Orestes González soaks in and shows off the work at Culture Lab LIC, a nonprofit that supports artists in Western Queens.

“It takes me to another dimension, to another world,” González said. “It opens up to new ways of seeing things I normally wouldn’t have appreciated.”

González has volunteered at Culture Lab LIC for six years to hang art, advertise for the organization, put together exhibitions and organize creative discussions.

What You Need To Know

  • Orestes González is a volunteer at Culture Lab LIC, a group that helps artists in Western Queens

  • The Long Island City photographer curates shows and holds artists’ discussions

  • He started off his artistic career as an architect, but re-evaluated his life after the Sept. 11 attacks and decided to pursue photography

  • González has helped hundreds of artists get exposure that they may not have otherwise received

“The goal of curating these shows is basically to, uh, expand the exposure of our artists they normally don’t have a place to show,” he said.

It’s a chance to put otherwise unknown creatives center-stage.

“Sometimes we have a thousand people walk through here over a weekend and the exposure to these artists is amazing,” González said.

The Long Island City resident has always been an “artsy type.”

He started off his career as an architect, but that changed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The events of 9/11 kind of forced me to rethink my life and think about what’s more important to me than a career as an architect making money,” González said. “So I started doing more and more photography.”

Since then, González has shown his work everywhere — from Seattle to Vermont to his native Cuba and at his second home at the Culture Lab LIC.  

But he always makes time to get the word out about other artists.

“It really helps out their work and having people see what they do.”

For showing off the art and the artists behind the lens, Orestes González is our New Yorker of the Week.