2012-01-20 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

New President, New Exhibit; Nu?
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Fort Tilden Highlights: PRESENT RAA EXHIBIT: “Abstract Point of View,” on view through Feb. 19, sTudio 6, RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts) at Fort Tilden. Free admission. Gallery hrs: Sat. and Sun., 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Instructor: Jeffrey Berman. Tues. 7-9 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-12 noon. sTudio 6. Class will include instruction in acrylic, watercolor, pastel, drawing, water soluble oil. Fee per class: members: $20; non-members: $30. NEW THURS. NIGHT MUSIC/OPEN MIC: Every other Thurs. at 9:30 p.m. a featured musician or group performs. Open mic: performing artists of all disciplines invited. sTudio 7 stage, 8-9:30 p.m. Signup: 7:45 p.m. Join us. Free. See column.

With the New Year comes a new president for Rockaway Artists Alliance. RAA has always been about growth and change that leads to growth. There are those who can’t think about this organization and not think of Geoff Rawling as president. Geoff has not disappeared. And though he has stepped back as president to explore his art, he is still around to consult and advise when needed.

Anthony Curcio, at the beginning of his term, is humble, yet his demeanor instills in one a confidence that he is well up to the task at hand. “No one could ever replace Geoff Rawling. But I am confident that we [referring to others in RAA as well as himself] will be able to continue to fulfill our mission statement; in the arts, in education, in public art.” “We have an incredibly talented office staff, education administrators and staff, and new board members who bring with them their own talents and strengths.”

The same can be said of Curcio. He comes to the job with myriad skills and several years serving RAA in various capacities. Formerly a member of the board of directors of the Rockaway Theatre Company, he worked as a stage manager and set builder there. Through those contacts he was introduced to RAA. As a member of this organization he became deeply involved in an ever-growing number of events that included Thursday Music Night and Halloween, and took art classes with Rawling. He was eventually elected to the RAA board and has additionally, for the last two years, been chairman of the Performing Arts Committee.

“It was very satisfying to see the performing and literary arts events expand and the people participating in them grow. I was ‘hooked’ immediately by the passion, the talent, and how everyone was encouraged to express themselves freely and artistically, and I wanted to be involved.” During his tenure on the board Curcio has also been very pleased to see the work done in adult education programs.

The new president brings an important practical dimension necessary to any leader of an arts organization in these financial times – he was in marketing and sales for more than two decades. In addition, Curcio’s bio includes the study of architecture and drafting. He was a painter and photographer – talents he was able to pursue once again at RAA. Essential to his position, Curcio appears to have a good grasp of the need and the skills involved to coordinate all the parts of the whole of a large, varied organization like RAA. And …he listens; to new ideas, to advice, to suggestions. And he wants to develop ways to make this an even stronger organization.

President Anthony Curcio’s goal at the moment is “to continue our great tradition of serving the community with hard work as individuals and as an organization. We’re all proud to say we’re members of RAA.”

Call to Artists: Next RAA exhibits to run concurrently in the RAA galleries March 3-April 15 – “Blue Hues”: blue colors, tones and hues; blue moods, music and depths. Open to all mediums. “Lights, Camera, Action”: in front of the camera, behind the scenes, motion pictures, film scenes, movie stars, movie going, plays of shadow and light, the cinematic arts. Open to all mediums …including musical scores. Deadline for submission, both exhibits: February 10. www.rockawayartistsalliance.org to download full prospectuses and entry forms.

“Abstract Point of View” is the present exhibit in sTudio 6 gallery, and the first of 2012. One of the artists whose work caught my attention is Anne Hourigan. Truly abstract, non-objective works, they are purely about color and design. When asked to discuss “Recompose,” the artist said, “It was an attempt to organize my thoughts and emotions, and represent them visually.” Her paintings, she says, are “non-verbal reactions to life.” They are “like an improvised language.” Indeed, the longer one stands before the paintings, the more one is caught in the visual impulses, the flow of brushstrokes, the heat and cold of the colors, the dynamics of the markmaking; one’s own emotions and thoughts are thus pulled along for the ride.

If you are interested in being featured at a Thursday Music Night (see gray box) contact the RAA office or speak to board member John Simonelli on a Thursday night.

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

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