1999-06-05 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein

RAA has bench strength. Offering the public something new and different than our first exhibit at Peninsula Hospital Center, our second exhibit is an all photography show. Running until at least June 15 in the main lobby, the show contains new works from old members and works from a new member you haven’t seen before. It contains photographs from versatile, talented artists you may already know but through their work in other media. Throw a right hander or a left hander at us, we’re ready.

Joseph Rothenberg makes black and white vibrate. Using light and shadow full strength but also able to reveal the nuances in between, he creates structurally solid works of power, subtlety and unsentimental beauty.

Miriam Abraham also creates compositionally strong black and white photographs. She exposes the intimacy and humanity of her otherwise enigmatic subjects. New member Jacqueline Sheridan is able to make a single flower or a coffee cup intriguing.

Who knew pen and ink artist extraordinaire James Cantirino was also a photographer? His scenes of exotic places and the people who inhabit them reveal yet another aspect of this talented gentleman.

As in all his close-up views of flowers, Arnold Kessler transcends botany into the eternal abstract beauty of color and design. For this show, in addition, he gives us an insightful look at a seagull warrior.

Returning to the drama of black and white with Aaron Finkelstein, his photographs picture the geometric play of architecture and the depth of religious devotion.

James McKay puts the same qualities into his photographs that make his landscapes and still lifes so memorable. They are richly colorful, intelligent and rewarding.

The photographs of M. Elliott Killian, this show’s co-curator, exhibit the same liquid beauty and love of the sea found in her watercolors.

The love and wonder Chris Jorge has for the places she visits are captured in her camera, to then be shared with her audience.

The extraordinarily spiritual found in ordinary places – that is the theme in Denis Macrae’s intriguing entries into this exhibit.

Come explore the world – familiar and exotic, near and far, inside and outside ourselves, fully hued and succinctly black and white. Come see "The Art of Photography" at Peninsula Hospital Center.

Were you there last year? If so, you know how much fun you had. If not, you won’t want to miss out this year. Ask anyone who went, what a great time he or she had. This year our second annual Building Fund Benefit dinner/dance takes place Sunday, June 13, 3 p.m. at building T-149, Fort Tilden.

Your check to RAA must be into 260 Beach 116 street by June 6 in order to buy a ticket. No tickets can be sold on premises.

Spend an "Afternoon In the Park" with live music from the likes of Gerald Bair and Walter Ensor, dancing, food, wine, beer, soda and terrific people coming together to celebrate art, Rockaway and each other. You can win great art for your home in our raffle. (To contribute artwork to the raffle, contact Maureen McGuire.) You may win another prize in our "Name That Baby Artist Contest." (Members, remember to get your baby photo to Eileen Bledsoe at 425 Beach 121 street or at Allstate Insurance, 112-30 Beach Channel drive.)

As if all this wasn’t enough, there will be an all-day special guest appearance from the always radiant Medium Rayah. Madam Rayah will dispense her fortune telling skills to all who wish them.

This year’s honorees are Assemblywoman Pauline Cummings, PS 43’s Project Arts instructor Joanne Ellis and community activist Barbara Morris. They will be recognized for their contributions to the arts and to Rockaway. A special award in honor of Susan Friedman, to be given annually, will be presented to a child connected with our arts education programs, who most embodies Susan’s qualities of enthusiasm and creativity.

Do you think all this is worth at least $30 to you? RAA already provides highly successful, ever-expanding arts education programs to the youth of our city. Under one program we are providing jobs to teens in Rockaway. We hold classes and special events available to all. We are beautifying our area with murals, exhibits and more. Think how much more we could do with an arts center that will serve every sector of our population. Is it worth it to you to contribute to that? Is it worth it to you to have an arts center in Ft. Tilden which can attract home buyers, investors and government agencies who are looking for positive signs that a community is worth investing in? You decide. Even if you can’t attend Sunday, you can donate. Community leaders, educators, government agencies, public officials and private citizens are investing time, money and confidence in us. You, too, can say you believe in investing in our community’s present and future




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