2011-03-04 / Columnists

From The Artist Studio

Lost And Found
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein


“Riis Towers,” photograph by Ralph Petagna; one of the artworks on view through Mar. 27 in “The Life of Still Objects” in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA at Fort Tilden. “Riis Towers,” photograph by Ralph Petagna; one of the artworks on view through Mar. 27 in “The Life of Still Objects” in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA at Fort Tilden. RAA has lost a valued member and friend. Elizabeth Guarino, whom Wave readers will know from her column, “Broad Channel Bits,” died last Friday. I knew Liz primarily through RAA and the RAA Writers Group.

There was usually a glint in her eyes; a welcoming window to a quiet sense of humor. One had the idea that she knew something quite amusing, that you did not know. She wrote not only for The Wave. She and her husband, RAA Vice President Dan Guar-ino, were co-authors of an excellent photographic history of their community, “Images of America: Broad Channel.” She wrote for many publications. A dedicated and active advocate for the disabled, Liz was a staff writer for Able News (by, for and about people with disabilities). For her extensive work in the community, she was named an Everyday Hero by Newsday. She was a public speaker, a teacher, a tutor, a dedicated adult literacy volunteer at the Peninsula Library and a certified librarian. Dan says Liz “loved being part of RAA, and loved the RAA Writers Group. She loved the community of friends there and all the interesting and talented people.” Liz thrived at RAA events. With much pride, Dan says that his wife grew as a writer as a result of the Writers Group. To her delight, she discovered, “Wow. I can write ‘funny’!” More than anything else, says Dan, she was a proud and loving mother and grandmother.


kidsmART campers tend to the garden plot in Fort Tilden. kidsmART campers tend to the garden plot in Fort Tilden. Many times Liz was told by people that she was an inspiration to them. She will be much missed by family and friends. That inspiration; that friendship and positive energy will be missed by the members of the Writers Group, who dedicated their latest event to Liz Guarino.

Sunday, February 27 was the closing reception for “RAA on the Bay,” which featured an RAA Writers Group Event. The exhibit at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge presented artwork inspired by the beauty and wonders of Gateway National Recreation Area. The reception was a celebration of the sanctuary that preserves the treasures of Jamaica Bay. Featured were many of the visual, literary and musical artists who make RAA such a supportive, nurturing home for the creative arts and an organization that is nourished by, reflects and promotes its incredible home in Gateway National Recreation Area. RAA Writers Group presented readings of original prose, poetry and excerpts of plays by its members. Humorous, serious, touching, nostalgic, life-affirming – the works evoked images of the unique surrounding environment. Dan Guar- 0ino read a piece of prose by wife Liz, especially humorous and poignant under the circumstances. Musician/ songwriter John Simonelli performed a song he wrote for another, but was tenderly and powerfully appropriate for the occasion.

This marked the first “out-of-town” event for the Writers Group – the first away from the performance spaces of Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden. It also marked the first time an RAA exhibit has been mounted at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It is, however, the latest in a long history of collaborations between the Rockaway Artists Alliance and the National Park Service/Gateway National Recreation Area. RAA and NPS share the goal of educating the public to appreciate the nature and history of the unique urban natural environment that is Gateway. RAA’s campffikidsmART is based in Fort Tilden,ffiand its administrators seize the opportunityffi to use the fort as a nature/ historyffi classroom. The Surfridersffi have been invited to instruct and lead local children in the camp in exploratory ventures through the ecosystem that is Fort Tilden.

Park Rangers have led adult visitors to an exhibit of butterfly photographs in RAA’s sTudio 6 Gallery, on a butterfly exploring tour through the park.

RAA avian expert Denis Macrae has taken out walking/bird-watching tours of the park and its historic battlements. Dan Guarino recently portrayed Teddy Roosevelt at an RAA general meeting in an interactive instructional program that included the history of Riis and the park named for him. At the “RAA on the Bay” closing reception, Amanda Francin of RAA and the Writers Group read from her children’s book about Howard the

Heron, illustrated with her photographs.

The book was designed to teach children about their natural environment.

Rockaway Artists Alliance thanks the National Park Service and Gateway for making this exhibit and writers event possible.

Specifically, we thank Park Ranger Colleen Sorbera for coordinating the event with President Geoff Rawling and RAA. Rawling says, “I hope this is the first of many joint ventures between RAA and the National Park Service at the refuge.”

Sunday, March 20 at 1 p.m., the ffiRockaway Artists Alliance and Bernie Feuer will present the third part of “The Floyd Bennett Field Story Trilogy” called “Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer,” the story of the Coast Guard in Rockaway and Coast Guard aviation at Floyd Bennett Field.

The multi-media Power Point presentation will be given in RAA’s sTudio

6 Gallery in the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) in Fort Tilden.

Stay tuned next week for further information.

 RAA CONTACT INFO:

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

kidsmART corner

The kidsmART After-School Program 2010-2011 is free. Location: Building T-149, Fort Tilden. Dates and times: through April 14, 2011; Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. On-site registration is available. Applications can also be downloaded from RAA’s Website: www.rockawayartists alliance.org. For information call RAA at 718- 474-0861.

Fort Tilden Highlights

PRESENT EXHIBIT: “The Life of Still Objects” in sTudio 6, Fort Tilden, RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts). The exhibit explores the motion and emotion in the world of objects that may be still but never static. On view through March 27. Gallery hours: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission to exhibit, reception and special events.

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