BACKGROUND: Born at Flushing Hospital, Queens, Silva lived in Middle Village until his family moved to Stony Brook, Long Island, when he was three.
“When in Queens, I would always see the buildings looking out the window of my parents’ car and I always wondered what they were,” said Silva.
Silva attended SUNY Oswego, where he studied technology and video production. He now works as an educator, teaching technology.
After learning the history of the New York State Pavilion, he started making a film to educate people about the significance of the site.
Two years ago, Silva involved his eighth grade class in his passion for the Pavilion and created a project allowing them to redesign the building for community use. “They loved it, and that’s part of what started the group [People for the Pavilion] –I realized there were a lot of people out there who had a connection to these buildings.”
While promoting his film last May, he met Christian Doran, and they came together and decided they would form an organization that would work to save the New York State Pavilion.
FAVORITE MEMORY: Because the organization is still so new, Silva says he is still enjoying every part of this adventure.
“This all began with a film, and film is a very powerful medium, so I would just say the most exciting part of all of this is the next milestone we reach.”
BIGGEST INSPIRATION: Although so many things inspire him today, Silva’s biggest inspiration is Phillip Johnson, architect of the New York State Pavilion.
“He [Johnson] was such a champion for the city and for arts and architecture, so I felt someone had to fight for his ailing work,” said Silva.
Silva finds that many people have a connection to these buildings and hopes that people will visit his Kickstarter page called “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion” and help in any way they can.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Silva and People for the Pavilion have had a lot of good luck since launching, but Silva feels the biggest challenge will be convincing the masses of the need to save the Pavilion and finding and funding an adaptive reuse that captures the imagination of people.
- Star of Queens: Cristina Furlong of Make Queens Safer
- Star of Queens: Jean. C. Silva, president, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy
- Star of Queens: Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association