Graffiti, murals, street art: call it what you will, but there’s no doubt to the fact that New York City has some amazing art painted on walls in neighborhoods around the city. Untapped Cities has already talked about 5Pointz, the largest public aerosol art exhibit in America, situated at Long Island City in Queens. However, with the destruction of 5Pointz expected to happen next year, art lovers in the city have been looking for places where street art could possibly thrive next. And here is one possibility: the neighborhood of Welling Court, once again in the borough of Queens.
A project by the arts group Ad Hoc Art, it is interesting to note that the stunning murals at Welling Court came about because the neighborhood’s community was looking for ways “to spruce up the neighborhood” in 2009, and street art was the option they chose. The diversity and eclectic nature of this neighborhood has been reflected in the brilliant and absolutely unique works of art that are now showcased here. In the three years that Ad Hoc Art has been working here, more than 58 artists from around the world have left their mark in this Western Astoria locality.
A sunny morning is perhaps the best time to check out the stunning pieces of artwork on the various walls in the Welling Court neighborhood. While the riots of color may shock you at one corner, the other end of the street would have exceptional play of silhouettes and shadows. Friendly cartoon figures plastered with giant smiles stand alongside more gritty, surrealistic figures, with flowers on their faces and striking colors galore. Sometimes the walls are not enough and the art spills over to the sidewalk, but in all cases, the effect is the same–these works are glorious and enchanting, worth “a second look,” over and over again.
Welling Court is perhaps one of the finest examples of a 24/7 art gallery, a far cry from the sometimes snooty ones that are seen in swanky Manhattan neighborhoods like Soho and Chelsea. Here, pieces of art are displayed at all times, and never hidden from the viewer. Besides the fact there are no restrictions at all imposed here–you can stare at a piece of art for as how long as you wish to, and also, however close you want to–let’s not forget that the one really great thing about this whole exhibit: it’s free. No tickets, no constraints, and all of this just a subway ride away.
Getting to Welling Court is quite simple. Take the N or Q subway to 30th Avenue in Queens, and then take the Q18 bus to 12th Street. (Walking to 12th Street from the subway station would take about 20 minutes.) Once you get to Welling Court though, the world suddenly becomes a stage. With over 90 locations showcasing various artwork by the Ad Hoc Art masters, walking around the Welling Court neighborhood will be a thoroughly delightful experience. This is a tribute to a very New York art form, and a splendid one at that.
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