June 13, 2018 By Tara Law
More than 120 new murals and graffiti artworks have been painted on the walls of buildings in and around Welling Court in Astoria.
The works are part of the 9th annual Welling Court Mural Project, which showcases contemporary graffiti and mural artworks in the neighborhood. The project is coordinated by arts organization Ad Hoc Art, which invites artists each year to create new works in the area and share their talents with the community.
This year’s art project had its official unveiling on Saturday, but the art will be on display for the next year. Some artworks are still up from last year’s exhibit, although those works will be replaced in the next few weeks, according to Ad Hoc Art Director and Cofounder Garrison Buxton.
The display includes works by up-and-coming artists and well-established painters such as Cey
Adams, an artist who is known for creating record covers for Def Jam Recordings, and graffiti pioneers DAZE and CRASH.
The works also include socially relevant images. Several works this year touch upon timely themes such as the environment and gun violence.
Other images are intimate and personal. For instance, established artists Joel Artista, Marc Evan and Chris Soria worked together on a mural about fatherhood. The men all became dads in the past year.
Buxton said that the reason the project has returned each year is that it receives ample support from the neighborhood. The art requires buildings that are willing to host the art— so without property owners’ cooperation, there could be no murals.
Unlike many outdoor art projects, the Welling Court Art Project was not started at the request of a business or developer, but by the community. The project was the brainchild of a neighborhood resident, Jonathan Ellis, who approached Ad Hoc Art with the idea.
“We didn’t pick the neighborhood, the neighborhood picked us,” said Buxton.