2002-02-16 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance is quickly becoming as much a home for literary artists as it is for visual artists. Evidence – RAA's upcoming exhibition, "Palindrome 2002" and the opening reception last Saturday for "PASSION RED," RAA's current exhibition in sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden. Attracting some 200 visitors, the wine and cheese reception featured the RAA member paintings, photography and sculpture that are part of "PASSION RED." The afternoon presented several poets reading their work. Many of these poets are now becoming part of the RAA family. So successful was the afternoon, RAA is planning more events incorporating the written word. Thanks go to Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. for gracing the reception with his attendance.

The poets included Sandra Fitzpatrick, Karl Lorenzen, Irene Mallinger, Sandra Overstreet, Rosalind Pinto, Irma Seabury, Lynne Shaw, Barbara (to whom I must apologize for not remembering her last name), Patrick Willoughby and an exceptional young woman named Sibhon White. Ms. White is 15 years old, a sophomore at John Adams High School and had been writing poetry for only one week before coming to the reception on Saturday. She had, however, received a good deal of praise for her work. Patrick Willoughby, one of the other poets appearing, is Sibhon's teacher in Honors English. He informed the entire class about the open mic at sTudio 6, suggesting some might wish to participate. According to the self-possessed Ms. White, she was the only one brave enough to volunteer. In a word, Sibhon "wowed" the crowd. Poised, intelligent and articulate, she presented poems that were honest, forthright statements about love and sensuality by a modern young woman. Her stage presence and the maturity of her thinking captivated the appreciative audience. Sibhon wishes to continue writing poetry as a hobby. She has also been a dancer since the age of 3. But her career goal is to work in the medical field. She loves babies and wishes to become a neo-natal practitioner. Her immediate goal is to enter the Med Tech Program at John Adams. She has a 92 grade average this year and a grade of 99 in science. Every once in a while you meet a young person who makes you say to yourself, "This is someone special, someone who will make a special contribution." Certainly, potential is one thing. Hard work and accomplishment are something else. But I think Sibhon White has it in her to work hard and accomplish whatever wonderful thing she sets out to do. Enjoy the journey, my young friend. Sibhon's mother must be thanked and congratulated for all her support and encouragement of her daughter. The same goes to Patrick Willoughby for being that very special person – a teacher who opens minds and horizons.

Singer/songwriter Michael Finnegan and singer Sheila Finnegan entertained throughout the afternoon. Charming and talented, the duo performed a wide range of music, which included songs from Michael's first musical, "Moving with Grace." Of late I have refrained from thanking individuals involved in producing certain RAA events – I always succeed in leaving someone out. However, I would be grossly remiss in not thanking Karen McCallion. Seemingly without effort (the sign of a difficult job well done), Karen once again prepared delicious food and decorations, elegantly and beautifully presented. The success of Saturday afternoon, and of all RAA's receptions, would simply not be possible without her.

"Palindrome 2002," planned well before last Saturday, is an open exhibition, which will display visual and literary works. Dates are March 16 – April 14. The open call to artists appears elsewhere in this week's newspaper (Really it does. It wasn't in last week, as promised in this column, because of a miss-Q. Sorry).

Saturday's crowd was full of praise for the exhibition, "PASSION RED." Hot and beautiful (artistically speaking, of course), it displays love and red in both pure and passionate profusion. Pretty poetic, huh people? Pssssssst -- Come peruse! Gallery hours are Saturday 12-5 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Need info? Email the RAA at RockArt116@aol.com or call Rockaway Artists Alliance.

Coming soon – Art Frenzy and Remembering. Contact RAA now for prospectuses.

Autumn's Glory II," by Patrick Antonell, a signed and numbered limited edition of 450.

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