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More than 100 murals on display in Astoria next week as part of the Welling Court mural project

The artwork on the wall of the King of Queens Auto Body Shop, located at 30-02 12th St., has traditionally been a focal point @wellingcourtmuralproject (Instagram)

June 20, 2022 By Alexandra Adelina Nita

More than 100 murals that have been set up on the walls of some selected streets of Astoria will be on display this weekend when the 13th The annual Welling Court Mural project is officially launched.

The murals have been mounted on white walls and canvases on Welling Court and adjacent streets and will be officially unveiled this weekend. The murals will remain indefinitely as a de facto open-air art museum.

This year’s launch will take place with events scheduled for June 25 and 26 from 11am to 7pm to 11-25 30th Ave.

Both days will feature an artists market and there will be an opportunity to see the airbrushing of the participating artists. There will also be an area for creating children’s artwork on Saturday from 11am to 2pm

The Welling Court Mural Project is one of the longest running mural projects in the five boroughs with more than 100 works permanently on display. The project was founded in 2009 after Welling Court residents Jonathan and Georgina Ellis sought out an organization that could help transform some Welling Court buildings into a space for public art.

The couple contacted Bushwick’s Ad Hoc Art Gallery, which held screen printing events and provided studios for rent prior to its final closure in 2010.

Alison C. Wallis, who co-founded the Ad Hoc art gallery, collaborated with the community to develop the Welling Court mural project and used her contacts to find artists interested in participating. Wallis has been the project manager for the past 10 years.

The artwork is accessible to everyone, Wallis said, since it is in a normal neighborhood that everyone can see. The work is not hidden in a traditional gallery.

“The art world, the formal art world can be very closed,” Wallis said when interviewed by the Queens Post.

One of the many murals created over the years as part of the Welling Court Project (Instagram)

This year there is a particular emphasis on presenting women’s artwork. Traditionally, the project involved murals painted by men, and Wallis said it aims to help female artists gain more exposure.

The event is always difficult for organizers to host given their struggle for funding.

Wallis pointed out how they try to compensate artists, as many artists are still recovering from the economic fallout of the pandemic. “We are at a crucial point where everyone has to get paid,” he said.

Wallis said he is looking for sponsors and is raising money online.

The project also faces challenges in finding space as older buildings are demolished to make way for high-end apartments.

Wallis also had mixed experiences with city officials. She expressed her thanks to Council member Tiffany Cabán for her assistance in helping secure the opening weekend position.

However, he also described how he struggled to get the Sanitation Department to provide trash cans in the area.

Wallis touched on the need to credit artists for their work.

“They deserve credit, they deserve recognition, they deserve financial support,” he said.

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