2002-03-23 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

For those who might ask if there are poets and an audience for poetry in Rockaway, the answer is a resounding, Yes! Poetry Night at Patrick's was a great success. Writers and lovers of the written and spoken word came from the length of this peninsula, from the mainland and from Brooklyn to this co-presentation of the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) and The People's Laundry. They came to share an evening of ideas, emotions and common experiences set to the music and meter of verse. The caliber of writing was consistently high and the variety of forms employed within the genre was immensely stimulating. The success of the evening was due to the folks at Patrick's International Caribbean Cuisine, Irma Seabury and The People's Laundry, who formed the core of the poets who read and the members of RAA who believe passionately that there is a definite place in Rockaway for a regular spoken word event, held in an atmosphere of warmth, friendship and "gemutlichkeit." What was most pleasing was to see the age range of the writers that this open mic event attracted. It included high schoolers. Perhaps because poetry is so much like music, it appears to be a literary form that many young people find approachable and comfortable as a means of self-expression.

RAA and The People's Laundry look forward to Poetry Night being a regularly scheduled event on the second Thursday of each month at Patrick's. April 11 will be the next one. Watch this column for more information.

Please don't miss the opening reception on Saturday, March 23, 1-3 p.m., for "Palindrome 2002," RAA's open exhibition of visual and literary art. Poems and short pieces of prose are on display, as well as some wonderful and intriguing works of visual art. The wine and cheese reception features musician Tim Kearney, an open mic and "Palindrome 2002" writers reading their works. Come – you'll have a great time. Admission is free. Poets are asked to arrive at noon.

The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) is undergoing some interesting changes. After an open design competition among architects nationwide, the plan of Eric Owen Moss Architects was chosen as the concept for an enlarged and enhanced museum space. The museum will double in size and include an undulating glass roof over a central public space. "Designing the Future" is an exhibition at QMA that will display design proposals and models by competition finalists. The exhibit will also feature drawings, artifacts, photographs and works of art from the history of the museum and the New York City Building in which it is housed.

The Queens Museum of Art has just announced its new Executive Director. Assuming the post on March 29 is Tom Finkelpearl, who was Deputy Director of P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center. He has served P.S. 1, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in a wide variety of capacities. As an artist, he created a series of site-specific artworks in the 1980's and 90's. He wrote "Dialogues in Public Art," published by MIT Press in 2000. Finkelpearl stated, "I am thrilled to be appointed Director of the Queens Museum of Art. My vision for the museum is that it can be simultaneously a local and international arts center. Because of the magnificent diversity of the Borough it is necessary to present an international program to engage the local communities."

Are you catching on to the Frenzy yet? Art Frenzy, that is. Coming this spring to Fort Tilden, a festival of arts and public activities free to the public. RAA is hosting art exhibitions, performance and spoken word events and a costumed children's parade. Watch this column for more. Prepare to Get Frenzied.

April 7, the opening reception for "Remembering" takes place, an exhibition of art remembering and reflecting on our recent past and our future. Contact RAA for information about our events and exhibitions. RAA's email address is rockArt116@aol.com.

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