From The Artists Studio
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By Susan Hartenstein
Like so many, Karen Schnibbe of the Rockaway Artists Alliance has been deeply disturbed by the recent vandalism of Roman Catholic churches in Brooklyn. So disturbed is she that Schnibbe has volunteered to repair, pro bono, one of the pieces desecrated in this "barrage" against these churches. Sunday, March 12 at Saint Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in east Flatbush, a hand carved wooden figure of Jesus Christ was pried loose from its crucifix, which is also hand carved from wood. The figure, which is approximately one and a half feet, broke into eight pieces. Schnibbe estimates that she will complete the restoration of this figure by mid-May or earlier. When this work is done she will enlist the assistance of other RAA members in putting the figure back on its cross. She will then look to see if her help can be further used, either at Saint Francis or at any other church that has been vandalized. Schnibbe asks that if anyone wishes to donate anything, he or she should donate to the RAA for any of its various projects and programs.
Karen Schnibbe reports that she is not new to charity work. She and her mother have formed a company called "Violet Angels", named after Schnibbe’s grandmother. This "informal" non-profit company, as Schnibbe describes it, works for various charitable causes. The parish of Saint Francis of Assisi Church just celebrated its 100th anniversary. The church was blessed around 1913. According to Father John Bolduc of Saint Francis, the piece being worked on by Schnibbe is, as he puts it, as old as anyone can remember. People don’t remember the church without it, he says. Father John also wishes to say that sometimes out of a terrible situation, something good comes. Evidenced has been the generosity of people, like those from the RAA, whose hearts were effected by these incidents. Perhaps, he believes, because they wish to show that the world is filled with much better human beings than these events might indicate. Father John told me that in January, when a statue of Saint Francis was damaged at the church, one of their third graders was asked by a reporter what he believed should be done to the vandals if they were found. The little boy said, "We’ll just have to forgive them". The message of Saint Francis got out after all, concludes Father John.der=0 bgcolor="#D0D0D0">
This weekend marks your final chance to see the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual student/teacher art exhibition at the Garden’s Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery. As is true each year, this is a beautiful show. All the works are on paper. Several are of particular note. Most of the show consists of transparent watercolors, and the best of them display the breath, movement and flow that this medium can attain. Among these are Adele Lou Rosetti Moroni’s brilliantly colored "Amerylis or Hyacinths". In "Rose of Sharon" Nina Suarez uses this same medium to capture the delicate dance of that plant’s leaves and flowers. Some of the finest work of artist Helene Neesemann is to be found in the subtle colors and exquisite definition of "Pink Roses". Mary Leto’s "All is Procession" is a particularly unusual and imaginative piece done in handmade paper and pastels. There are many other fine works in this exhibition and you should be allowed to discover them for yourself. Don’t forget that the backdrop for this exhibit is a garden of bulbs bursting into flower, heath and heather blooming, distant trees sponged with green, mauve and purple fuzz and mallard sentries standing guard on anticipating lily ponds.
Change the date of the RAA annual fundraiser on your calendars to July 1. Remember that organizer Marina Callaghan can use your help, so call her at the RAA office.
Enjoy, my friends. See you here next week.