Nov. 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Court Square has been brightened up by a number of public art pieces that were unveiled Wednesday by the Long Island City Partnership.
The organization cut the ribbon on its art series “LIC (Re)Connects” that includes three art pieces — a pink interactive installation, a construction site mural, and a 760-foot multi-panel mural along the Thomson Avenue Bridge.
“LIC (Re)Connects is our own love letter to the people of LIC,” Elizabeth Lusskin, president of Long Island City Partnership said. “The projects are a testament to the spirit, ingenuity and cross-pollination uniquely found in LIC.”
The main feature is “The Ribbon,” a two-part interactive installation celebrating Long Island City residents’ love for their neighborhood. One part was installed in Rafferty Triangle and the other, across the street, at One Court Square Plaza.
Each location features two zig-zagging magenta structures with rotating panels that are inscribed with “LIC Love Notes,” notes written about the neighborhood and submitted by local residents and visitors.
New notes will be continuously added to the panels as more people submit them until every panel is filled. People who live, work or visit Long Island City are invited to share their own love letters to the neighborhood through Dec. 31. They can share their love notes by scanning the QR codes placed at the installation sites.
The Ribbon — created by LIC-based design firm Hive Public Space in collaboration with The Urban Conga — will remain installed through 2022. It was fabricated and installed by LIC-based manufacturing firm Boyce Technologies.
“The power of public spaces during this pandemic has crystallized the importance of our work,” said Alexandra Gonzalez, President of Hive Public Space. “With ‘The Ribbon’ we wanted to combine play with storytelling for this piece, and do it in a way that felt inclusive to the diverse inhabitants of LIC.”
Hive Public Space and digital artist Alexis Zerafa also created an Instagram filter to coincide with The Ribbon. The filter called “Dichroic Vessels” features floating vessels and iridescent colors that were inspired by the constant transformation and flow of Long Island City.
Another piece in the LIC (Re)Connects series is a mural painted on a construction site fence by graffiti artist and graphic designer Andrea Von Budjoss, a.k.a. Queen Andrea. The piece, titled “Floral Festivity” transforms the former eyesore, located at 27-01 Jackson Ave., into a work of art featuring bright colors, shapes and floral designs.
The artist said she was happy to contribute her work to the neighborhood.
“I love neighborhoods like LIC that are true cross-sections of the vibrant diversity and endless possibilities that make New York City the best city in the world,” Queen Andrea said.
Lastly, the Long Island City Partnership commissioned a 760-foot mural to cover the overpass of the Thomson Avenue Bridge. The mural, designed by LIC-based visual artist No Cap, was inspired by the diversity of Queens residents.
Titled “Unity and Diversity,” it features a colorful intertwining pattern with the phrase “We are the world” spelled out in a variety of languages commonly spoken in Queens.
LIC Partnership collaborated with LaGuardia Community College students who determined the piece’s general theme and selected the artist to bring their vision to life.
“Reclaiming spaces for beautiful public art projects is increasingly important to all New Yorkers,” No Cap said. “The Thomson Avenue bridge is like a gateway to Long Island City, particularly for the students and faculty at LaGuardia Community College. The colorful braiding of the mural design commands the attention of passersby, and I hope will become instantly recognizable to all those who view it.”
All the pieces were funded by the LIC Partnership with additional support from Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“As neighbors return to their homes, kids return to school, visitors rediscover our museums and workers head back to the office, we encourage everyone to take a moment to enjoy this public art that brightens our streetscape,” Lusskin said.