2000-07-08 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

Each year’s RAA building fund benefit brings us closer to our goal of an arts center for our community. Each event also seems to be more fun and entertaining than the year before. What encourages us so to continue our efforts is that each year the RAA family grows. More people attended this year’s event than in previous years. More and more citizens, including public and civic leaders, recognize the practical benefits to a community of a locus that provides creative activities and a magnet for tourism. New at this year’s event was State Senator Malcolm Smith, who has given funding to RAA. Singing this organization’s praises, he pledged even more funding in the future. Borough President Claire Shulman, one of this year’s honorees, has added her office’s financial support to RAA.

Very gratifying, indeed, was seeing faces from the families that have come to know the educational work of RAA – parents and children from our public school and kidsmART arts education programs. How uplifting it is to know that lives have been touched in such a positive way by those programs. How wonderful to embrace these people within the arms of the RAA family.

Marina Callaghan, RAA’s special events organizer, and RAA thank all who attended and all who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this event possible. Truly, they are too numerous to mention. We will, however, single out Steve and Kenny Good and the staff of The Beach Club for their delicious catering and their community consciousness; The Moran Brothers and Poly Prep’s very special group of young men and women, "The Notediggities", for providing all that wonderful live music. Congratulations and thanks to Marina Callaghan for her extraordinary organizing skills and her extraordinarily generous spirit.

RAA’s Denis Macrae teaches photography at Public School 183. Denis loves kids and enjoys reaching in them that same sense of wonder about the world that he has. Martin Penzer, a teacher at P.S. 183, writes that "Students are constantly seen throughout the school with camera in hand – working under Mr. Macrae’s caring and efficient supervision." Penzer comments on the many exciting class projects Macrae has led. Denis produces slides, videos and color prints of school projects for use in the school. Each year he and Penzer create a retrospective slide presentation with musical accompaniment presented at the school’s stepping-up ceremonies. Penzer writes that these annual presentations are very entertaining and emotional. He further writes that he "looks forward to…more interesting and educationally exciting photographic projects during the coming year."

Thank you for your good words, Mr. Penzer.

RAA touches lives.


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