LIC Arts Nonprofit Opens Vintage Boutique to Raise Funds

By Jeanmarie Evelly on April 1, 2013 7:32am | Updated on April 1, 2013 8:11am

QUEENS — After 10 years in the art world, Carolina Penafiel is getting thrifty.

Penafiel, 34, is the director of the Long Island City arts nonprofit Local Project, based on Davis Street off Jackson Avenue, in the same row of warehouses as the iconic graffiti group 5 Pointz.

The aging buildings are set to be demolished by the end of the year to make way for luxury apartments. With a move almost inevitably on the horizon, Penafiel started looking for a way to ramp up Local Project's fundraising efforts.

The result is The Fancy Fox, a vintage boutique and thrift store that opened this month in a former storage room next to Local Project's gallery space, at 45-10 Davis St.

"The store was an idea of using the space to the max this summer, and trying to fundraise," Penafiel said.

"We were charging people at the door, or charging people a donation for a glass of wine," she said of previous fundraising attempts. "The shop is a new approach."

Penafiel teamed up with Katherine Consuelo, 35, a Hells Kitchen resident who worked for several years at Outcasts, a vintage store in Manhattan that recently closed.

The Fancy Fox sells an eclectic collection of vintage clothing, furniture, books, records and other unique items for reasonable prices, with all of the merchandise arranged on shipping pallets leftover by the space's previous owner.

"We both, personally as girls, have huge collections of clothing, and we got a lot of our stuff from our own collections," Consuelo said, adding the rest was donated from the community.

"We’re hoping to help people clear out their closets here in the neighborhood," she said. "Everything goes to a good cause — it really directly goes back to Local Project and how we can support these local artists."

Local Project has been based in Long Island City for the past 10 years, and at its current Davis Street location for the last five. The art space and nonprofit organization helps new artists get off the ground, hosting exhibits and art events.

 The Fancy Fox vintage boutique opened last month at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City. Sales from the shop benefit longtime neighborhood arts organization Local Project
The Fancy Fox vintage boutique opened last month at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City. Sales from the shop benefit longtime neighborhood arts organization Local Project
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

The two women say that so far, The Fancy Fox has been popular with the many tourists who stream to the neighborhood to visit MoMA PS 1 and the other art institutions nearby.

"We get a lot of art lovers, so people really appreciate what we have," Penafiel said.

She plans to host community events at the shop this summer, including a fashion show and a block party.

In the meantime, both The Fancy Fox and Local Project are on the lookout for a new future home.

"We're looking for a generous donor who would love to have us in their building. It's about time we get something like that," Penafiel laughed.

"We've been in the neighborhood for 10 years, and we've seen it change," she continued.

"When we were here, it wasn’t really cool. It was really hard to get people — people wouldn’t even come. It was like, 'What, Long Island City?'"

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