The event was initiated by organizers Carol Lacks and Grace Anker six years ago. Their goal is to build a local arts community consisting of painters, potters, photographers, glassmakers, jewelry artists, illustrators and fiber artists.
Tony Mavilia, an artist and co-coordinator of the event, said the event “motivates many of the artists to create and helps the community to see itself as a place where the arts and creativity have a home.”
The entire neighborhood transforms into an art experience for the day, with sidewalk chalk artists, demonstrations and workshops, such as a Japanese bookbinding class at Kew & Willow Books.
Community members are encouraged to practice what they’ve learned at the Arts Zone.
The event’s main attraction is the full-day Kew Gardens Outdoor Art Fair that showcases an eclectic mix of fine art.
Queens-based artists will sell their original pieces along Austin Street, Lefferts Boulevard, Grenfell Street, Cuthbert Street and 83rd Avenue. Pieces will include watercolor paintings, sketches, acrylic painting, foil sculptures, pottery, fence art and more.
Lacks said that when people ask about Kew Gardens, her typical answer is that it’s a “sweet, quiet village with lovely, friendly residents, lots of dogs, mom and pop stores,” and she might direct them to an upcoming art or music show at a local business.
However, on Kew Gardens Community Arts Day, her answer is quite different because there’s so much to do and see.
“So many people having fun and being creative and enjoying all of the many activities,” Lacks said. “The energy is contagious.”
One of the highest compliments the planning committee ever received was when a parent brought her daughter to the event in the morning, and when they returned home her daughter begged to go back. They ended up spending the entire day at the event.
“The parent ended by asking if we could do it again the next week,” Lacks said. “Her question, although not feasible, was a very big thank you.”
This year, there will be an intergenerational fence art exhibit created by Kew Gardens’ senior citizens and children on Grenfell Street. At 1 p.m., Kew Gardens musicians will perform an outdoor show at Kew Gardens Cinemas Park.
The event, which is supported by a grant from Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and a Friends of The Potter’s Wheel grant, will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The thing about Art Day is that it’s not just about art,” Mavilia said. “It’s about neighbors meeting neighbors and seeing what they make and how they think about the world. Where they come from not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.”