You are reading

Residents ask questions about selection process of pink sculpture, artists discuss affordable studio/apartment space


March 20, 2015 By Michael Florio

The Cultural Town Hall meeting that took place in Long Island City Wednesday night did not address the artistic merit of a controversial sculpture that is coming to the neighborhood—but how the artwork was selected.

Tom Finkelpearl, the Commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, spoke before a packed audience at MoMA PS 1 where there was standing room only. They tackled a number of issues such as the selection of public art, affordable studio space for artists as well as new arts-related legislation.

The meeting was organized following the public outcry concerning The Sunbather, a bright pink, 8 ½ feet tall sculpture planned to be placed at 43rd Ave and Jackson Ave. There was little criticism about the artwork itself, with questions focused more on how it was selected and how a location was chosen.

Lisa Deller, Chairwoman of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said the community should have more input into these decisions.

“I would love to see more engagement on potential sites, way before the artist is even selected,” she said. “There should be a discussion with the community.”

Several attendees also called for greater community input before a piece of art is selected—and so too did Van Bramer.

The Sunbather

The Sunbather

Finkelpearl said the current selection process has been effective for the past 30 years. He said that a three-person panel comprised of art professionals make the selections.

Richard Khuzami, who is the chairman of Community Board 1’s Consumer Affairs committee, said the community should have a representative on the panel. “You need the input of the non-artists within the community because they have to live with it.”

Finkelpearl, however, said that it would be hard to fully gauge the opinion of the community, since the negative voices–which could be in the minority–often speak the loudest.

“At what point do you say there is enough negative input?” he asked.

Van Bramer said he is drafting legislation that would provide the public with the opportunity to express their views on a proposal, and make the process more transparent.

For instance, many attendees said that they had no idea about the sculpture until after the plans were revealed.

Van Bramer said his legislation calls for greater public notification, and that the Department of Cultural Affairs would be required to provide at least one public hearing, with advance notification.

“This allows the department to hear the public,” he said.

The legislation would also require that the selection process would take place in the community where the artwork would be located.

The evening veered off toward the hot-button issues of affordable studio space and apartments.

One resident said that there is a lack of affordable studio space in Long Island City. She said that many dance and art studios as well as costume shops have already been priced out of both Manhattan and now Queens, and the remaining ones will soon be gone.

“If things don’t change fast, there won’t be any studios left in five years,” she said.

She said that artists need to have the security that they won’t be priced out down the road. She said in the past few months the rent has risen nearly 40 percent in some buildings and that many artist can’t afford the increase.

“We cannot live like that, not knowing what we are going to be doing down the road [when a lease ends],” she said

“We need an arts district in this neighborhood,” she exclaimed.

Van Bramer agreed with her.

“We have to create something different to ensure these art spaces continue to exist,” Van Bramer said. “We share common goals.”

Artists also expressed concern about affordable housing.

Van Bramer said that the de Blasio administration has recently announced a housing plan to create 1,500 affordable units for artist, as well as 500 units of affordable work studios, over the next 10 years.

“We have to make sure artists can live, create and make some money in New York City,” Van Bramer said.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Pink vomit. I think “art” coming out of my butthole every morning is a bit more pleasing to the eye than this disaster.
I will make sure that my dog defecates and pisses all over it each and single day we go out for a walk. Hows that?

Hoof Hearted

515 grand for that eye sore! That’s all you need to know. This is a scandal. There needs to be an investigation. The taxpayers are being robbed.

Kindergarden kids can do better art than that piece of rubbish.




Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.