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Two Queens artists selected as winners in the 2021 Art in the Parks grant for Flushing Meadows Corona Park

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“Going Back to The Meadows: A Tribute to LL Cool J and Performance at FMCP” by Sherwin Banfield (left) and “The Giving Tree” by artist Haksul Lee (right) in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks Department)

The Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park and NYC Parks announced two Queens-based artists as the winners of its 2021 Art in the Parks grants for temporary art installations. 

The artworks, “Going Back to The Meadows: A Tribute to LL Cool J and Performance at FMCP” by Sherwin Banfield and “The Giving Tree” by Haksul Lee, are on display at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and will be on view through Nov. 23, 2022. 

“We are excited to welcome these two great artworks by innovative local artists to our park,” said Janice Melnick, executive director of Alliance FMCP.

Now in its third year, the Art in the Parks grant provides two $5,000 awards to Queens-based artists whose winning installations are located at underserved sites within the park, with a focus on subjects that recognize its cultural power and environmental history. 

The grants are provided annually by The Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the city park’s nonprofit partner. Located in the most diverse community in the country, Flushing Meadows Corona Park serves approximately 10 million parkgoers annually. 

Banfield’s 8-foot-high cast bronze portrait bust, which sits atop a design resembling a polished stainless steel radio, features an audio playlist that runs through solar-powered speakers. 

The sculpture is located in the David Dinkins Circle, near the boardwalk ramp entrance to the park from the No. 7 train entrance at Mets Willets Point. 

Artist Sherwin Banfield works on his sculpture of hip-hop artist and actor LL Cool J. (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks)

Banfield describes this artwork as “a sculptural sonic performance artwork that evokes the feeling of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as an event space, channeled through the sonic frequency and artistry of Queens hip-hop legend LL Cool J.”   

His most recent exhibitions include sculptures for the Queens Central Library, the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Socrates Sculpture Park and the Factory LIC Gallery. 

Lee’s artwork, “The Giving Tree,” is made of recycled materials collected locally. The top of the sculpture functions as a wind turbine to generate electricity for a streetlight effect and to power outlets for park visitors to charge their phones. 

“The Giving Tree” sculpture is located on the lawn area north of The Rocket Thrower. 

Artist Haksul Lee with his sculpture, “The Giving Tree” (Photo courtesy of NYC Parks Department)

Lee described his artwork as taking the form of a tree, “to bring awareness of the environmental concerns in the Queens community.”  

Lee is a sculptor whose recent exhibitions include The Immigrant Artists Biennial, a group show at the Korean Embassy in Beijing and the Phyllis Harriman Gallery.

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