2003-01-11 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

By Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance

Sean Coveney was a gentleman. Sean Coveney was a gentle man. He was an artist at life as well as at a canvas. Sean was a man of profound passion and concern for the world around him and for those inhabiting that world. He was a truly Christian man who respected everyone's beliefs. His sense of inner calm and faith and the energy of his positive attitude made one feel better by just being in his presence. His attendance at an RAA meeting was a welcome sight.

Sean always loved art. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Fine Arts. He then took what he called "the Henry James tour of Europe," visiting the continent's major art centers and cathedrals. Though he worked as a real estate manager for many years, his passion for art and architecture was always an essential part of his life. He continued to take various kinds of painting and drawing classes and visited museums and galleries at least once a week, even on his lunch breaks. When he retired in 1989, he took up painting as his avocation.

The events of 9/11 and 11/12 affected Sean profoundly. They triggered feelings of anger, frustration and bewilderment. How could one person do such things to another and how could God let them happen? He chose to express these emotions through his art. He created a series of flag paintings. I saw one of them. It was stirring in its intimacy; powerful in its grandeur. Another painting dramatically posed just a fireman's coat, boots and a flag.

Sean Coveney never lost his faith or his positive attitude, even after his diagnosis of cancer. "It would only take one miracle," he would say. When I asked his wife Doreen for what Sean would most like to be remembered, she replied, "His love of people, of New York and Rockaway, and of art and architecture." Doreen had once said to him, "You collect people."

Anyone wishing to give anything in Sean Coveney's memory should send it to Hospice of Southwest Florida at 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34238 or to Habitat for Humanity in Florida or in Northern Ireland. Sean and Doreen did volunteer work for that organization.

When you met Sean Coveney, he drew you into the energy and generosity of his personality. It was a great pleasure to have known him. I wish it could have been for longer. I thank Doreen Coveney for being so giving of her time for this interview. RAA expresses its deepest sympathy to her and to all who loved Sean. He will be missed.

"Rockaway - A Picture Perfect Place," an exhibition of photographs taken by students in Mrs. Todes' Class 503 of PS 114, is now on display at Citibank in the Waldbaum's shopping center on Beach Channel Drive and 103 Street. The exhibit at the bank is brought to you by RAA and was mounted by Chris Jorge. The pictures were taken in response to the crash of Flight 587 and were on display in RAA's sTudio 7 in the fall. The program had been sponsored by Newsday.

Two RAA exhibitions to remember:

  • "Sparkle" continues through January 19.

  • "Vermillion," a RED show, is calling all artists. Members and non-members - contact RAA ASAP RE: RED. I hope you reread that. Phone: 718 474-0861. Email: rockart116@aol.com

Next RAA general meeting: Monday, January 13 @ 7:30 PM in Building T-149, Fort Tilden. All are welcome. Bring your latest artwork to share. Guest speaker to be announced.

Next week: reviews of three films and a survey of some art around Queens. See you at the Fort.

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