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‘Picturing Kew Gardens’ exhibition to display neighborhood’s urban village

Aug. 17, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Kew Gardens residents Carol Lacks and Tony Mavilia are inviting community members to share their images of the urban village through their new project “Picturing Kew Gardens.” 

For Lacks and Mavilia, of the Kew Gardens Council for Recreation in the Arts, community art projects have brought residents together showcasing local talent whether it’s through photography, art, writing or poetry. 

“In 2011, we did an event at Maple Grove Cemetery with photos and artwork about the community. We realized that people feel so strongly about their community, and they want to show images to others and let them know how they’re feeling,” Lacks said. “It’s another project about home.” 

Lacks and Mavilia have received 50 submissions so far for their project. Since it’s summertime and people are away on vacation, they have decided to extend the deadline in order to be inclusive and receive more images.

A group of photos will be printed and framed for display in an outdoor exhibition during the ninth annual Kew Gardens Community Arts Day on Sept. 9. The event features a mix of artwork created by Queens artists, music, activities for children and adults, and more. 

According to Mavilia, they’re still deciding on how the next venue of photos will be presented digitally. Residents of all ages are welcomed to submit photos of their pets, plants and flowers, and places in Kew Gardens. 

“It’s been wonderful through the photos that have been sent in,” Lacks said. “We’ve met some new artists via email that have taken beautiful photos.”

 The projects are designed to raise awareness of Kew Gardens and to make people feel part of the community, Lacks and Mavilia said. 

“We’re kind of an embattled community. There’s a lot of unsympathetic development going on – craftsman style homes are being destroyed and replaced with multi-story buildings that don’t fit the style of Kew Gardens,” Mavilia said. “We try to make people feel a connection with their historic neighborhood. Bringing people awareness of Kew Gardens as an entity is important. The project is designed to make people think about their community and get more involved.” 

Lacks said she wanted to give artists in the community a platform to showcase their work and identity. 

“My hobby has been Kew Gardens and community building around the arts. Whether it’s photography, paintings, banners, poetry or writing, it helps people express themselves and share with others,” Lacks said. 

Mavilia said he hopes to establish an arts studio in the community for artists who are looking for a space to work. 

For more information on the ‘Picturing Kew Gardens community project, email [email protected].

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