This Sunday, a bohemian collective of creatives from Queens will open their doors to the public for the first
time, and they are very excited about it!

This free event, taking place at their Woodside studios from noon to 5 p.m., is a unique opportunity to meet and connect with 18 local artists and find out what they’re working on while taking a closer look at the approach and process. of each creation. . Masks are mandatory.

With their many talents, these individuals represent a wide range of artistic avenues and mediums – from visual arts, design and photography to DJing and poetry – as well as the diverse experiences and voices of the community. Artist Studios Woodside consists of studios in two buildings located across from each other: Mondo Studios at 33-55 55th St., 2nd Floor and Heptagon Studios at 33-46 55th St., 2nd Floor. Mondo has 15 studios and Heptagon – meaning seven angles – has seven.

Deborah Wasserman in her studio. (Courtesy of Deborah Wasserman)

“The idea of ​​Open Studios was born from the desire to share our work with the community. We’ve been here for a while and felt ready to organize as a group,” said Deborah Wasserman, one of the artists who is part of this friendly, laid-back collective and manages the administration of the studios. “We are all artists who live in the neighborhoods of Queens: Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside and East Elmhurst. And we appreciate having a workspace close to home, where we can dedicate time to our craft.

This special and diverse group includes writers, performance artists, filmmakers, ceramists, composers, painters, graphic designers and even a DJ – some at the start of their creative projects and others – known internationally – who create works here for a while.

“It’s really interesting to see artists at work: what are their inspirations? What are their workspaces like? What materials do they use? An open studio gives the audience the opportunity to get an intimate look at it all,” Wasserman noted, adding, “the event will include a film screening, a performance in one of the studios and many other spaces, filled with paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints to view and even buy from the artists.

Woodside Artist Collective
Park concert photography. (By Claudia Schellenberg)

Audiences can experience a cool cinematic installation in one of Heptagon’s hallways, as well as a must-see performance by artists John Bjerklie and Shaquan Baker, who will present an inaugural live/virtual portrait painting session, titled “Virtual Renovation “.

Mondo opened in 2009 as a place for artists from Jackson Heights, Woodside and Sunnyside to create work in a dedicated neighborhood arts space within their communities. It has grown over the years and recently expanded to include Heptagon Studios.

“We realized we had a critical mass of Queens-based artists working in one location – enough to launch a group event – ​​and we hope to attract art lovers, artists and, of course, the general public. . It’s a joint effort, born out of the desire to communicate, share and connect with the local communities around us,” Wasserman explained.

Woodside Artist Collective
Daily life in New York, 2022, Digital drawing. (By costanza musumeci)

The artist, who is also a museum professional and educator, moved to Jackson Heights in 2009 from Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her husband Phil Ballman. They were looking for a workspace where she could pursue her artistic practice and where he could run his music agency. The couple had two children in primary school at the time, so they were determined to find a great place close to home.

With the help of a nearby realtor, they found an available space in a more industrial section of Woodside. The owner had a few vacant places, so the couple rented a floor and divided it into 10 studios. Eventually there were 15 studio spaces, and they called this complex Mondo Studios. About a year ago, the landlord offered them more space across the street, which was renovated and divided into seven additional studios.

The couple rented studios from the landlord, then rented workspaces to local artists, while keeping their rents affordable and providing other services, like air conditioning and heating.

Woodside Artist Collective
Flyer by John Bjerklie for his performance Virtual Renovation.

“Most artists and creatives who end up renting studios live nearby. With rising rents in New York and rapid developments in Long Island City causing artists to lose workspace, finding an affordable studio close to home seems essential,” Wasserman noted. “When artists find great workspaces, they enliven them and create community – and that’s exactly what happened here.”

Costanza Musumeci created colorful designs with scenes that remind the viewer of Jackson Heights. Stacy Mehrfar has worked on large-scale, mysterious and striking nature photographs. Jess Levey projects videos onto a still image. Poogy Bjerklie creates small, dark, ephemeral landscapes, while Wasserman creates large-scale, dense, and colorful landscapes on the theme of land degradation.

“In this workshop, I made drawings and small sculptures, using plaster, I found objects, textiles and I put them together. I used the space to fine-tune details for exhibits, to photograph finished pieces and work in progress,” noted Marcy Chevali.

Woodside Artist Collective
Poogy Bjerklie in his studio. (By Deborah Wasserman)

“As a visual artist, having a studio near my home is important to me. I’ve had a studio at Mondo for almost 10 years. The space is cozy and, unlike some other studios, the walls are full to the ceiling. And there are doors that lock, so we all have privacy and security. What makes it special is that it’s mine. I filled it with everything that matters to me; all the physical manifestations of the thoughts that have been in my head.

Claudia Schellenberg, whose work has been exhibited in group exhibitions around the city, enjoys painting in pastels. The artist has rented a studio in Mondo for several years; currently, she shares one.

“I tend to focus on plein air painting due to my love of hiking and the outdoors. I use the studio to work on still lifes or to refine some of the plein air work,” she noted, “I’m also a self-taught photographer, shooting seriously since the winter of 2006. A few of my photos can be seen in the studio, but I do my editing work at home.”

Woodside Artist Collective
Ho’Opi’i Falls Trail, Kauai, Aug 2021. (By Stacy Mehrfar)

These days the collective has been abuzz with these passionate and busy artists – all happily working on their special projects – and eagerly anticipating a visit.

Transportation: M/R lines to Northern Blvd./Q66 bus
The studios are located in two buildings and accessible only by stairs.

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