From The Artists Studio
Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein
Three hundred came the first night. More than twice as many came the second night. These are the estimated numbers of the people who attended RAA’s "Movies by Moonlight" at Fort Tilden. In a day and age when people can sit in their homes and watch a movie on the VCR, droves of them turned out to sit together under the stars. They came from as far away as Whitestone, Queens, and New Jersey. They came from the length and breadth of Rockaway. This must, indeed then, be recognized as a major Rockaway event.
"Movies by Moonlight" was not the only successful attraction in Fort Tilden those two nights. RAA’s new art gallery, "sTudio-6", hosted a large number of visitors from far and wide at its opening receptions earlier those evenings. Saturday’s gallery visitors were also treated to a dazzling music and dance performance by the Korean Traditional Music Institute of New York from Flushing, Queens. RAA thanks the Queens Council on the Arts for providing funding for this special appearance.
To complete Fort Tilden’s triple play, Friday and Saturday evenings the Rockaway Theatre Company presented Neil Simon’s "Rumors" at the Post Theater. Performances continue through July 2.
Build it and they will come. Audiences for all three events were shared and overlapped. People came to the gallery before and after the movies and theater, many returning to the gallery for a second view. Audiences chuckled and guffawed at "Horsefeathers" and "Rumors." They laughed and cried at "West Side Story." They spontaneously sang along, rhythmically snapped and clapped and even applauded after the film’s musical numbers. Gallery visitors "oohed" and "aahed" at the extraordinary range and quality of the RAA artwork displayed in sTudio-6, now a permanent fixture in Fort Tilden. Many who were familiar with building T-6 before its conversion commented that the building itself was now a piece of art. All were thrilled that such a variety of culture is now available in this unique natural setting. Many remarked that, especially when the ferry comes here, Rockaway will become an essential stop on the cultural tourism route around the city.
Of note, gallery hours were originally set at 12 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, running through June 30. However, because of interest by the public, those hours and days will likely be extended to coincide with other Gateway events. Therefore, contact the RAA office and watch this column for information. RAA’s e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks go to so many for making this special weekend possible, that another column would be needed to name them all. However, at risk of offending, I will single out a few. Thank you to: the staff and maintenance crew of Gateway National Recreation Area, which co-hosted these events; my community-minded bosses Leon Locke and John McLoughlin of The Wave; Councilman Alfonso Stabile; Executive Director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer and the Queens Council on the Arts; Dragon’s Den for donating flowers for the reception; John Le Pore and Allstate Insurance for their donation; and the RAA members whose tireless efforts were mind-boggling – most especially Kate Judge, Michael Tubridy, Geoff Rawling, Jan Nebozenko and Fritz, Chris Jorge, Marina Callaghan, Jim Killian and my partner in exhibition presentation, Martha Killian.
Build it and they will come. RAA’s July 1 building fund benefit will provide fun, music, dancing, food, art and best of all, the opportunity to contribute to the completion of an arts center in Fort Tilden. Much remains to be done. For tickets contact RAA. If you wish to help, contact Marina Callaghan.
Special thanks to the public that has supported us in all our efforts. We love you and we will continue to work hard for you