You are reading

Queens Students Unveil Social Action Bench Murals at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Bench painted by students from P.S. 124 Osmond A Church (Photo courtesy of Center for Educational Innovation)

June 10, 2022 By Alexandra Adelina Nita 

Queens students from seven different schools have hand-painted several park benches at Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a means to address social issues such as racism, gun violence, gender inequality, homelessness, anti-LGBTQIA discrimination and environmental justice.

The artwork, which the students unveiled earlier this month, with be on display at the park until Sept. 16—and is located along New York Avenue by the entrance to the Pitch and Putt Golf Course.

The benches were painted as part of a citywide student arts residency program called CEI Benchmarks: Youth Setting the Standard– a program developed by the nonprofit Center For Educational Innovation.

The students from Queens who were part of the program attend the following schools: Catherine and Count Basie MS 72; Virgil I. Grissom JHS 226; Louis F. Simeone PS 7; Queens Transition Center 752; Osmond A Church PS/MS 124; The Lorraine Tuzzo, Juniper Valley Elementary School PS 128; and The Riverview School 277.

Students in the program participated in instruction on the history of public art and its relationship with activism. They also had an opportunity to lead peer workshops and meet with guest artists. This year’s guest artists were Domingo Zapata, Federico Solmi and Jordan Seaberry.

Zapata is a Neo-Expressionist painter and sculptor. Solmi is a multimedia artist whose work critiques American society through a dystopian lens. Seaberry is a painter and organizer for prisoners’ rights who received a Rhode Island Foundation fellowship in 2017.

The culmination of the program began with a kickoff event on May 26 at Washington Square Park in Manhattan. It was followed by the formal unveiling of the benches on June 3. Benches were not only painted in Flushing Meadows Corona Park but also in select locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The program’s coordinators emphasized the importance of the arts to students.

“In this current climate, young people need a public platform to express themselves on current social issues in a constructive, creative and powerful way, so they can join the conversation and make a difference in our world,” said Alexandra Leff, the creator of CEI Benchmarks and CEI Executive Director of Arts Education.

Students discussed their artwork and what inspired it during the unveiling.

“Our bench is about inequality” said students Ava McBeatch and Gabriella Giampa from The Lorraine Tuzzo, Juniper Valley Elementary School.

“We think it’s not fair how people of different nationalities, genders, or skin colors are treated differently. It was fun to make this bench together, to meet new people, to work together and talk to each other.”

Bench painted by students from The Lorraine Tuzzo, Juniper Valley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Center for Educational Innovation)

Bench painted by students from P.S. 124 Osmond A Church (Photo courtesy of Center for Educational Innovation)

Bench painted by students from Q752 Queens Transition Center (Photo courtesy of Center for Educational Innovation)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Porn actor Ron Jeremy, who grew up in Bayside, found unable to stand trial for rape

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday, Jan. 17, declared that porn performer Ron Jeremy is mentally incompetent to stand trial on dozens of rape and sexual assault counts.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Harris said in a hearing that after reviewing reports from both prosecutors and Jeremy’s defense that he is in “incurable neurocognitive decline” from which he is unlikely to recover.