June 11, 2013, By Bill Parry
A local artist and a group of teenagers began painting a colorful mural on an unloved wall in Sunnyside on Sunday.
Mark Salinas, who lives and works out of his studio apartment on 40th St., joined forces with the the Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club to paint a “Rise-N-Shine” themed mural at the corner of 42nd St. and 48th Ave.
Salinas hopes his street art revitalizes this section of Sunnyside known for its shuttered businesses.
The teenagers that took part are members of the Torch Club, a nationwide leadership program that is part of the Boys & Girls Club. “You can’t go wrong when you involve neighborhood youth,” Salinas said.
The artist hopes the experience will give the teens pride in the new mural every time they walk by and hopefully dissuade other youths from tagging the wall with graffiti. “It was just last year, when we were cleaning this same wall of graffiti, when I had the idea for the mural,” said Salinas.
Rain delayed painting by a day and should further delay progress throughout the week. Salinas said the neighborhood response has been enthusiastic. “Everyone honks and says ‘thank you’,” he said. “If they have negative thoughts, they’ve been keeping it to themselves.”
Salinas arranged funding in the form of grants from the Queens Council on the Arts, as well as donations from local businesses.
If the feedback remains positive, the Rise-N-Shine mural will be the first of several projects in the neighborhood. “I have more ideas,” Salinas said.