#InTheLoop | Queens Mural Lets People Express Themselves (Again)
BY QEDC It's In Queens
Sometimes building a wall unites communities.
This past summer, Flushing Town Hall invited the general public to express grief, hope, and resiliency via art — regardless of talent level — as a form of pandemic therapy. The agency then posted the works on a Northern Boulevard fence as part of the Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope Outside community exhibition.
The public responded with such creations as a large peace symbol, a poem, a painting of three different-colored birds, and a depiction of a Chinese tea vendor in action (see below photos). As the activity unfolded, FTH also showcased the pieces virtually via the Cultural Crossroads blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
The outdoor exhibition is going to return in 2021, but with a new theme: Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 12. So again, FTH is asking people to express their hopes for the upcoming year and their feelings about this moment in the nation’s history. From Feb. 1 to April 2, the agency will display the work on the fence in front 137-35 Northern Blvd.
Participation is free, and FTH accepts artwork in all media and from all ages and abilities. However, there are a few guidelines:
- The maximum size is 27-inches-by-39-inches on fabric, paper, or ribbon.
- Signatures are optional, but encouraged. Each contributor must punch a hole at the top of the piece and tie a string or zip-tie through it.
- If the piece is big, use masking tape to secure it to the fence.
- Individuals must protect the artwork from the weather, as the mural will be exposed.
- Artwork will not be returned.
- Artwork might be photographed and shared online, unless specifically noted on the back.
- FTH reserves the right to remove any artwork that uses hate speech, profanity or obscenity, depicts violence, sexual acts or unlawful or illegal behavior.
- Those who cannot travel to the fence can photograph or scan their works and email the images to email@example.com. A staffer will print a copy and hang it.
- FTH will begin to accept artwork on Feb. 1.
- Consider the following questions: As I face the new year, what skills do I want to cultivate to create a resilient community? What inspires me and others to be hopeful? How can I honor the memory of someone I lost last year by living a courageous life? How can I artistically connect with my diverse community and bring people together?
- Consider that it’s the Year of the Ox, which is associated with determination, diligence, strength, and the skills that help build resiliency.
“We were incredibly moved by the outpouring of artwork at the first Call and Response exhibition as over 60 pieces were submitted—from amateur and professional local artists and others as far away as the United Kingdom,” stated FTH Director of Education and Public Programs Gabrielle M. Hamilton. “Our 2021 version of this exhibition invites participants to look to a more hopeful future; even as we still grieve for those we lost. With determination, and in honor of those we lost, we look to rebuild a more resilient, inspired, and courageous community. We invite participants of all ages and abilities to create art that shows your artistic vision of a better tomorrow.”