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Queens Chronicle

Fairy-tale mural adds to Astoria

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 12:52 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

Gnomes, fairies and even Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors” hunkered down in Astoria this week.

For the last 10 years artist Sandra Fabara, known as Lady Pink, has worked with the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Astoria and the New York Anti-Crime Agency — a citywide organization hosting self-defense courses, registering valuables with the Police Department and removing graffiti — to create murals around the neighborhood. The painter started in her high school years as a graffiti artist, but moved into the legal art realm. Her works can be seen at the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Groningen Museum of Holland.

On Sunday the team finished its 13th mural on 23rd Avenue and 33rd Street under the Amtrak viaduct.

It’s a party of every colorful fairy-tale creature all posed around Lady Pink’s brick woman, a figure she has painted several times worldwide.

“Initially I had the idea to paint my brick lady and have the kids add to it,” Fabara said. “It’s a loose theme and the kids just dove in.”

A tree blossoms butterflies instead of leaves, a dinosaur fixes his tie and little purple creatures bounce through the scene.

“Aliens always make their way in,” Anti- Crime Director Tony Meloni said. “It’s all really beautiful.”

“Anyone can express themself,” Frank Sinatra junior Deanna Fedkowskyj said.

Fedkowskyj painted the fairy focusing on a realistic face, she said, something she worked on all year in drawing class. All the students submitted sketches of what they wanted to contribute and worked with Lady Pink to create a cohesive design.

“An imaginary world is where artists live,” Fabara said.

Lady Pink had planned to paint a wall at the YMCA on Queens Boulevard and 32nd Street in Long Island City, but the organization wanted more control over the design and was dragging its feet, making the summer deadline harder to meet.

So Pink said “maybe next time” and picked a wall in Astoria that needed a redo.

The wall had featured a mural Lady Pink and past students had painted seven years ago. The theme was “We need a hero.”

A blond woman in a pink suit made to look like Hillary Clinton was fighting a dragon ridden by former President Bush.

“Even the kids felt we needed a change,” Fabara said.

They painted a priest feeding the homeless and Storm from X-Men, but over the years the calcium-laden water dripping onto the mural from the overpass caused the paint to peal. Also vandals had written dirty words with markers on the artwork.

The Anti-Crime Agency received permission to paint these murals as well as remove graffiti on many unpainted overpasses in Astoria.

During the school year, when students aren’t learning mural techniques from Lady Pink or working on one of their large-scale projects, they paint canvases for Project Sunshine, a nonprofit that brings art to hospitals.

Two other murals can be seen on Ditmars Boulevard by the last stop on the N train. Last summer the team painted a Greek mythology theme and across the street another mural depicts Native American lore.

The time spent painting counts towards students’ 60 hours of required community service.

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