2005-01-07 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein

For the Rockaway Artists Alliance 2005 will be a year of expansion, exploring new opportunities and continuing the adventurous journey toward fulfilling a dream. sTudio 7 Gallery in Fort Tilden’s Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) has always been for us a large, exciting space for artists to shape and mold into all sorts of creative configurations; and space big enough to accomplish a vision.

In the days before the artists took it over, it was a large warehouse for the government. Pillars regularly spaced, wooden beams and a gloriously high ceiling have made it a great place to make walls of paper or cloth or…whatever; to hang an exhibition of eclectic proportions. You could even wall off an entire section as an individual exhibition area. We have even placed monumental sculpture in there, and we still had room for a band or two to perform, surrounded by waves of artwork. Well, that wonderful space is becoming even more wonderful. Renovations to sTudio 7 that began in 2004 continue in 2005.

Those renovations are now bringing light and breath and beauty into that grand cavern. Picture an expansive wood cabin surrounded by fields and water and lovely views. There are large French doors in this grand place so you can look out at the beauty. And the sun’s rays can come pouring in through new windows, illuminating and glistening off the artwork that will be displayed within. The attractive new siding is nearly completed.

Decks and ramps are in the process of being installed, allowing the interplay of outdoor and indoor and making access easier. Heating and air conditioning will make it possible to present exhibitions in sTudio 7 through the winter. In 2005 RAA and our community are coming closer to attaining the dream of a state-of-the-art arts center that will be a showplace and learning center to attract artists, school groups, students and adults to work, study, and explore. A central gallery area, schoolrooms and well-equipped studio spaces are in the future. RAA welcomes school and senior center tours, and those programs will expand in the future.

An exciting roster of exhibitions is planned for this new year. Accompanying each exhibit will be a schedule of weekend events, lectures and/or workshops designed to enrich, enhance and extend experiencing of the artwork. Black and light on silver leads off in sTudio 6 Gallery. RAA photographers William Baker, John Grillo, Joseph Rothenberg, Scott Weingarten and David Williams expose the unique drama, power and subtlety of black and white photography. Bls runs February 12 to April 3. The opening reception is February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day. A retrospective of the art of M.Elliott Killian is presented in Fifteen Years Immersed in Watercolor , on display from April 16 through May 1 in sTudio 6. The opening reception is April 17.

While sTudio 6 gets spruced up a bit in May, A Mixable Feast opens the season of sTudio 7. The imaginative, ever-more intriguing art of Geoff Rawling takes over a building large enough to encompass this artist’s adventurous, often playful perspectives on the world. Feast’s opening reception is May 1 and the show is on view through May 29. Each weekend will feature an intriguing food event, coupled with music and dance.

From June 4 through June 26 the art of Constance Del Vecchio Maltese graces sTudio 6. On view will be eight large portraits from her series of women in history. Mrs. Maltese is a major figure in the arts, especially in the borough of Queens. She has illustrated for magazines, major corporations and publishers; she served as President of the Board of Directors of the Queens Council on the Arts; her brilliant series of portraits Age of Discovery Navigators has been shown in various important venues and was compiled into a book; she has been commissioned to paint the portraits of public figures that include Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation; she and her husband, State Senator Serphin Maltese are respected supporters of the arts who appreciate and value art and culture in the community. Senator Maltese was instrumental in getting the funding to Rockaway and RAA for the sTudio7 renovations.

June 11 to July 10 RAA presents In and Around , an exhibition of 3-dimensional works. As the title implies, it will take place in sTudio 7 and the adjacent outdoor grounds of Fort Tilden. You’ve heard of works on paper? September 17 through October 23 an exhibition of printmaking and works in paper, exploring the unlimited potential of that medium, fills sTudio 6 while the 2005 edition of the highly successful multimedia ARTSPLASH is on view in sTudio 7, the outdoor Moon Stage and environs. From November 12 through December 18 G ifted 2005 comes to sTudio 6. At the same time Sewn and Thrown , featuring the art of quiltmaking and pottery warms the interior of sTudio7 (that is if the heating system is by then warming the gallery as well.)

kidsmART , RAA’s highly popular and respected after school program, continues through April 14. Camp kidsmART will once again take place this summer at Fort Tilden, much to the glee of participating children, parents, teachers and teen assistants.

Join us in 2005. We’re looking forward to CU@RoCA.

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