Long Island City artists take over an old print shop to showcase their work

Photos by Angela Matua

An old print shop in Long Island City has been turned into a makeshift art gallery showcasing works from local artists.

Located at 5-25 46th Ave., building owners Plaxall have allowed Long Island City Artists (LICA), an arts nonprofit, to hold their fall member show, which opened on Nov. 22.

Curator Edjo Wheeler said there are 41 artists with nearly 200 pieces showcased in the 6,000-square-foot space. The pieces range from sculpture, paintings, work with Styrofoam, collage and some mixed media.

LICA was founded in 1985 to produce art exhibitions and events and has continued to provide professional development opportunities for artists in the area. The organization lost its permanent home two years ago and has hosted several pop-up events to promote its artists.

In the past, the amount of members has ranged from 40 to 60 but recently, that number has jumped to 140 members. Wheeler said several factors have contributed to this rise.

“More artists are moving into the area but I also think it might have something to do with more artists starting to become more desperate about how they’re going to be able to stay in the city,” Wheeler said. “Some of the artists that have reached out to us are homeless from an artistic standpoint.”

Wheeler, who is showcasing his own sculpture pieces at the show, also hopes to expand LICA’s mission to help writers, poets, actors and dancers, and the board recently voted to expand their membership.

Each artist at the fall members show was able to showcase at least five pieces. This allows viewers to “get to know the artist” unlike salon shows where it’s harder to “get a sense of who the artist is,” Wheeler said.

Eileen Coyne, an artist working mostly with oil paint, created pieces to reflect her feelings on the recent election. Her pieces portray the two nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Next to Clinton is a portrait of several woman with looks of despair. Next to Trump is Coyne’s interpretation of the second amendment.

Marilee Cooper created a series of “segments” made from recycled, man-made objects such as chains, an old faucet and wires.

“The common thread inherent in these modular works is that they provide a new way of looking at the discarded,” her artist statement reads.

The show will end on Dec. 22. LICA will also host drink and draw events and every Monday it will host Stripped Scripts, a chance for playwrights to have their work read aloud by actors.

For more information on LICA and the exhibit, visit their website.




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