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Speakers took the "stage" from 4-5 pm.

We were preparing this article about the 5 Pointz Rally for publishing yesterday when the news first broke that the building had been whitewashed in the middle of the night. This piece was originally meant to be a narrative of the rally on November 16, when hundreds of people gathered at 5 Pointz Art Center in Long Island City to show support for the beloved graffiti exhibition space. This article has been revised as a tribute to 5 Pointz and their fight for survival.

These images from the rally demonstrate the peaceful path taken by the artists and 5 Pointz community. The whitewash has been received as an act of outright aggression which was experienced as a painful loss by many people. It is unclear what motivated the developers to do this, but all of 5 Pointz’ (legal) artwork was destroyed in a disrespectful and cruel manner. It makes us wonder, who are the vandals here?

5 Pointz and the Manhattan Skyline, as seen from the 7 train.

5 Pointz and the Manhattan Skyline, as seen from the 7 train last Saturday.

The rally was organized in just four days, after a judge lifted the temporary restraining order on the developers and denied the injunction to prevent demolition. The primary purposes of the rally were to raise morale, discuss peaceful protest strategies, as well as collect signatures to landmark the building that has been home to their work for over a decade. (Though the landmark designation was always a long-shot, without the artwork itself now, it doesn’t seem possible). A crowd of hundreds came out and enjoyed a beautiful day.

View of 5 Pointz from under the elevated 7 train, featuring Tats Cru, IPhone, Meres and many others.

View of 5 Pointz from under the elevated 7 train, featuring Tats Cru, IPhone, Meres and many others.

Fans and artists gathered at the building that had been home to their art for over a decade.

Across the street from MoMA PS1, 5 Pointz was an essential part of an artist community and art scene. The impassioned phrase, “Art Is Life” was included in several art works around the complex, and became one of the mantras used by supporters during 5 Pointz fight for survival.

"Art Is Life," became one of the mantras of 5 Pointz supporters.

“Art Is Life,” became one of the mantras of 5 Pointz supporters.

“Art is Life”, and even wears a coordinating outfit! Mural by French artists Djalouz and Doudou.

“Art is Life”, and even wears a coordinating outfit! Mural by French artists Djalouz and Doudou.

Around 5 Pointz are several "Memorial Walls" that pay respect to artists who have passed away. There are also artworks by artists who have died, including this blue and green piece (center) by Sey-One.

Around 5 Pointz were several “Memorial Walls” that pay respect to artists who have passed away. There are also artworks by artists who have died, including this blue and green piece (center) by Sey-One, which we learned about on our tour last year.

Old School hip hop music was provided all afternoon by DJ Formula One.

While there was a noticeable (and unnecessary) NYPD presence, at times the rally had a party atmosphere. Old School hip hop music was provided all afternoon by DJ Formula One.

Enjoying old school hip hop music.

Enjoying old school hip hop music.

5Pointz supporter shows off his “Wild Style” vest, a nod to the early ’80s classic which was called the first hip-hop motion picture.

5Pointz supporter shows off his “Wild Style” vest, a nod to the early ’80s classic which was called the first hip-hop motion picture.

The name 5Pointz represents the five boroughs, but it really seems like a global community.  The crowd was as diverse as the gorgeous artwork around the loading dock, created by Shiro  from Japan, Djalouz and Doudou from France, Swiss artists Wes 21 and Onur, and many other artists from around the world. Families, seniors, and even dogs showed up to support 5 Pointz and enjoy the event.

Supporters of all ages admire the art.

Multi-generational 5 Pointz supporters.

Multi-generational 5 Pointz supporters.

.... and several four legged family members.

…. and several four legged family members.

Captain America, making his first public appearance since Occupy Wall Street.

Captain America, making his first public appearance since Occupy Wall Street.

Amazing art for sale.

At the time of the rally, there was no painting allowed on the walls, however there was plenty of fresh canvas. This is typical at 5 Pointz, where on most weekends, visitors can often meet artists and buy (affordable) original artwork.

Speakers took the “stage” from 4-5 pm.

Speakers took the "stage" from 4-5 pm.

Homeboy Sandman, who hosted this piece of the rally.

The loading dock area filled with hundreds of supporters.

The loading dock area filled with hundreds of supporters.

"Save 5 Pointz"

Art is Life.

Meres One, artist and curator of  5 Pointz., is leading the legal battle.

Meres One, artist and curator of 5 Pointz..

Artists, teachers, students, and neighbors shared personal stories about 5 Pointz, using an open mike format. They talked about their personal involvement with 5 Pointz, finding inspiration during hard times, and reminisced about meaningful moments, such as meeting girlfriends. 5 Pointz was described as a “monument” and a place where learning and teaching happened daily.

Artists, teachers, students, and neighbors shared personal stories about 5 Pointz.

Several supporters spoke about how they found inspiration at 5 Pointz during hard times.

Several supporters spoke about how they found inspiration at 5 Pointz during hard times.

Artists, fans, teachers, students all gather in support of 5 Pointz.

MeresOne, artist and curator, led the legal fight against the developers.

MeresOne, artist and curator, led the legal fight against the developers.

Marie, another organizer, who has worked tirelessly to build and defend 5 Pointz.

Marie, another organizer, who has worked tirelessly to build and defend 5 Pointz.

The event ended on a positive note, with cheering and break dancing. It seemed a moment of togetherness and gratitude.

The event ended on a positive note, with cheering and break dancing.

The event ended on a positive note, with cheering and break dancing.

The loading dock at twilight, as the rally came to a close.

The loading dock at twilight, as the rally came to a close.

The loading dock at twilight.

The loading dock at twilight.

Respect and love to the 5 Pointz crew. We will miss this site dearly. Thank you for all you did, for the memories, the art, and inspiration. We wish you nothing but the best as you write your next chapters..

Read more about 5 Pointz, photos of the whitewashing, and previous photo essays on Untapped Cities here, here and here. Also read about another street art hotspot in Queens, Welling Court.

See more photography from Rachel Fawn Alban.

 

3 Comments

  1. Joe Pony says:

    FYI the whole Occupy movement can suck my sweaty nutsack bunch of fucking losers.

  2. Joe Pony says:

    Hey on the upside at least we have so many good clear pictures of all the vandals for destroy property with their illegal acts so get at them NYPD.

  3. Joe Pony says:

    The LEGAL move was by the OWNER who had every right to paint over the so called “art” it’s his propriety it didn’t belong to any self entitled kid with a spray can thinking they are then voice of the art world or some social fighter. Funny to see so many so called adults mad they lost something that wasn’t theirs to start with the owner had every single legal right to do what they wanted sad it had to be under police protection from so many of the thugs in the tagger world who would have in honestly assaulted him for doing what he was legally righted to do.

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