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Open call for artists to create wall art at large picnic area on Long Island City waterfront

The owner of the waterfront café at Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City is spearheading an initiative that will see a series of colorful murals painted around the establishment’s expansive outdoor dining/picnic area. (Photos provided by Frank Ottomanelli)

May 24, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

Calling all artists!

The owner of the waterfront café at Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City is spearheading an initiative that will see a series of colorful murals painted around the establishment’s expansive outdoor dining/picnic area.

Frank Ottomanelli, who owns the waterfront cafe “Frank Ottomanelli’s By The Water,” is calling on local creators to display their own paintings or other visual images on the planter walls that surround the 11,000-square-foot space. The dining/picnic area forms part of the café and is located next to the East River Ferry Terminal, and faces the Manhattan skyline.

When completed, the various three-foot-high pieces will be displayed side-by-side and wrap fully around the dining/picnic area to form a large installation that will be viewed by thousands of park visitors who frequent the area. The dining/picnic area is also situated next to a large green known as the Oval.

The project will be known as “The Installation” and will be on exhibit permanently on both sides of the planter walls. The artwork will start going up in August although proposals will be accepted through Sept. 1, Ottomanelli said.

The theme of the artwork is “community togetherness” and artists of all ages from Queens can apply. Preference will be given to artists living, working or going to school in Long Island City, Ottomanelli said.

Ottomanelli said the goal of the installation is to tighten the bonds of the growing community as well as promote local creators and their work. The area has witnessed a population boom over the last number of years with several high-rise apartment buildings opening along the waterfront, and more currently under construction.

A recent image of a section of planter walls (L), and a rendering of what the project will look like when completed (R) (Photos provided by Frank Ottomanelli)

A recent image of a section of planter walls at the space (Photo provided by Frank Ottomanelli)

The project also aims to enhance the look and feel of the waterfront space, something Ottomanelli promised the community he would do after taking over the license of the café about 12 months ago. The café offers beverages and food such as burgers, chicken tenders, and hot dogs for takeout only.

Ottomanelli, who also owns the burger restaurant F. Ottomanelli Burgers & Belgian Fries in Woodside, agreed to renovate the café and its surrounding areas as part of his operating license agreement with the Parks Department. Much of the work has already been completed, including new landscaping and the refurbishing of damaged picnic tables and benches.

Ottomanelli said that the mural initiative and the community mean a lot to him.

“The mural project is something that has a lot of sentimental value to me because when I was selected by the Parks Dept. I promised them I would work on bringing the community together,” Ottomanelli said. “To me, this will be a fulfillment of that promise.”

Hunters Point Waterfront (Photo by Michael Dorgan)The dining/picnic area forms part of the café and is located next to the East River Ferry Terminal, and faces the Manhattan skyline (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

Ottomanelli has put together an eight-person committee that will assess the proposals and select which ones will be used in the final project. Ottomanelli and his daughter Tatiana are on the committee, as is Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, Edjo Wheeler of Culture Lab LIC, and Karesia Batan, the founder of the Queensboro Dance Project. Angelic Hart, of the LIC Partnership, Arianna Wellons of MJM Associates Construction, and Ann O’Connor, the owner of Zoescope Studio, make up the rest of the committee.

Ottomanelli said that committee members will look for artwork that is of high quality, with attention to the theme, appropriateness and cohesiveness with the other works.

The artwork must be original and can be existing work or proposed new work. Creations must measure no higher than three feet, while there is no limitation on the width of the art.

There will also be a $500 stipend for each piece of artwork selected for the project.

For further information on the project and the proposal requirements, click here.

To submit a proposal, click here.

Hunters Point Waterfront (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

A recent image of a section of planter walls at the space (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

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