When 5Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’, also known as the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, closed its doors in late 2013, it marked the end of an era. Originally founded in 1993 by Pat DiLillo, over time 5Pointz had evolved into a graffiti mecca, where artists could come and proudly display their work on the Long Island City warehouse walls. The massive warehouse attracted artists from around the world, and became the stomping grounds of several hip-hop and R&B stars in the mid-1990s. It was a place where it was safe to be original and creative; 5Pointz became more than a space, it was a collective.
This past year, news broke that 5Pointz was being seized by developers that intended to turn the property into condo towers. These rumors were confirmed on November 19th, when the entirety of 5Pointz was painted white overnight, a devastating image to all those who brought color and style to its walls. The artists who had called the space home, both literally and metaphorically for years, were now faced with relocating, and with creating another inclusive, safe space to make graffiti art.
Despite being displaced from their iconic “graffiti mecca,” artists from the 5Pointz collective haven’t stopped creating, they’re just taking a different approach. According to DNAinfo New York, many 5Pointz artists will be taking their work indoors at an upcoming gallery exhibit. “Several members of the well-known graffiti collective will be featured in a gallery show at a non-profit art center in Great Neck, LI,” reports Jeanmarie Evelly. The show, called “Wall Works,” will be held at the Gold Coast Arts Center, and will feature the work of 5Pointz artists including Meres One, Kid Lew, Zimad, See TF, Shiro, and a handful of others, a representative from the collective explains.
Graffiti culture has long been a part of New York City’s artistic identity, and the demise of the 5Pointz headquarters hasn’t stopped the artists that made the space so prominent in the public arts world. Murals have been popping up in areas like Long Island City and Astoria, and with the upcoming gallery show, it seems as though an uncertain future will still be a rewarding one for the artists of 5Pointz.
“Wall Works,” will be on display from January 19th to March 2nd at the Gold Coast Arts Center. For more information, visit www.greatneckarts.org.