2009-06-12 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

Community Treasures
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

"Brooklyn Pyramid." Artist: Michael Cohen. Medium: Photography Giclee. Now on view in "Geometric" at RoCA, Fort Tilden. "Brooklyn Pyramid." Artist: Michael Cohen. Medium: Photography Giclee. Now on view in "Geometric" at RoCA, Fort Tilden. Once again we are appealing to your sense of community to sustain the Rockaway treasures that are the wave shelter murals along Shore Front Parkway. These showcases of what is best and most beautiful about our hometown are battered each season by the forces of nature and thoughtless vandalism. Under the auspices of the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Esther Grillo, who conceived of, designed, sought the funding for and led the crews of volunteers and apprentices to create the murals, volunteers her time and supplies and expertise to restore them. As last year, additional funding is desperately needed to continue this year's work.

Grillo is heartened by contributions from local individual families like the Featherstons; from civically responsible groups like Women Inspired to Support and Help Rockaway (WISH) and the Rockaway Point Association, thanks to the encouragement of Maureen McGuire and the leadership of new president Tom McLellan.

Grillo is hoping to get support from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and from local politicians, which was forthcoming in the past. But nothing is guaranteed and much help is required.

As you pass by these mural sites this summer, please remember the positive, public symbols they have become of our community; please contribute whatever you can by mailing donations to RAA (see contact info), ATTN: Grillo Mural Restoration Program; use the opportunities at the worksites themselves to contribute; if you have any funding ideas, get in touch with Grillo through the RAA; volunteer your own time to join the other volunteers and Christina Coradin at the sites - you will be given all the restoration instruction you need.

No skill required, only the willingness to help.

The opening reception for "Geometric "and "A Taste of Whimsy: The Art of Carol Rickey" welcomed large numbers of visitors to RoCA at Fort Tilden. Dan Guarino was troubadour of the day. The RAA Exhibitions Committee set a tasty table of refreshments. The art on display received much positive feedback.

In her solo show, Carol Rickey is able to go beyond the still lifes with which her audience is most familiar. Here, she also exhibits two portraits and two landscapes. They boast the same extraordinarily expressive freedom in use of color that her still lifes do. In the haunting

"The Magician" the subject looks for something in the near distance, which beckons the viewer. Rickey's is an independent, adventurous vision. She creates a flow of line that encourages the eye to remain in and explore what is within the frame.

The still lifes juxtapose disparate objects as in "Still Life with Alligator, Self-Portrait."

I was able to sit for a bit to speak with Rickey. I asked her if she would rather the viewer develop her or his own opinion about the work or is there something specific she wants them to see in them? "They are open to interpretation and I like to hear different ones. One man said they made him smile. I liked that comment.

I don't want them to look like anybody else. I want them to have something unique to say."

"Geometric" is on view through June 28; "A Taste of Whimsy," through June 21.

RAA Contact Info: phone: 718-474- 0861; fax: 718-474-4373; email: rock art116@aol.com; www.rockaway artists alliance.org; 260 Beach 116 Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694

kidsmART corner

We are still awaiting word regarding funding for the kidsmART after-school program. Again, thank you all for your support and we'll keep you posted on the results.

Wednesday, June 17 is the last day of the kidsmART program at PS 104 in Bayswater. We will miss all of the children, families and staff from the PS 104 community and wish you all a healthy, safe and fun summer. We hope to see you all again in the Fall!

camp kidsmART families - We're gearing up and getting ready for an excellent tenth season! Keep those registration forms coming in and you can expect to hear from us with some final camp information by the end of June!

Fort Tilden Highlights

EXHIBITIONS: "Geometric," 6/06-6/28;
"A Dash of Whimsy: The Art of Carol
Rickey," 6/06-6/21. Gallery hours: Sat.
12-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. and by
appointment. sTudio 7 & 6, RoCA, Fort
Tilden. Free admission.
EXHIBITION: Artwork by the
Visual Arts Enrichment class at
Scholars' Academy. On view through
6/15 in sTudio7.
Sun., June 14, 4 p.m., sTudio 6.
Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday
mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7,
RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies
artists of all disciplines invited. Signup
at 7:45 p.m. for 8 p.m. start time.

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