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Giant Mural Going Up in Long Island City Symbolizing Queens’ Diversity

The mural on Dec. 14, 2020 (Image provided by Robin Alcantara)

Dec. 15, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A massive mural that aims to promote diversity and inclusion is going up on a building in Long Island City.

The artwork, which features a number of people of different religious backgrounds, is currently being painted on the side of 25-17 41st Ave. and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 17.

The mural is being created by members of Blazay and For Freedoms, two New York City-based artistic groups that produce thought-provoking artwork around the country.

They launched a GoFundMe earlier this month with the aim of raising $10,000 to help cover the cost of the project and to put toward future murals.

The painting will measure nearly 23 feet in height and more than 15 feet in width upon completion.

The artwork depicts five people from various religious backgrounds who are standing in a crowd. There is a man wearing a turban, a Jewish woman with a head wrap, a Native American woman wearing a headband, a woman in a hijab, and a Christian man holding a bible.

The phrase “They Are Us, Us Is Them,” will be painted down the center of the artwork.

The artwork is a twist on Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Worship oil painting that was created in 1943 and based on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.

Robin Alcantara, an artist and founder of Blazay, said the mural represents the diverse makeup of Queens and the acceptance of different cultures and identities in the borough.

“It’s been a really rough year and there has been a lot of division in the country,” Alcantara said. “We felt that coming up to the holiday season this was a timely piece of artwork to promote unity in the community.”

The mural after three days of painting (Image provided by Robin Alcantara)

Alcantara, who is originally from the Bronx, said that a team of four people have been working on the mural since Dec. 7 and it took about a week to prepare all the paints.

His team is using industrial-scale paints that have been pre-mixed into oil-based enamels. They are using a scissor lift to move up and down the wall and a special UV coating will eventually go over the painting to protect it from the elements, he said.

Alcantara said that a typical project of this scale costs around $45,000 to produce but his team is providing the labor for free and footing most of the costs.

“It just feels right to give artwork to the community,” he said.

“This mural will bring life and energy to the neighborhood and will be a magnet for people to come and visit,” he said.

Alcantara hopes to produce more murals in the future with a portion of the money raised going towards those projects.

The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $900 since it began on Dec. 6 and donations can be made by clicking on this link.

Donors who give $50 or more will receive Blazay-styled fashionwear. For example, a donor who gives $50 will be able to get a free shirt or hat, while a donor who gives $300 will be entitled to a jacket.

The painting taking shape (Image provided by Robin Alcantara)

25-17 41st Av. in 2019 (Google Maps)

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19 Comments

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Dee

Back in the day locals would just graffiti their name/group or stencil something on the wall. You got to see the diversity by traveling through different neighborhoods. It was way cheaper. No one asked for donations. They just used a cheap can of spray paint.

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JM Maspeth

Yes, because we Irish are such victims in the US and never get a fair shake. Never mind that no nationality has been singled out as such; the representations are of five religious identities, one of which is Christianity, some form of which most Irish people are raised under.

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Slainte

The Irish have contributed mightily to the borough for generations now. Who do you think founded the world- renowned Saint Pat’s FOR ALL Parade in Sunnyside? The Irish are willing to include other groups but apparently the courtesy is not reciprocated.

“Inclusion” isn’t very inclusive it seems.

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Reading comprehension is useful

Did I use the phrase “we Irish?” Try reading more carefully. Heard any good Kerryman jokes lately btw?

Anyway, your point is?

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JM Maspeth

Douglas Road, how does one “sound American”? Was it something I said? Do I need to use the written equivalent of an D’Unbelievables skit to sound like an authentic Irish person to you? Do you have any substantive or relevant point to make?

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Guest

Irish is not a religion or ethnicity, it’s a nationality. This is for American people from different ethnicities.

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So woke

Because there are so many native Americans walking around lic/sunnyside with head bans on. Right

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Celebrate diversity, or else!

Will there be an Irish person in this mural, or do they need not apply? Inquiring minds want to know.

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SoreLoserOrangeMan

You can contact the artist and demand that they add your favorite orange man in the mural.

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Patrick Scrarcella

Raise the money and paint your own mural.
It’s not like there’s any shortage of Irish pride things around. But if you don’t think so, get to work on some projects instead of complaining about other people’s.

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