Queens Art Intervention returns for second year

By Tammy Scileppi

If you are not into attending museum exhibits, or just don’t have the time, you can still get your culture on—while enjoying summer’s last hurrah—when QAI 2015 rocks Queens this weekend.

Created last year by the Long Island City-based non-profit Rego Park Green Alliance, the Queens Art Intervention brings artists together to create projects sprinkled throughout the borough in an effort to help revitalize neighborhoods.

You might come across something that is really eye-catching, unusual, or even quirky—like a rental van complete with pillows, a light installation and jazz singers.

“QAI installations are meant to inspire, educate and empower residents of all ages,” Yvonne Shortt, RPGA executive director, said.

More than 30 artists—90 percent of whom are based in Queens—have created 25 projects, ranging from large-scale art installations to hands-on programming, in 14 communities across the borough.

Shortt pointed out that last year, they had projects that stretched from LIC to the Rockaways.

And QAI 2015 will once again provide opportunities to discover temporary outdoor installations from the streets of LIC to under the elevated subway lines in Woodhaven.

“Our goal is to grow QAI over time to include more communities with rich artistic experiences,” Shortt said.

Shortt sends this eclectic group of artists out into the borough with directions beyond focusing on QAI’s goal.

“Leave a splash of art and brighten someone’s day,” Shortt said. “Cause people to think differently.”

For those who love dancing, there will be flash-mob dances in LIC, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens. You can go to rpgastudio.org and sign up to be a part of the flash mob and learn the dance.

There will also be a community card game event where kids and adults can play Pedestrian Penguin, which promotes transportation safety and awareness.

Or come lie under the stars on couches made out of paper mâché, after playing a vinyl record of your choice and designing your own collage album cover. And be sure to look for Behavior for Dummies, an outdoor series of signs that promote garbage and poop cleanup. There will be something for everyone.

“Eight years ago I wanted to clean up a garbage-infested underpass. When I went through the normal channels, the answer was no,” Shortt said. “Then I decided to just do it. My heart was in the right place and I finally found a less traditional approach that yielded a beautiful installation on 63rd Drive in Rego Park.”

From that start of what became RPGA, Shortt has used the same approach in numerous projects to better not just her community, but others as well.

“When people see we are not going anywhere and we are willing to put in the hard work, we can usually find people to help make our vision possible. Streets where people care about what is going on can only happen through community collaboration and artistic vision,” she said. “It is my hope to bring the artistic vision together with the community to spark love. Love of community, love of people and, of course, the focus and determination to make amazing things happen in Queens.”

If You Go

Queens Art Intervention 2015

When: Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20

Where: Locations across the borough

Contact: (347) 201-2186

Website: www.regoparkgreenalliance.org