2007-12-28 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Festivities at RAA holiday party, looking forward to 2008. Festivities at RAA holiday party, looking forward to 2008. Attention kidsmART Families and More for 2008


(FREE) THURSDAY OPEN MIC MUSIC NIGHTS: Every Thursday at 7 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA. Call the RAA office to schedule your spot at the mic.

(FREE) FRIDAY NIGHT IMPROV: Every Friday Night in sTudio 7, the improv group "No Shame Theater" performs and invites audience members to join in. Call RAA office to sign up.

PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m., Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. $15 per class, supplies included. Instructor: Geoff Rawling

"GET OUT OF TOWN": Locales and travel beyond Rockaway will be explored. Exhibition dates: January 19-February 17, 2008. Reception: Sunday, January 20, 1-3 p.m. RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718- 474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www. rockawayartistsalli ance.org

Once there was a tree… she loved a little boy." Many of you may recognize this as the opening line of the now classic children's story. "The Giving Tree," written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein, about a boy and the tree who loved him so unconditionally that she gave to him all he asked of her, with great joy.

The book served, this year and last, as the basis of a successful partnership of giving and sharing between P.S. 256 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance kidsmART parents, children and staff.

Each year, the supremely dedicated and caring teachers of P.S. 256, on Beach 135 Street, and its sister school, P.S. 253 in Far Rockaway, devote their time and energies during the holiday season to give the children in their schools the gifts they would not otherwise have received. For the second year in a row, kidsmART asked its children, parents, grandparents and staff to help in this effort. They responded in the true spirit of the holiday. In the words of kidsmART Program Director Marina Callaghan, "Their generosity was profound."

A "Giving Tree" was placed in Fort Tilden's Building T-149, home of kidsmART. Parents were asked, for every one of their children in the program, to take a leaf (a tag) from the tree. Each tag had the name and age of a child in the two schools, and the type of gift that would make his or her holiday truly special. The parents were further asked to buy, wrap and return the gift, complete with tag, to T-149. Not only parents took tags. Many of the kidsmART staff answered the call, as well. All were delivered to Jeannine Gomez at P.S. 256. She and her fellow teachers, with the assistance of local FDNY firefighters, threw a holiday party at which they gave the children their gifts.

As expressed by the administrators of kidsmART, "This project truly embodies the spirit of kidsmART. It gives all of us - kidsmART staff, children and parents - the opportunity to participate in a circle of giving right here in our own community."

And so, for 2007 and into the New Year, kidsmART wishes to send good wishes, good cheer and profound thanks to its children, parents, staff and caring supporters. Their continuing hard work, generosity and devotion to their community and to the principles upon which kidsmART is based have made it the unique, lifechanging program that it is.

Elections for positions on the RAA board of directors were held at our final general meeting of 2007. Congratulations to returning and newly elected board officers and members Geoff Rawling, President; Maryann McEvoy, newly elected Secretary; Thomas Burke (new); Apryl Green; Dennis Guiney; Adam McLoughlin and Renée Radenberg (new). In 2008, we hope for a Rockaway Artists Alliance that, more than ever, addresses and fulfills the needs of our growing community.

Spring of 2008 will see a Rockaway Literary Arts and Film Festival in Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area. The Rockaway Music and Arts Council, in association with the RAA and the Rockaway Theatre Company, will sponsor the joint festival. Authors, editors, publishers, agents, booksellers and filmmakers are invited to participate and/or attend. Panel discussions, book signings and sales, writing workshops, poetry readings, refreshments and musical entertainment will take place Sunday, June 8, in RAA's galleries from10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On the evenings of June 7 and June 8, films by locally based or visiting filmmakers will be shown in the RTC's Post Theater. If you wish to participate or want further information, please call Stuart Mirsky at 718- 634-0577.

Local award-winning filmmaker Robert Sarnoff is looking for a local cameraperson/editor for his next project. If interested, please e-mail the RAA office at: rockart116@aol.com

Reminder: 2008 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; rockart116@ aol.com

Happy holidays and a creative new year to you all.

Thank you for your support. CU@RoCA.

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