Quiet Queens Neighborhood Becomes a New Mecca for Street Art

A neighborhood in Queens is becoming a canvas for street artists. The colorful result is drawing people from across the city and even the world. Queens reporter Ruschell Boone filed the folliwng report:

With colorful compositions on walls, buildings, fences and storefronts, a quiet section of Astoria has become a Mecca for street art.

The center of this community art scene is Welling Court, but it has spread to surrounding blocks. The artists paint with the approval of the property owners.

"To see this going on in the neighborhhod is incredible," said one person in the community. "It's so intense. It's so vibrant."

Some of the works are by street artists whose paintings are in high demand.

One mural is a collaboration by Crash and Daze, who first made their mark tagging subway trains in the 1970s. 

And an artist known as Too Fly, who tagged buildings as a kid in the '90s, painted a mural on Saturday. 

"I really am proud of it because we are like the old school pioneers, part of that whole era, and so to see it grow from a point where it wasn't respected or wasn't appreciated in the graffiti times, I feel very happy it went in that direction," Too Fly said.

The project started with 40 murals. Today, there are about 150, and you have walk the neighborhood to really see what's here. 

"Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn they got theirs. We got ours in Queens," said one person in the neighborhood.

Dozens of new pieces were unveiled last Saturday at a block party, where people were able to view the work and talk to the artists.

"I think it's great," said one resident. "I think it's a new artform to be exposed to everybody."

This all began in 2010, when a local resident teamed up with Ad Hoc Art, a Brooklyn gallery, to beautify the neighborhood.

The project gained steam three years ago with the demolition of 5 Pointz, a warehouse in Long Island City that street artists decorated.

Not everyone loved it at first. There was pushback from residents. But a growing number have embraced this small community's new fame. Indeed, street art fans from around the world have begun visiting.    

"There is data that shows that the more art and creativity and culture you have in a community, the more people enjoy it and appreciate it, want to spend time there, want to invest in their own communities," said Garrison Buxton, curator of the Welling Court Mural Project. 

 

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