2009-01-23 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Antipasto And The Business of Words
Commmentary by Susan Hartenstein

Jessical Schulman"s "Greeting the New Year" at sTudio 6 Gallery. Jessical Schulman"s "Greeting the New Year" at sTudio 6 Gallery. Just as the warmer temperatures burst through the snow and deep freeze on Sunday, so too, the afternoon at sTudio 6 Gallery proved a golden welcome for those who came in from the winter to attend the opening reception for RAA's exhibition, "Heritage." Many extended the pleasures of the day by remaining in the gallery for the monthly meeting of the RAA Writers Group.

The exhibition explores our cultural origins and the myriad journeys traveled. Echoing in visual and verbal tempi are the diverse individual and collective harmonies of this "melting pot" that is America. Larisa Levina, born in Russia, paints a scene in "Homeland" that carries the viewer to a memory of autumn-colored trees on a still lake; a place we all somehow know. Martha Elliott Killian tells a tale in words and in her watercolor, "Roots in Brooklyn," about Weeksville, one of the earliest free African American communities in New York City. An independent housing development in Crown Heights, Killian writes, Weeksville is now a museum of restored homes. In two extraordinary pen and ink drawings, Jessica Schulman recreates the dignity and devotion of "Greeting the New Year" (the blowing of a shofar) and "Rabbi." Look for more about the show in future columns. "Heritage" is on view through Sunday, February 15. For more details check out the accompanying Fort Tilden Highlights box or contact RAA.

Nita Taublib, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher with the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, was the guest speaker at the well-attended Writers Group meeting. The 21-year Bantam veteran provided a revealing, highly informed and very personal insight into the dynamics of the publishing industry in these challenging economic times and in an era when rapid electronic/digital advances are changing the very nature of publishing and of reading. After a short introduction, Taublib encouraged a freewheeling question and answer session that covered a diversity of practical topics. These included Kindle books and e-books; the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing; advice on how to find an agent and/or editor who is right for you; how to write a query letter to an agent; the changing market for books and the sometimes difficult choices that must be made by publishers to adapt to it; the effects of the Harry Potter books on the reading habits of young people; and the criteria Taublib uses to choose books to publish. Throughout, evidenced was an extremely honest person, passionate about her work and about good writing, who is also a savvy businesswoman. RAA thanks Nita Taublib for joining us on Sunday.

The next Writers Group meeting takes place on Sunday, February 15 at 4 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA at Fort Tilden. We encourage you to bring your own writing, no matter the genre, to share. The feedback, should you ask for it, is helpful and supportive.

RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373. e-mail:rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org

kidsmART corner

Well, the weather outside has been frightful, but before you know it we'll be heading to the beach and of course, to camp kidsmART! Season 10 is sure to be a blast.

This year we're changing camp registration a bit. By mid-February the families of kids who attended camp or after-school regularly, or called the RAA office to inquire about camp, will receive a registration form in the mail. You must complete the form and mail it to our office with a $100 non-refundable deposit per child. This will hold your child's spot in camp and it will be applied toward camp tuition.

By mid-March, everyone whose child received a spot in camp (as always, firstcome, first-served) will receive a full application packet with instructions for completing the packet and making full tuition payment. If you would like to be added to the camp mailing list, please e-mail your name, child's name and age (children must be finishing K through grade 7 in June 2009) and mailing address to marinarockart116@ aol.com.

Fort Tilden Highlights

EXHIBITION: "Heritage," explores from where we all came and the myriad roads and journeys that led us here. On view in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden through Feb. 15, 2009. Gallery hours: Sat. 12-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission.

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