2003-07-25 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein
From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein Rockaway Artists Alliance

“Marion Jones,” water mix­able oil painting by Geoff Rawling. One of the artworks in “Local Mot­ion,” the new exhibition at sTudio 7, Fort Tilden.“Marion Jones,” water mix­able oil painting by Geoff Rawling. One of the artworks in “Local Mot­ion,” the new exhibition at sTudio 7, Fort Tilden.

Summer is a great time to explore new places. That includes art places. The Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is one of them. "Chock-full" of interesting galleries, stores, second-hand shops and restaurants, Williamsburg is a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon. Walk down Broadway or Bedford or Kent. Turn off to Grand, North 6th, Metropolitan. You will come to any number of "small adventures" awaiting you. Pick up a copy of wagmag, a monthly art guide, or just "wing it. Either way, you will have a great time.

Last Sunday, my friend and I were planning to go to the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center (WAH Center) at 135 Broadway. From all we’d read, this is a fantastic place. However, we discovered upon arriving that it is cloed July and August (though there is a flea market on July weekends). OK, we’ll return in September for their expansive Surrealism show, in which RAA member Esther Grillo and DIGITALSPLASH juror Deena des Rioux are participating. (More about WAH in a later column.) We continued down Broadway. Funny how, if you are open to being spontaneous, broken plans can turn into a spectacular day. WHOA! Both our heads snapped to the side. What did we see on the sidewalk as we were riding in the car? A huge mixed media elephant with its baby next to it and a large plant up-top. This, we couldn’t just pass by. Unexpected discovery #1. Our pachydermous friends stood in front of the amazing Dollhaus Gallery at 37 Broadway. Disturbing and thought-provoking, the group show Dollhaus is presenting through August 16 is dedicated to Topsy, the elephant that was, it seems, unfairly electrocuted by Thomas Edison in 1903. Works by 24 artists are in the exhibit. The gallery contains a permanent collection of dolls in various states of undress. The interior creates an atmosphere that keeps the visitor intrigued, off balance and off the beaten track. You can learn more about the gallery at www.dollhaus. org.

We eventually parked the car on Bedford and walked along the street. We passed various types of restaurants, including Polish and Indian. We admired the architecture and attention to art and craftsmanship on building facades. At 199 Bedford we entered Spacial Etc., a gift shop that contained lovely items like carved soaps and special stationery. At 218 Bedford we discovered Pema, a Tibet boutique selling, among other things, beautiful silk scarves at very reasonable prices. Everywhere we saw aging structures being revitalized and reborn, contrasted with those still waiting. Finally, we walked onto North 7th Street – 133 North 7th – to PLANETHAILAND, a superb restaurant serving Thai and Japanese cuisine. We walked back to the car and headed home. And as we did, we made the best discovery of the day – the "hook of hooks" to bring us back. Driving along Kent, which runs along the waterfront, we passed the COOLEST-looking restaurant called Miss Williamsburg’s Garden Restaurant. My friend stopped the car and put it in reverse so we could peak through the fence. Tables surrounded by plants in a garden setting that spoke of a quiet, almost European world. Definitely, we are coming back here the next time we explore Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You should explore, too. wagmag has a website that I tried going to without success. Maybe you will have better luck. It is www.wagmag.net. The publication lists really interesting-sounding galleries in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Enjoy.

The reception for RAA’s exhibition, "Local Motion" is this Sunday from 1-3 PM at sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts) in Fort Tilden. A fun exhibit for the whole family, "Local Motion" presents artwork that captures the spirit of the sports and athletes of Fort Tilden and the Rockaways. It extends this love of art and the game to include such works as Robert Sarnoff’s action portraits of Miami Dolphins like Larry Csonka and Esther Grillo’s surreal wall sculpture, "The Spirit of Norma Weiss." A children’s reception from 10 AM-1 PM comes complete with hot dogs and popcorn, thanks to Marty Andresen of the Rockaway Little League.

Save the date – August 19 @ sTudio 6, Fort Tilden: Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) is holding a workshop for writing applications to their 2004 Queens Community Art Fund individual and organization grants. More about this next week. QCA’s website: www.queenscouncilarts.org.

See you at RoCA.

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