Long Island City, NY—October 31, 2013—Walking a neighbor’s dog. Making dinner for a sick friend. Buying a slice of pizza for a homeless man. Those were some of the favors New Yorkers performed this year to quash the myth that we are not so nice. Those favors are now the objects of an art installation on display from November 6 through the 23. It is free and open to the public.
The 14-by-18-foot installation, made up of over 120 hanging paper spirals, each inscribed with a favor someone did in conjunction with the project, will be hanging at the Space Gallery at 29-09 39th Avenue, Long Island City.
“To get a sense of the project, you move through the installation, touch it, and read it,” said Priscilla Stadler, a LaGuardia Community College administrator and Queens artist who spearheaded the project. “It’s like walking through a living field of positive energy.”
The opening reception will be held on November 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., featuring brief favor-related readings by authors Audrey Dimola and Elisa Montesinos.
On November 16 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, there will be a FAVORS workshop for adults and children where games will be played and stories shared while participants will make favors spirals that will be added to the installation.
The closing event on November 23, running from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., will feature an artist’s talk and a panel discussion on favors in cultural contexts. The panelists include Adriana Escandon, a community organizer and LaGuardia and Hunter graduate, speaking on the role of favors in immigrant communities; and Rose Tang, an artist/journalist, discussing the influence of capitalism and communism on favor-doing in China. A Q&A related to the FAVORS project will follow.
Ms. Stadler noted that the project began in Queens, but soon expanded. “You can be generous in your acts no matter where you are, so location became less important as the project grew,” she said. “My real agenda was encouraging people to connect in ways that they might not normally do and to highlight an awareness of helping each other that will outlast the project.”
The project was funded by a Queens Council on the Arts grant and on April 19, 2013, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proclaimed that day “Doing Favors Day in New York City.” Also supporting the project were several community organizations, which each brought their own unique perspective to the FAVORS theme.
The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center integrated FAVORS events into one of its cultural festivals and worked with several classes of LaGuardia’s humanities students to promote dialogue about the significance of doing favors; Flushing High students recognized the school’s unsung heroes by doing anonymous favors for them; Long Island City Artists encouraged its artists to do favors creatively; and Sunnyside Community Services Volunteer Program and Senior Programs did favors for members of their community and others.
“For the installation, we asked residents to describe a favor they did,” said Ms. Stadler, who explained that a favor should take three hours or under, should not involve any kind of money or coercion, and must be legal. “Every participant in this project is a co-creator of this dynamic, interactive demonstration of positive spirit and generosity in New York City.”
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.