2000-01-01 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance

"Portrait of an Artist"--oil on canvas--Kevin Callaghan.

RAA holiday display in tribute to Pat Brackley--Rotary Triangle, Beach 116 street.

By Susan Hartenstein

Queens arts and culture will no longer have its great friend and champion at the helm of the Queens Council on the Arts. Theresa J. Osborne, who has been QCA’s executive director for the past six years, is leaving to become the American Cancer Society’s executive director for Queens County.

Osborne’s intelligent, dedicated and dynamic leadership has made QCA a force in arts and culture in this city and has enhanced the quality of life in this borough. Terri was way ahead of the pack in the realization that arts and culture bring tourism to an area and thus promote economic health. So many of the videos, cultural maps, guides and booklets that QCA has done to promote cultural tourism in the wonderfully diverse borough of Queens were initially the idea of Terri Osborne. The #7 train "International Express" is an example. QCA Folklorist Ilana Harlow implemented a nationally known video and brochure on the multi-cultural restaurants, shops, etc. that can be visited on the various stops of this primarily Queens train. The "Express" became the only urban trail of the 16 "Millennium Trails" of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Another example is "The Insider’s Guide to Queens", a beautifully done map and guide to the cultural and tourist high points in Queens, including a lovely section on Rockaway, RAA, RMAC, Rockaway Museum, Russell Sage Church, etc. Coming out next year on QPTV will be the video "The 60th Year of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park". Done by QCA’s Roy Fox, it is the fascinating story of the history of that park.

Terri Osborne promotes the arts and people of Queens. She helps bring funds to our borough and makes sure they are put to good use. She has been a special friend to RAA and to all the artists of this borough, always available for assistance and advice. We thank her for all she has done and wish her the best of luck at her new post.

This holiday season, the Rotary triangle on 116 street boasts an RAA display done in tribute to "Gardening Angel" Pat Brackley. Geoff Rawling created the "gift box". Rose Hannon created the angel, which hangs over two snowflakes of recycled Styrofoam.

1999 for RAA was a year of growth, of promises fulfilled and of new opportunities established for the coming millennium. RAA’s connections to other important arts organizations in the city deepen. Our collaborations with important individuals and institutions expose the name of Rockaway to other parts of the city in positive ways. Our new advisory board, filled with leaders from the public and private sectors, opens up new channels to best serve the public and membership and to promote the needs of the public and membership we serve.

The year began with Queens Council on the Arts inviting us to mount an exhibit at their headquarters. The reception coincided with The Queens Community Arts Fund awards ceremony. Sharon Vatsky, Queens Museum of Art curator of education, curated the exhibit. Neighborhood exhibit venues this year included Peninsula Hospital Center, Sisterhood of Congregation Ohab Zedek and Saint Camillus Church. Our plans for Fort Tilden are getting on their feet, though much more in terms of funding is needed to establish an arts center for Rockaway. Thanks to renovations, beginning early in 2000, RAA will be offering classes for adults and children in building T-6. T-6 will also serve as gallery and studio space until T-7 can be renovated. RAA was privileged to attend the star-studded 1999 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony to see QCA’s Terri Osborne accept the award for which we had nominated them. How proud we were when Geoff Rawling, as president of RAA, was presented with a plaque by the 100 Precinct Community Council for service to the community. Bravo, Esther Grillo, for the wondrous "Surf’s Up" mural done with students and neighborhood children.

RAA collaborations with other groups and institutions will bring their art to Rockaway and allow us exposure outside Rockaway. For example, we are involved with the Queens Museum of Art’s First Thursdays program. The museum hosts a different after-hours art and music program on the first Thursday of each month. On January 6, for "Brazilian Nights", Denis Macrae will present a light show with slide projectors. Denis is asking RAA members to bring him five to 10 slides of their work for this program. Any dancers wishing to partake in the improvised dance that evening, call Denis. Future projects involving QMA and RAA will follow.

Our arts education program, which this year attracted teachers from all five boroughs, continued to grow in 1999. In May RAA was one of only 100 arts organizations invited to the NYC Board of Education Arts Services Fair at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An expanded Board of Education contract allows us to now teach in the other boroughs, which we have begun to do. Because of this contract we are also training NYC public school teachers in arts education techniques they may then bring to their students. Our much-praised KidsART program this spring was a great success and will be repeated next year. Future columns will discuss in more detail the exciting new work being done with our schoolchildren. Wait until you see.

So, here it is my friends—the new millennium. May it be filled for us all with health, peace and creativity.

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