2006-12-29 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Over The Shoulder And The Road Ahead Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Over The Shoulder And The Road Ahead
Rockaway Artists Alliance

“Mums and Limes” — digital painting by Wilda Gallagher.  One of the artworks in “Where Flowers Bloom in Winter” in sTudio 6, Fort Tilden.  On view January 20-February 18, 2007.“Mums and Limes” — digital painting by Wilda Gallagher.  One of the artworks in “Where Flowers Bloom in Winter” in sTudio 6, Fort Tilden.  On view January 20-February 18, 2007. The big news this year and in 2007 has been and will be the progress of the amazing sTudio 7 Gallery of the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) in Fort Tilden. The continuing dream develops more fully each year. I hope you’ve seen it recently. Still a work in progress, it is allowing RAA to accomplish more and expand the possibilities for its community in a setting that is beautiful and functional. Next year when the heating and air conditioning is completed we will finally be able to bring you sTudio 7 events on the hottest of summer days and the most frigid of winter nights. Can’t wait! In addition, our office space on Beach 116 Street will be expanded within a couple of months.

Each year the education wing of RAA finds new and exciting ways to expose the children of Rockaway and the city beyond to making art part of life and to living life artfully. I asked Christine Mullally, kidsmART Program Director, for her thoughts. She wrote:

“The kidsmART after-school program enjoyed a wonderful 2006 season. With new editions like nok-hockey tournaments and Science Thursday and fundamental art workshops the program was well-attended and the kidsmART spirit thrived. We were especially fortunate to partner with local schools on a project called ‘The Giving Tree.’ The goal was to provide approximately 130 less fortunate Rockaway children with holiday gifts. The children of kidsmART and their families, the staff of kidsmART, the Graybeards and private donors took to the cause with true holiday spirit and were able to provide one hundred percent of the needed gifts. This combined with all of the continuing creativity led us to finish 2006 on a very high note. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on January 2, 2007. Have happy, peaceful and healthy holidays.”

I would add, too, that the adult classes and workshops RAA offers have been and will continue to be a very welcome aspect of the art education to be found in the galleries and classrooms of RoCA.

Each year RAA finds new ways to attract exciting established and emerging artists to the galleries, spaces and stages of RoCA. Artists who have never appeared in these spaces before are enticed by a fresh or interesting concept around which an RAA exhibit is formed. Frequently they offer work that broadens those concepts beyond the vision, even of those who developed them. Intrusion or Intimacy is a perfect example , exploring the physical and metaphysical nature of holes and openings. sTudio 6 Gallery hosted two solo shows this year. Christina Jorge “wowed” all who saw it with the professionalism and high caliber of work in Lines in the Sand. Roger Carreau fulfilled a lifelong dream with the appropriately titled and well-received Pipe Dreams. For the first year Rockaway Artists Alliance and the New York City Department of Education Region 5 Learning Support Center presented Kidsplash 2006, an exhibition of children’s artwork.

Drawing visitors from our peninsula, our city and across the country, RAA will continue in 2007 to bring quality special events and exhibits, free of charge, in a variety of visual, literary, music and dance mediums.

The successful “Summer Moons” series of concerts will again bring a roster of musical and spoken word artists to Fort Tilden. ARTSPLASH, RAA’s multimedia autumn extravaganza is now a stalwart of our schedule, as is the winter holiday season’s Gifted. Nature lovers will have much about which to rejoice this year. Where Flowers Bloom in Winter is up first. On view from January 20 through February 18, with an opening reception on January 21, weekend winter afternoons will be warmed by artwork devoted to the blossoms of life — in mediums as diverse as quilt, fabric art, pencil, paint and prose. Beach and Nature appears in the spring. Speaking of big shows, The Big Show, works whose dimensions are 6 feet or more, comes in the spring. A photography show will also grace RoCA.

Three solo exhibits will allow Shannon Elliot, Robert Sarnoff and Yuri Yurov to present their diverse mediums and individual visions. The postponed Sewn and Thrown, an exhibit of quilt work, fabric art and pottery will, most likely, come to the large spaces of sTudio 7.

There is much that will be part of 2007 at the Rockaway Center for the Arts in Fort Tilden.

Continue to follow RAA in this column. I know I will.

Reminder: 2007 membership dues are due at the beginning of the new year. Still at the bargain price of only $25 per year. Contact RAA for any questions: 718 474-0861; rockart 116 @aol.com.

Happy holidays and a fulfilling New Year to you all. As always, thank you for your support. CU@RoCA.

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