1999-10-09 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance

Sample of the quilters gift of love.

by Susan Hartenstein

Since 1992, a very special group of Rockaway citizens has devoted time, skill and love to making quilts for sick children and babies suffering with AIDS. ABC Quilters, short for At Risk Baby Crib Quilters, meets every Wednesday, except for December and two weeks in January, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the small hall in Saint Francis de Sales Church on 129 street and Rockaway Beach boulevard. Maureen Walsh is the group’s coordinator. RAA’s MaryAnn McEvoy is one of its members. Ms. Walsh is the person who first approached Saint Francis’ Monsignor Martin Geraghty with the idea for the group. This year 260 crib-sized quilts were created, and will be distributed to organizations and hospitals in the city, including Peninsula Hospital Center. In appreciation of the work these exceptional artisans and human beings have been doing, a special mass was held on Sunday, October 3 at Saint Francis. A quilt was tied onto the end of each pew. Monsignor Geraghty, who said the mass, invited all present to touch the quilts in order to put into them the same kind of love the quilters had put into the making of them. Some of the members also made dolls to be used for a very special purpose. Surgeons operating on children could draw on the dolls to show the youngsters just how and where they would be performing the surgery, thus taking away some of the mystery and fear of the procedure. In a marvelous gesture of gratitude, the quilters were each given a gift certificate for a manicure. What a delightful touch-giving something so frequently associated with idle hands to hands that toil to give so much to others. There is a subtle, humorous majesty to that. Anyone may join ABC Quilters. All newcomers are welcome. No experience is necessary. Just bring your love and your humanity some Wednesday evening and you will be shown the basics of quilting. How wonderful of Saint Francis de Sales Church to publicly express the parish’s appreciation of this important work.

The Millennium Tour being given by RAA’s Joseph Rothenberg, docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be conducted at the museum on the following Fridays: October 15, 29; November 19 and December 17. All start at 2:00 p.m. Go to the General Information desk and ask for the Highlights Walk. You will be directed to the proper place. The tour will cover one work of art for each of the last 10 centuries and will last approximately one and a half hours.

Friday, October 15 at 3:30 p.m. at the Peninsula branch of the Queens Borough Public Library, Lawrence McBride will present an origami workshop for children in grades two to six. Preregistration is required. Space is limited. Admission is free. The library is located at 92-25 Rockaway Beach boulevard. Learn how to create at least two different, fun paper-folding projects from a master in the art.

RAA photographer Arnold Kessler will participate in a street fair in Pound Ridge, N.Y. The event takes place Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17, from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Denis Macrae has announced the plans for RAA’s next tour. It will include birdwatching, scenic beauty, the art and history of Broad Channel and delicious comestibles. The tour will meet Sunday, October 17 at 12 noon at the main building of the Jamaica Bay Bird Sanctuary. Bring binoculars, if possible, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Macrae is an expert on the flora and fauna of the preserve, especially the birds. The preserve is stunning in the fall and you are in for a real treat. Continuing on to the VFW Hall at Shad Creek road and Crossbay boulevard, the tour will view the Broad Channel Historical Society’s fifth annual exhibition. Since having fun works up an appetite, the tour will stop in at Macrae’s Broad Channel home for refreshments. Suggested donation for the tour is $10. All money goes to the RAA. These tours have been wonderful events. Don’t miss this one.

Just a few words on the RMAC festival, which Sharon Gabriel so ably covered in her column last week. Once again this year, it was a well-attended, fun event. Two new faces, whose work particularly caught my eye, were potter Dean Poole of Oklahoma and photographer Alex Pietersen of Florida. Steve Yaeger’s work, as always, was beautiful. RAA was well represented by the stunning paintings of Patrick Antonelle and M. Elliott Killian’s terrific watercolors and photographs. Congratulations to Killian for winning the third place award for excellence. Attendees were able to learn more about RAA at our "cause" table. Geoff Rawling allowed kids freedom and glorious fun, painting up a storm on the mural they created. We all look forward to next year’s festival.

Medium Rayah has been cleaning and simonizing her crystal balls. So be prepared for some Halloween predictions in next week’s column. Until then, peace, love and candy corn.



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