A public art installation showcasing Long Island City’s vibrant creative community was unveiled in several neighborhoods in recent weeks, greeting residents emerging from their homes during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Five Queens-based artists were selected to design and paint four planets each, creating 20 total spheres to form a galaxy installed in tree pits throughout the district.
“After what has been a difficult year for many artists, LIC is a Gallery aims to lift our community up by showcasing engaging art by a range of local talent,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “Public art has taken on a new importance for our community and this installation, spread across the neighborhood, helps shine a light on various areas of our district while highlighting the artists that live and work here in Queens.”
Through an open call process curated by Culture Lab LIC, locally connected artists were chosen and tasked with using their creative lens to design a series of planets that reflects their approach to art while also showcasing the unique attributes of Long Island City.
“Culture Lab LIC is thrilled to see this project move forward,” Culture Lab LIC Executive Director Edjo Wheeler said. “This is good for the artists who get paid for their work and for the whole community who gets to experience the art. It’s partnerships like this that enhance the whole neighborhood and thank you to LICP for making it happen.”
Plaxall Gallery announced the launch of Culture Lab LIC last spring. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting the development of art, theater, music and community services in western Queens. Donated by Plaxall Inc., the 12,000-square-foot converted waterfront warehouse located on the Anable Basin in Long Island City is home to three art galleries, a 90-seat theater, and an outdoor event space.
Over the years, the Plaxall Gallery has become an important institution for the surrounding artistic community.
“Our local artists and their contributions to the public realm help make Long Island City the expressive, lively neighborhood that we know and love, and we are thrilled to see another installation come to life that will connect our community through art,” Plaxall Managing Director Paula Kirby said. “Thanks go to Culture Lab LIC, Eventscape and LIC Partnership for once again putting the spotlight on our cultural community while also livening the streetscape as we all spend more time outside.”
LIC is a Galaxy is another phase of LIC Arts Connection, an innovative, multi-site initiative focused on connecting the LIC community, both physically and socially, through access to arts and culture. This installation was made possible through funding provided by the Long Island City Board of Realtors.
“LIBOR is thrilled to partner with the Long Island City Partnership, to bring this unique public art project to the community, and to highlight the contributions towards equality made by Long Island City and Queens artists,” LIBOR President Susan Helsinger said. “On behalf of our 27,000 REALTO members, 8,500 of which live and work in Queens, we will continue to work with like-minded organizations within our communities to find safe and creative activities and projects that celebrate diversity and unity.”
All information on LIC is a Galaxy will be available via LIC Local, a free mobile site and smart signage campaign that uses QR code technology to help people navigate the neighborhood. A touchless system, LIC Local barcodes are posted at strategic points throughout LIC, where people can open the camera on their phone, scan the code, and see a rundown of everything going on in their immediate area, including public art projects, cultural institutions and other community events.