2005-04-22 / Letters

Strength Together, Under One Umbrella

Rockaway has long been fragmented, with each community holding to its own agenda, its own civic associations, its own view of what Rockaway should become. There is strength in that kind of diversity, but there is weakness as well when one community, one group, works against the needs of the totality. Over the past several years, a number of groups dedicated to the arts and to preserving Rockaway’s past have come forward and have added to the quality of life for all residents. The Rockaway Music And Arts Council, probably the oldest such organization, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Rockaway Artists Alliance has eclipsed the older organization, however, beginning the development of a beautiful arts center at Fort Tilden. The Rockaway Museum, under new leadership, has produced a fine exhibit on Playland and now is moving on to an upcoming exhibit on Far Rockaway High School. The Rockaway Theatre Company has come into its own, producing a number of Broadway-style musicals each summer season. Those four groups are excellent and they each serve a niche. Perhaps it is time, however, to bring them all together under one umbrella with a community advisory board, a move that would better serve the entire community. In that way, there would be better coordination, fewer expenditures on administrative functions, more community input and the possibility of more productions each year. We have no opinion as to what the group should be called or who should run it in its formative stages. What we do know is that the groups cannot continue to grow like Topsy, working at cross-purposes and losing a lot of their creative movement in administrative functions.

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