2002-12-28 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

By Susan Hartenstein

By Susan Hartenstein
Rockaway Artists Alliance

In many ways this has been a year of healing - of looking forward as much as looking backward. In an uncertain world the human spirit must anchor itself in the endeavors of renewal and solution.

The creative spirit is both a physician and a guide. When injured it insists upon mending itself and forging a path through adversity. An organization is like a human being. For the Rockaway Artists Alliance, 2002 has been a year of flourishing creativity, growth and innovation. It is a year from which RAA looks forward with hope and determination. This year has been our most successful and fulfilling exhibition season to date. Imaginative, expansive shows like "Passion Red," "Palindrome 2002," "All-A-Flutter," "ARTSPLASH" and "The Russians Are Here" attracted a myriad of talents from inside and outside the community. Neon artists, a fashion designer, poets, nature photographers, a dance/theater company and on and on. Articles about the caliber and range of RAA exhibitions are creating a "buzz" and attracting many to the treasures of Rockaway. Thanks go to The Daily News, The New York Times, Newsday, The Queens Tribune, The Times Ledger and especially The Wave. Hundreds of visitors, in greater numbers than ever before, came to Fort Tilden to see exhibits that offered visual, literary and performing artists brought together in dynamic juxtapositions. In June RAA was one of the hosts of Queens Council on the Arts' ArtFrenzy.

Next season! RAA looks to it with great enthusiasm. A "red" show seemed a perfect fit with Valentines Day, so we're doing it again. "Vermillion." No, it's not a new game show. It's a bright shade of red and the first exhibition of the bright new season. "Destinations" will sail in for March and April. We are excited as our plans for renovations to studio 7 (finally) become reality. In 2003 the space will "heat up" not only from a new heating/cooling system, but from the cutting edge work to be housed within. Following renovations to sTudio 7, RAA plans to present four shows in which separate yet related exhibits will appear concurrently in each of our two gallery buildings. Sound exciting? We think so, too.

All this year, RAA has taken part in healing the traumas caused by 9/11, 11/12 and the general feelings of uncertainty and stress caused by our times. If you are a reader of this column and a citizen of this community, you are well aware of exhibitions like "Remembering" and children's art programs that address these issues. "From the heART" offers children and adults a means of healing through artistic expression.

Many have worked hard in 2002 to make our community and our city a better place to live. RAA is proud to be part of that effort. We are proud to be "partners in art" with equally community-minded groups such as Rockaway Theatre Company, Rockaway Music and Arts Council and The Little Globe Theater.

In 2003 may the sense of community bring peace to those who live in them, wherever they may be.


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