athens Square Committee for their partnership and support. This project would not have been possible without them and its installation is such a wonderful way to honor Greek Independence Day this year.”

Check out a photo of the dedication after the jump.

Photo by S. Drago (more…)

03/27/15 4:00pm

sunnyside-plaza

Both the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and ReCreate Queens just launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring cultural programming to Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza this summer. The plaza, which opened up last year, is located right under the 7 at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. The goal of the campaign is to raise just over $5,000 by mid-April to kick off the performance series “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza.” The performance, planned to run between June and October, will provide residents with free concerts from different musicians and performers.

The performance series got its initial funding from Queens Council on the Arts, but additional funding is needed to carry the program through the summer. According to the Sunnyside BID, the first $1,000 of donations will be matched by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. As Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, says, “Bringing arts programming to Bliss Plaza helps create a more dynamic place and generates foot traffic and activity in the neighborhood, which benefits businesses, residents and visitors alike.”

If you’d like to donate, do so here.

Photo by Michael Rapp

03/25/15 4:00pm

weird-loner-queens

“Weird Loners,” a TV show about “four single 30-something underdogs” living in Ridgewood, premieres on Fox on March 3st. To celebrate, Ridgewood’s Queens Tavern, at 6869 Fresh Pond Road, is holding a viewing party. The event description is pretty darn funny:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

Sarah from Ridgewood Social will be the host of the evening. Here are details on the event, which begins at 9 pm on Tuesday. See you there?

Closing Bell: “Weird Loners,” Set in Ridgewood, Will Premiere This Month [Q'Stoner]

the-living-pyramid-socrates-sculpture-park

Check out this new, monumental sculpture coming to Socrates Sculpture Park! It’s by the New York City-based artist Agnes Denes and will be called The Living Pyramid. This large-scale, site-specific piece — commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park — will span 30 feet at its base and rise 30 feet high. It will be created from several tons of soil and planted grasses.

The Living Pyramid will actually grow throughout its installation. It will be installed in April of this year, and the public is invited for a participatory volunteer planting at the site on May 17th from 3 to 6pm. According to Socrates, “As tens of thousands of seeds sprout into grasses and wildflowers, The Living Pyramid will continue to grow and evolve, with full assembly and completion this June.” It will be on display at the park until August 30th.

03/12/15 4:00pm

weird-loner-queens

The TV show “Weird Loners” is set to run on Fox March 31st, according to Queens Courier. The show, work of the co-creator behind The King of Queens, is all about “four single 30-something underdogs who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives and form an unlikely bond in a Queens townhouse.” While the story is set in Ridgewood, it’s shot in Los Angeles, and the current script doesn’t include direct references to the neighborhood. Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, however, hopes that through the show, “We will get the chance to tell the world about Queens.” Doesn’t the world already know?

New Fox Comedy Set in Queens Premiering March 31 [Queens Courier]
New TV Show, “Weird Loners,” Will Take Place in Ridgewood [Q'Stoner]

02/11/15 3:00pm

flushing-town-hall-fundraiser

Back in September, an anonymous donor challenged Flushing Town Hall to raise $35,000 in new donations by February of this year. If the historic arts center reached its goal, the donor promised to contribute another $35,000. Well, here’s some good news straight from Flushing Town Hall: since September more than 300 people donated, for a total of more than $41,000. Says the Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek, “We are extremely heartened by this outpouring of support. People from all walks of life – new and returning visitors, supporters of the arts, neighbors and visitors from afar – all pitched in to help meet this challenge. We even received a number of contributions from people whose names we didn’t even recognize. This is just an amazing response!” The funds will be used to keep things running at Flushing Town Hall, which has undergone significant budget cuts in recent years.

You can donate to the fundraiser until February 28th. The “35″ in “$35,000″ actually represents this year’s 35th anniversary of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts.

All Flushing Town Hall coverage [Q'Stoner]

02/11/15 9:00am

46-55-metropolitan-avenue

A tipster recently passed along news that the four-story warehouse at 46-55 Metropolitan Avenue — right next door to the popular Ridgewood restaurant Bun-Ker — is slated to become artist studios. The tip was confirmed by a contact listed on this Department of Buildings application, which specifies an “interior renovation with partition works on 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor.” (Requests to the actual building owner went unanswered.) We couldn’t get any more specifics, except that the warehouse will be converted into commercial spaces for artistic use. (We’re wondering if it could be something like the now-defunct 3rd Ward art workspace in nearby Bushwick.) No word on the construction timeline, although the DOB issued permits to begin the interior renovation this month.

The warehouse is a total of 32,400 square feet with 8,100 square feet per floor and 13-foot ceilings. According to public records, it sold in December for $5,300,000. GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

court-square-park-long-island-city

Today the Parks Department announced that it is holding its annual Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award in Long Island City’s Court Square Park. The Clare Weiss Award (named after the former Public Art Curator for the Parks Department) is given to an emerging, NYC-based artist with a compelling proposal for an outdoor sculpture. That recipient will be granted $10,000 for the costs of fabrication, insurance, maintenance, installation and removal of the artwork, as well as the restoration of the site. The artist will then install their work in Court Square Park sometime in the fall of 2015, and it’ll be on view for one year.

If you’re an artist interested in applying for the award, go here. The deadline for submissions is March 22nd, 2015.

Photo by the NYC Parks Department