Seeking to add more color to the Court Square area, the Long Island City Partnership unveiled its latest art series, LIC (Re)Connects at “The Ribbon,” an interactive dual-site installation featuring ”LIC Love Notes” submitted by neighborhood enthusiasts.
Commissioned projects from the series include a construction-site mural by graffiti artist Queen Andrea, a 760-foot, multi-panel mural along the Thomson Avenue Bridge, and a collection of Instagram filters that correspond with “The Ribbon.”
The projects were created to enliven the local streetscape and encourage excitement as residents, office workers and visitors return to the community.
“LIC (Re)Connects is our own love letter to the people of LIC. Conceived by Queens artists, fabricated by a LIC manufacturer, and showcasing the people that have kept our neighborhood strong during unprecedented times,” Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “The projects are a testament to the spirit, ingenuity and cross-pollination uniquely found in LIC. As neighbors return to their homes, kids return to school, visitors rediscover our museums and workers head back to the office, we encourage everyone to take a moment to enjoy this public art that brightens our streetscape.”
“The Ribbon” was erected across two public spaces in the central Court Square area to engage everyone from curious children to workers on their lunch break. Each location features two magenta structures with rotating iridescent panels inscribed with “LIC Love Notes” submitted by local residents, visitors and workers that will be continually added through December or until the 100 panels are filled.
Five smaller LIC sidewalk signs embodying the design and color scheme of “The Ribbon” were also produced and are placed in nearby tree pits. LIC-based placemaking and design firm Hive Public Space created “The Ribbon” in collaboration with Urban Conga, a New York-based design studio.
“The power of public spaces during this pandemic has crystallized the importance of our work,” Hive Public Space President Alexandra Gonzalez said. “With ‘The Ribbon,’ we wanted to combine play with storytelling for this place, and do it in a way that felt inclusive to the diverse inhabitants of LIC.”
“The Ribbon” was fabricated and installed by LIC-based manufacturing firm Boyce Technologies, further highlighting the collaboration within the neighborhood’s uniquely mixed-use community.
“Winding through central meeting spaces in Long Island City, ‘The Ribbon’ greets us with personal messages that inspire community, congregation and conversation,” Boyce Technologies President Charles Boyce said. “The great appreciation of the neighborhood, which underpins this project and is evidenced by the ‘LIC Love Notes,’ is shared by the team at Boyce. It is a wonderful feeling we get as a design and engineering company when we meander away from our regular work and contribute to something that impacts the personal lives of people in our community.”
Another commissioned work includes, “Dichroic Vessels,” a collection of Instagram filters that correspond with “The Ribbon.”
“Dichroic Vessels,” by Hive Public Space and digital artist Alexis Zerafa, is a virtual extension of “The Ribbon.” The filter features floating vessels and whimsical iridescent colors that create a mirage-like effect, inspired by the constant transformation and flow of the neighborhood. The selfie version of the filter features a similar iridescent color scheme. “Dichroic Vessels” also links the project to social media and AR technology, both of which play an increasing role in the planning and development of cities.
Graffiti artist and graphic designer Andrea Von Budjoss, known as Queen Andrea, created “Floral Festivity” on a large construction fence located at 27-01 Jackson Ave., converting an eyesore into an energizing background.
“I love neighborhoods like LIC that are true cross-sections of the vibrant diversity and endless possibilities that make New York City the best city in the world,” she said.
LICP commissioned the large-scale mural to cover the overpass of the Thomson Avenue Bridge over the 180-acre Sunnyside Yards near the LaGuardia Community College campus.
Designed by LIC-based visual artist No Cap, “Unity and Diversity” depicts the people of Queens, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, through a colorful and dynamic intertwining pattern.
“Reclaiming spaces for beautiful public arts projects is increasingly important to all New Yorkers,” No Cap said. “The Thomson Avenue Bridge is like a gateway to Long Island City, particularly for the students and faculty at LaGuardia Community College. The colorful braiding of the mural design commands the attention of passersby, and I hope will become instantly recognizable to all those who view it.”
Additional reporting by Gabriele Holtermann.