By Jonathan Sperling
Far from the rumble of the elevated subway line and nestled among private homes and a sleepy auto body shop, it’s hard to believe Welling Court is home to one of the most vibrant public art projects in Queens.
Stretching for less than 700 feet between 30th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Astoria, Welling Court puts contemporary street culture on display in the form of murals that are as meaningful as they are colorful.
The Welling Court Mural Project began after Jonathan and Josh Ellis met at Ad Hoc Art, a community-focused Bushwick art gallery, in 2009, according to the mural’s website.
“They loved the experience and invited Ad Hoc Art to bring their expertise, appreciation, and vision to beautify their Queens neighborhood. It was a perfect fit, as there were surfaces to be painted and Ad Hoc knew people loved painting surfaces. Jonathan had already planted the seeds and acquired permission to paint, which was key. Thus, having the community support and a timely visit by Poland’s wall-crushing M-City, the first mural was painted in the freezing temperatures of December 2009,” the site explains.
Each year since then, legendary artists have descended upon Welling Court to turn an otherwise uneventful Queens block into a concrete canvas with works ranging from political to playful. The best part? Because the murals are located on a public street, the gallery is open 24/7, year-round, rain or shine. All it takes to get there is a MetroCard and a ride on the Q18/Q102.