2013-01-11 / Community

Rockaway Artists Alliance Reaches Out


RAA Board Members, Staff and Officers meet to plan the group’s outreach and recovery. From left to right: Board Member John Grillo, Education Director Christine Mullally, President Tony Curcio, Board Members John Simonelli, Maryann McEvoy and Christian Legar and Fiscal Officer Regina Moerdyk. RAA Board Members, Staff and Officers meet to plan the group’s outreach and recovery. From left to right: Board Member John Grillo, Education Director Christine Mullally, President Tony Curcio, Board Members John Simonelli, Maryann McEvoy and Christian Legar and Fiscal Officer Regina Moerdyk. Prior to the start of the New Year, the Rockaway Artists Alliance Board of Directors and key staff met to discuss the group’s recovery and outreach plans post-Sandy.

Nearly all of RAA’s members, like those attending the meeting, have personally been affected by the storm. Many have also been helping with recovery efforts both within and outside the Rockaway/Broad Channel community. Many are currently displaced.

RAA President Tony Curio, Board Members John Grillo, John Simonelli, Maryann McEvoy and Christian Legar, Vice President Dan Guarino, Education Director Christine Mullally and Fiscal Officer Regina Moerdyk attended the meeting at the group’s Beach 116th Street office.

Attending by phone were Treasurer Ross Radusky, Secretary Sophia Skeans and consultant Linda Ferm.

The group discussed the current status of their personnel, facilities and resources and current recovery programs.

Many RAA members started working on the organization’s clean up and recovery immediately after the storm.

They also discussed their longer range plans and needs.

“Most immediately,” said a person who attended the meeting, “we are looking for physical space to hold meetings, do workshops, exhibit, do performances and events and offer help and healing to the community.”

“We are also looking to partner with other groups and come up with new ways to reach out.”

All agreed a priority would be reaching out to RAA members, especially in this difficult time for all.

To that end, the following letter was forwarded via e-mail:

“Dear Members,

Rockaway Artists Alliance hopes this finds you well.

We would like to update you on the status of RAA and find out where you are and what has occurred in your life during the past two months.

Due to heavy storm damage to the building at 260 Beach 116th Street, RAA's administrative office was closed until December 14. We are glad to report that the office is now up and running and has resumed 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. business hours.

At this point in time, the National Park Service has closed Fort Tilden and other Gateway sites in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. RAA's buildings sustained significant damage. sTudio 6 flooded and experienced wind damage. In this facility, there is both interior and exterior damage. The structure of sTudio 7 was largely undamaged. However, we are awaiting a thorough review of the HVAC system. It is most likely that the HVAC system was compromised due to salt water and will have to be replaced. This will be costly. Finally, Building T-149 sustained exterior damage to the siding, roof and doors.

We have been working closely with our insurance adjusters and NPS representatives with regard to assessing damages and planning for renovations. Access to the Fort is limited to visits coordinated with NPS. We are hopeful for a spring reopening.

In the meantime, we are looking for a temporary site to host exhibits, a day of art and healing and music events. kidsmART is ongoing in PS 104Q and will reopen in PS/MS114Q on January 7, 2013. We remain dedicated to you and are committed to being a part of the vital force needed to get Rockaway back on its feet.

Where are you? How are you? Please send us an e-mail at info@raa116.org to connect with us. In the coming weeks, we will update RAA's webpage, Facebook page and resume the RAA Enewsletter to keep members informed as we renew and rebuild.

We wish you a happy, healthy new year. RAA is looking forward to a better and brighter 2013 for all of our members.”

The non-profit Rockaway Artists Alliance presents a dozen exhibitions a year, offers classes and workshops, hosts regular musical events, supports an active writers’ group and boasts a vibrant children’s education program. RAA has been in existence for more than 18 years.

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