A mural underneath a Long Island Rail Road overpass in Rego Park shows what artists can accomplish if they work to beautify their community. Photos by Cesar Bustamante

A mural underneath a Long Island Rail Road overpass in Rego Park shows what artists can accomplish if they work to beautify their community. Photos by Cesar Bustamante

Originally published in Forum.

The Rego Park Green Alliance is looking to the community to step up and enhance outdoor art space throughout the borough.

As part of their Queens Arts Intervention (QAI) project, the alliance is asking people to send them art proposals to consider for funding. They are looking for art for much more than just self-expression, but also to affect the lives of people in the community.

“When people kind of get excited about something, when they think something is so beautiful or so interesting, they sometimes want to act,” said Yvonne Shortt, who heads the project. “And that is what we want. We want art with the intention of action.”

Some examples of the of art they are looking for include a Lego Mindcraft farm in front of a lawn that celebrates an area’s pastoral history and an informative chalk art about pedestrian fatalities along Queens Boulevard that serve as an extra warning for passersby, Shortt said.

The program, which started six years ago with a mural placed in an overpass in Rego Park, is also expanding to offer funding to projects outside of that neighborhood and to the rest of the borough.

Shortt said she hopes that this will help connect various artists and activists that are often isolated in their own communities.

“The work that people do in their individual community is very important,” she said. “It is very impactful, but if sometimes we could think broader than our individual community, we might be able to have a bigger result.”

The program is also meant to help artists who want to do work specifically in Queens, but are often dissuaded because of the small number of art organizations in the borough. Shortt said the group was also looking to recruit people who often do work in Brooklyn or Manhattan instead, where many believe there are more financial resources.

“The QAI just wants to say, look, we cannot help you with your salary, but we can sure give you a little money to do that thing that you want to do in an impactful way as long as the intention is to help better our community or change our community,” she said.

Shortt also said even if QAI did not decide to fund the whole project, they may offer help with other logistical matters, like publicity or cost-cutting strategies.

The deadline for proposals is Aug. 1. All approved projects must be performed or installed at Sept. 20th with a rain date of Sept. 27th.

For more information or to submit your proposal, go to www.regoparkgreenalliance.org.