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.
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
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.
On Park Lane, at the east end of the vast Forest Park, which includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Glendale, a lone lamenting figure stands on a rise between the basketball courts and the tony homes spread out before it. His garments are ripped and his eyes look heavenward in a supplicating manner. Passersby would be puzzled about what this figure symbolizes, were there not a NYC Parks sign positioned perhaps a bit too close to it.
First of all, the definition. Amigurumi is a traditional Japanese art form that involves knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals or other cuddly creatures. Second, the relevance. Resobox is currently displaying more than 4,000 amigurumi that were made by more than 140 artists from 32 different countries. In fact, the Long Island City gallery has turned its space into an “amigurumi room,” filled with a wide array of these handmade objects. Third, the pitch. These crafts are on sale… and Valentine’s Day is coming up.
Details: World Amigurumi Exhibition, Resobox, 41-26 27th Street, Long Island City, show runs until February 28th, admission is free, but pieces mostly cost between $20 and $50. Gallery is open on all weekdays, except Tuesday, 11 am to 5 pm, and weekends, noon to 5 pm.
Art Connects New York, a group that curates free, permanent art exhibits for social service organizations in NYC, has partnered with the Markus Gardens development in Jamaica for its next project. (Check out some of the artwork Art Connects New York brought to the Queens Community House here.) The Queens-based artist and curator Karen Fitzgerald is organizing this next exhibit, which will be permanently installed in the Markus Gardens supportive housing development at 90-26 171st Street. To be called “In a Sheltering Place,” it will feature 15 artists exploring the ideas of shelter and home through various media. All of the artists donated their artwork in the exhibition to the Markus Gardens community.
The grand opening is scheduled for February, so stay tuned for images and details on the exhibit to come.
Yesterday the Sunnyside Shines BID announced a new public art piece installed on a billboard in the neighborhood. The artist Margeaux Walter designed the piece, entitled “Keep Calm,” and you can see it at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and 46th Street. The work is part of 14×48, an organization that repurposes vacant billboards as public art space.
The “Keep Calm” piece is meant to, according to the website, “create a dialogue that addresses the overlap between individuality and commerce as well as the various guises of advertising and propaganda.” (There are messages like “Keep Calm and Kiss On,” “Keep Calm and Play Basketball.”) Viewers are also invited to tweet their own “keep calm” messages with the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. The artist plans to turn the tweets into postcards and hand them out along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave Coffee House, 45-01 Greenpoint Avenue. The billboard will be up in the neighborhood for at least four weeks.
Saturday last, I headed over to the newly renovated Queens Museum at the former World’s Fair Grounds in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The trip was a true bit of joy, given that I don’t own a car and the 7 train was undergoing one of its periodic spasms of maintenance work, so I had to get there from Astoria via a train ride to Forest Hills whereupon I was meant to catch a bus. The bus was leaving when I got out of the station, so I hailed a cab. Neither the cab driver nor his GPS seemed to have ever heard of the Queens Museum or Flushing Meadow Corona Park, but somehow I got there in time for a NYC H2O event celebrating the massive Watershed Relief Map which has been given a place of pride and honor at the institution.
The map was prepared in the 1930s by the Work Projects Administration for the institutional ancestors of our modern Department of Environmental Protection – the Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity and the Board of Water Supply. All city agencies were tasked with producing displays that depicted their functions for the World’s Fair of 1939, and the water people decided to go big.
From January 11th to February 8th at the Queens Museum, 596 Acres is presenting “Reviewing Renewal on the Queens Museum Panorama.” The organization plans to display all 155 urban renewal plans adopted by the city in conjunction with the Panorama. Urban renewal plans, which New York City adopted in 1949, were used to get federal funding to acquire land, relocate residents living there, and demolish the structures to make way for development. According to 596 Acres, “The legacy of these neighborhood master plans remains active across the city.”
The exhibit also includes a number of events like a walking tour of the Willets Point Urban Renewal Area with Dr. Jack Eichenbaum, a screening of the documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, and a reading by the author DW Gibson. Everything is free but in some cases, RSVPs are required. For all the event details and to RSVP, go here.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum has filed permits with the Department of Buildings to begin construction on its $20,000,000 annex. Queens Courier reports that the project was majorly stalled — design work began back in 2007 — due to variance and zoning issues. The 8,737-square-foot educational visitors center, which will rise two stories, is going to hold more exhibit space as well as a store. It’s being built on vacant land next door to the house museum, which is visited by 12,000 people every year. No word on how long construction will last on the annex.
Jennifer Walden, director of marketing at the museum, told the Courier that this new center will “create a wonderful cultural campus in Corona that allows us to expand our programming for the community and our visitors from around the world.”