May 11, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The fifth annual LIC Arts Open kicks off Wednesday, taking place at about 65 venues throughout the greater neighborhood.
The festival, which runs from May 13 through May 17, is going to be the biggest LIC Arts Open yet—up from 54 venues last year. There are also likely to be 500 artists exhibiting their work, up from 250 in 2014.
This year, the organizers have been granted access to two giant buildings: Factory LIC and the Falchi Building.
Factory LIC, a new venue, is providing 40,000 square feet of space, while the Falchi Building is opening up 30,000 square feet of space, up from 10,000 square feet last year.
The two buildings are located a block apart on 47th Avenue, near 31st Street.
“In these two buildings alone there will be 180 artists,” said Richard Mazda, who is the co-founder of the LIC Arts Open and the owner of the Secret Theatre. “You could spend a whole afternoon in them and then there are another 63 venues.”
Visitors can find exhibits sprinkled throughout the greater neighborhood stretching from Hunters Point to Steinway Street.
There are several venues located in Hunters Point. These range from restaurants such as Alobar, Open Door, Station LIC, LIC Landing and Manducatis Rustica to businesses such as Modern Spaces, Matted and Douglas Elliman.
To help coordinate this year’s expanded lineup, Mazda said he brought in a team of five professional curators.
“To fill these two massive buildings and these other spaces, we couldn’t do that alone,” he said. “We took on five curators to help us bring in the right kind of work so I think that people will see everything from emerging artists, to very well established artists, on a scale that we didn’t imagine when we started the festival five years ago.”
Mazda also partnered with Carolina Penafiel of the Long Island City arts nonprofit Local Project, who is serving as the festival’s Exhibitions and Events Coordinator.
“The quality of shows is amazing. It almost looks like an art fair,” Penafiel said. “And the spaces that have been given to us, they’re beautiful and they’re raw.”
As in previous festivals, local artists will participate in Open Studios this Saturday and Sunday, displaying their workspaces to the public.
Mazda estimates that the public will have access to about 200 studios compared to about 160 last year.
For a complete list of LIC Arts Open events, venues and exhibitions, visit licartsopen.org/full-festival-guide