Tag Archives: local project

LIC nonprofit reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Local Project

One Long Island City nonprofit will be able to keep its home after a successful online campaign.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, started the fundraising on Kickstarter last month with a goal of raising $6,100 in order to help pay two months of rent. As of Tuesday, June 8, with three days still left in the campaign, the group surpassed the goal.

“I feel extremely accomplished. I’m extremely happy and super hopeful that everything is going to continue to go great,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “This is just a great thing for people to feel empowered and driven to continue working on our plan. It feels safe for a little bit.”

After having to move from its headquarters located at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of 5Pointz building, the group faced a 50 percent rent increase when making the move to a new site at 11-27 44th Rd.

Now with having met the goal, the organization will have time to move to its next step in creating a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come, Peñafiel said.

Even with the Kickstarter campaign coming to an end on July 12, the group will still continue to collect money through fundraising and also an “El Hot Dog Boogie Rent Party” on Friday, July 11, starting at 7 p.m.

“Anything that comes in is extra and it helps us even more. It’s not over, that money will go to a safe place and keep us safe for a little longer,” Peñafiel said.

The party will feature music by local DJs, hot dogs and sauces by Pao & Cha Cha restaurant located at 23-03 Astoria Blvd., bread from Tom Cat Bakery located at 43-05 10th St., and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company. There will be a $20 deal for two hot dogs and unlimited beer.

“It’s a way of celebrating to say thank you to people and celebrate. It’s part of the summer season at Local Project,” Peñafiel said.

Local Project also has a brand-new shared office/studio/co-working space for rent. The space was built using recycled materials and created by Long Island City artist Cristian Torres. For more information on the space click here.

Since starting in 2003, Local Project has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more.

Future plans for Local Project includes year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentorship for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and affordable creative workshops.

To donate to the Kickstarter until July 12, click here.

 

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LIC nonprofit Local Project turns to Kickstarter to survive


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Local Project

After having to move out of the building that housed 5Pointz, one nonprofit is turning to Kickstarter to help stay at the site it has called home for the past few months.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more since starting in 2003. It previously had its headquarters and gallery at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of the graffiti mecca.

After the property’s owners decided to sell the location to construct two high-rise apartment buildings, members of Local Project were left wondering where to go and were excited when they found a new location at 11-27 44th Rd.


Local Project’s new location at 11-27 44th Rd. (Photo by Carolina Peñafiel)

However, after having to deal with a 50 percent rent increase, the nonprofit needs help raising money to pay two months of rent in order to continue being part of the community.

“It’s a New York problem, paying rent,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “We’re hoping to be able to breathe. We didn’t expect it to be so hard to get back on track. ”

The organization started a Kickstarter “Buy a Brick” campaign Thursday with a goal to raise $6,100 by July 12. As of Friday afternoon, $1,045 has been raised.

Supporters will receive gifts after donating on Kickstarter including a personalized brick on Local Project’s supporters’ wall, with a $25 pledge or more.

“It’s a new location, it’s a different crowd, there’s no 5Pointz in here that can back us up,” Peñafiel said. “Now we’re building this up again. Everyone that comes in lives in the area and they appreciate what we are doing.”

Once Local Project meets their goal Peñafiel said the organization would then be able to have time to create a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come.

Future plans for Local Project include year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentoring for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and creative affordable workshops.

“We’re looking at this very positive,” Peñafiel said. “The horizon looks awesome and there are all of these opportunity and all of these great things we want to get back to work on.”

To donate to the Kickstarter, click here.

 

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Nonprofit Local Project, Falchi Building seek artists for site-specific installation piece


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Rendering Courtesy Jamestown Properties

One landmark Long Island City building is calling all artists to come and create.

Nonprofit arts organization Local Project and the Falchi Building, located at 31-00 47th Ave., have come together to look for artists to collaborate on a site-specific installation piece in the 20-by-40 feet glass vitrines of the five-story location.

“I’m super excited. It’s a great opportunity for artists to show their work in a new environment,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project.

Artists can submit proposals presenting collaborations in any media and inter-borough groups are welcomed, with at least one of the artists in each proposal from Queens.

“We are definitely looking for artists to collaborate from borough to borough,” Peñafiel said. “We’re pretty open to see what’s out there.”

The temporary or semi-permanent pieces selected to be displayed inside the Falchi Building will investigate the everyday movement through a diverse city and the projects will receive a stipend, according to Jamestown Properties, which owns the building.

The Falchi Building went through a recent lobby renovation and upgrade, which brought a 2,000-square-foot pop-up artisanal food fair, known as The Food Box, to the site.

The deadline for the proposals is March 15 and artists can expect to be notified no later than March 20. An opening reception is scheduled for April 12.

For more information, visit here. Artists can submit their proposals to info@localproject.org.

 

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LIC plumber uses tools of the trade to create unique art pieces


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

When Long Island City resident Cristian Torres is on the job as a plumber, he sees more than just pipes and pressure gauges.

The 41-year-old Argentinian native has been a plumber since he was 17 years old. He made his way to the United States for the first time in 2001. Since then he has been creating pieces of art from material he knows and uses on the job.

“When I was young enough I was doing little things: I always had the [desire] to build little stuff,” said Torres, who remembers first building small pieces for his nieces and nephews. “Every time I see something I think, ‘with that thing, I can make this, I can make that.’”

When he isn’t plumbing, Torres, who has been living in Long Island City for the past four years, is an artist/sculptor specializing in pipe design. He used to work out of the Davis Street building shared with 5Pointz.

The father of two uses materials such as pipes, aluminum shields, copper coils and gauges to create lamps, light fixtures, sculptures and other art pieces.

Yet Torres creates these pieces with more on his mind than just adding to his collection. The artist said he uses the struggles he personally faces or sees happen in life to influence his various pieces.

“I create things always with the concept of not just using the plumbing material, but having the concept of anxiety,” he said. “I’m trying to express what I’ve seen in my life. It’s more than what they look like.”

One series Torres has been working on for the past seven years follows the theme of expressing anxiety, and was influenced by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The artwork in the series is set on copper shields, with pressure gauges and other metal pieces welded on to form the screaming face.

Torres also creates light fixtures and sculptures with sewing machines from the 1900s and temperature/pressure gauges, which he uses to symbolize time.

“I felt like I was liberating myself from a lot of stuff,” he said. “One of the major traumas [of] the [human] being I think is time because we think we are never going to die or get old. That’s why I’m trying to use gauges all over.”

Torres currently works on his pieces in a building shared with numerous other artists, as part of the nonprofit Long Island City arts group known as Local Project, located at 11-27 44th Road. He plans on showing his pieces at upcoming art shows, but dates are still to be determined.

“I hope people just appreciate it [my art],” he said. “It’s not just something functional, because when you buy something like this, handmade or created by someone, it’s always a little bit more than that.”

Even though he has created various pieces of artwork with meaning behind each piece, Torres said he calls himself a plumber before an artist. 

“I enjoy what I do,” he said.

To see some of Torres’ pieces visit his website and if you are interested in purchasing an item, contact the artist at plumbingart1@gmail.com.

 

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Star of Queens: Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project, co-owner of Fancy Fox


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jason Artiga

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Ten years ago Carolina Peñafiel founded Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization. It has housed its headquarters and gallery space inside the warehouses of 5Pointz in Long Island City. Local Project gives back to the community by showcasing local artists and holding events with local groups.

“It is a very welcoming space, it’s open and free to the public,” she said. “You walk in, you’re welcome and there is always someone talking to you. It’s an easy access space and we get to live in one of the hottest spots in New York City.”

Peñafiel also co-owns an up-and-coming thrift shop called The Fancy Fox out of the space.

BACKGROUND: Peñafiel also became a self-taught production assistant, helping behind the scenes on some shows. She was also a photographer taking self-portraits as a tool to express  herself. Together with Local Project, she has worked with community groups such as the Queens Museum, Flux Factory, and many others curating art shows.

INSPIRATION: Starting the organization at such a young age and not having much knowledge of the art world, Peñafiel said there was no big inspiration at first, but now the impact the organization has made serves as her motivation.

“My inspiration to continue is the impact we have on the public and the people,” she said. “I get inspired by people, I like to be around them, that’s what keeps me going.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: Peñafiel remembers the group getting its first grant from the Queens Council on the Arts and being able to continue serving the community and local artists.

“When people tell me about their experience with Local Project, that makes me believe in what we’re doing,” she said. “When we see a result of all the work we put into things, there are always good memories to build.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  One of the newest challenges Local Project and Peñafiel have had to deal with is finding a new home for the organization once it was announced the property owners were selling the warehouses to construct two high-rise apartments. Yet, the nonprofit received the help from a local supporter and found a new home.

“The biggest challenge was trying to keep Local Project in Long Island City and then the angels came down to us,” she said.

 

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Arts nonprofit raises funds for new space as 5Pointz set to be demolished


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Carolina Penafiel/Local Project

As the wrecking ball gets closer to 5Pointz, one nonprofit that calls the graffiti mecca home is now looking for help to fund their new space once it’s time to move out.

For the past five years, Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, has housed its headquarters and gallery space at 45-10 Davis Street in Long Island City inside the warehouses of 5Pointz.

After the property’s owners decided to sell the location to construct two high-rise apartment buildings, Local Project was left waiting for the inevitable — and also wondering where they would go from there.

On Tuesday, August 21 the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan for the two towers to be built.

“Local Project belongs to Long Island City, everybody knows us,” said Carolina Penafiel, founder and director. “The day they demolish this is going to be very weird. I believe in changes, I believe in progress, but I don’t believe in mistreating people. They just want to get us out of here.”

On August 7, Local Project started an Indiegogo campaign called “Keep LP Spinning” to begin raising funds needed to pay for a new home, moving fees and construction. There is a $27,000 goal the group hopes to reach by September 30, when they must leave the warehouse.

Local Project is looking to move into a new space on 44th Road in Long Island City, close to their first location prior to the 5Pointz warehouses. The group was able to get this location due to the help of Susan Peters, a big supporter. Although the space is leased, Local Project still has to raise the funds in order to move in.

“We’re trying to grow and trying to provide a bigger place,” said Penafiel. “We’re trying to create an experience for people.”

Continuing the work with local and emerging artists to host exhibits and create community events, Penafiel said the new space will allow Local Project to give back more to the community. She said the new space will allow the group to be more organized and active, and to provide more services like workshops, afterschool programs and help for to local schools.

“We’re going to come in stronger and last longer if this comes true,” said Penafiel. “It’s like a dream. It depends on people. The hope is in our collaborators and those who want us to continue. We need the support.”

To contribute to Local Project’s campaign you can visit www.igg.me/at/LocalProject.

 

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After a decade in Long Island City, Local Project searches for a new home


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Carolina Penafiel-16

At the edge of Long Island City, where warehouses haunt like rusty fossils of an industrial past, obscured by the elevated subway tracks, street art fights for survival.

Encircled in graffiti-wrapped sarcophagi, the low brow legacy of Local Project and 5Pointz await doomsday, untouched by the sterile glass high-rises that erupt from the ground almost monthly — for now, at least.

It’s only a matter of time before the building they share becomes nothing more than piles of scrap metal and drywall dust. Several months ago, the space’s owner announced plans to sell the warehouse to a builder who would turn the space into luxury condominiums – “yuppie projects,” scoff the locals. Local Project, a space for emerging artists to nurture their craft and connect with the public, that shares a building with graffiti holy land 5Pointz, must depart their home in search of new prospects.

Carolina Penafiel, a part-time food stylist and Local Project’s founder, moved to New York from Chile 13 years ago in pursuit of her American Dream.

“I wanted to live like in the movies,” she said.

Penafiel began her career as an artist, but a bad experience during a group show changed her mind. It took too much to be an artist, to open her work to the masses, resting on talent and believing in the message behind her art. Even the title “artist” felt wrong.

“I’ve always done exactly what I’ve set myself to do,” said Penafiel. “Thankfully, I’ve always gotten where I’ve wanted to go.”

Instead, she focused on her administrative skills, training as an independent curator. She fell in love with the process of putting together a show, nurturing artists and watching them develop. One show called “Hot in Hell’s Kitchen,” held at the Fountain Gallery – a center for those struggling with mental illness. The exhibit told stories from the iconic Manhattan neighborhood. Visitors stuck notes to the wall, scribbled with memories from Hell’s Kitchen – “I got drunk,” “I met my ex,” “I kissed somebody.”

Penafiel’s shows center around creating community rather than bringing culture to high society. Local Project’s doctrine of art for the people allows her to build bridges – the most rewarding part of her job. Instead of judging artists based on reputation, Local Project celebrates unknown entities on the rise. Each resident artist is required to spend 40 hours in the building during their two week stint, creating a setting where visitors can dip into the work organically.

Local Project draws tourists from around the world. One artist, keeping tabs on the gallery’s visitors, had a person from every livable continent come see his show in a single day.

“That’s what makes us different from other spaces,” Penafiel said. “You get to come in and talk to the artists. How cool is that?”

Artists of all mediums present in the space. Every Saturday, a DJ spins for a crowd who dance and chat, huddled together in the chilly space. They host video festivals, including one of exclusively horror films before Halloween where the audience dresses as zombies and four times a year, emerging musicians play acoustic sets in a series called “Music under the 7.” Penafiel said they do as much as they can – as much as everyone wants to do.

But now, everything needs to go somewhere else.

They have begun searching for a new space – a topic not easily broached among the staff, unhappy about the move. For years, rumors of the demise of the building on Davis Street swirled. Now they are coming true.

It’s happening all too much in New York City – art institutions knocked down in favor of bourgeoisie-friendly entities. Penafiel mentioned DUMBO, formerly raw, now spotless and new like a suburban art fair.

“Unfortunately, we, the ones who helped bring [LIC] to that level are not the ones that live there or have stores there,” said Penafiel. “That’s just life I guess. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Long Island City.”