2005-07-22 / Front Page

Flight 587 Finalists’ Artwork In Upcoming Exhibit

By Brian Magoolaghan

The Mayor’s Office is planning an exhibit in Rockaway to show the public past work samples from the six finalists chosen in the Flight 587 memorial process, sources told The Wave.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit have asked the Beach Club to hold two dates in the first week in August for the exhibit, according to Joanie Omeste, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the finalists Tuesday in the city’s first public statement on the project since November 12, 2004 – the third anniversary of the crash.

“As a result of our collaboration with the families of the victims of Flight 587 and the residents of Belle Harbor, we have selected six talented artists from 68 submissions to design an appropriate memorial that will be a powerful place for us to share our grief and remember the legacy of those who were lost,” Bloomberg said.

The finalists names and work samples had already been revealed to a group of advisory committee members – with one representative from Rockaway in attendance – at a meeting held at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan on July 14.

The finalists are: Linda Covit, Barbara Grygutis, Toshihiro Katayama, Freddy Rodriguez, and creative teams formed by Donald Lipski and David Meyer, and Krzysztof Wodiczko and Julian Bonder. The Wave has gathered their biographical information and past work examples, offering readers a sneak preview.

While there are no artists from the Rockaway Artists Alliance in the running, the organizations’ president, Geoff Rawling, sits on the advisory committee and was at the July 14 meeting. He described the finalists as “very experienced and qualified people.” And while he said the meeting was “informative,” he took the opportunity to ask Guillermo Linares, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner, why more information is not being released to the public.

“I want to see the process go forward in a more open forum,” Rawiling said.

The memorial process, which promises to transform the southern end of Beach 116 Street, has largely been carried out behind closed doors, with only a select few advisory committee members privy to the decision-making.

Erica Gonzalez, a Mayor’s Office spokesperson, has declined to provide The Wave with a list of who sits on the advisory committee, or to disclose the outcome of decision-making meetings.

“We’re trying to be sensitive to the families and communities involved and to maintain the integrity of this memorial process, which means allowing it to unfold in a way that is productive and following City guidelines,” Gonzales said in a recent statement to the paper.

A document obtained by The Wave lists the advisory committee as: family members, Hector Algarroba, John Brady, Belkis Lora, Luz Made, Henry Ray and Ana Zabala; Jonathan Gaska, Community Board 14 District Manager; Steve Good, The Beach Club; Monsignor Geraghty; Joan Omeste and Barbara Larkin, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce; Delores Orr, Community Board 14 Chairperson; and Geoff Rawling, Rockaway Artists Alliance.

Sources said the Beach Club exhibit would take place on either Wednesday, August 3 or Thursday, August 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Each of the artists/creative teams are in the process of preparing their design plans and a model, which will be available for viewing on August 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and August 31, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Department of Cultural Affairs, 330 West 42 Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY. It was unclear if that viewing would be open to the public or limited to members of the advisory committee.

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