Photography: Elmhurst Sculpture Garden
Previously an overgrown empty lot next to Olive Garden and the off-ramp to the Long Island Expressway, the Elmhurst Sculpture Garden was founded in 2017 by local artists Yvonne Shortt and Mayuko Fujino. Shortt and Fujino saw an opportunity to turn an abandoned lot into a garden, revitalizing a public space while offering local artists a safe place to create and display their art outdoors and to the public. The central idea was to show people that they could transform any public place into something artistic and meaningful for their communities ” “Imagine the possibilities if every artist took over a 10’ x 10’ public space in disarray and transformed it with art,” Yvonne Shortt says in the Elmhurst Sculpture Garden bio.
Currently at 2500 square feat, Shortt’s and Fujino’s goal is to expand the garden to be as large as 10,000 square feet — with the hopes of adding more sculptures and installations.
So true story, as I was walking to the sculpture garden, I came across a prototypical New York/Queens scene: I walked through the parking lot next to Queens Center Mall. For years, there was a cut in the fence, and it allowed pedestrians to walk through the parking lot and across the Long Island Expressway exit ramp to get to the back end of the Manhattan side platform and the front end of the Jamaica side platform.
The cut in the fence was closed. So I was forced to walk to 92nd Street, where I saw a guy, angrily hurl his tablet at a car pulling out of a parking spot. The tablet hit a dumpster behind the Olive Garden and smashed into two pieces: the screen came completely off from the rest of the tablet. And like very angry people, who quickly realized that they did something they may have regretted, he carefully picked up newly broken device.
The Elmhurst Sculpture Garden’s location makes it a profoundly surreal experience — but it’s something different for the neighborhood. And I hope they’ll be successful. In the meantime though, check out some photos below.