Culture Lab In the News
LIC: Community Through Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities all over the world and has significantly changed the way businesses operate. This unprecedented situation called on local, city, state, and federal agencies to provide guidance and support as businesses adapt to new restrictions.
In recent years, Long Island City has become a highly attractive live-work-recreate talent hub with a broad range of industries. Now, this community of innovative leaders must navigate through uncharted waters to find relief during a public health crisis, and to build towards a better future.
This year’s Summit will explore the lasting effects of COVID-19 and how key groups such as small businesses, healthcare, civic/non-profit, arts and education, manufacturers, workforce, real estate, and government agencies worked independently, as well as collaboratively, to recover during a crisis.
Watch the Virtual Summit below. Edjo Wheeler, CultureLab LIC's Executive Director appears at 1:20:14
Art Spiel: "Edge of Light at Plaxall..."
"Each of these installations stands on its own and demands a unique consideration from the viewer..."
"Artists working in light are at a special advantage: they can synthesize the historically mature language of the visual arts using fresh mediums that are intrinsically able to express the most present time. It is innate for artists to try to find the edges of these mediums and to distort and skew our expectations of what they can accomplish, which makes for a deeply experiential exhibition."
ANNOUNCING CULTURE LAB SESSIONS
Queens Daily Eagle: "Musical Parking Lot Provides Welcome Respite..."
"The city lights pierced the clouds in Long Island City, creating an almost otherworldly atmosphere as audience members settled into their seats on a Friday in late October... They gathered around a stage fashioned from a rusty pickup truck in a parking lot, waiting for one of Culture Lab LIC’s final concerts of the season to begin..."
"It's magic,” said Cultural Lab LIC Executive Director Edjo Wheeler, 49. His non-profit organization runs the programming at the Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City.
“People keep saying how we saved their lives, how we saved the summer, how nothing like this really exists anywhere else...”
WQXR Editorial: "Returning to Live: It’s About the Experience..."
" I didn’t really realize why I prefer live shows until I sat in the Culture Lab LIC parking lot at Plaxall and listened to the 18-piece Terraza Big Band ...
The sweet, rich blend of brass and saxophones playing tight harmonies enveloped me in a glorious sonic hug, and as I reveled in the warmth (in spite of it being a chilly, early October evening) and looked around, I could tell that pretty much everyone else was also enjoying that feeling. The musicians, too, were obviously happy to be sharing their music with us — and that pleasure was infectious (in a non-COVID-ey way). It hit me: I absolutely adore music and theater and art of all kinds, but what really moves me is being there, with other people, experiencing it together.."
NY Times: "Why New York Comedy Has Gone Underground..."
Our Executive Director Edjo Wheeler interviewed by the NY Times on the new NY underground comedy scene. Culture Lab LIC being the first venue in NY and across the country to host live comedy again (June 7), with Michael Che and Rebecca Trent...
"By late summer however, just as outdoor comedy in New York was starting to see some success, the parking lot shows, in addition to other official outdoor comedy events where alcohol was served, shut down...
The New York State Liquor Authority had strengthened its announcement that the only kind of live entertainment permitted where food and drinks were served — even from food trucks — would be music. “Exotic dancing, comedy shows, karaoke,” were still prohibited, according to a statement. Restaurants could host live music, but not live comedy."
BARONESS AT CULTURE LAB LIC - SEPT 10, 2020
"Baroness, in a first time ever performance, will play Gold & Grey, the band’s widely-praised 2019 album, in its entirety on Sept. 10 at 8 pm Eastern as a livestream from Long Island City’s Culture Lab LIC at The Plaxall Gallery..."
"For the very first time, Baroness will play their 2019 album Gold & Grey in its entirety, and you can watch via livestream..."
"Baroness have announced a full performance of their 2019 album Gold & Grey for an upcoming livestream event...from Culture Lab LIC at The Plaxall Gallery..."
Food Relief Efforts Continue at Culture Lab LIC /The Plaxall Gallery
As you can see in the video below, our food relief efforts are continuing at Culture Lab LIC, through The Connected Chef! Hundreds of families in need are being fed weekly.
Learn more about this amazing organization here.
In partnership with The Fresh Air Fund, Culture Lab LIC recently received 10,000 donated books to be delivered to 11 sites around the City!
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization that has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. This summer, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, The Fund has continued to provide safe, fun, engaging and enriching experiences for New York City youth to keep the magic of summer alive through virtual and outdoor programs. Fresh Air children also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs. For more information, visit www.FreshAir.org.
"Several fearless New York area artists — their collective creative juices flowing — have elevated art to another dimension and pushed their limits of creativity far beyond what some would describe as conventional comfort zones...."
"These highly imaginative makers have been busy conjuring up eye-catching installations that experiment with light as a material and medium.
So, if you’re feeling on edge, take a breather and experience their wondrous, mood-boosting works, on view now at The Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City..."
Queens Chronicle: "Culture Lab LIC launches at the Plaxall Gallery..."
"The arrival of Culture Lab LIC will allow the Plaxall Gallery to expand its arts and community services, freeing its partner organization, LIC Artists, Inc. to focus on its artist membership services..."
"'For the past three and a half years, this team of dedicated artists have built this arts center from the ground up, thanks in major part to the generosity of Plaxall,” said Edjo Wheeler, Executive Director of Culture Lab LIC. “This space has become home to some of LIC’s most exciting cultural ideas and activities...'"
LIC Post: "New Non-Profit Takes Over Programming at Plaxall Gallery..."
"The Plaxall Gallery has announced that a new non-profit organization has taken over programming at its Long Island City location..."
"Culture Lab LIC will provide artists with the opportunity to perform theater, music and showcase their art at the venue... The new organization will operate the gallery’s converted warehouse facility at 5-25 46th Ave. to ensure artists have a space to produce their work, according to a statement."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Claire Holmes | 845.282.0774 |
CULTURE LAB LIC LAUNCHES AT THE PLAXALL GALLERY TO CONTINUE AND EXPAND WORK OF LIC ARTISTS INC IN WATERFRONT CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY SPACE
Arts facility gets creative to serve community during COVID-19
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY— Today the Plaxall Gallery announced the launch of Culture Lab LIC, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of art, theater, music and community services in Western Queens. Donated by Plaxall Inc., the 12,000-square-foot converted waterfront warehouse located on the Anable Basin in Long Island City is home to three art galleries, a 90-seat theatre, and an outdoor event space. Over the years, the Plaxall Gallery has become an important institution for the surrounding artistic community.
The arrival of Culture Lab LIC (Culture Lab) will allow the Plaxall Gallery to expand its arts and community services, freeing its partner organization, LIC Artists, Inc. to focus on its artist membership services.
Edjo Wheeler, who co-founded the Plaxall Gallery, will continue as Executive Director of Culture Lab, and Tana Sirois will serve as Performing Arts Director. The current gallery director, Norma Homberg, will continue to work with LIC Artists as their Exhibition Coordinator.
“For the past three and a half years, this team of dedicated artists have built this arts center from the ground up, thanks in major part to the generosity of Plaxall,” said Edjo Wheeler, Executive Director of Culture Lab LIC. “This space has become home to some of LIC’s most exciting cultural ideas and activities.”
“We’re committed to providing free and affordable space for artists to develop and produce their work at The Plaxall Gallery,” said Tana Sirois, Performing Arts Director of Culture Lab LIC. “The impact that COVID-19 has had on the artistic community of NYC is devastating. Culture Lab will be here to support artists through the long, challenging recovery, and we will continue to make art happen in LIC.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, Culture Lab has pivoted to function as a donation drop-off and food distribution center, becoming a key link in the chain connecting food sources to hungry people in Queens. The initiative, taken on with other local nonprofits, including LIC Relief, Brighter Bites, The Connected Chef, City Harvest, and Queens Together, has already delivered needed food to thousands of food insecure families.
The space is also used by a range of community groups free of charge, including Hunters Point Park Conservancy, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, Girl Scouts, Alcoholics Anonymous, Habitat for Humanity and local public schools, among many others. Culture Lab LIC aims to expand these partnerships and welcome in more of the local community.
“No one is looking forward more to the day we re-open to the public, and life returns to a new normal,” says Matt Quigley, Managing Director at Plaxall, Inc. “In the meantime, we are all happy that we’ve been able to serve the community in this new way, and are grateful for the lessons we are learning in how we can be the best possible neighbors.”
Help us so we can continue to help the community...