May 13, By Jackie Strawbridge
The sixth LIC Arts Open kicks off May 18 with hundreds of artists in venues spread across Long Island City, plus new rooftop live performances and a focus on public art.
The annual festival will span about 60 venues and 500 artists total, according to Executive Director Richard Mazda. As always, there will be open studios for attendees to see local artists at work, as well as group shows and exhibitions.
New to the festival this year will be a rooftop concert at Diego Salazar Art Studios, 43-32 22nd St., Mazda said.
There will be jazz, comedy, rock and acoustic music.
“We’ve focused the live entertainment during the afternoons when the Open Studios are happening, right in the heart of where the main studio buildings are,” Mazda said.
The Arts Open will also coincide with a handful of public art pieces on view throughout the neighborhood.
Arts Org NYC has created a public mural project called “Top to Bottom,” stretching three stories and half a block across the exterior of 43-01 21st St. Fifty artists from 14 countries have contributed to the work, according to LIC Arts Open information.
Artist Joe LoGuirato will create sidewalk art depicting various endangered species in a fossilized state on 44th Road, 23rd Street and 22nd Street. The public artwork, “Becoming Fossils,” is intended to raise awareness of animals that are near extinction.
A mobile gallery called “A Way From Home” by artist J McDonald will also be parked on 22nd Street.
“From all my experience as a presenter of arts events or cultural events, whether it’s music, theater or fine arts, I think you always have to keep things fresh or new,” Mazda said. “Something which will make somebody who came last year want to come back.”
Like last year, the Falchi Building at 31-00 47th Ave. and the Factory LIC at 30-30 47th Ave. will provide significant space for LIC Arts Open exhibitions – about 12,000-square-feet and 8,000-square-feet, respectively. Other shows will take place at venues from Resobox gallery to Modern Spaces to Rockaway Brewing Co.
Mazda advises Arts Open attendees to plan their visits geographically, dedicating their explorations to, say, the Court Square area on Saturday and Vernon Boulevard on Sunday.
He added that he believes visiting the Arts Open can have an important impact on the lives of local artists.
“We’re still in a development boom and so we’re still in a dialogue with developers about trying to keep art, artists and art studios in this area,” he said. “I think a big showing by the public and support from them would go some way toward securing the future.”