Vacant Long Island City Bank-Turned Art Exhibit Debuts this Week

By Jeanmarie Evelly on December 11, 2012 1:43pm 

LONG ISLAND CITY — Staff of the art organization No Longer Empty were busy Monday putting the finishing touches on its latest exhibit, slated to open this week, in which they transformed the long-vacant Bank of Manhattan building in Long Island City into three floors of art projects.

The show, "How Much Do I Owe You?" opens Wednesday and will run for three months. It features a series of works themed around money and finance, taking a cue from the exhibit space. The former bank building, a neighborhood landmark recognizable by its clock tower, has been vacant for decades.

The building's makeover includes a large mosaic collage along the wall of the lobby made from discarded scratch-off tickets from the art collaboration Ghost of a Dream. In the bank's lower level,  a video installation from artist Orit Ben-Shitrit plays on a loop, projected inside a former vault.

Director Naomi Hersson-Ringskog said one of the group's goals is to help communities consider the empty buildings in their neighborhoods and see their potential as art spaces.

"It's about informing, exploration, learning," she said, saying they hoped to be another voice in Long Island City's already-rich art and cultural scene.

"There are so many art organizations here," she said. "This is trying to stretch the borders further out, to get people to come to this site."

The installation is No Longer Empty's 14th project, all of them set up in vacant buildings in the city. "How Much Do I Owe You?" will include educational programs, workshops and events scheduled to run through March. For more information, visit www.nolongerempty.org.

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