Art, Astoria
Jun 09, 2014

Creating a Cool Award

We welcome back Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts, with more thoughts on the upcoming QCA Block Party. This time it’s about the (…)

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We welcome back Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts, with more thoughts on the upcoming QCA Block Party. This time it’s about the creative process surrounding physical awards they will be giving at the block party. -Meg

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Does this sound familiar?

You think someone is really great—so great, that you actually want to tell the world and present them with an award in front of hundreds, if not millions, of people. You bustle over to the local trophy and award shop and get a plaque they can hang on the wall next to another plaque and fire extinguisher.

Lame.

You rethink the plaque and go for a trophy with a stand that would look nice on a shelf. Between the microwave and the toaster oven.

Really lame.

What’s an award presenter to do?

Let’s think this through. The two people being honored at the upcoming QCA Block Party on the backlot of the Kaufman Arts District are Mackenzi Farquer, the owner of Lockwood, and George Rallis and Gary Anza, the owners of William Hallet. These are active, creative people doing amazing things to make Astoria a great place in which to live and work.

How do you capture that in an award? I had a head smacking moment and my inner voice said,

“Talk to an artist.”

Hey Pablo!

There are artists who are able to create work that is inspired by and for a community. Some of these artists have been commissioned by the MTA to make art for commuters to enjoy on the subways and in the stations. These pieces are thoughtful and site specific, relating in design, theme or colors to the neighborhoods in which they are placed.

Pablo Tauler is an artist who lived in Astoria, lives in Jackson Heights, and surfs in Rockaway. He has a lot of experience in doing this kind of work. His pieces can be seen in several sites in Queens and in Philadelphia. We were sitting on his bungalow porch admiring his newly rigged surfboard rack that looked like an intriguing sculpture. After I told him about these awards, I asked him,

“What do you think?”

Pablo looked around the bungalow porch where we were sitting and said,

“I’m thinking wood.”

Several sketches flew between us and just yesterday, these images of the awards in process came in.

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These are some models he is working on. I love the movement I sense in these pieces. They will be sanded and polished with an area for an elegant onyx rectangle where we can inscribe a dedication. He will also recess a picture hook in the back so that the piece lays flush against a wall surface.

Quid pro quo-–it just makes sense. To honor someone for being a creative force in their community, have another creative force—a local artist—capture that in a piece that is, in essence, a work of art.

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About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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