2007-04-20 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Commentary by Susan

"The Eggs" by Gustavo Lucin, Medium: Oil on canvas. One of the many works on view in "Of Land & Sea" in the sTudio 6 gallery.
"The Eggs" by Gustavo Lucin, Medium: Oil on canvas. One of the many works on view in "Of Land & Sea" in the sTudio 6 gallery. Two RAA exhibitions begin on Saturday, April 21: Of Land and Sea: In sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, RoCA. Of Land and Sea explores the many sensory modes of nature through art.

The BIG Show: In sTudio 7 Gallery and the outdoor sculpture garden, Fort Tilden, RoCA. The BIG Show dares artists to bring out their biggest ideas in a showcase of immeasurable possibilities. All works are a minimum of 6 (six) feet in size, (maximum indoor height 10 feet, maximum indoor width 50 feet - outdoors anything goes).

Opening reception for both shows: Sunday, April 29 from 1-3 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery.

Gallery hours for both shows: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Admission: Free

Sunday, April 22 the Rockaway Literary Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Fort Tilden. It is presented by the Rockaway Music and Arts Council in association with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the Rockaway Theatre Company and the National Park Service/Gateway National Recreation Area. The festival is a showcase for the collaborative efforts of Gateway and the three cultural groups partnered in our "neighborhood" national park.

Festival events will be held simultaneous to the exhibitions. The RAA's sTudio 6 Gallery will be the site of book sales by Border's Books (all day), book signings by authors participating in the festival. Food will be available from Claudette of Breezy Point. sTudio 7 Gallery will be the site of the panel discussions, talks by authors, pitch sessions and the awards ceremony for the winners of the schoolchildren's writing contest. In addition, a series of children's writing activities will be conducted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. by Jill Eisenstadt, a novelist, journalist and teacher of writing at The New School.

The schedule of panels is as follows:

Women in Literature - 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Eating Our Words - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Writing on the Edge - 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. Writing for the Ages - 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. New Paradigms in Publishing - 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Children's Literature - 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony - 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Simultaneous to these panels, a screenwriting symposium and screenings of film clips from panelists' works take place in the Post Theater of the Rockaway Theatre Company. Mark Street and his film Rockaway have recently joined the symposium.

Poetry readings will take place throughout the day. SquidWorks, the wonderful band led by Guy Nevirs, will also be performing during the day. Readings and performances will be on the outdoor Moonstage if weather permits, inside sTudio 7, if not. A new poet has been added to the readings. The work of Hana Roth Seavey will be part of the presentations. Brochures designed by Martha Donegan will be available the day of the festival which will include full schedules and biographies of all the authors and filmmakers.

As reported in this column Marina Callaghan, RAA's kidsmART Program Coordinator, was honored this year by the highly prestigious organization, Partnership for After School Education (PASE). At the awards ceremony the five honorees were asked to give a brief speech explaining why they do what they do. I thought you might like to read a portion of what Marina had to say:

You know why we do what we do? We do what we do because our team, the kidsmART team is made up of the dreamers of dreams. We are the music makers, the nature lovers, we play like we had invented the word, we cheer each other on, pat backs and then lend that same hand to help. We are still curious about clouds and canaries and we wonder, sometimes out loud... how can we change the world? We sing, we dance, we paint, we run, we climb, we believe art heals and we know a non judgmental ear and a welcomed hug always do. We greet, we smile, we love, we value, we sympathize, we empathize, we encourage, educate, empower and hope to see employed the youth we serve. But the real reason we do what we do is because we remember what it was like to be young, often unsure, fragile, perhaps even at risk. We do it because we honor the spirit and the integrity of the whole child - the physical, the emotional, the cognitive and the creative. A safe child, a smiling child, a trusting child, a strong child is worth everything. We do it because we have heard the words, "I feel safe here." We do it because small hands have reached for ours. We do it in order to give platform to the youngest voice that should always be heard and always be honored.

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