2000-10-07 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

By Susan Hartenstein

From The Artists Studio
Rockaway Artists Alliance


Michael Redpath is only one of many versatile artists displaying work in the RAA’s Millennium Festival at Fort Tilden. Pictured are paintings and a wood sculpture in the exhibition. 
Michael Redpath is only one of many versatile artists displaying work in the RAA’s Millennium Festival at Fort Tilden. Pictured are paintings and a wood sculpture in the exhibition.

50 artists – 15 events – 2 buildings – 1 ocean. Something for everyone – the best way to describe RAA’s expansive October Millennium Festival show in Fort Tilden. Indeed, festival events are occurring well beyond the fort in other Rockaway venues and extend beyond October.

Sunday, October 1 the opening reception was held in sTudio 6 in Fort Tilden. A bright early fall day, a gorgeous setting and a range of artwork that, to my knowledge, has never been seen on this peninsula before. Everywhere and in everyone, a sense that something very special was happening. This sense was echoed in the words of all who attended and all who spoke at this highly successful opening. RAA thanks those who shared their kind words and enthusiastic good wishes. These included Barbara Eisenstadt, president of Rockaway Music and Arts Council; Liz Sulik, president of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce; Rosemary Murray, chair of Community Board 14; and Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, executive director of Queens Council on the Arts. Special thanks to Ms. Krakauer and QCA for all their festival support. Ms. Krakauer has proven to be a woman not just of eloquent words, but also of determined action. Artists of Queens are lucky to have her as a friend. Thanks also to Barbara Morris of the Rotary Club and Kevin Buckley, general manager of Breezy Point Cooperative, for attending and for their constant support. Thank you to Roxbury Barn for their delicious food.

At the opening of Riis Landing, Marc Koenings, general superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area, spoke of "a new day dawning" for this area of Gateway and its community. One needed only to walk through building T-7 to understand the significance of this day and this place and how it fit into this view for the future. T-7 was being used as a warehouse on this former military base, which trained citizens in the defense of our country. With full knowledge and respect for this past, RAA has given renewed life and purpose to this structure. With hard work and a desire to create something very special in our unique area, RAA is transforming what was a cluttered, dusty storage space into the hub of an arts center -- a showcase of what Rockaway can offer. Build it, and they will have a reason to come. The entrance hall is a tribute to the past and the future. In a special case are old keys found during the clean up of the building and retained as a reminder of the sacrifices of those who preceded. Mounted on easels is the floor plan for the anticipated renovations. Filling the entrance hall is the artwork of the children in RAA’s education programs. We have no future if our children are not encouraged to find the richness inside themselves and in their world.

Entering the main hall is entering upon a journey into the conventional and the unconventional; the artistic and the scientific; the playful and the serious, with stops at gradations in between. Always cognizant of the environment that inspires us, RAA has placed first on the right a collaborative exhibit by scientist Peter Warny and environmental artist Brandon Balengee. The installation focuses on wetlands bio-diversity and includes digital prints and preserved species. Filling the hall are spaces cordoned off and designed in any number of imaginative ways by the individual artists displaying in them. One is never accosted or dizzied by the displays, as can happen in such a set-up. One is, instead, drawn further and further along a path of treats for all the senses. Included are paintings, prints, kinetic sculptures, an interactive musical exhibit, a musicians’ space, a literary magazine. The diversity continues in sTudio-6 where one finds handmade jewelry, paintings, photographs, aquatints and more. Outdoors, sculptures are to be found. One, with the title "Clown Cemetery." Too much for one column to describe, you must come and see all this for yourself. In your own backyard and free! Gallery hours are Friday 7-10 p.m., Saturday 12-5p.m. and 7-10 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. Gallery exhibitions run through November 12.


RAA’s Robin Pogrebitsky, sitting on the side of building T-7, completing one of his driftwood sculptures now on exhibit in the October Millennium Festival.  
RAA’s Robin Pogrebitsky, sitting on the side of building T-7, completing one of his driftwood sculptures now on exhibit in the October Millennium Festival.

This week’s festival events:

Friday, October 6 –

  • 8 p.m. – Post Theater – Opening night – "Once Upon a Mattress."

Saturday, October 7 –

  • 12 noon – 105 street and Shore Front parkway - "The Deep", Esther Grillo’s wave shelter mural ribbon cutting ceremony. Reception sponsored by Almost Paradise.
  • 8 p.m. – Fort Tilden – Spoken word event/Poetry slam. Sponsored by QCA.

Sunday, October 8 –

  • 1-3 p.m. – sTudio-6 -- Mask making workshop – For kids of all ages.

Saturday, October 14 (rain date: October 15) –

  • 1-4 p.m. – Fort Tilden – Sculpture walk and reception– works by the group 14 Sculptors.

Sunday, October 15 – (all in Fort Tilden; all children’s events)

  • 1:30 p.m. – Stories by the Sea – Sponsored by Madelaine Chocolates.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Children’s reception – Sponsored by McDonald"s.
  • 3:00 p.m. – Dance performance.

This column would not be complete if RAA didn’t thank Jim Killian for getting that plumbing in on time; the Magoo Brothers for the fabulous electric job; and Quadrozzi Concrete for their generous donation of crushed cement for our Fort Tilden project. And finally, thank you to Gateway National Recreation Area – specifically to Marc Koenings, Billy Garrett, superintendent of the Jamaica Bay Unit, and Site Manager Alex Romero – for their invaluable cooperation and support.

And to Geoff Rawling – your creativity, energy and magician’s abilities boggle the mind.

See you at the Fort.


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