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My name is Julia Sinelnikova and I have designed a 12ft x 12ft x 10ft public light sculpture for the New York City Parks Department @nycparks, sponsored by Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Despite all post-pandemic and public art logistics odds, my local studio team and I have mounted the artwork as of November 2023 for a one year display, at Meadow Lake / Ederle Terrace in the Park, adjacent to the main 1964 World's Fair relics.

Here is the background info and below is the reason for the fundraiser. The city only paid out a $7k grant for the production period of this project, which ended up taking so long between myself and my fellow New Yorkers on my team continuing to get COVID-19 infections, heavily, through 2023. I am a disabled artist continuing to struggle with housing in NYC. I actually am honored to have some amazing permanent public sculpture commissions outside of the city lately, which I am completing now. I chose to take on risk project which ended up costing more like $13-15k in production, by working late into the night 6-7 days a week all year. I chose to squeeze in the lighting element with the help of new media visionary friends, and it is my DEAR HOPE THAT THE COMMUNITY WANTS TO HELP MAKE THIS LIGHT SHOW HAPPEN ALL YEAR.

The reason for this fundraiser is threefold. FIRST, work is one of the first year-round light sculptures commissioned by NYC Parks, and therefore requires a decent amount more of electrical engineering and a new custom solar power station. This will allow the work to run nightly or at least, very frequently throughout the year for the local public audience's safe, dreamy enjoyment. The new power station and appropriate insulation, installation etc. will cost approximately $2-3,000.

The SECOND reason for the fundraiser is to maintain the light art sculpture on-site as well as the general safety of the detailed work on a regular basis, while compensating my femme, queer, POC and immigrant local crew members a living wage. The park is a good hour from anyone in NYC's home, unless you live nearby. I am estimating monthly or quarterly site visits by two trained art handlers during this year, at approx. $200-300/per day rate. A $6,000 budget would cover this and transportation, considering NYC's mostly inclement weather and lax public transport in the area.

The remaining budget will be put towards other costly safety maintenance at the lake site to enable the maximum public safety and enjoyment, as well as public event programming featuring curated performances at the sculpture site at dusk.

The THIRD reason for this fundraiser is, to raise awareness about the history of this architectural site. THIS ART FIGHTS FASCISM.

The park lacks a true contemporary art homage to the legendary Tent of Tomorrow, which will now itself be lit at night for the city's new program. The Tent of Tomorrow was designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964 World's Fair, however it was likely modeled off of its Russian predecessors, namely the Shukhov Rotunda for the All-Russia Exhibition of 1896. Russian-born Israeli engineer Lev Zetlin designed the Tent of Tomorrow alongside Johnson.

“Light Portal” incorporates several elements of the original physical structure in a new design, with the many colors of the light disc above audiences to represent the diversity of languages and cultures in Queens. As a first-generation immigrant and nonbinary artist, I feel that it is important to bring the energy of a local femme, POC and immigrant fabrication crew to this homage, which interprets a complicated architectural legacy.

During our current period of closed borders around the world due to politics, it is important to remember periods of greater international exchange of ideas, and collaboration. “Light Portal” envisions hope, progress, and growth, creating a meditative and playful space. The work will cast a kaleidoscope of healing colors onto viewers and the ground below during the sunlight, while also possibly incorporate solar-powered LED lights at night. The sculpture will measure at least ten feet square, comprised of steel and recycled acrylic.

It cannot be denied by history that architect Philip Johnson spent a great deal of time championing Nazism, and even traveled to Germany during its rise in fascination with the movement. I believe that is of great significance that I have been allotted the opportunity to build a healing or dreaming inspired sculpture at the site nearby at this moment in history, as a queer femme Russian Jewish first-generation immigrant. While celebrating the architectural legacy of a historic site, we must also take into account the power structures that have served as the foundations for that site's existence, and evaluate their influence going forward in time.

Special thanks to my studio fabrication and installation assistant Laura Hajek, as well as Sam Black for the idea to represent the many languages of Queens with the triangles in the mandala of “Light Portal.”


Donations (3)

  • Gabriel Mcgee
    • $10 
    • 5 mos
  • Abigail Cohen
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
  • Rafael Espinal jr.
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
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Oracle Fae
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