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Marc Courtade

'Evanescence' by Gabriella Grama

The Huntington Arts Council recently announced the winners of its latest exhibit, Objects Found. Juried by Tara Leele Porter of Red Lotus Fused Glass Art, artists were invited to submit work that incorporated salvaged materials like buttons, antiques, toys and textiles to complete their work. 

Participating artists include Beth Atkinson, Lisa L. Cangemi, Kathleen Celestin-Parks, Janet Costello, Heather Gottfried, Naomi Diracles, Terry Finch, Jim Finlayson, Anindita Ghosh, Bill Grabowski, Jeffrey Grinspan, Lenore Hanson, Beth Heit, Julianne Jimenez, Julianna Kirk, Liz Kolligs, Stephen S. Martin, Martha McAleer, Glenn McNab, Kristen Memoli, John Micheals, Gabriella Grama, Gail Neuman, Ellen Paul, Jonathan Pearlman, Howie Pohl, Denis Ponsot, Meryl Shapiro, Sally Shore, Lauren Singer, Toxic/Nature Studios by Scott Schneider and Nancy Yoshii.

“Selecting for this show was challenging because of all the high quality artwork. The artwork varies from minimalist to maximalist with their narrative composed of everyday materials manifested in sublime ways and are like pieces of Jazz who found their form bebopping down the rabbit hole,” commented Porter. 

Jeffrey Grinspan of Commack won Best in Show for “Parallel of Truths and Desire.” Honorable Mentions were awarded to Beth Atkinson of Northport for “Games People Play”; Ronkonkoma’s Gabriella Grama for “Evanescence” (see above); Jonathan Pearlman of East Quogue for “Skate Boys”; and Meryl Shapiro of Forest Hills for “Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Night.” 

“[This is] a wonderful compilation of artistic expression through a vast variety of objects and creative techniques,” said Executive Director Marc Courtade. “I certainly welcome everyone to stop by the gallery to see this exhibit.”

Objects Found will be on view at the Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington through March 23. Admission is free. For further information, call 631-271-8423.

The Huntington Arts Council recently unveiled its latest exhibit, Discovering Long Island.The juried show features the works of over 40 artists who were selected after submitting work inspired by Long Island’s history and to create a work that focused on an aspect of Long Island’s cultural and natural heritage. Some suggestions were the seaside industry, farm life, Native Americans, the American Revolution, art colonies, photos and paintings of historic landmarks and sites, portraits of reenactors, sculptures of ancestors and assemblages with local artifacts.

Participating artists include Beth A. Atkinson, Anne Barash Breitstein, Holly Black, Paul Cammarata, Christine Carbone, Dorothy M. Chanin, Philip Costa, Joseph Cutolo, Madeline Daversa, Doris Diamond, Vicki Mies Field, Jim Finlayson, Phyllis Goodfriend, Jan Guarino, Rodee Hansen, Beth Heit, Gerry Hirschstein, Geraldine Hoffman, Sonya Horowitz/SRH Perspectives, Melissa Johnides, Kate Kelly, Theo Lau, Jacques LeBlanc, Edward Lee, Melissa Maiello, Carol A. Marano, Jane McGraw, Kristen Memoli, John Micheals, Drigo Morin, Amanda Prangenberg, Howard Pohl, Denis Ponsot, Alissa Rosenberg, Saul Rosenstreich, Jim Sabiston, Donald Sadowsky, Michelle Sepanski, Roya Shamsdiba, Joan Sicignano, Kate Sydney and Don Wilson.

“The works submitted for the Discovering Long Island exhibition were an excellent representation of the spirit of the local landscape and community. I truly enjoyed seeing how the artists conveyed this spirit through varying mediums, from traditional paintings and photographs to three-dimensional and abstract pieces,” said juror Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs for the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport.

Gress chose Anne Barash Breitstein of Huntington’s “Baymen” as Best in Show. Honorable Mentions included “Starry Night at the Fire Island Lighthouse” by Alissa Rosenberg of Commack, “A Day at the Movies” by Donald Sadowsky of Roslyn Heights, “Eaton’s Neck Arrowhead” by Kate Sydney of Northport, “The Memory” by Christine Carbone of Kings Park and “Heckscher Museum” by Theo Lau of Northport.

“Long Island is rich with history and the submissions for this show truly reflect the uniqueness of this call to artists. It’s wonderful to see how artists presented their interpretations is such diverse ways with featuring everything from Long Island lighthouses to an image of a hat maker to a pastel portrait of Walt Whitman. This is a terrific show,” said Executive Director Marc Courtade.

The Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington will present Discovering Long Island through Jan. 5.  For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

To see more images from the exhibit, visit www.tbrnewsmedia.com.

'Finis Incertus' by Chase McGill

By Melissa Arnold

An eerie chill is beginning to settle over Long Island, and with it comes the creepy sort of magic that only Halloween can bring. Whether you’re in it for the candy or the costumes, celebrating All Hallows Eve encourages young and old alike to get creative and maybe even spooky.

To celebrate the season, the Huntington Arts Council is sponsoring its 7th annual Nightmare on Main Street at the Main Street Gallery, a juried student art show showcasing some of our area’s most talented young artists.

The exhibit allows students in grades 6 through 12 to submit their favorite Halloween-themed artwork for consideration. In total, 41 artists from Nassau and Suffolk counties were chosen, and more than 85 spooky pieces in varied mediums will be on display. 

‘Complement Me’ by Anna Laimo

This year’s juror, Jessica “Ratgrrl” Valentin, is primarily a digital and collage artist. Her “heartbreaking pop” style has graced galleries throughout Long Island and New York City. Her latest project, Muñeca Arthouse, is a unique gallery space in Patchogue.

Valentin also played a part in shaping the theme for this year’s exhibit. “I love spooky, but not horror,” she said. “I blend my work with spooky themes, color, and sweetness so I can deal with the things that scare me. How do you face the things that scare you?” she asked, setting the tone for the entries.

Anna Laimo, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School East, was overjoyed to be chosen for this year’s Nightmare on Main Street, an exhibit she said is a perfect fit for her.

“My dad is a horror novelist, and I grew up watching scary movies with him. I love everything about the horror industry,” said the 17-year-old. “I submitted a few pieces for the exhibit last year but I wasn’t chosen, so it feels great to know I’ve improved this year.”

Laimo’s submissions include “Complement Me,” an acrylic and oil painting of skeletons on a date, and “Swell,” a drawing based on another interest of hers — special effects makeup.

North Babylon High School senior Zoe Hartmann is also making her debut at the exhibit this year thanks to an art class assignment. “My teacher had all of us do a Halloween-themed piece to submit. I was really surprised and excited when I found out I was picked. This is my first juried exhibit,” said Hartmann, 17.

Her contribution, a colored pencil drawing called “Rise of the Dead,” depicts a female skeleton alone in a cemetery. Hartmann said that she was inspired by the 2017 Disney-Pixar film, “Coco,” and the idea that, eventually, the dead are forgotten.

Along with Laimo and Hartmann, the works of Olivia Belluomo, Brooke Blumberg, Sage Boiko, Grace Burkart, Giavanna Castro, Ziqian Chen, Maxwell DeFalco, Alysse Fazal, Gloria Gang, Rachel Taylor Goldsmith, Elizabeth Gordin, Jenna Hart, Morgan Hlaing, Jiayi Huo, Evelyn Johnson, Aya Karimealaoui, Evgenia Kennedy, Siyu Lei, Juliette Liberatoscioli, Angelina Lomangino, Jessica Lyle, Sara Madsen, Chase McGill, Madalyn Metzger, Frida Misko, Benjamin Pollard, Sophia Polizzi, Dylan Roca, Matthew Rubenfeld, Jessica Rush, Mehr Sharma, Martina Simone, Juliah Triana, Leia Ulrich, Anna Vig, Emily Villavicencio,  Isabelle Waldorf, Hephzibah Yoo and Ida Zuo will also be on view.”

Prizes were awarded in two categories: grades 6 to 8 and 9 to 12. In the junior division, Best in Show went to Frida Misko for “Spooky But Sweet” with Angelina Lomangino receiving an Honorable Mention for “Wick.” In the senior division, Sage Boiko won Best in Show for “Werewolf of Wysteria” while Honorable Mentions were awarded to Anna Laimo’s “Complement Me” and Siyu Lei’ “This Red or This One.”

“I was honored and excited to be chosen as a juror,” said Valentin. “It was surprising; the layered complexity and the technical skill of these young artists. I love the places that they took the theme. It was hard. There was lots of good work to choose from.”

“Nightmare on Main Street continues to receive an incredible response from the student artists who enter the show as well as the surrounding community,” said Huntington Arts Council Executive Director Marc Courtade. “The artwork featured in this exhibit reflects an incredible level of talent.We are always thrilled to see the work of young adults in our gallery.”

Nightmare on Main Street will be on display through Nov. 3 at the Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington. A costume reception will be held on Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, where prizes will be awarded to select artists and for best costume. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served. For information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

 

Artist John Scarola’s latest masterpiece heads to Main Street

John Scarola, above, installed the sculpture on the front lawn of the museum over three days in August, after laying out the design at his studio. It has since been painted a sea blue. Photo courtesy of The Whaling Museum

Visitors to the Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor in August were greeted with a new sculpture, courtesy of local artist John Scarola. Titled “Breaching Whale,” the project was started in March and received its final coat of paint this week, just in time for an official dedication ceremony this weekend.

It all began with a thought … “Two Schools of Thought,’ actually.

Scarola has been creating with wood for decades, but when an opportunity came in 2009 to create a public art piece for The Suffolk Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding’s exhibit, Embracing Our Differences at The Long Island Museum, he jumped at the chance.  

“I heard about the Embracing Our Differences exhibit and was interested in the assignment of creating a visual representation of equality. The idea for ‘Two Schools of Thought’ actually came from an episode of ‘Star Trek’ combined with midcentury wall decor in the form of wire fish,” explained Scarola. The piece went on to earn Best in Show. 

When Embracing our Differences ended, “Two Schools of Thought” moved to its current location in Cold Spring Harbor’s Billy Joel Park, appropriately overlooking the harbor. Fast forward to 2017 and another opportunity came along, this time for an NYSCA Decentralization Grant, administered by the Huntington Arts Council. 

Marc Courtade, Huntington Arts Council’s executive director, explained the process. “Huntington Arts Council is proud to administer the DEC grants for Nassau and Suffolk counties, helping to foster the arts in our communities. Only the projects with the highest artistic merit and community service receive funding. The grants not only validate the artistic merit for the recipients, but allow them to further explore their creative visions and enrich the cultural landscape of the Long Island community. The panel [thought] John’s project was innovative in the use of materials and that the scale would be attractive to the community.”

So how did the sculpture end up at The Whaling Museum? “I felt the museum was an obvious choice for my sculpture because I am passionate about environmental issues. The museum provides great programs in that direction. My goal is for the sculpture to provide visual impact to get passers-by to stop in and see all that the museum has to offer,” said Scarola. 

After fine-tuning the plans for the 15-foot-tall sculpture, the artist began the installation at The Whaling Museum in August. Having grown up in the area and on the waters of the North Shore, Scarola is happy to have two of his sculptures book-ending the town of Cold Spring Harbor. 

“Great public art fosters a pride of place and enhances a community’s identity. John’s sculpture indeed accomplishes that as this mammoth whale celebrates our Island’s deep ties with the sea,” said Whaling Museum Executive Director Nomi Dayan. “We are grateful to John and the Huntington Arts Council for enriching our space with this new focal point, a wonderful reflection of the exciting things going on in our museum building.”

“Breaching Whale” was officially dedicated to The Whaling Museum during its annual SeaFaire & Festival on Saturday, Sept. 29. Scarola was hand for the ceremony and set up his own “workshop” space offering demos of some simple wood-working techniques. He, along with other crafters, offered items for sale at this family-friendly event. The museum’s new exhibit, Heroines at the Helm, also officially opened on Sept. 29 with interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.

The Whaling Museum & Education Center is located at 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor and specializes in the culture and history of local maritime heritage as illustrated by the Cold Spring Harbor whaling industry of the 1850s. Learn more by calling 631-367-3418 or by visiting www.cshwhalingmuseum.org.

'Man of La Boca' by Virginia Khuri

The Huntington Arts Council, celebrating its 55th year, recently unveiled its latest exhibit at its Main Street Gallery. Titled 12 × 12, the juried show features artwork inspired by the LP Record Jacket and will be on display until May 26. The winners, selected by juror Beth Giacummo, were announced at an opening reception on May 4. 

‘Bound,’ Honorable Mention by Shreya Krishnan

“It was a pleasure to juror the Huntington Arts Council 12×12 open call,” said Giacummo in a recent press release. An artist, curator and educator, Giacummo currently serves as the gallery director for Farmingdale State College and is the executive director of the Patchogue Arts Council. “I’d like to thank all the artists who took the time to submit work for consideration, there was a fantastic response and it made the final decisions difficult. I’d also like to thank the HAC for the invitation to be a guest juror. I enjoyed seeing so much new work,” she added. 

The idea of the 12-inch LP has been a concurrent image in popular culture since the first one was pressed in 1903. The images on the cover grew from signage and marketing to works of art that represented the music and the culture in which both were and currently are being created. The album cover quickly emerged as a way to feature the work of talented artists. Its iconic format still maintains the visual representation for the auditory message enclosed within. 

‘The Rain King,’ Honorable Mention by Patty Eljaiek

Thirty-six artists were accepted as finalists including Detlef Aderhold, Patrick Aievoli, Beth Atkinson, Quinn Blackburn, Winifred Boyd, Mary Brodersen, Terry Canavan, Wendy Curtis, Dawn Daisley, Grainne de Buitlear, Doris Diamond, James Dima, Patty Eljaiek, Terry Finch, Nicole Franz, William Grabowski, Jan Guarino, Rodee Hansen, Dan Hittleman, Melissa Johnides, Amy Kasindorf, Kate Kelly, Virginia Khuri, Karen Lynne Kirshner, Myungja Koh, Shreya Krishnan, Anny Lamsifer, Jacques LeBlanc, Ellen Liebenthal, John Micheals, Kasmira Mohanty, Michael Ricigliano, Toxic/Nature Studios By Scott Schneider, Roya Shamsdiba, Meredith Smith and Stephen Wyler.

Best in Show was awarded to Virginia Khuri for “Man of La Boca,” with honorable mentions handed to Shreya Krishnan for  “Bound,” Patrick Aievoli for “Patsy and the Kisco Kids v1” and Patty Eljaiek for “The Rain King.” Congratulations!

‘Patsy and the Kisco Kids v1,’ Honorable Mention by Patrick Aievoli

“We are excited to feature this small works show inspired by artistic impact of the record jacket,” said Marc Courtade, executive director of the HAC. “This concept crosses so many generations of artists, particularly now with the resurgence in the popularity of the LP. Its just one example of how we are working to provide a broader range of creative options for artist to show their work. Please stop by the gallery to see this show.” 

The Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery is located at 213 Main St., Huntington. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

'Bones' by Rachel Goldsmith, Half Hollow Hills High School

Just in time for Halloween, the Huntington Arts Council will present its annual Nightmare on Main Street, a student art exhibit that opens Oct. 13 at the Main Street Gallery and runs through Nov. 4.

Long Island students in grades 6 to 12 were asked to submit artwork that was inspired by the story telling narrative of Halloween. Horror films, legends and comics surrounding Halloween allow people to embrace a side of themselves that is considered dark and strange.

‘Complexion’ by Jenna Hart, Harborfields High School

The exhibit was juried by Jason Stuart, whose work is mainly illustrations with india ink and brush, which he finds the perfect medium to translate his macabre ideas into reality. The owner of Poppycock Productions, which produces storybooks, Tarot cards and comic books, Stuart is currently showing at Ripe Art Gallery in Huntington.

“I found everything to be done with great spirit and effort on everyone’s part. I was looking for a combination of skill, imagination, originality and passion put into the work,” said Stuart of his selections for the exhibit.

Twenty-seven students were selected as finalists including Danielle Christian, Daniela Crimi, Julia Davi, Madeline Franz, Brandon Fuerstein, Luke Gelfman, Rachel Goldsmith, Alexandria Goodman, Olivia Greiss, Ilyssa Halbreich, Ashlin Hanley, Jenna Hart, Ben Herbert, Princeton Huang, Leilani Kaiser, Emily Kubrick, Carra Lanigan, Bryan Lee, Christopher McCartney, Meghan Monahan, Chiori Negishi, Kenya Pinos, Yusef Rahimzada, Mehr Sharma, Lily Shumsky, Katelynn Sinnott and Ashley Zhang.

Prizes are valued at $75 each and will be awarded in two categories: Senior Division (grades 9-12) and Junior Division (grades 6-8).

‘Hip Medusa’ by Madeline Franz, Stimson Middle School

“We are excited to once again present Nightmare on Main Street student art exhibit. This show is now in its 6th year and as popular as ever. The scope of talent is remarkable,” said Executive Director Marc Courtade.

In celebration of the exhibit, a costume party reception will be held at the gallery on Friday, Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for best costume and refreshments will be served. This is a free event, and all are welcome to attend.

The Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

All images courtesy of Huntington Arts Council

‘Brooklyn Walls’ by Anahi DeCanio won Best in Show. Photo from HAC

Creating without limits

The Huntington Arts Council held an opening reception for its latest exhibition, The Versatility of Street Art, at its Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington on Friday, Dec. 9. Twenty-six artists including Virginia Bushart, Anahi DeCanio, Jonathan Duci, Terry Finch, Jim Finlayson, Nicole Franz, Tim Gowan, Bill Grabowski, Geraldine Hoffman, Stefanie Kane, Jade “MUMBOT” Kuei, Jennifer Lau, Theo Lau, Jude Lobasso, Sharon Lobo, Jared Long, Celeste Mauro, Kasmira Mohanty, Stephen Palladino, Reme 821, Rodney Rodriguez, David Rogers, Jennie Sjostrom, Jeff Slack, Christina Stow and Stephen Wyler were accepted into the show, which was judged by Phetus, Long Island’s very own graffiti/street artist.

‘Fish’ by Jared Long received an Honorable Mention. Photo from HAC

“Phetus” began his rebellious legacy in 1988 by scrawling his infamous “Phat Phace” logo across the peninsula and beyond. From an original scribe on the wall, Phetus has built an eclectic portfolio of creativity spanning over 2 decades. Starting with a simple tag on the wall to creating an iphone app which was downloaded by over 15 million users, Phetus proves that there are no creative boundaries. Phetus is one of the artists who created the beautiful, expressive street art mural on the back of our building. This highly recognized mural has become a popular backdrop for members of the community, of all ages, to come and take photos.

‘Jackson Heights Queens’ by Sharon Lobo received an Honorable Mention. Photo from HAC

“Being raised in such a diverse community as Huntington, Long Island, It only made sense to showcase the versatility within the current trend of “Street Art”. As an artist rooted in the graffiti art community for the past 30 yrs, I have experienced and witnessed the evolution of a rebellious illegal art form, transform into an accepted form of expression amongst todays popular culture. It is a privilege and honor to have had the opportunity from the Huntington Arts Council to observe and review the many outstanding submissions from all of the artists that participated. “The Versatility Of Street Art” showcase couldn’t be a more perfect reflection of the world we live in today, as for each person has their own identity to express in their own skillful way. Anything goes. . .the streets are watching,” stated Juror Phetus.

Anahi DeCanio won Best in Show for her abstract painting titled “Brooklyn Walls.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Sharon Lobo for “Jackson Heights Queens,” “Fish” by Jared Long and “Paparazzi” by Stephen Palladino.

‘Paparazzi’ by Stephen Palladino (top image) received an Honorable Mention

“The “Versatility of Street Art Show” is a great example of how we continue to work toward providing opportunities for all types of artists; both from a demographic and creative standpoint. The call to artists resulted in submissions from a diverse list of artists with one submitting from as far away as Sweden. The entries reflect a broad interpretation of the genre and will present an exciting vibrant exhibition,”  said Executive Director Marc Courtade.

The exhibit runs through Jan. 7. For gallery hours, please call 631-271-8423.

'Desolate' by Alex Cartwright, Grade 11. Image courtesy of HAC
‘Pearl’ by Alex Cartwright (grade 11). Image from HAC
‘Pearl’ by Alex Cartwright (grade 11). Image from HAC

Just in time for Halloween, the Huntington Arts Council presents a perennial favorite, Nightmare on Main Street, a student art exhibit that opens today at the Main Street Gallery and runs through Nov. 5. Now in its fifth year, students in grades 6 to 12 were asked to submit original artwork reflecting their interpretation of Halloween, “be it dark, light-hearted or just plain scary!”

“Once again the students did not disappoint. It’s exciting to see the response from such a wide age range of students with over 80 submissions. The talent of these artists is evident across the board and shown in a variety of media choices from photography to sculpture,” stated Marc Courtade, executive director of the Huntington Arts Council.

‘Medusa’ by Melissa Roy (grade 12). Image courtesy of HAC

The exhibit was juried by Caitlyn Shea, a visual artist who “loves all things scary, sinewy and dark — and has a special love for Francis Bacon paintings.” Specializing in large, fierce paintings, Shea exhibits her work in galleries across the United States. When she is not painting, Shea works as a co-producer for East End Arts JumpstART program. “It was truly a pleasure reviewing all of the artwork submitted to Nightmare on Main Street. I was incredibly impressed by the level of achievement present in each of the submissions; it actually seemed as if I was looking at college undergraduate portfolios,” commented Shea. “I expected the submissions to be creepy, but they surpassed my expectations by also being so confrontative and exploring unexpected themes like alienation and isolation. It was difficult selecting which works to include because every single entry was powerful in its own unique way!” she said.

Forty-two students were selected as finalists including Jonelle Afurong, Sarah Astegher, Shiloh Benincasa, Rachel Berkowitz, Nathalie Berrios, Summer Blitz, Julia Bretschneider, Rebekah Buon, Elena Canas, Alex Cartwright, Ben Conner, Daniela Crimi, Eliana Davidoff, Lars Drace, Christian D’Sa, Julia Dzieciaszek, Sania Farooq, Katie Giambrone, Casey Goldstein, Michael Green, Vincent Guerrero, Ilyssa Halbreich, Michaela Hammer, Katrina Hanley, Lauren Landolfi, Cameron Matassa, Kallie McCarthy, Noelle Pluschau, Bailey Rand, Natasha Rivera, Renee Rooney, Melissa Roy, Jack Ruthkowski, Olivia Sasso, Amanda Stark, Amanda Tobin, Alex Tonetti, Alexandra Valme, Erica Vazquez, Teva Yaari, Steven Yeh and Sarah Young.

To kick off the exhibit, a costume party reception will be held on Oct. 29 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the gallery. Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show in senior and junior divisions as well as for best costume. Refreshments will be served. This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.

The Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

‘Thoughts’ by Sandra Bowman

The Huntington Arts Council unveiled its latest exhibit at its Main Street Gallery on Oct. 6. Titled “Conversations in Color,” the Juried Abstract Show features works by 29 local artists and will be on display until Oct. 22. The winners, selected by juror Kerry Irvine, will be announced at an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“This abstract exhibit is perfectly defined by the scope of work currently on display. The pieces are vibrant not just in color, but in technique and in the range of interpretation; even for a diverse category such as abstract art. We are so pleased to have Kerry Irvine as our juror and look forward to a well-received reception,” said Marc Courtade, Executive Director of the Huntington Arts Council.

'Tiki Tiki' by Julia Lang Shapiro
‘Tiki Tiki’ by Julia Lang-Shapiro

“As an artist who was born and raised in Huntington, it was an honor to be asked to juror “Conversations in Color,” said Irvine. “The challenge I proposed to the applicants, “As Artists we use color to communicate. This is how we bare our souls and share our deepest secrets. With color, we tell our stories. What’s your story?” was met with great enthusiasm and a myriad of beautiful, strong, individual pieces of art.” A resident of New York City, Irvine is an abstract expressionist painter. Her work can be found in private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad. Irvine features color and form often inspired by nature and the human figure. “I am proud to present these wonderful works of art which represent the immense talent that is inspired and cultivated on Long Island year after year,” she said.

Congratulations to the participating artists: Constance Blackman, Sandra Bowman, Joyce Bressler, Kathy Cunningham, Anahi Decanio, Christine Dupuis, Alicia Evans, Baruch Farbiarz, Reg Fludd, Nicole Franz, Mary Fusco, Peter Galasso, John Greene, Rodee Hansen, Roseann Harder, Ron Janssen, Vincent Joseph, Marc Josloff, Karen Kirshner, Deidre Klein, Julia Lang-Shapiro, Tara Leale Porter, Celeste Mauro, Martha Mcaleer, Lorraine Nuzzo, Douglas Reina, Che Sabalja, Sally Shore, and Penny Strong.

The HAC’s Main Street Gallery is located at 213 Main St., Huntington. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

SPARKBOOM’s Off the Walls event in Huntington last year. File photo by Dan Woulfin

The sun has set on SPARKBOOM, a grant-funded program run by the Huntington Arts Council that helped foster young and emerging Long Island artists.

The program was discontinued after its grant ran out, according to Maureen Starr, who does public relations for the council. In an email, Starr said the council wasn’t awarded a Regional Economic Development Council grant from New York State this year.

SPARKBOOM was in existence for two years. The program’s last event was held on April 18 in Huntington.
The program’s goals were to showcase local artists from ages 18 to 34 and try to connect them with opportunities and networking on Long Island through a variety of different events and exhibitions. The program was all-inclusive when it came to the type of art forms it would promote — musicians, photographers, painters, visual performers and more participated in events.

The New York State Council on the Arts, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the New York State Legislature supported the grant-funded program, along with many other partners.

“We were thinking, what can we do to help emerging artists [who] tend to be underrepresented and are usually recently out of college?” Michelle Carollo said in a phone interview. Carollo was the artistic supervisor for SPARKBOOM.

Pandafan performs at a SPARKBOOM event. File photo by Dan Woulfin
Pandafan performs at a SPARKBOOM event. File photo by Dan Woulfin

Carollo helped oversee and organize more than 10 events, which included a holiday party that featured musicians and spoken-word poets, as well as window art and several film screenings with after-parties featuring musicians.

One of her favorite events, Off the Walls, was a block party and street fair in Huntington Station that showcased more than 30 art vendors, a BMX stunt bike show, live Latin dancing and an interactive mural painting.

“This event was unique because we were able to publicize it in two languages, so we were able to attract a much larger audience, and a couple hundred people ended up contributing to the community mural,” she said.

Steven Licardi is a poet who worked with SPARKBOOM and described the experience as “overwhelmingly positive.” He believes that what it did so well was combine art forms and artists on a large scale and show the public how talented Long Island artists are. He also thought that SPARKBOOM was doing successfully what other organizations were either not taking advantage of or not doing as well.

“Long Island has a booming artistic community … I would argue that it’s more than or equally as vibrant and diverse as Manhattan or Brooklyn,” he said in an email. “Long Island is teeming with talented people — particularly young people — who are tempting to redefine and re-imagine what art is.”

Long Island is getting older, and its youth population is smaller than neighboring regions, statistics show.

According to the Long Island Index, the Island’s 55 and older population is growing by about 2 percent per year. The trend started to accelerate in 2007 and is expected to last for another decade. In Nassau and Suffolk counties, 29 percent of residents were over 55 in 2013, up from 25 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, the number of 25 to 34 year olds was declining through 2007 and has held relatively steady at 11 percent of the population since then. That’s less than other suburban parts of the region and much less than New York City, which stands at 18 percent.

Employment is one of the main reasons young people leave Long Island, according to a Destination LI survey published last year. Nearly 57 percent of millennials were unable to find jobs aligned with their skills on Long Island.

For one young artist, SPARKBOOM helped her advance professionally, she said.

“SPARKBOOM offered me an entryway into performing more meaningful shows on Long Island, a goal I was having difficulty reaching on my own,” Alexa Dexa, a musician who participated in several of the program’s events, said in an email. “As a young artist, it was extremely encouraging to participate in events that fostered a real sense of community, and to be selected on the merit of my work … It was a blessing to have the exposure and funding for my performances that the infrastructure of SPARKBOOM was able to provide,” she said.

Marc Courtade, the executive director of the Huntington Arts Council, said the curtain has closed on the program for the foreseeable future.

“I am sorry to say there are no plans [to keep a program like this going] at the moment,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s unfortunate because it was a very good program, there was really nothing comparable to this program.”

Licardi echoed Couratade’s sentiment.

“The loss of SPARKBOOM is a huge blow to the Long Island arts scene.”