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Neil Watson

Winners honored at art reception on April 20

By Heidi Sutton

Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook kicked off its 2018 juried art competition, Wanderlust, with a standing room only artist reception on April 20. 

Amateur and professional artists were invited to submit up to three pieces using the desire to travel as their inspiration. 

Neil Watson, executive director of the LIM, opened the reception by congratulating the artists.“You deserve a huge hand. This is one of the strongest shows that I’ve seen in five years.” 

“I’ve been a museum director for many years in many different kinds of museums and artists are the core … Whether it’s a carriage that’s made by a group of artisans from the wheels to the fabric … or it’s a painting or a photograph, it’s a maker. I applaud all of you for being makers and continuing to do that and push it because I know it’s really hard.”

Watson went on to mention that the works of 39 members of the LIMarts, a collaborative arts group, were in the show and encouraged the other artists in the room to join. “This museum believes in makers,” he said. 

Museum staff members combed through more than 300 entries submitted to come up with 76 final entries. Debbie Wells, co-founder and partner of Artful Circle, served as juror and was tasked with selecting a first-, second-, and third-place winner along with two honorable mentions. Wells was also present at the reception, a first for a juried exhibit reception at the museum.

Before announcing the winners, Lisa Unander, director of education at the museum, encouraged all the visitors to browse the exhibit to see all of the artist’s works. “It’s a fantastic show. We are so happy for the turnout for [all the artists] tonight,” she said.

Smithtown resident Elizabeth Milward captured first place for her hauntingly beautiful black and white photo,  “All Aboard,” which was taken on the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania. “Just beaming with artistic talent” was a comment overhead from one of the visitors.

Barron Krody of Stony Brook nabbed second place for his oil on canvas painting, “Happiness Is …” depicting a young girl with a big smile sitting on a cloud with arms outstretched as if flying. “When I heard about the theme [for the show] the word that came to mind was exuberance,’’ said Krody at the reception. Mission accomplished Mr. Krody. 

Third place was awarded to Julianna Kirk of the hamlet of Brookhaven for her  colored pencil masterpiece, “Prague Street,” which featured a young girl in the foreground.

Two honorable mentions were awarded as well. The first was to Jovanna Hopkins of Dix Hills for her stunning digital photograph of Zabriskie Point in California’s Death Valley. The second was to Ronkonkoma’s Gabriella Grama for a vintage suitcase decorated with mosaic tile titled “Worldy Possessions.” The work of art is adorned with images of all the places she has visited, including Egypt. Said the mosaic artist, “I made this just for the show because I love to travel.”

Juror’s comments:

1stplace  

 Elizabeth Milward

All Aboard, Photography

“This photograph tells the story of wanderlust – the desire to journey. The composition of the two figures facing the tracks into the misty distance is very strong and quite moving. The atmospheric quality is enhanced by their vintage clothing and the soft landscape ahead of them.  Excellent monochromatic layering and use of photographic techniques makes it worthy of first prize.  It exemplifies the theme of the exhibition.”

2ndplace 

Baron Krody

Happiness is…,Oil on Canvas

“The perfect title for this whimsical take on the Wanderlust theme. Beautiful, painterly clouds float throughout the composition. Like a cherry on an ice cream sundae, the young girl is brave, happy and poised to embark on an adventure.  This piece is colorful and imaginative – the viewer does not know what is going to happen next, but there is much optimism for this girl!”

 3rdplace 

 Julianna Kirk

Prague Street, Pencil

“This storybook-style illustration was executed by an artist with superior skills in colored pencil techniques.  The perspective of the buildings and architectural landscape are charming and beautifully drawn.  By adding the red-headed woman in the foreground, it frames the composition so that the viewer is seeing the world as she sees it.  The color choices are interesting – a terracotta palette with touches of green give the piece an old world feel.  One wonders what this woman is dreaming about in this European courtyard scene.”

 Honorable Mentions

 Gabriella Grama

Worldly Possessions, Mosaic on Vintage Suitcase

“Most exhibitions feature art on the walls, but when a piece made of unusual materials is showcased, it always stands out.  This mixed media artwork is an unexpected combination of materials.  The form underneath is a suitcase, symbolizing travel and carrying one’s belongings from place to place.  By covering it with mosaics, it adds a sense of permanence because mosaics are not mobile. They historically, are adhered to walls and decorative objects. The juxtaposition of movement and stability is intriguing.  The travel stickers are both fanciful and well-created as they document the travel itinerary of the suitcase.”

Jovanna Hopkins

Zabriskie-Point, Death Valley, Ca.,Photography

“This photograph takes a vast landscape and reduces it to a viewpoint that is nearly abstract.  Between the intense colors and the varying textures of the rocks and shadows, the viewer must look at this scene for the beauty of the shapes, rather than its reality. The composition forces the eye round and round with just enough time to stop and appreciate nature at its finest. Sometimes ‘wanderlust’ means one wants to keep going, but there are also times where it is necessary to just sit and really look at where you are!”

Whether you’re a world traveler or just a dreamer, don’t miss this beautiful exhibit. The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will present Wanderlust in the Visitors Center through June 3. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

A portion of Sunrise Highway during Hurricane Gloria, 1985. Photo from LIM
Exhibit examines the many facets of dangerous storms

By Rita J. Egan

Five years after Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of Long Island, and as our country continues to recover from recent hurricanes, the new exhibit, In Harm’s Way, at The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook delves into the effect such storms can have on communities.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 30, 2012. Photo by Edward Kent

Nancy Solomon, executive director of Long Island Traditions, an organization dedicated to preserving local traditions and heritage, curated the exhibit. Through artifacts, hands-on activities, photographs and paintings dating back to the 1938 hurricane nicknamed “Long Island Express” and earlier, Solomon has created various vignettes where museum visitors can discover how residents and government agencies prepared and recovered from natural disasters through the decades.

“It’s really about how we have coped and prepared for storms both on a personal level and on a community level through history up to the present and looking forward,” Solomon said.

The curator said In Harm’s Way is an exhibit she’s been working on for a few years. Before Sandy hit Long Island, she was working on an exhibit about boaters and boatyards and talking to those who worked and lived along the coastlines.

“During Sandy I said to myself these people are going to have to cope with a lot of damage and to think forward to how they are going to prepare for this [in the future] since these storms are becoming more frequent,” she said. “And I thought of that while [Sandy] was happening. Chances are there are things they know that other people might benefit from, as well as things they don’t know that we might learn from that have happened over the last 100 years.”

Solomon, who has a M.A. degree in Folklore and American Studies from George Washington University and is an active member of the American Folklore Society, said the title of The Long Island Museum exhibit came about after talking to a fisherman who explained to her that those who work on the water have many ways of monitoring conditions to get out of harm’s way. “Ordinary people have tremendous knowledge, and we can learn from those things,” she said.

Solomon said one story she was told was about a boat captain who noticed the barometer went down one full point in an hour, signifying a tremendous drop in atmospheric pressure, during Hurricane Carol in 1954. While he used a ham radio to alert other captains to head back to shore, they didn’t heed his warning. While his crew made it back safely to Jones Inlet, the others didn’t. Solomon said the story had a big impact on her.

“That was my first major understanding that there are things that you have to pay attention to,” she said. “You have to pay attention to bird migration. You have to pay attention to fish migration because they are natural warning signs that fisherman are keenly aware of as well as people who live in places like Fire Island.”

A 1938 clock with a watermark from the “Long Island Express” hurricane. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Visitors to the exhibit will find it separated into three sections. The first — Looking Backwards — includes museum objects and items from personal collections from the 1938 Long Island Express to the 1991 Halloween nor’easter. Among the pieces are damaged items from 1938 including a clock that was mounted high on a garage wall that still bears the watermark from the Long Island Express hurricane.

A second section is dedicated to the hurricanes Irene, Lee and Sandy that occurred in 2011 and 2012 and their impact on Long Island and upstate New York. A featured artifact is a piece of the Long Beach boardwalk. Another piece that is a favorite of Solomon’s is a bay house, built by museum staff member Joseph Esser, where visitors can see what measures one can take to protect themselves when in harm’s way, including the use of bags filled with sand or clamshells.

The last section of the exhibit, Looking Forwards, focuses on solutions such as flood-proof homes and new technologies. There is also an interactive table where museum-goers can build their own home or community, taking into account safety measures for those who live along the coastline.

The museum’s curator Joshua Ruff compared the timely subject of battling storms to how generals and military planners talk about how the last war is still being fought as a new one is starting.

“I think that the exhibition really does a wonderful a job of looking at recent memory and looking at how memories have been guiding experiences for Long Islanders storm after storm after storm,” Ruff said.

Neil Watson, director of the museum, said he is pleased with the collaboration with Long Island Traditions and the exhibit that he said is informative and entertaining due to being visually stimulating. “For our museum to do a show that is focused on Long island and has a global overreach, I think is really terrific,” he said. “It’s what we do. It’s the mission of the museum to have an exhibit of this caliber, especially at this time given what’s happened recently, it’s become almost a timeless problem.”

The remnants of a steeple from the Old Whaler’s Church in Sag Harbor destroyed by the 1938 hurricane. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Watson said the narrative is personal for everybody and the objects included in the exhibit are varied and effective. “They really give you a sense of place,” he said. “They put you in the moment as opposed to looking at a photograph of a house. So, I think in that way it’s a very ambitious installation of the exhibition, and it’s very effective. It’s pretty wonderful in that way.”

Solomon hopes that visitors will think about how waterfront and coastline communities are changing after viewing the exhibit. During her research, she said she learned a lot about the importance of high dunes and how hardening the shoreline may not be the best approach. “I hope they start asking questions of planners and our public agencies about the rationale for doing things and when there might be some better ways,” she said.

The Long Island Museum will host In Harm’s Way until Dec. 31. Special programs include the symposium “In Harm’s Way: Past, Present and Future” Oct. 28, a panel discussion “Learning from our Neighbors” Nov. 12 and the curator’s gallery tour Dec. 3. The museum is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook. For more information call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

By Heidi Sutton

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook kicked off its latest juried art competition, Animal Kingdom: From Tame to Wild, with an artist reception on Sept. 15. This year the museum invited amateur and professional artists from across Long Island to submit up to three pieces of art representing the Animal Kingdom, whether it be a favorite pet, a memorable adventure or a scene from nature.

Neil Watson, executive director of the LIM, congratulated the artists and thanked them for addressing the theme of the exhibit. “We are really thrilled with the quality of this exhibition. Humans have had a really complicated relationship with animals — friend, foe, food — so looking at the different aspects of animals and of wildlife is a really rich subject.”

‘Pecking Order’ by Jeanette Dick received an honorable mention at the juried art show.

“We wanted to pair an exhibition like this with the show up at the Art Museum that is about dogs; so we thought this is the perfect opportunity and you all embraced the subject so beautifully,” he said.

A panel of museum staff members selected 75 finalists from a pool of 300 submitted works. Two judges, Seung Lee, professor of art and director of Fine Arts & Graduate Studies at LIU Post, and Christina Mossaides Strassfield, museum director and chief curator at Guild Hall, selected a first-, second-, third- and fourth-place winner along with two honorable mentions.

“Just being in the show itself [selected] from hundreds of entries we had was really significant and you should all be very, very proud. Thank you for giving the museum a beautiful exhibition,” said Lisa Unander, director of eduction at the museum, before announcing the winners.

Facing stiff competition, Paul Edelson of Setauket captured first place with “Yellowstone Bison,” oil on canvas. According to the jurors’ notes, the abstracted theme caught both of them immediately. “The treatment of the material shows experience; well done; powerful brush strokes. You can feel the animal ready to jump out,” they wrote.

Neil Leinwohl of Rockville Centre garnered second place with “Animal Farm,” multimedia on print; Kelynn Z. Alder of St. James was the third-place winner with “Dog on Carpet, Osita,” oil on canvas; and Nicholas Frizalone of Lake Grove captured fourth place with his solar plate etching on paper, “Anticipation.” Honorable mentions were handed to Jeanette Dick of Port Jefferson for her pastel titled “Pecking Order” and Donald Sadowsky of Roslyn Heights for his movable plastic model, “King Kong.”

The exhibition will be on view at The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook through Oct. 22 in the Visitors Center. For more information call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

All photos by Julie Diamond

Children sit in one of the carriages at The Long Island Museum during a school program. Photo from The Long Island Museum

The planning process for a new gallery is about to begin at The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced Aug. 3 the museum was awarded $40,000 through NEH’s competitive grant program. The new interactive gallery will be called “A World Before Cars” and plans include developing a simulation ride where visitors can experience how it felt to ride in a carriage.

“The Long Island Museum has continued to do amazing work in preserving this great heritage.”

— Lee Zeldin

Zeldin thanked the NEH for recognizing the museum’s contributions of providing a source of art, history and culture to the community.

“Our local history and culture is so important to us here on Long Island, and The Long Island Museum has continued to do amazing work in preserving this great heritage,” Zeldin said in an email. “The Long Island Museum presented a strong application for this grant when compared with other applicants, and as such were able to get through the rigorous NEH selection process.”

The NEH is an independent federal agency that was established in 1965 and provides grant funding for museums, archives and libraries to promote excellence in the humanities in the country. Zeldin was among the congressmen who voted to fund the agency at $149.8 million this year, which was an increase of $1.9 million from 2016.

Funding organizations such as this is important to Zeldin.

“Our museums, libraries, art galleries, archives, and other related venues serve an incredibly important purpose, and it is imperative that they remain supported through initiatives like these,” the congressman said. “Long Island has a unique and cherished history unlike any other, and securing grants like this for our local institutions is integral in preserving our distinct heritage and attracting visitors to help our local tourism economy.”

Neil Watson, executive director of The Long Island Museum, said in a phone interview he feels the future gallery is the missing element at the museum.

The director said they submitted a proposal in 2016, and while they weren’t awarded a grant last year, they were able to rework and resubmit the proposal for 2017. He said the grant was awarded for the planning necessary to construct the gallery, and the museum will apply for another grant through the NEH to implement the plans. Additional funds will be raised to supplement both grants.

“We don’t know what’s possible yet and that’s what we want to discuss [in] the next nine months to a year.”

— Neil Watson

Watson said the proposal was one that needed time to be honed as the new gallery will incorporate history, interactive features and is object-driven.

The director said the concept for interactive elements was a result of requests from visitors to the museum, which features carriages from various eras. 

“What visitors have told us often … is they want to know what it’s like to ride in a carriage,” Watson said.

The director said the planning period will take approximately a year and the gallery will be located on the lower level in a 2,500 square foot space. While they have held preliminary meetings with the architecture company Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, future meetings will include historians, curators, and they will also approach the plans from the educational and public access angles.

“We don’t know what’s possible yet and that’s what we want to discuss [in] the next nine months to a year,” Watson said.

Joshua Ruff, director of collections and chief curator, will be part of the planning process and said he was pleased when he heard the news about the grant.

“I think it’s a terrific thing,” he said. “NEH has been very instrumental in the process to renovate the carriage museum.”

The curator said the planning committee will be taking a long, meticulous look at the proposed plans for the gallery that he said will be rich in content. He said a simulation ride will give museum guests the opportunity to choose the type of horse, carriage and ride they would like to experience and feels it will add a new dimension to the museum.

“I think it will help us to connect with a new, larger audience,” Ruff said. 

Watson and Ruff said the gallery will incorporate displays to show the direct correlation between cars and carriages, too.

“[A carriage] was the car before there were cars,” Watson said. “Everybody used it for industry, for everyday life, to get to one place to another. It was like a car. So we want to make that connection through a variety of activities.”

For more information about The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages, visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Above, seated from left, LIM Executive Director Neil Watson, Jennifer Lawrence and Paul Lamb; standing from left, Christopher A. Miano and Michael J. Opisso. Photo above from LIM

Passengers traveling through Stony Brook past The Long Island Museum on Route 25A might have noticed a new bit of landscape recently. The Long Island Museum unveiled the Betty and William F. Howind Memorial Garden, funded by the North Suffolk Garden Club, at a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony on June 29. The event celebrated the Howinds as longtime supporters of the museum and Betty as a devoted member of the garden club.

A view of the new memorial garden with the sculpture, ‘Three Sheets to the Wind,’ by Drew Klotz in the foreground. Photo by Michael J. Opisso

“Betty and Bill Howind were longtime supporters of LIM and Betty enjoyed working in The LIM’s Emma Lee Blackford Rockwell Herb Garden, designed and maintained by North Suffolk Garden Club. The garden club wanted to honor Betty and Bill for their generosity and for Betty’s devoted service to the club. So NSGC felt The LIM campus was a perfect place to create a lasting memorial to the Howinds and LIM agreed!” commented Jennifer Lawrence, NSGC president, who was instrumental in the project.

The North Suffolk Garden Club has been maintaining the Emma Lee Blackford Rockwell Herb Garden on the grounds of The Long Island Museum since 1993. The Howind garden is the most recent highlight of this long-standing partnership. Together, The LIM and the garden club selected Michael J. Opisso to design the garden.

A key feature of the space is a beautifully designed black walnut bench by Christopher A. Miano. When LIM Executive Director Neil Watson proposed Miano’s design to Lawrence, he mentioned that Miano works only in black walnut. It happened that Lawrence and her husband Brewster had 600 board feet of black walnut from trees on their Nissequogue property and Miano was able to use some of the wood for the bench. “It really is a local product,” said Lawrence.

The Betty and William F. Howind Memorial Garden provides several key elements to the museum property including delineated walkways, a resting spot for visitors on their way into Stony Brook Village and a beautiful focal point to celebrate the new vision of LIM as a community destination. The new garden will enhance the museum grounds for years to come and will be enjoyed by thousands of Long Islanders throughout the seasons.

The Kennedys will return for their ninth Dylan birthday celebration on May 21. Photo by Jeremy Lebled

By Kevin Redding

The times may be a changin’ but the songs of Bob Dylan continue to be sung. On Sunday, May 21, in celebration of the Nobel Laureate’s 76th birthday, The Long Island Museum, in partnership with WUSB-FM’s Sunday Street Concert Series and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, will host the 12th annual Dylan tribute concert in the Carriage Museum’s Gillespie Room at 7 p.m.

Several local and outside musicians — including concert staples Pete and Maura Kennedy, whose covers include guitars, sitars and ukuleles, Rod MacDonald of the revered tribute band Big Brass Bed, and Russ Seeger of Levon Helm’s Last Hombres, who will perform Dylan deep tracks like “Foot of Pride” — will strum and sing through decades of material, from 1965’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” to 1997’s “Love Sick.”

Much of the setlist will feature songs from two touchstone albums celebrating anniversaries this year — 1967’s “John Wesley Harding,” Dylan’s return to his acoustic roots after three albums of going electric, turns 50, and 1997’s “Time Out of Mind,” his Grammy-Award-winning comeback album, turns 20.

“Every year the show takes on a different dimension … it’s always different and never stale,” said Charlie Backfish, host of the long-running, weekly Stony Brook University radio program “Sunday Street” from which the series stemmed. “We have unique interpretations of Dylan’s songs and we don’t just do the greatest hits; we really go through the catalog and try to play songs you don’t hear often, making it very different than the usual Dylan tribute show.”

Speaking of deep tracks, Seeger is expected to perform “Foot of Pride,” a song Dylan wrote and recorded in 1983 but never released on an album.

Backfish said he chose Dylan as the focus of the tribute concert because of the singer-songwriter’s incredibly prolific career. “He has been at home in a variety of different musical settings over the years, starting out in a folk direction and moving toward rock and then into a country sound and then in a gospel direction later in his career — he’s moved in fascinating ways, his songs are incredible and it [really] opens up the possibilities of using the lyrics and melodies and taking them in different directions and there’s a lot of room to move with Dylan songs. It’s terribly interesting and it’s quite a rich catalog we have to go with,” he said.

The Sunday Street Series started in 2004 at the University Cafe at Stony Brook University when Backfish put on concerts featuring the singer-songwriters he’d interviewed and played on his radio program. In 2014, he was in need of a different venue to host the concerts and turned to The Long Island Museum, which took it over a year later.

“We were wanting to do a singer-songwriter concert series at the museum when Charlie approached us,” Neil Watson, the museum’s executive director, said. Since Backfish came aboard, the museum has hosted more than 20 concerts featuring an ever-changing roster of artists. “It’s activated our performance space on a regular basis like nothing can. People who would never have come to the museum are now being introduced to it in a different way.”

Watson, who noted “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” as his favorite Dylan song, said he was thrilled to be hosting this particular event.

“This concert series sells out very fast and I think it’s because Dylan’s music has touched so many people for different reasons,” Watson said. “What these musicians do with the material is critical and when you hear their interpretations of his songs, they take on a new life. The [concert] captures the spirit of Bob Dylan. It will be a rollicking good time.”

The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.sundaystreet.org through Friday, May 19 for $30. If available, tickets may be purchased at the door for $35 (cash only). Please call the museum at 631-751-0066 the day of the show to confirm ticket availability.

Above, a 1927 Ford Motel T greets visitors at the entrance of the exhibit. Photo by Julie Diamond

By Susan Risoli

Prohibition made the 1920s roar. Long Island was the center of all the glamour and danger of that whirlwind time, as we now know from Midnight Rum, a new exhibit on display through Sept. 4 at The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

“Being on a coast and having so many inlets, Long Island was a natural” for running illegal alcohol, said LIM Executive Director Neil Watson. Proximity to New York City was another factor. The exhibit, which Watson described as “unusually stimulating and rich,” reveals the daring and ingenuity of people making the most of an era that lasted from 1920 to 1933. “When alcohol was banned, it flourished,” he said, “but it flourished in a different way.”

Above, a still used by Roy Edwin Thompson of Roosevelt in the 1920s and ’30s. Photo by Julie Diamond

A massive car built for adventure greets the visitor to the gallery. Was this 1927 Ford Model T touring car one of the vehicles involved in illegal activity? We don’t know for sure. But memories and newspaper accounts reveal that similar Model Ts were the car of choice for smuggling booze. The one in the LIM show is a black chariot with a black leather interior. The running board alone could hold a small gang, and the button-tufted back seat looks made for shenanigans.

Assistant curator Jonathan Olly said he originally wanted to find a rum runner boat to display. He found someone willing to loan one for the exhibit. But the motorboat was just a foot too wide to fit into the gallery. “It was a disappointment,” he recalled.

After contacting multiple car collecting clubs and individuals, “some of whom are very elderly,” Olly turned up the Model T in the exhibit. The owner was willing to drive it out to Stony Brook from Bayside, Queens — no easy journey, given the distance and the car’s top speed of 40ish miles per hour. “We lucked out,” Olly said.

A vignette depicting the Suffrage movement. Photo by Julie Diamond

Olly and his colleagues found the perfect accompaniment to the car: vintage wooden crates just like those that would have been used to store liquor, “from a guy who sells reconditioned Jeep parts out in Riverhead.” The idea came from a 1924 newspaper article that described a Model T, found in a shed by authorities, with 13 cases of liquor hidden in it.

Midnight Rum is a feast of details. Some are luxurious, some are practical, but no less fascinating. A vignette of objects portraying a speakeasy includes a hand-beaded dress and a beautiful cut-glass bowl for punch (spiked, of course). A still based in somebody’s kitchen occupies another vignette, complete with beautifully preserved stove and the tubs and pots needed to cook up some home brew. Over in the corner, tacked up on the kitchen wall, is another LIM find: actual old recipes, written in carefully cursive penmanship. But this is not your grandmother’s coffee cake recipe. “Place in tub as is, stems and grapes,” says the instructions.

Other vignettes tell the story of the strong connection between the drive to make alcohol illegal and the fight for women’s suffrage. Equally compelling are the artifacts and objects that reveal how women, growing in political savvy and connections, helped lead the movement that ultimately repealed Prohibition.

Midnight Rum is a multimedia exhibit. The sounds of oral histories, projected on a screen, draw the viewer in. A short film on the perils of drink is entertaining, while it explains the thinking and emotions that led to Prohibition in the first place. The film’s string- and woodwind-filled score might be familiar to anyone who remembers the Little Rascals or Bugs Bunny.

A speakeasy vignette. Photo by Julie Diamond

Olly said although Long Island played a key role in what he called “a very extreme moment in American culture, when alcohol suddenly became illegal,” there were challenges in putting the exhibit together. “Everyone has some sort of anecdote about Prohibition,” he said, but often anecdotes are … well … only anecdotal. Finding all the objects needed to tell the story properly was a complex task, he said, and consequently “a lot of the objects are borrowed. It’s not a story we could tell without a number of lenders.”

Olly and his colleagues found parallels between the Prohibition era and today’s America. There was economic inequity, with poor people being affected more directly by the alcohol ban than their wealthy counterparts who could afford to stockpile liquor or frequent fancy speakeasies.

Many of the alcohol brewers of the time, in the New York metropolitan area, were German-American. And saloons were important places for Italian and German immigrants to gather, to find out about work and socialize in what Olly called “a public drinking culture.”

“There was some anti-immigrant sentiment, a nativism,” he said. “There were issues of citizenship — who should have access to resources and who shouldn’t.”

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will present in the Visitors Center through Sept. 4. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. Regular admission is $10, $7 for seniors and $5 for students ages 6 to 17. Children under 6 and museum members are admitted free. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

By Kevin Redding

Strap in, old sport. The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook is bringing you back to the roaring twenties for a special fundraiser and examination of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 literary masterpiece. Chasing Gatsby: The Journey from Book to Film is a one-night event Saturday, May 6 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that explores the enduring power of “The Great Gatsby,” Fitzgerald’s universally revered novel about excess and tragedy in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island in the summer of 1922.

“To me, it doesn’t get any better than this for a program,” Neil Watson, the museum’s executive director, said. “We’re all really proud of what we’ve put together because it really pushes the limit for us of what’s possible in programming — it will bring theater, performance, the written word and Hollywood under one umbrella. There’s nobody else putting this kind of event together.”

Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served to attendees as they follow the classic novel’s progression and interpretations throughout the years with the help of an impressive panel of guest speakers.

John Bedford Lloyd

Actor John Bedford Lloyd, known for his film roles in “Crossing Delancey” and “The Abyss,” will join Tony Award-nominated actress Anne Twomey, best known for originating the stage role in “Nuts,” in reading selected excerpts from the book.

Christine Vachon, award-winning producer of the new Amazon series “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” based on the life of Fitzgerald’s infamous wife, Zelda, will discuss how three Hollywood film adaptations — the 1949 version starring Alan Ladd and Betty Field, the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and the 2013 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan — approached the source material differently and show clips from each.

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air” will also be there to talk about her 2014 book, “So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures.”

Julie Diamond, director of communications, said the program has been in the works for about six months and will coincide with the museum’s Prohibition on Long Island exhibition May 5. “We try to organize public programs that correspond with our exhibitions, so Gatsby is complementary to that era of Prohibition in the 1920s and is highly regarded as one of the best examples of American literature,” she said.

Maureen Corrigan

Watson, who referred to “The Great Gatsby” as one of his favorite books of all time, said it didn’t take long for the program to take shape. “It started with the idea of just doing readings [from it] and really evolved quickly from that into a much more interactive experience,” he said. “To have this right in our backyard on Long Island, where the novel takes place, is wonderful.”

“We want the public to look at our museum and see this museum is about exhibitions we do, the carriage collection, the education programs we do, but also about this kind of program,” said Watson. “It’s really looking at the museum as a cultural hub for the area, and we want everybody to really take advantage of it because there’s so much here and the more we can do and the more we get the community responding we can up our game too.”

Watson called on his wife, Judy Blundell, a National Book Award recipient and successful author of books for young adult and adult readers, to moderate the event. “I’m so thrilled,” Blundell said in an email. “I can’t imagine a better group to discuss how and why this gorgeous novel manages to capture the imagination of generation after generation. In only nine chapters and 50,000 words, Fitzgerald delivers an iconic American story told in language and images consistently fresh every reading.”

“I think it’s a smart program and it has everything — it’s entertaining, it’s dramatic and it’s fun and you learn something too, which is great,” said Watson. “I think it’s going be a wonderful evening.”

Tickets for the event are $35 per person or $75 for premium seating and may be purchased online at www.longislandmuseum.org/events. The museum staff expects the limited-seating program to sell out, so act quickly, old sport.

The Long Island Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook. For more information, please call 631-751-0066.

Front row, from left, Wendy Feinberg, co-director PJDS; Honey Katz, board member PJDS; Lyn Boland, co-director PJDS; Allan Varela, chairman, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council; Barbara Sverd, co-director PJDS; and PJDS board members Phyllis Ross and Lynn Rein; back row, from left, Doug Quattrock, director of development, group sales and special events coordinator at Theatre Three; Vivian Koutrakos, managing director at Theatre Three; Julie Diamond, director of communications at the Long Island Museum; and Jeffrey Sanzel, executive artistic director at Theatre Three. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

It’s official! Bethpage Federal Credit Union and the Long Island Press recently announced the 2017 winners of their Best of Long Island survey, now in its 11th year. Among the elite few was The Port Jefferson Documentary Series, which won for Best Film Festival.

“We were surprised and delighted when we were nominated in the early fall of last year. We had never been nominated before and the other nominees were all big names on the film festival scene. We never expected to actually win!” said Lyn Boland, co-director of the Port Jefferson Documentary Series, adding “This award means so much because it tells us that people appreciate what we are trying to create — a way to enjoy great, new documentaries, on the big screen, in our community. A big thank you to everyone who voted for us!”

Sponsored by the Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council, the Suffolk County Office of Film and Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, the series has presentend award-winning documentaries in the fall and spring for 11 years, with screenings most recently held at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson and The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

“The series has made an extraordinary contribution to the arts community for over thirty years. It has been our honor at Theatre Three to even be a small part of this vital institution,” said Jeffrey Sanzel, executive artistic director at Theatre Three.

Neil Watson, executive director at the LIM, concurred, stating “The museum is thrilled to partner with the Port Jefferson Documentary Series on these ongoing presentations. This collaboration strengthens and expands our connection to the community, and offers another rich layer of programming for our growing audience.”

The series kicks-off its Spring 2017 line-up on Monday, March 13 at Theatre Three with a screening of “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing.” For more information and the full schedule of films, visit www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com.

Photo by Kristen Cuomo

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook was recently awarded the 2016 SmartCEO Magazine’s Corporate Culture Award. The Corporate Culture Awards program honors companies that foster a creative, collaborative workplace culture to enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage.

The Long Island Museum was one of 38 companies honored at the first Long Island Corporate Culture Awards ceremonies at Chateau Briand in Carle Place.

According to SmartCEO, “Smart leaders understand that culture is a company’s greatest asset, driving performance and growth. What’s more, a successful culture is actively and intentionally cultivated and developed.”

“The most significant aspects of our corporate culture are teamwork and timing,” said Long Island Museum Executive Director Neil Watson. “With a very lean staff, we work cohesively to deliver compelling exhibitions and engaging programs for diversified audiences. We’re constantly changing and people’s experience are changing when they’re here. The success of our corporate culture comes when we engage new and existing audiences in new ways,” he said.

Above, LIM staff members gather in the Carriage Museum’s Core Gallery to celebrate. Clockwise from left, Neil Watson, Executive Director; Jonathan Olly, Assistant Curator; Alexandria D’Auria, Development Associate; Andrea Abrahamsen, Curatorial Assistant; Joshua Ruff, Director of Collections and Interpretation; Lisa Unander, Director of Education; Emma Backfish, Public Programs Coordinator; Julie Diamond, Director of Communications; Louise Anderson, Executive Assistant; and Regina Miano, Special Events Manager.

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