LIC Arts Open returns in May

The 8th LIC Arts Open Festival runs from Wednesday, May 16, through Sunday, May 20, when about 500 artists are expected to showcase their work.
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Richard Mazda is at it again.

The LIC Arts Open executive director is revving up for yet another year of incredible showings — this time, by a whopping 500-plus artists who will be participating in this highly anticipated local endeavor.

You can feed your artistic cravings, while taking part in fun cultural activities when the 8th Annual LIC Arts Open Festival — Queens’ largest arts fest — transforms the entire neighborhood from May 16 through May 20.

“Each year, the festival brings together the considerable artist community in a celebration of the breadth and depth of the talent in the area,” Mazda said. “Long Island City is one of the most populous communities in terms of the number of artists’ studios all within close proximity of one another.”

Since 2011, the area’s cultural and economic development has been enjoying a hefty boost, thanks to a lot of help from local friends. The LIC Arts Open has contributed by connecting artists, residents, businesses, tourists, art enthusiasts and collectors, as well as the local government, to make that happen.

The festival always kicks off with the traditional and exclusive garden party fund-raising event. This year, two local artists will receive the Local Legends Award at the May 2 gathering, which takes place on 45th Avenue. Catering this year is once again provided by the popular LIC Market, run by Chef Alex Schindler, and fine wines are provided by Blue Streak Wines.

“There will be multiple exhibitions throughout the LIC area, including at The Factory LIC, The Plaxall Gallery, Flux Factory, Studio 34, and Materials for The Arts,” Mazda said. “Most years, we have around 65 different venues offering exhibits, pop-up shows, as well as our legendary launch and closing parties on the 16th and 20th. Some works will be shown in exhibitions that will actually last a month.”

All events are free and all artwork is for sale.

The highlights include a special event called “Plastique III,” at LIC’s Sound River Studios at Anable Basin — located at 4-40 44th Drive; Local painter Clare Stokolosa’s watercolors, oils, acrylics and collage creations — on display at Studio 34 (Studio No. 434), located at 34-01 38th Ave. — are really eye-catching; a lot goes on at Reis Studios, located at 43-01 22nd St., so if you want to discover something new while schmoozing with Salvadorian-born, Canadian-raised painter Ernesto Vela in his LIC Studio No. 426; and “Open Studios,” during the weekend of May 19 and 20, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you have the stamina, you can visit numerous artists in their studios for a chat and to observe how they work. This gives art lovers, buyers, and visitors an opportunity to discover a cornucopia of offerings.

During the week of the festival, folks can also partake in the aforementioned launch and closing parties. A 10x10 Silent Auction event will be held during the May 20 closing party. Multiple artists working in different mediums all donate original artworks on 10x10 birch-faced plywood boards. Since this has been a tradition for over six years, many people have been building collections over the years. One can usually pick up a piece to start or add to their collection at a reasonable price.

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Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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