Underwater seascape painting & the painter, The Rockaway Hotel

Installations & Performances

Art and community are central pillars to the Rockaway Hotel + Spa. In addition to our rotating art collection in the lobby and guest rooms, the property is home to a number of site specific installations and performances by artists whose work speaks to the ethos of the hotel and the Rockaway community more broadly.

Beach Sessions Dance Series 2023

The Rockaway Hotel is proud to support Beach Sessions Dance Series, returning to Rockaway Beach, Queens for its ninth season of free beach-front outdoor performances. On Saturday, August 26, 2023, as a one-day event, the shoreline of Rockaway Beach with the ocean as the backdrop will become the stage for a new arrangement of Merce Cunningham’s iconic work Beach Birds (1991) and a response by choreographer Sarah Michelson.

This season’s programming continues to support Beach Sessions’ commitment to presenting free public performances in the Rockaways, and offering beachgoers and Rockaway locals a unique cultural experience at the City’s popular summertime retreat. Audiences are invited to come in and out as they please.

Residency on the Rock

The Rockaway Hotel invites you to visit Residency on the Rock: our new inaugural artist residency program in the Rockaways. An extension of the hotel’s ongoing arts and cultural programming (and located just across the street), Residency on the Rock is our newly transformed gallery and studio space, which features a rotating artist and exhibition every month, programming and in-person workshops which are open to the public. For a schedule of upcoming programs and events, follow us on Instagram.

108-09 Rockaway Beach Dr | Wednesday – Sunday 12PM-6PM

Gwen Smith: The Chance Whale in partnership with Baxter St. CCNY
May 17 – June 15

Erica Reade: Beach Lovers
June 21 – July 19

Zain Alam: Meter & Light in partnership with Laundromat Project
August 2 - September 4

Please note dates are subject to change.

Jesse Krimes, Thinking of a Place

A new community mural will be coming to the Rockaways in Summer 2023. Using participatory art practices, Jesse Krimes hosted a series of in-person workshops at The St. John’s Residency for Boys to collect source imagery from students exploring how they envision their future lives. The resulting images will be translated into a communally created mural. The concept of the installation grows out of Krimes “Elegy Quilt Series” which explores memories or feelings of home described by incarcerated individuals.

The elements representing individual identities and future selves will be combined and layered together to represent a communal identity and vision. Stylistically, the mural will draw on American communal quilting traditions that marginalized and oppressed groups used to articulate visions of freedom and a stronger social fabric.

Katie Murray, SOS

The Rockaway Hotel is presented a one-night only installation of Katie Murray’s video piece, SOS, on June 15th,2023. The video artwork explores our relationship with time, existence and nostalgia. The fictional journey, constructed from both personal and sought-after footage; through space, time, and memory, creates a sensory overload for its viewers making use of the reflective nature of water. Here, time is illusive, refracted, and abstracted ebbing and flowing like the tide. Existing parallel to the outside world but not quite in sync with it. 


The Rockaway Hotel collaborated Outdoor window installations
Seascape paintings at The Rockaway Hotel

Nina Chanel Abney x RxART

The Rockaway Hotel + Spa has collaborated with RxART and Nina Chanel Abney on an outdoor window installation honoring the incredible work that went into Abney’s project for the Pediatric Ambulatory Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in Queens, New York. Abney created vibrant imagery to transform the entire clinic, providing a positive distraction for the pediatric patients who are cared for annually, as well as their families and the hospital staff. 

Learn More about the Elmhurst Hospital Project

A girl working on a wall art at The Rockaway Hotel

Julia Chiang Community Mural

The Rockaway Hotel + Spa and artist Julia Chiang teamed up for a multi-tiered public art project in the Rockaways in July 2022. Curated by Michi Jigarjian, Chiang was invited to make her mark on the unique landscape of the Rockaways. Taking inspiration from her signature visual language, Chiang hosted workshops for kids and families to create their own artworks that were then incorporated into the final vision.

The project was executed in collaboration with Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, a public-private partnership that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula. One mural is located on the facade of the hotel, while the other is located on the outside of a senior living facility, that was painted in collaboration with the local community.

Underwater seascape painting & the painter, The Rockaway Hotel
Painter working on a art at The Rockaway Hotel
Ivan Forde mural covers façade of The Rockaway Hotel

Ivan Forde at The Rockaway Hotel

Ivan Forde’s first large-scale public work poeticizes Rockaway’s history and depicts an underwater seascape of literary characters alongside local fish and birds.

Centered around the magical plant from the ancient Mesopotamian epic poem Gilgamesh/He Who Saw The Deep, Forde’s mural presents a boat with sailors, the hydrodynamics of water, and a mysterious diver among an amalgamation of healing plants, including those used in Forde’s birthplace of Guyana, native to the Rockaways, and cultivated across cultures. It will acknowledge Forde’s extensive research of history and ancestry, ranging from the artist’s conversations with his father to the legacy of the Rockaways’ indigenous Lenape people. 

Shantell Martin near 'The Big Yard', The Rockaway Hotel
New Shantell martin mural debuts at The Rockaway Hotel
Kids playing near Shantell Martin's art, The Rockaway Hotel

Shantell Martin “The Big Yard”

Shantell Martin “The Big Yard"

Friends of Seaside Playground (FOSP), in collaboration with 7G Group, were pleased to support Shantell Martin’s Big Yard Mural. Martin’s artwork transformed the “The Big Yard,” located at Seaside Playground on the corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and B109 Street in Rockaway Park, Queens, into an oasis for the 700 students from Waterside Children’s Studio School, Waterside School for Leadership, and th e community members who use the school’s yard daily. The hand-painted mural will debuted October 11, 2020, and is sponsored by the Rockaway Hotel.

Shantell Martin is best known for her dynamic, category-defying, larger-than-life drawings. Her work explores identity as a critical pathway to self-expression and often asks, who are you? Martin will use her signature lines, iconic shapes, and primarily monochromatic black and white imagery to reflect the vibrancy of Rockaway’s community and urban beach landscape. Her artwork transformed the 16,000 square foot outdoor recreational space into a 360-degree activation where text and images will appear out of her fluid and interconnected lines.

Colorful artwork on a wall at The Rockaway Hotel
A meaningful artwork at The Rockaway Hotel
Portrait of colorful & meaningful art at The Rockaway Hotel
Close-up of a photo of a lady held at The Rockaway Hotel
Symbolic painting of lady blended in blue, The Rockaway Hotel

Art for Change

Over the last two summers, The Rockaway Hotel + Spa has partnered with ART FOR CHANGE to offer limited-edition artwork by both established and emerging artists in select guest rooms.Connecting socially conscious art collectors with accomplished contemporary artists, ART FOR CHANGE’s print collection complements the hotel’s rotating selection of works from both locally and internationally renowned artists currently found throughout the hotel.A percentage of sales goes to local nonprofit organizations that work towards empowering the community.

Lady with an augmented reality artwork at The Rockaway Hotel

Nancy Baker Cahill x Art Production Fund

On July 4th, 2020 artist Nancy Baker Cahill unveiled “Liberty Bell”, a public art project that utilized augmented reality, presented simultaneously in six cities in the United States: Boston, MA, Charleston, SC, Philadelphia, PA, Rockaway, NY, Selma, AL, and Washington, DC.

Commissioned by Art Production Fund, in partnership with 7G Foundation and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, a project of the Fund for the City of New York, Liberty Bell is an animated, monumental and richly sonorous augmented reality (AR) drawing in 360 degrees. The public artwork will be geolocated at a series of sites and experienced on smartphones through Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app. This project, which was two years in the making, lives at the vibrant intersection of public art, social consciousness and tech.