Monarch Landscape Opens At Former Bus Stop
The Rockaway Artists Alliance recently announced the completion of the Monarch Landscape mural, the last of 4 monumental murals by noted artist Esther A. Grillo. The ribbon cutting ceremony honoring this event will took place on Saturday, October 4, at 11 a.m., on Beach 76 Street and Shorefront Parkway.
A reception was held following the dedication.
Two fields of large sunflowers divided by wild flowers and poppies’ cascading over stonewalls cover the 70 ft. wide by 14 ft. high Monarch Landscape mural. Larger than life size monarch butterflies are seen flying en mass across the sky, creating a flowing ribbon-like pattern over the pastoral setting. The exterior east and west facades respectively depict a monarch caterpillar surrounded by a bouquet of orange and red milkweed and an ominous spider resting on a web of strung raindrops after it has caught an unsuspecting monarch butterfly in its web.
More than 150 RAA apprentices, children from as young as 6 years old to senior citizens, learned the many skills required completing the four mural projects. Working under master artist Esther Grillo, students and community residents renovated and then decorated the four Rockaway ‘wave’ icons. The apprentices received community service certificates and their names are displayed on a plaque at each mural site.
Grillo spoke of the joy she felt while witnessing artistic spirit awaking in her apprentices. "Invariably at each mural site there would be one or two apprentices who embraced the mural painting experience." Three of the notable young apprentices where Lauren Hutter, 12, Christine Linder, 12 and her sister Cynthia Lindner, 10. They each volunteered between an hundred and fifty to two hundred hours to these projects.
In 1997, Grillo took on the huge task of gathering support for the Shorefront Parkway Mural Projects that would restore the four dilapidated ‘wave’ shelters designed by architect Robert Moses as park and ride sites for the 1939 World’s Fair. Her vision was that the renovation and decoration of these sites would contribute to the improvement of the Rockaways.
Over a 6-year period, the City of New York Parks and Recreation Department granted permission to paint the unique murals and completed the structural renovations. The first mural painted on Beach 87 Street, "Mythical Cavern" depicts a surreal underwater scene populated by mythical sea creatures. The second mural on Beach 107 Street, "Surf’s Up," shows a dynamic series of surfers riding the waves. The third mural on Beach 102 Street, "The Deep," is set within a sunken ship where divers are seen reclaiming its treasure. A large swirling school of fish dominates the mural’s center. The many apprentices from all four mural projects will be celebrating the completion of the fourth and final mural.
Grillo received support from Rockaway Artists Alliance, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, Department of Youth Services, Queens Council on the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Queens Community Arts Fund 1997, Community Grants Program, NYCATA/United Federation of Teachers, City Parks Foundation, and private donations. Tommy Chan of the Douglaston Manor International is sponsoring the reception with music by The T-7 Band to get your feet tapping to the beat at the boardwalk concession on Beach 97. A debt of gratitude is owed to the John Adams High School ASPIRA club, students from Beach Channel High School and the many neighborhood volunteers whose efforts helped to turn this vision into a reality.