The Welling Court Mural Project started in December 2009, when the Welling Court community invited a team of muralists called Ad Hoc Art to beautify the neighborhood. Ad Hoc Art had recently received acclaim for their beautification of the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn. The Welling Court Mural Project is now one of the best collections of contemporary street art, using the buildings of Astoria as its canvas.
Welling Court gets an update every year, with new murals painted in the early spring. There are over 40 murals in total, extending from Vernon Boulevard to 14th Street. Some are political, with messages about Trump, Syrian refugees and Standing Rock; others are beautifully immersive, with dreamy underwater scenes and vibrantly-colored jungles.
I first stumbled upon this gem while on a bike ride in Astoria, and I love visiting throughout the year to check on the new murals. The amazing thing about mural art is how the scale envelops the viewer. I may be in my own neighborhood, but suddenly, I’m transported to a world of color: gazing up at the wizened eyes of Maya Angelou or standing at the feet of a giant panther.
I recommend visiting in the morning, when the light is best for photos and there is less traffic in the streets.