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Jackson Heights showcase highlights artists at Queens Art Express

A group of 12 western Queens artists brightened up 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights last weekend with a colorful display that was among 50 events being held throughout the borough as part of the second-annual Queens Art Express.

The Jackson Heights Arts Club lined up hundreds of paintings Sunday along the fence outside PS 69, on 37th Avenue between 77th and 78th streets, to promote artists’ work from the neighborhood.

The Queens Art Express hosted numerous events at cultural institutions and sites throughout the borough from last Thursday through Sunday.

“It gives them a good opportunity to get their work exhibited, but it also creates a sense of community,” said Caryn Gerega of the art club’s members.

Gerega said the event also reminded the community of the club’s presence in the neighborhood.

“Because of the economy, we’ve really been suffering,” said Gerega, whose watercolor paintings mostly feature landscapes. “For the last year, we’ve been in danger of closing our doors nearly every month.”

Work on display at last weekend’s event included watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings as well as mixed media projects and photography. None of the participants work as professional artists, but many of them had painted as a hobby for years.

“I don’t even plan on selling some of these,” Jackson Heights artist Edwin Rivera said of some of his paintings. “This [event] puts me in tune with the community. It creates a sense of camaraderie.”

Rivera displayed his oil paintings, many of which portrayed lighthouses.

Tony Bruno, a Woodside entertainer, said he was selling some of his acrylic paintings of animals, native American culture and still life scenes for hundreds of dollars.

“I’ve been painting since I was a kid. I’m self taught,” he said.

The Jackson Heights Arts Club is at 77-02 37th Ave.

Queens Art Express held events all over Queens to show that the borough is an emerging hot spot for art. Some of the participants included the Queens Museum of Art, the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, the New York Hall of Science and the Queens Theatre in the Park.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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