2010-04-16 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Add Your Family – Celebrate The Best That Is The USA
Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary By Susan Hartenstein

“Green Forest,” watercolor by Ellen Hoyt. One of the artworks in “40 Shades of Green,” opening Sunday at RoCA, Fort Tilden. “Green Forest,” watercolor by Ellen Hoyt. One of the artworks in “40 Shades of Green,” opening Sunday at RoCA, Fort Tilden. Where did your grandparents come from? Mine came from Europe – Russia and Rumania/Austria. They came for a better life; they came to the world’s beacon of democracy. And they came to make this a better country. In the end, they added their families’ particular “flavors” to the mix that was the United States of America. I’m sure the story is similar for the families of most of you reading this column. This weekend RAA has been chosen to join the city and the National Park Service to celebrate our heritage during New York’s Immigrant Heritage Week (April 15 – April 21).

Add your family to the celebration. How? Sunday, April 18, 12 – 4 p.m. RAA presents the opening reception for “40 Shades of Green,” an exhibit dedicated to the free-flowing, verdant exploration of the color green (it is easy being green); and to the laudatory concepts of renewal, reuse and recycling. Redundant? Re-enforcing our proud immigrant roots, Sunday’s reception will feature the foods, music and a photographic gallery reflecting the threads that compose the fabric of America.

One wall of sTudio 7 Gallery will feature a huge map of the world, handcrafted by artist Chris Preston. All visitors are invited to make their impression on that map by marking off where in the world their origins lie. Visitors are further invited to bring unframed photo copies (no originals, please) of pictures of their families and forbearers (for a small fee RAA will make copies from originals at the gallery.) Photos, depictions, scraps of writings or documents of family history, place of origins, etc. will be added to the map. Together this will become a living, growing work of art that honors our collective heritage.

All are invited on Saturday, April 17 at 2 p.m. to Bay 9 mall in Riis Park to take part in an historic event – the dedication of a bust by artist David Ostro of the Danish American immigrant for whom the park is named – Jacob A. Riis.

Riis was a prolific journalist and photographer who, through his talents, revealed to the public the plight of the struggling poor of this city. He helped create reforms to make their lives better.

In an example of hands across the sea, the students of Aquinas Honor Society of the Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, who struggled to make this day come about, and commissioned the bust, will be presenting it as a gift to the people of America. Sponsors include Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery and other groups at Riis Park. A letter from Princess Benedickte of Denmark to the students will be read at the ceremony.

Attending will also be students from Queens, approximately 25 students and teachers from Riis’ hometown in Denmark and the Danish Consulate General Torben A. Gettermann.

RockWriters with RAA and the RAA Writers Group will present a staged reading of “If Only I Were You,” a feature length screenplay by Liz Palombo.

The reading is on Sunday, April 25 at 3 p.m. in sTudio 7.

Click! Digital Photography: (for children):

Accomplished digital photography instructor Arianna Rose will be teaching the subject to children again this spring. For a third time around, this much-anticipated class will put digital cameras in the students’ hands. Rose will offer them instruction in the techniques of photographing landscapes, portraits, abstracts, action shots and more.

This has been one of RAA’s most popular class selections.

$150 for six weeks – all supplies and materials (including camera loan, if necessary) included.

Date and time: TBA

Location: Building T-149, Fort Tilden.

Call RAA to reserve a spot.

RAA can now be found on Facebook at Rockaway Artists Alliance, Inc. If you have pictures or videos that you would like to see on the Facebook page, please forward them to board member John Grillo at grilloinrock@ aol.com, or to the administrative office at info@raa116.org for approval to be posted.

RAA CONTACT INFO:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org

Fort Tilden Highlights

OPENING RECEPTION: Sun., Apr. 18, 12 - 4 p.m. “40 Shades of Green” in sTudios 6 and 7, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden. Add your family to a world history. Art; the flavors of our heritage. On view Apr. 18 – May 23. Gallery hrs: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. See column for details.

BUST DEDICATION: Jacob Riis Park, 2 p.m. at Bay 9 mall. Unveiling of bust of Jacob Riis. See column.

NEXT WRITER’S GROUP MEETING: Sunday, April 18, sTudio 6, 4 p.m.

kidsmART corner

kidsmART is free to children ages 6 – 12. It runs through May 6. Sessions: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Location: Building T-149, Fort Til-den.

If you are interested, bring the completed application with you on the day you wish to start your child in the after-school program.

Applications can be downloaded from RAA’s website at www.rock awayartistsalliance.org/education. html.

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