February 13, By Hannah Wulkan
Artist collective LIC Artists will open its new Valentine’s themed show tomorrow at the Plaxall Gallery, a space on loan from the Long Island City-based plastics company.
The show, titled 8 Loves, will open with a celebration tomorrow night at the temporary gallery in the Plaxall building at 5-25 46th Avenue, and will remain open through March 4.
The upcoming show is named for the “8 different types of love based on ancient Greek Philosophy and how we all love differently,” explained Edjo Wheeler, the curator of the gallery and member of the LICA board of directors.
The show opens with a celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. and will feature live music, performances, food and drinks, and life drawings with live models.
LICA began staging shows in the Plaxall Gallery in November, when it first entered into an arrangement with the Plaxall Company to use a recently vacated 7,000 square foot space as a gallery for free until the company found a new tenant.
When the high-end printing company Vari-Direct moved to a larger space, Plaxall saw the opportunity to help foster the local art scene and allow local artists to display their work in a space that would otherwise sit empty.
“We believe that artists are an integral part of the LIC mix, and in that spirit, opened the space to the arts community instead of allowing it to sit vacant,” said Matthew Quigley, Managing Director at Plaxall. “The gallery has turned into a real gathering place for residents in the area and space for artists to meet and show their work.”
The temporary arrangement has continued on since the gallery opened in November, with LICA looking to use it as a chance to enrich the community beyond simply displaying the art of its members. It has not only hosted art shows in the space, but also has held live script readings, poetry, music and dance performances, and weekly life drawing workshops that have seen over 150 participants since they began, Wheeler said.
He added that LICA also offers tours of the gallery to adult ESL students from La Guardia Community College and to adults with learning disabilities from the AHRC Joseph T. Weingold Center.
“It’s not easy for artists to make it here. We keep getting pushed out of the very areas we helped make valuable. Rents keep going up. The lofts and industrial spaces we need get bought-out, flattened to make high rises. That’s progress, but what helps makes a neighborhood alive, intriguing, vibrant, valuable is the artists and the beauty they produce. This is an amazing opportunity the Plaxall family has provided us,” Wheeler said.
Once Plaxall rents out the space again LICA will have to move out and find a new space to work out of, and Wheeler said that the group hopes to find a more permanent home base. However if they cannot, they will continue to find temporary spaces to work out of.
Until then, the group continues to look toward future shows at Plaxall.
“For future exhibits we seek to put on an exhibition that highlights new artists and discusses the challenges and value (or lack thereof) of contemporary and conceptual art for today’s audiences. We will also be exploring women’s rights, immigration, the diversity of Queens culture and continue representing the local artists,” Wheeler said.
The Plaxall gallery is open to the public Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
For more information on the 8 Loves show and opening reception visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1744186708925661.