2000-04-29 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance

By Susan Hartenstein

RAA’s Esther Grillo has begun work on her latest "wave" bus shelter mural on Shore Front parkway. Located at Beach 105 street and entitled "The Deep", it will join Beach 84 street’s "Mythical Cavern" and Beach 108 street’s "Surf’s Up" as beautiful neighborhood showplaces painted by Grillo, assisted by Rockaway youngsters. These unused shelters had fallen into disrepair. Grillo’s goal in finding the funding to renovate and beautify these 60 year-old structures has been to make them sight-seeing attractions for Rockaway residents as well as for visitors from outside the peninsula. The New York City Parks Department is doing the structural repairs.

Funding for this project comes from the Rockaway Artists Alliance Apprenticeship Program and the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. The RAA Apprenticeship Program also funded the other two shelter mural projects and is, for Grillo, an essential aspect of these projects. Under the program, students from Beach Channel High School and John Adams High School will assist the artist, learning painting techniques as well as teamwork. In addition, neighborhood children will work on the project, as they did on the previous murals.

"The Deep" will be 70 feet by 10 feet and will cover the interior cavity as well as the east and west exterior facades. Grillo’s design depicts an underwater scene of divers exploring treasures found in a sunken shipwreck and surrounded by swirling schools of exquisite tropical fish. Inspiration for the colorful scene came from the stories of divers at Almost Paradise Diving Center at Beach 9 street who see these creatures swimming north during the summer. Divers and fish will be pictured in dramatic silhouette, light beaming from behind.

Grillo next wishes to seek funding for a mural on the shelter at Shore Front parkway in the 70’s. She also wants to acquire funds to beautify the backs of the shelters. She is looking forward to this project and hopes public response to it is as positive as it has been to the other murals, which gave the neighborhoods a focus for pride and enjoyment. They also showed public officials the creativity and energy of Rockaway. Grillo invites the public to come view the work in progress. She will be working with students on site Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. and with neighborhood youngsters on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Patrick Antonelle is an RAA member whose works appear nationally in public and private collections such as those of Donald Trump and Frank Sinatra. He believes that a gift must be shared. He donates the fruits of his gift to charities around the country. Recently, Antonelle attended an awards ceremony given by the Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Four of his artworks were donated to the hospital, which were auctioned for fundraising purposes. Ten of Antonelle’s paintings are on exhibit at the Markman Gallery in Las Vegas. Ten percent of sales will go to the hospital. Northern Lights is a pediatric AIDS foundation. On May 3 it is holding an event, attended by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, at which three donated Antonelle works will be auctioned. Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund in Hackensack, New Jersey is a recipient of the same generosity. The money goes to the Hackensack Medical Center for Pediatric Cancer. Until June 1, Antonelle’s work is on exhibit at Kerygma Gallery, 38 Oak street, Ridgewood, New Jersey. The opening is Sunday, May 7, 2 to 5 p.m. His work will be on exhibit at Anamazing Gallery, 474 Broome street. The opening is Saturday, June 10. Ten percent of sales of Antonelle’s work will go to Variety Children’s Hospital.

Sunday, April 30 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. the Queens Botanical Garden will present Gardening Day. An afternoon of family activities and talks and demonstrations by experts from Queens and the New York area, this event is part of Queens 2000, the yearlong celebration of this borough, which RAA is hosting in October in Fort Tilden. Queens 2000 is made possible by Borough President Claire Shulman and coordinated by Borough Historian Stanley Cogan. The Garden is located at 43-50 Main street, Flushing. Admission is free.

So take a nice stroll down Shore Front parkway. Attend an art exhibit. Or learn more about gardening in a beautiful urban setting. Get out and enjoy. And be back here again next week. See you!

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