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Queens Chronicle

Artists win small but essential court battle

5Pointz saved for another two weeks

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:12 am, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

5Pointz, the graffiti mecca in Long Island City, has been spared for another two weeks after a judge reviewed the lawsuit seeking to block its destruction, filed by 16 artists who have their work on the building.

“The artists were very pleased, they were very happy and I think it gave some of them some hope,” Jeannine Chanes, one of the attorneys representing the artists, said.

The order, which runs through Nov. 12, will give the plaintiffs enough time to make their case, as the presiding Judge Frederic Block also scheduled a hearing for 11 a.m. on Nov. 6 when he will determine whether to order a full injunction on the building while legal proceedings commence.

If Block rules in favor of an injunction, no construction work will be allowed to start, preventing owner Jerry Wolkoff from building a multimillion dollar development.

Block will also address the artists’ allegations that Wolkoff violated the existing 10-day restraining order issued Oct. 17 over this past weekend.

If Block does not sign an injunction and the building is demolished, the artists are seeking financial compensation as they claim Wolkoff’s project — recently approved by the City Council — violated the Visual Artists Rights Act.

The federal action is believed to be the first in the nation in which street artists have sought legal protection for their artwork.

Representatives working with the 5Pointz artists have said they would like to purchase the property from Wolkoff and turn the building into a center for the arts where people from all over the world can create.

The defense argues that the art is temporary and therefore does not qualify under the VARA.

The 5Pointz evidentiary hearing is open to the general public and will take place at the Federal District Court located at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn.

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