2009-04-10 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

International Fashion Runway At Tilden; Join Voices For KidsmART
Rockaway Artists Alliance Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Caption: "Still Life with Samovar," watercolor by Ludmila Vaynberg, artwork in "Wine And Dine." Caption: "Still Life with Samovar," watercolor by Ludmila Vaynberg, artwork in "Wine And Dine." Ludmila Bokov, curator of RAA's extensive exhibition, "Color Mix of Quilts and Artwork," has exhibited in and organized quilt shows internationally. The fashion show she is presenting during the exhibit's reception will feature wearable patchwork quilt outfits drawn from Bokov's enormous international collection of quilts and haute couture wearable quilt art. The runway will showcase her work and that of 40 other designers. See box for dates.

The Russian-born NYU graduate has worked extensively as a museum curator and freelance curator. Bokov conceived of and was director of a Friendship Quilt project for the United Nations that involved 165 member states in creating squares for a 225- square-foot quilt hanging she then exhibited around the world, making it possible, she says, for "those too poor to come to the UN" to see it. The quiltmaker has conceived of and organized other Friendship Quilts, uniting the cultures of schoolchildren in the US and Russia.

Trained as a dressmaker, it was not until she came to this country that she discovered quiltmaking as an art form. In Europe, as it had once been in America, Bokov explains, quilts were created by peasants solely as practical, sewn objects. However, after the United States began exploring their artistic potential, Europe followed suit.

Once in this country, Bokov says, "I decided to use my ability to sew to make a living by restoring old quilts." Teaching herself the skill as she went along, she restored "dozens and dozens of grandma's quilts from the Victorian era. Mostly these were crazy quilts [quilts formed from patches of different sizes, shapes, designs and materials]." She began to create her own quilts and clothing in patchwork.

"From working [at it] for a living, this became a life's passion."

Once again, thank you to the many community members who have contacted City officials, voicing your genuine concern for the welfare of RAA's kidsmART after-school program. One of the most essential aspects of every kidsmART employee's job is being a part of the Rockaway community. Your letters have confirmed that kidsmART is a large and important element of our community and we are very glad for that. Some of the sentiments that you and your friends and neighbors have shared with the Mayor and Council people include:

"I am a parent of two children who have benefited tremendously from the kidsmART program. When I was forced to leave my job because of medical illness my family's finances suffered. Our children still need an outlet; they still needed to socialize with other young people. kidsmART provided that outlet for them!...As a minority family these kinds of opportunities do not normally happen and for that reason it is imperative that this program continue to be funded so that children are not limited in their experience because of their race, or geographical location."

"Art, in all forms, is our way as human beings, to shake off the dust of everyday life. Now, more than ever, we need to continue these programs, such as the award winning after school program kidsmART."

"I stayed in kidsmART programs for five years, three as a student and two as a teen assistant...and developed not only an appreciation for art but met staff whose life's work served those who most needed their guiding help. RAA...has in its programs given hope and the opportunity to succeed to thousands of local kids like me."

"For eleven years this program [kidsmART] has grown bigger and better in both quality and quantity while continuing to put its nurturing, friendly, inspirational philosophy into action....So now the plan is to drastically cut funding. Is this an appropriate reward for a job well done?? Is the city going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg?"

And so many more poignant, honest and accurate letters are gracing our desks and the desks of those in whose hands the fate of the program lies. Thanks again and please, keep them coming!

RAA Call To Artists: "Geometric" — parallel lines and pyramids, boxes, cubes, circles or squares, or any other geometric designs, patterns or shapes form the theme of this show.

All media and degrees of realism of abstraction accepted; open to bold new twists on familiar lines. All invited to 'color outside the box.' Deadline: April 16, 2009. Please call RAA or visit website for entry forms and details. RAA CONTACT INFO:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org
Fort Tilden Highlights
NEXT EXHIBITIONS: "Wine and Dine"
and "Color Mix of Quilts and Artwork,"
on view 4-18-09 to 5-17-09, galleries at
RoCA, Fort Tilden.
Gallery hours: Sat. 12-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4
p.m. and by appointment. sTudio 6,
RoCA, Fort Tilden. Free admission.
WINE TASTING: Friday, April 17 at 7
p.m., sTudio 6, Fort Tilden to introduce
"Wine and Dine" exhibit.
OPENING RECEPTION AND FASHION
SHOW: April 19, 1-3 p.m., sTudio 6.
NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING:
Sun., Apr. 19, 4 p.m., sTudio 6.
PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS:
Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday
mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7,
RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class,
supplies included. Instructor: Geoff
Rawling.
CALL TO ARTISTS: "Geometric."
Deadline for submission: 4-16-09.
Contact RAA office or visit website for
prospectus and entry form.

kidsmART corner

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for camp kidsmART. Every year we wind up with a lot of wonderful children on the waiting list. We wish we could fit everyone in, but we have safety constraints, and have found the only fair way to conduct registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis as we do. Sadly, everyone on the waiting list has a very good reason for their child needing to attend camp, knows someone or is connected to RAA in some way, and has a very disappointed kid at home. For us to grant one favor, is to be unfair to all the rest. We don't blame anyone for asking - we all want what's best for our kids - but we simply cannot make any exceptions. If a child on the waiting list receives a spot it is because he or she was the next person in line for a spot.

Happy Spring! We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the break. kidsmART will be closed the week of April 13-17. kidsmART will reopen at PS 104Q on Monday, April 20 and in Fort Tilden on Tuesday, April 21.

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