2013-03-15 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

The Un-Fort Tilden Highlights
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

RAA believes in starting artists early, as seen here at the "Healing Through Art" workshop. (Photo by Jessica Schulman) RAA believes in starting artists early, as seen here at the "Healing Through Art" workshop. (Photo by Jessica Schulman) Do you know the best part of the “Healing Through Art” workshop at the Knights of Columbus today? Friends, neighbors, colleagues who hadn’t seen each other in months reunited in a reaffirmation of survival and in the embrace of friendship. A community rejoined and celebrated the best, most positive aspects of ‘community.’ I sat on the side of the room and saw people, adults and children, doing what they loved with people about whom they cared. And not everyone knew everyone else. There were those making acquaintance for the first time. But they were all sharing the communion that comes from a special passion – art – and the losses imposed on them, and surmounted, by a force over which they had no control – Sandy. They were taking control of their lives by ‘doing,’ ‘creating, ‘expressing.’

Tables were set up for mixed media, watercolor (with guidance from members of the Brooklyn Watercolor Society), a table with a kidsmART teaching artist leading children in an exuberant day of maskmaking, among other pursuits, a still life area, a music/performance/ spoken word area (starring some very talented people). No art experience was necessary, but everyone I saw was pretty good.

Of particular interest to me was the table set up by the RAA Writers Group at which a scroll was being created by those surrounding it. They seemed to be spontaneously creating words and images to illustrate those words, as scribes of the past would have done to chronicle the saga of a great event in their lives or as quiltmakers would do around one large quilt.

Healing is found through many avenues, and finding your fellow journeyers on the road to recovery and being given the tools and opportunity for recovery go a long way to repair the wounds.

Congratulations to the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the New York City Regional Arts in Healthcare Network (of which RAA is a member), the Knights of Columbus, the Brooklyn Watercolor Society, RAA’s kidsmART program and to all the individuals who contributed their time, expertise, supplies, yummies and hearts and souls to making this such a successful afternoon.

Thank you to Marianne Hardart, cochair of the New York City Regional Arts in Healthcare Network, for lending her presence to the event. The mission of her organization is to serve “the NYC regional population by bringing together people from a wide spectrum of fields including art, music, performing arts, healthcare, the creative arts therapies, mental health professionals, government, education, design, and students. [They] seek to 1) Promote the use and understanding of the arts and the creative arts therapies in healing through networking, advocacy, research, and education, 2) Develop supportive partnerships with individuals, groups, and organizations in [the] region, and 3) Share [their] knowledge, experiences, and insights with one another in order to better serve [themselves] and those in [their] care.” The Network is part of the larger Global Alliance for Art and Health.

Kudos to the Rockaway Theatre Company which, like RAA, brings their art into the community despite being temporarily displaced from Fort Tilden. Congratulations to RTC, director Chazmond Peacock and all connected with their splendid production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Gracian Players of Our Lady of Grace Church in Howard Beach. Bravo!

Geoff Rawling now has a gallery, the Geoffiti Gallery, at 160 Beach 117 Street, Apt. 2A, presently displaying his work from his recent show “Media Blend.” The gallery is open every Sunday, 2-6 p.m. Rawling welcomes those who wish, to bring their art, poetry and music to round out the afternoons.

We are happy to announce that Camp kidsmART will be operating this summer.

Please look out for more information to follow.

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