ASTORIA — Watch more than 150 new murals come to life along several blocks of the neighborhood over the course of the next couple of weeks.
Dozens of artists will begin painting murals this month, as part of the annual event The Welling Court Mural Project, located on the streets surrounding Welling Court, a quiet L-shaped street between 12th Street, 30th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard.
The area is already filled with vibrant murals that adorn walls, the sides of buildings and roll-down security gates. But they'll gradually be replaced with fresh murals up until the day of their official opening next weekend.
Every year, organization Ad Hoc Art brings artists from around the world to the neighborhood to paint over the old pieces of art with new works, and this year's collection will be celebrated on June 11 during a free family-friendly event that will feature walking tours and sticker-making workshops.
"Once a year, it changes out. All the stuff that's currently up will be different in a couple of weeks," said Garrison Buxton, director for Ad Hoc Art.
His group started the mural project in 2009, after residents who lived on Welling Court asked the art organization to help beautify the neighborhood, which Buxton said had been "kind of off the city's radar" for years.
"For a long time it was largely neglected," he said. "In order to get stuff done people really had to take their own initiative."
The project has grown each year since, starting with about 40 murals compared to more than 150 now, as more artists got involved and more local property owners gave the group permission to paint on their buildings.
"It's always great to have the opportunity to bring creativity and arts in a more democratic format to people, especially already having the support and interest in the neighborhood," Buxton added.
Some artists are working on their pieces now and will continue to do so next week and until the June 11 opening, Buxton said.
Visitors may also be able to see some works-in-progress the day of the event.
"There will be the opportunity to see people painting that day, for sure — there will be a lot of people that are finishing up pieces," Buxton said. "Be ready to walk around and see a lot of art."