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LIC Arts Group Local Project Starts Fundraising Campaign for New Home

Local Project's 'Keep LP Spinning' Campaign
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Local Project

LONG ISLAND CITY — Long Island City arts group Local Project is kicking off an online campaign to raise funds for a new home with its current home slated for demolition.

For the last five years, the nonprofit organization has had its headquarters and gallery space at 45-10 Davis St., in the row of graffiti-covered warehouses made famous by the aerosol arts group 5Pointz.

The buildings' owners are planning to raze the site to make way for a pair of high-rise residential towers, and are currently seeking city approval to construct with as many as 1,000 apartments.

"This is something that they've been talking about forever, but we never really thought it was going to happen," said Carolina Penafiel, Local Project's director and founder. But now, she said, "We don't really have any other choice."

This week, Local Project launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed for a new home. "Keep LP Spinning," will be accepting contributions through the end of September, with an end goal of $27,000, which Penafiel says would cover the costs of a deposit on a new space, plus moving fees and construction supplies.

"This is a chance for us to continue," she said. "If we make this, it will mean a lot of years for Local Project."

Contributors to the campaign are eligible for a number of art-themed gifts. For $25, donors can score an original photograph by a Local Project artist and a copy of the group's magazine, El Paper, while $30 donations are eligible for a silk screened Local Project tote bag.

For $300, eight contributors can get six hours of training on Wordpress, After Effects, Photoshop or DJ mixing, and a $1,000 donation would land three donors with the opportunity to curate their own show at Local Project's future gallery space.

The group works with emerging artists to host exhibits, community events and workshops. It has been in Long Island City for a decade — before the Davis Street location, it was located at another site just a few blocks away.

Penafiel says they want to stay in the neighborhood, but that recent waves of gentrification and a competitive real estate market are making it difficult.

"It's extremely, extremely expensive...The whole situation is really stressful," she said, but adds that Local Project is intent on finding a way to stay in Long Island City, where the group has strong ties to the local art community.

"I've been there for more than 10 years," Penafiel said. "This is where we were born."