By Chris Engelhardt
Three students at LaGuardia Community College helping to put Sunnyside on the map were honored by the college and community organizations last week as top finalists in the Sunnyside map project.
The project is a joint effort by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia, all of which are working together to produce an artistic color map of Sunnyside that will publicize the neighborhood to visitors and residents.
The map is expected to be completed and printed later this summer and will be distributed at hotels in nearby Long Island City, local real estate offices and community events.
Community leaders from the groups as well as college officials, including Hugo Fernandez, assistant professor of visual arts and photography, and Angela Wambugu Cobb, director of development, recognized first place winner and fine arts/design major Carmen Zhu, second place winner and fine arts major Adina Partoi and third place winner and fine arts major Miho Nozawa at an awards reception for the map project July 2. The event was held at the college’s E Building in Long Island City.
The color map of Sunnyside will include Zhu’s winning artwork as well as a business directory and advertisements from Sunnyside businesses.
John Vogt, chairman of the Sunnyside Shines board of directors, lauded the finalists for their “tremendous talent,” hard work and vision.
“We were amazed and impressed by the quality, we didn’t know what to expect,” he said of the artwork. “It was hard for us to choose. These are all great pieces of artwork.”
A total of 14 students entered the map contest, which began in April. Those students were asked to enter a sketch of a Sunnyside map, and the three finalists were later chosen by a selection committee in May and asked to submit a complete map that would orient visitors to Sunnyside and highlight the neighborhood’s numerous attractions.
Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said he was proud of the collaboration behind the project, as well as the opportunity to showcase some of Sunnyside’s finest establishments.
“Sunnyside is a special neighborhood,” he said. “One of the things I wanted to do was form a more cohesive, collective effort in groups working together, and the BID, the chamber and the college truly exemplify that. For five months we’ve been working on it, combining a relationship between the community and the business world.”
For their artwork, Zhu received an award prize of $1,000, while Partoi was given a $500 prize and Nozawa received $250.
Community leaders and school officials, including Fernandez, said the awards were well-deserved and that he was thrilled for students to have the opportunity to create art for community and commercial enterprises and to have real-world experience outside the classroom.
“The Humanities Department’s visual arts area is proud to be involved in the winning collaboration with the Sunnyside business community,” he said, “a community whose people, commerce and landscape help to support LaGuardia as both a good neighbor and also as a home for students, staff and faculty.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.