Astoria Art Festival Kicks Off!

Tomorrow marks the official launch part of the Astoria Arts Festival – and this year is bigger and better than ever before.

Astoria Art Festival is a week-long arts and culture festival focused on Queens based artists. Now in its third year, this celebration of our neighborhood’s vibrant community and local art scene is free and open to the public.  

This year the festival dates are October 10th through October 19th, 2014. There are over 30 local venues this year and a week’s worth of exciting events planned, and more than 65 artists participating!

Astoria Art Festival was started three years ago by Lizabeth Nieves, who says she began the event because, “There was a big lack of focus on arts in the community. I knew so many artists, and I knew Astoria was the place to showcase them. I used to throw little music and arts events, but I realized I needed to do something bigger.” And some she embarked on a project that has consistently grown each year – now featuring artists from all over Queens – not just Astoria.

At first, it sounds like there’s just paintings at different restaurants – but we want you to zoom out and look at the big picture. What Astoria Art Festival has done is literally turn entire neighborhood into an art gallery. Rather than walls and benches, the different areas of the gallery are separated by buildings and streets and crosswalks. Lizabeth and her team have taken a simple stationary act: viewing art, and made it into a mobile, interactive experience.

Speaking of the team – Lizabeth has put together a huge group of people who have come together and really put their heart and soul into this event, and we seriously commend them on working so hard to keep the arts in Astoria alive and thriving. The team consists of Nur Asik, Christine Haber, Ashley Balavender, Brianna McKinney, Nicci Carnaggio andMair DeMarco.

If you want to check out all the art, there’s events going on for ten days where you’ll have a chance to check out all the pieces (most of which are for sale!) The events are as follows:

Friday October 10th 9 pm Kickoff Party at Front Toward Enemy 40-11 30th Ave. Live music from The Dialtones starts at 10:15 pm. Art work by Mario Savinon, Jardley Jean-Louis, Kaiser Kamal, Sean Hopkins and Sandra Vucicevic.

Friday October 10th at Midnight at Mars Launch of Idlewild Magazine. A print Queens Culture Magazine. DJ and happy hour cocktails. Artwork by Dennis Borowsky

Saturday, October 11th at 2 pm at Singlecut Brewery Music, Vendors and Artists at Singlecut Brewery. Almost 20 vendors and music by: Ro Fino, Sean Wiggins, Side Saddle, Linda Draper, Lauren Hunt, Could Be Worse, Meghann Wright and the Wrongs, Beechers Fault, The Bone Chimes, Kayla and The Band, The Green Gallows. Artwork by Louis Gasparro

Sunday,October 12th Body Language Tattoo Group Art Show Event  1 pm-6 pm 3202 34th ave.  Artwork, Entertainment, Wine.

Photo Credit: Victoria Grinman, Featured Artist

Wednesday, October 15th Queens Comfort  4009 30th Ave showcases Brendan Carroll with donuts and a dj starting at 7 pm

Friday, October 17th Live Music at Astoria Beer & Brew and DJs at Bowery Bay. Starting at 9:00 PM at 21-76 21st St. and 10:00 PM  at 19-33 Ditmars Blvd. (both venues are located on the corner of Ditmars and 21st St) Art by Pablo Tauler, Veronica Soto, Allison Ruiz, Nicole Palapoli, Joe Kavitski.

Saturday, October 18th Art Walk: Starts at 3 pm at Lockwood with stops at Queens Kickshaw, Pachanga, Sweet Afton, and William Hallett

Saturday,October 18th Closing Party: Old Prague 28-48 31st Street. Live music from the Concentrics and The Mess Around, Experimental portraits taken by Frank Siringo and group photo show featuring Marianne DeMarco, Ashley Mendolia, Maryann Benedetto, Carrie Crow, Maggie Perrier and Amiee Andrews

Sunday, October 19th Event at Fatty’s 45-17 28th Ave featuring the work of Jonathan Lindsey and the music of Zig Payton and Roseann Fino 7 pm!

Lizabeth tells us that she’s insanely excited for the event – and especially about the launch party. “The artists,” she says, “are beyond amazing. There’s five we will be featuring, and each artist’s work is vibrant and flawless – and the most fascinating part is that none of them know each other, and yet their work comes together and blends so perfectly. It all meshes in a way that it really phenomenal.”

We’re glad to see that the arts in Astoria are getting so much attention, and we can’t wait to stop by our favorite spots and see the walls adorned with artwork!