2011-12-23 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

What’s In The Road, Ahead?
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Artwork by RAA board member Christian Le Gars. Artwork by RAA board member Christian Le Gars. An old ‘punny’ play on words that proves, it’s all in the delivery; and an inquiry that will, at least in part, be answered in this week’s column (and maybe the next column, too).

RAA grows every year; not just in number of members, but in its relationship with the community, its partners (such as Gateway National Recreation Area and other arts groups) and in the ways it finds to address the needs of the public and of its members. As an example, this last year has seen the Writers Group ‘on the road,’ more and more, to bring the plays, poetry and prose of members of the group into the community at venues that include the Neponsit Adult Day Care Center. Accompanying the writers have often been several of the RAA’s talented musicians. Bringing this vital arm of RAA into the future, the next Writers Group meeting will be Sunday, January 15, 4-6 p.m. in sTudio 6.

All are welcome, whether a writer or not. Fulfilling a major part of RAA’s mission, to connect ourselves and our young people to the wondrous natural environment that constitutes our home base in Fort Tilden, RAA has presented events that include a composting workshop with our kidsmART kids that gave them an appreciation for the value of recycling in the face of a ‘disposable society.’

On the subject of kidsmART, in difficult financial times, RAA and those whose lives have been forever changed for the better by this arts-based education program are very happy that kidsmART and camp kidsmART will once again be running in 2012. In the words of Program Director Marina Callaghan, “We are always seeking additional funding. But at this time of year, we are very grateful for our refunding and our staff, and for the families and the children whom we serve.” Long may Callaghan, Education Director Christine Mullally and their extraordinary staff continue to bring innovative programs for adults and children to Rockaway.

This last year saw some exciting artwork in the RAA galleries and many artists new to RAA. InkSplash 2011 brought the work of several excellent printmakers to the Rockaway Center for the Arts. In the fall of 2012, Ink- Splash will continue to celebrate the dynamic traditional and contemporary techniques of this ever-evolving art form. “Abstract Point of View” will begin RAA’s 2012 exhibitions schedule, on view January 14 – February 19. The opening reception is Sunday, January 15, 12-4 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery.

The rest of the 2012 shows are: “Blue Hues” and “Lights, Camera, Action” running concurrently March 3-April 15; “Check Mate” and “Spring Into Flowers” (May 5-June 17); “The Art of John Russo,” June 2-10; “The Watercolors of Arlene Cornell,” June 16-25; “Our Corner of the World – New and Old,” July 7-August 5; “Matt Petagna,” August 18, 19; “ArtSplash,” September 8-October 7; “The Bernie Feuer Solo Show,” September 29,30; “InkSplash,” October 20-November 4; “Gifted,” November 17-December 16.

Watch for a new artwork coming very soon to the exterior of Beach Channel High School – “In Search of Harmony Bay,” a painted relief sculpture by Esther Grillo. More in a future column.

As a result of the elections of this month RAA’s board of directors will have a slightly new look in 2012. Renée Radenberg was reelected; singer/songwriter John Simonelli will be new to the board; Michael Tubridy is making a return to that body.

And for the first time in 15 years, Geoff Rawling will not see the New Year in as president. He has chosen to step away from the position to devote himself to other pursuits. Anthony Curcio, who has been deeply involved with RAA special events that include the annual Halloween extravaganzas and with RAA music events, will assume the office of president. Good luck and congratulations to them all.

RAA looks forward to the dynamic and new leadership of Tony Curcio.

But first … For many, including me, Geoff Rawling was one of the first and most important welcoming faces bringing us into the family that is RAA. He, Marina Callaghan and Walter Gurbo made me and so many others feel as though we were now part of something warm, supportive and worthwhile; and made me believe I could do anything. Geoff has been a part of so much that is RAA. His drive and that tireless dynamo. From his endless creative and backbreaking work in the galleries, to the parades, to teaching in kidsmART, to the murals all around the peninsula and beyond, to Tribute Park, to the extraordinary palette signs he whipped up for every RAA exhibit, to …. For all the positive things he has done, we thank him. And for Geoff, RAA has been his family, to which he has devoted himself fully and completely. So I know this is not farewell, Geoff, just au revoir. Happy holidays to all. RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

Fort Tilden Highlights

NEXT RAA GENERAL MEETING: Mon., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery,
RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts) at Fort Tilden. All are welcome.
NEXT RAA EXHIBIT AND RECEPTION: “Abstract Point of View,” on view Jan.
14-Feb. 19, sTudio 6, RoCA. Reception: Sun., Jan. 15, 12-4 p.m. Free admission. Gallery hrs.: Sat.s and Sun.s 12-4 p.m. and by appointment.
NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., Jan. 15, 4-6 p.m., sTudio 6. All are
PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tues. 7-9 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-12 noon.
sTudio 6. $20 per class, supplies included.
THURS. NIGHT OPEN MIC: Performing artists of all disciplines invited. sTudio 7
stage. Sign-up: 7:45 p.m. Start time: 8 p.m. Join us. Free.

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