Photo Courtesy of Kew Gardens Arts
Amy Handy’s “Beachcombing” mixed media on canvas
By Michael V. Cusenza
The cold, uniform, gray roll-down gates of shuttered stores on the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge have given way to an impromptu outdoor art gallery.
The brainchild of coordinators Carol Lacks and Anthony Mavilia, “Here, There and Everywhere: Art in Kew Gardens” showcases the work of some 57 area artists as their art—reproduced on weatherproof vinyl banners—is displayed on top of the security gates of businesses that have been closed since the COVID-19 outbreak crisis.
The initiative is funded by City Council grants awarded to the Kew Gardens Council for Recreation and the Arts, Inc. by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Citizens Committee for NYC Neighborhood Grants awarded to the Kew Gardens Improvement Association, Inc.
“Kew Gardens is an urban village with a BIG HEART. It’s a safe, welcoming neighborhood, and a good place to bring up children… It’s a place where neighbors greet each other on the streets, and mom and pop business owners miss you and inquire about you if you’re out of town. Kew Gardens is an innovative, creative, artsy place where residents enjoy getting together at the local flea market or at a community event,” Lacks said. “This year because of the COVID-19 health crisis all of our upcoming art events were, of course, cancelled. We were generously given an opportunity by our funders to create new programs with social distancing. Cognizant of how the arts can help communities to heal, we grabbed the opportunity and decided to launch an outdoor banner project. Thirty-five adult artists and 22 young artists (4-14 years old) responded to the Call for Artists and sent in their designs. These were printed on large banners and in mid July hung on gates and fences in the village area of Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens residents will not have Kew Gardens Community Arts Day to enjoy this year, but they will be able to safely walk around the streets of Kew Gardens to experience ‘Here, There and Everywhere: Art in Kew Gardens’ during summer 2020.”