Locations – Queens

The Idea: Graffitti Art Gallery
The Aspect: Home of The Muses
The Face(s): Jennifer Smith (The Muse Calliope)
5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’ or the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc. is an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca,” where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building. The complex owned by Long Island developer Jerry Wolkoff houses the Crane Street Studios in which 200 artists pay below market rents for studio space. In 2009 a 450-square-foot (42 m2) studio was listed as renting for $600/month.

It was announced in March 2011 that Wolkoff plans to redevelop the property to build high-rise residential towers, putting the future of 5 Pointz in jeopardy.

The complex was first established as the Phun Phactory in 1993 by Pat DiLillo under a program called Graffiti Terminators to discourage graffiti vandalism by encouraging artists to display their work in a formal showcase.

In 2002 Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti artist operating under the name “Meres” began curating the work, assisted by one Jennifer Smith, an attractive, attentive, and outgoing young woman who seems to revel in the enthusiasm of the artits 5Pointz attracts. If he is not familiar with an artist, Cohen will ask for a sample of their work; if it is a mural, he will ask for a layout as well. He and Jennifer will then review the sample/layout and judge whether the work merits being added to the “collection”. The name 5Pointz signifies the five boroughs coming together as one but, because of its reputation as an epicenter of the graffiti scene, the industrial complex has actually united aerosol artists from across the world. Legendary writers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, and all over the United States have painted on the building walls, including Stay High 149, Tracy 168, Cope2, Part, SPE, and Tats Cru.

Over the past decade, the striking, graffiti-covered warehouse has attracted several hip-hop and R&B stars, including Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Kaz, Mobb Deep, Rahzel, DJ JS-1, Boot Camp Clik, Joan Jett, and Joss Stone. One of the first graffiti there was a portrait of Jam-Master Jay, an important member of the early hip hop musical style.

In April 2009 the New York City Buildings department ordered the largest building closed after citing it for numerous building deficiencies including the studio partitions were built without permits. The inspections followed an incident on April 10, 2009, in which an artist was injured when part of a concrete fire escape collapsed.

5Pointz current survival has been due completely to Jennifer Smith, who in reality is the Muse, Calliope. Once the Muse of Epic Poetry, she changed to Urban Art in the mid 20th Century (more people to inspire, especially since Epic Poetry went out with Shakespeare). However, recently, someone or something has been draining her powers. She has appealed to Olympus, with little response, and believes the current threats from the mortal government are involved with her situation.


Shadows Over New York Keryth987