By Josh Holloway and Alex White Mazzarella
BLOODBANK: Incubating Community lifeblood
To Queensboro Plaza passers-by the clock tower gallery space can seem a bit strange; petite women with keen fashion sense operating cherry pickers and power tools and light – boxes and a canvas cut-out that reads “Bloodbank” hanging from the storefront glass window. However, these young women represent “No Longer Empty” and they are preparing for their 14th exhibition in Long Island City, Queens.
The “Bloodbank” is serving as the cultural incubator space for local & community participation, spear-headed by Mr. Alex White Mazzarella and the Artefacting team. The doors are always open and visitors are welcomed and even encouraged to come inside. One neighbor strolled in while on an afternoon dog walk. A lawyer who frequents the Long Island City community drops by to see how the “Blood Bank” project is progressing and thanks us for editing the video. Megan Friedman, a Dutch Kills neighbor for over 10 years came walked in the incubator space clutching a folder full of documents.
Miss Friedman revealed that she has witnessed the transformation of the Long Island City from an area of seedy strip joints and industrial landscape into the residential real estate opportunity that it is becoming today. She supports the evolution and growth of Dutch Kills but is concerned and attentive to how it’s growing and for whom. She holds a deep passion for the community and the residents that are bringing the neighborhood to life and creating value for each other.
Photos courtesy of Mark Christie from the garden
Mark Christie is the Director of the Long Island City Community Gardens and wears his enthusiasm and passion for social service on his sleeve. A simple walk around the block with Mark results in a handful of walkers-by greeting Mark or “the Mayor”. He spearheaded the creation and activation of a lot into a community garden and organizes monthly activities such as barbecues, get-togethers and children workshops. These are simple sounding activities that allow for the bringing of people and families together to generate community and improve the habitat.
These are examples of people driving and circulating the local “lifeblood” in possession of leadership, local representation and cultures that the Bloodbank space will look to incubate, recognize, share and give artistic form to. Other passers by, workers, students and residents of LIC, have also expressed the value and worth of our lifeblood through their concerns, passions, knowledge, faith, ideals and heritage (see online video registry).
From Dec. 12 running through early March our team is facilitating and materializing events such as a blood drive, film screenings, a collective mural making, discussions, presentations, and exhibitions. If you live, work or play in LIC and have an interest in getting involved or have an idea for an event, contact the Bloodbank team at 646.270.9828 or email@example.com.