2013-07-05 / Columnists

From the Artist’s Studio

First Exhibit At RoCA Since …; Goodbye Dome?
By Susan Hartenstein

Fort Tilden Highlights –

THERE WILL BE NO RAA GENERAL MEETING IN JULY: Enjoy the beach this month. Guest presenter: The Sun. FIRST RAA EXHIBIT AT RoCA (IN TILDEN) SINCE SANDY: A Salon Show, Saturday, July 13th-Sunday, August 11th. Open to RAA members and non-members. Each artist will be allotted only a 6-foot wide space. Artists must hang their own work. Drop-off and hanging: Saturday, July 6th, 12-4 p.m. Each artist must bring a list of titles and prices. Call RAA for details 718-474-0861. “Welcome Back” reception on July 13th, from 7-10 p.m. Admission to the exhibit and reception are free.

Rockaway said a heartfelt thank you and goodbye on Sunday, June 30 to the people who brought us the MoMA PS1 VW Dome. The concept of Expo: New York, of which this dome is a part, was developed by Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator-at Large of MoMA, along with other officials at MoMA. Volkswagen partnered with MoMA on the Dome in Rockaway. After being presented with a Certificate of Appreciation at the closing ceremony on Sunday, Biesenbach talked about what prompted the project. He and his colleagues looked at the devastation in Rockaway. We were concerned, he said, about our artistic brethren. Those at MoMA asked themselves, ‘What can we do?’ In their trips to Rockaway, they came up with the idea of a community center point, literally, sited where it is because everything around it was destruction. They wanted a center point for culture, education and community.

Representatives from all the Rockaway community groups involved in the Dome were invited to be at the Sunday celebration (a list developed and organized by Rick Horan). Each spoke about how important the Dome had been to their organization and the community. They expressed their gratitude to Biesenbach, Site Manager Nina Sweeney and MoMA PS1. Dan Guarino, president of the Rockaway Artists Alliance, was one of the representatives who spoke. He commented on how significant it was that the Dome was a circle, acting as it did as a central focal point for the entire peninsula, “where we could be with the rest of the community, where we could gather and share experiences”; a perfect circle when everything around it was still “uneven and unfinished.” Guarino also marveled at the range of programs presented at the Dome – civic planning meetings, videos to record ideas from residents on how best to recover and rebuild and revitalize the peninsula, concerts, dances, films, live music, a paint-out, children’s workshops, in which RAA played an important role each Saturday. It was so important, says Guarino, that both children and their parents had a place to create and have fun, to help them “weather the storm.”

The large crowd gathered inside and outside the Dome on Saturday had a great time in each other’s company, listening to the wonderful sounds of a ‘pick-up group,’ informally called BZ Band, composed of very talented musicians and terrific singer Nicole Mangano, and enjoying some refreshing food and drink. More significantly, they were grateful for the opportunity to thank the individuals from a leading, established New York arts institution that looked around their city, saw a need to reach out to a desperately devastated corner of NY and did so.

An open invitation exists for MoMA PS1 to return to enjoy the best the Rockaway Peninsula has to offer. And we hope you’ll bring your Dome. We’ll have a terrific time.

Local filmmaker Robert Sarnoff’s highly acclaimed “THE ROMEOWS (Retired Older Men Eating Out Wednesdays)” is opening at the prestigious Cinema Village on Friday, July 19th for an unlimited engagement. Cinema Village is located at 22 East 12th Street in Manhattan. The film is a funny, poignant, thought-provoking study of a group of septuagenarians (Brooklyn buddies) who have known each other for more than 50 years. In telling their story, “The ROMEOWS” explores friendship, loyalty, good conversation, the changing status of older people in our contemporary society … and some of the most mouth-watering restaurants in NYC. Sarnoff is very proud to be a Rockaway resident who has a film opening at this iconic venue. He hopes his fellow Rockawayites will come and support “The ROMEOWS.” Visit: cinemavillage.com/chc/cv/show_ movie.asp?movieid=2851 for more information.

RAA’s Watercolor Paint-Out in association with the Brooklyn Watercolor Society was quite successful. More about it in a later column.


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