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David Herman

By Melissa Arnold

If you think back to your childhood, it’s likely you can recall moments when you were captivated by something external, like animal shapes in the clouds, or internal, like a daydream. You probably played dress-up, or with dolls or LEGOs, or fell in love with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Disney movies.

There’s an almost universal tug we share toward things outside of the ordinary — we are drawn to dreams, fantasies, and sometimes other worlds.

Allison Cruz, executive director of the Smithtown Township Arts Council and Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, has invited artists from around the country to explore their inner worlds with a new exhibit called Imagination.  

It’s a little different than the gallery’s usual showings, but Cruz is excited to expose visitors to artistic expressions that might be unfamiliar.

“I’ve had this idea for a long time. I’m personally a fan of realism, but over time I’ve really started to appreciate imaginative realism — art about things that don’t yet exist, or might exist in the far future … fantasy, science fiction, absurd humor, escapism,” said Cruz. “It seems like there’s been a greater interest in those subjects among artists as well, so it feels like the right moment to do this. A lot of the artists have thanked me for giving them an opportunity to explore a different side of themselves. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by what they see.”

The exhibit includes the work of 62 artists and a total of 81 selected submissions in a variety of styles and mediums. Their art combines personal narrative, pop culture characters and more to speak about the stories that fill our times. Taken together, the exhibit reveals the inner workings of the artists’ minds, from the complex to the humorous and even outlandish.

Manhattan native David H. Reuss is serving as juror for Imagination. Reuss has a long history with the Mills Pond Gallery — he studied there years ago under Marvel Comics illustrator John Buscema, and later connected with Cruz through art collector Tim Newton of the renowned Salmagundi Club. 

With a background in both fine art and illustration, Cruz thought Reuss was the perfect fit for the exhibit’s themes.

“David is on the board of the Society of Illustrators but also teaches realism painting, so he straddles both worlds. He loves the gallery and has the background that was needed to appreciate imaginative work. He really personifies what we were hoping to accomplish,” she said.

Reuss reviewed nearly 300 submissions during the selection process, considering how well each one fit the theme and how his selections would work together on display. He said he was “extremely impressed with the high-level talent” of the chosen artists, adding that their art could easily appear in any major city.

“I’ve done a lot of surreal and fantastical work, and some of the submissions even leaned into illustration, so I was excited to get involved,” he said. “Everything that comes from an artist’s mind is imaginative, but this exhibit pushes those definitions a bit more — mythological concepts, abstracts, fantastical elements — to explore more of what imagination means to others.”

Keep your eyes open for the little details as you appreciate the exhibit. A painting of a cityscape could be hiding a fairy friend. An abstract design might reveal a face. An animal could change its appearance if you look long enough. What will your imagination reveal to you?

“People might not understand or like everything they see here, but art is just another way to learn about new concepts and ideas. I feel that I have a responsibility to bring all kinds of art to our communities,” Cruz said. “Art speaks with many voices, even ones you’ve never heard before. Give this exhibit a try.”

Participating  Artists: 

Marianne Andresen-Magin, Christopher Aoki-Kalin, Lyrin Bailey, Ellen Chadwick, Danny Ciampa, John Darby, Jennifer DeMory, Bernadette Denyse, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Sheryl Renee Dobson, Michael Drakopoulos, Stuart Friedman, Jacques Garant, Candace Gely, Maureen Ginipro, Jared Glennon, Casey Greene, Jan Guarino, Christopher Hanson, David Herman, Tyler Hughes, Julia Jenkins, James Kelson, Myungja Anna Koh, Anna Laimo, Christopher Lauto, Wendy Hope Leiser, Mark Levine, Matthew Manthe, Diana Martocci, Antonio Masi, Avrel  Menkes, Cindy  Miller, Laura  Minet, Angie  Nicholes, Eileen Palmer, Robert J. Polito, Arthur Poore, Kurt Thomas Pope, Shay Poppers, William Randazzo, Bernice Rausch, William Reed, Noah Richardson, Rachel Rossier Ryan, Jairid Rossow, Amelia Rozear, Lynda Sandoval, Barret Schumacher, Marcie Serber, Sydney Shurgin, Greg Sinibaldi, Echo Song, Lisa Stanko, Megan Stephenson, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Ashley Thorbjornsen, Linda Trope, Joseph Weinreb and Doug Zider.

Imagination will be on view at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A in St. James from July 13 to Aug. 11 The public is invited to meet the artists and view the exhibit at an opening reception on July 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Art is in full bloom at the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James with its latest exhibit, Flower Power. The unique show, which runs from June 1 to 29, flows through four gallery rooms and the center hall gallery on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

Artists were invited to submit art that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of flowers — whether represented in realism, impressionism or even abstraction — and to celebrate their colors, textures, shapes, and the emotions they evoke.

Using acrylic, fiber, ceramic, colored pencil, gouache, ink, mixed media, mosaic, oil, pastel, torn paper and watercolor, 83 artists from 46 Long Island communities as well as NYC, Ohio and Virginia accepted the challenge to produce a beautiful bouquet of original floral-themed works. 

Exhibiting artists include Alacia Stubbs, Angela Stratton, Ashley Thorbjornsen, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carmela Taliercio Cohn, Carol Ceraso, Carolanne Goff, Caryn Coville, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christine Woodring, Christopher Krauss, Dale Luongo, David Herman, Debra Baker, Dominique Treboux, Donna Corvi, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre, Eileen Shaloum, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gabriella Grama, Gretchen Smith, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jessica Rybak, Joan Gould, Joanne Teets, John Mansueto, Joseph Weinreb, Joyce Bressler, Judith Caseley, Judith Musaro, Judy Stone, Julie Doczi, Karen McClendon, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Kathleen Bart, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kyle Blumenthal, Linda Ann Catucci, Linda Hartman, Lisa Stanko, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon Deutsch, Lynn Kinsella, Maddy Stare, Marcie Serber, Margaret Farr, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Ann Hart, Mary Kiernan, Mary Lor, Mary Waka, Maureen Ginipro, Maureen Palmieri, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia A. Morrison, Patricia Blasius, Patricia Luppino, Patti Peterson, Paula Sherman, Peter Galasso, Renee Caine, Rima Potter, Robert Roehrig, Sally Anne Keller, Samantha Kenny, Scott Hartman, Sean Pollock, Sharon Pearsall, Sheniqua Young, Stefani Jarrett, Stephen Shannon, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhao Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracey Alemaghides, and Veronica Lawlor.

The public is invited to an opening reception for Flower Power on Saturday, June 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed June 16). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Join the artists for a reception on March 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery highlights the talents of 72 of its artists with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from March 4 to April 1. 

Exhibiting artists, who hail from 41 communities across Long Island as well as New York City, New Jersey, North Carolina  and Maryland, were able to select the work that they wish to display, affording them the opportunity to show public audiences a work that may be new, or something they created experimenting with a new medium or a work they love but have never had an opportunity to exhibit anywhere.

Works were created using a wide variety of mediums including acrylic, bronze, charcoal, etching, graphite, mixed media sculpture,  oil, origami, pastel, photography and watercolor.

Participating artists include Marsha Abrams, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Karen Bennett, Kyle Blumenthal, Daniel C. Boyer, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Linda Ann Catucci, Karen Celella, Carol Ceraso, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Rocco  Citeno, Donna Corvi, Teresa Cromwell, Julie Doczi, Jacqueline DuBarry, JoAnne Dumas, Karin Dutra, Paul Edelson, Deidre Elzer-Lento, Ellen Ferrigno, Modern Fossils, Vivian Gattuso, Joyce Greenbaum, Francesca Guddemi, Michael Hennessey, David Herman, Gia Horton, George Junker, James Kelson, Lynn Kinsella, Myungja Anna Koh, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Paul Mele, Fred Mendelsohn, Patricia Morrison, Karen George Mortimore, Roni Murillo, Annette Napolitano, Gail Neuman, Diane Oliva, Eileen W  Palmer, Sean Pollock, Catherine Rezin, Robert Roehrig, Oscar Santiago, Lori Scarlatos, Anita Schnirman, Joan Schwartzman, Kenneth Schwartzman, Hillary Serota Needle, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Stephen Shannon, Gisela Skoglund, Sílvia Soares Boyer, Lynn Staiano, Mike Stanko, Madeline Stare, Angela Stratton, Mark Strodl, Robert Tuska, Nicholas Valentino, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Steve Walker, Robert Wallkam, Don Weber, M. Ellen Winter, Patricia Yantz and Theodora Zavala.

The public is invited to an opening reception Saturday, March 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Melissa Arnold

With its many beaches, parks, lakes and farmland, it’s easy to see that Long Island is full of natural beauty. For the local art community, the variety of landscapes provide a constant source of inspiration.

Of course, nature is always changing, but not only with the seasons. Global warming continues to affect all of us, driving home the message that nothing is guaranteed and that we must work together to protect our world.

The Smithtown Township Arts Council (STAC) is reflecting on climate change and the environment through an extended series of exhibits at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James that began this past fall. Their next exhibit, Long Island Landscapes: From Awe to Action, invites viewers to appreciate the beauty of this area while considering what they might do to preserve it. The show opens Feb. 5.

“I like to do a local, landscape-based exhibit each year, and I wanted to see if there was a way to connect it to the theme of climate change,” said Allison Cruz, executive director at the Mills Pond Gallery. “Art is a method of communication, a way to help people see things and make connections in new ways. We can read the newspaper or watch the news to see that the ice caps are melting and the world is heating up, but to see these artistic expressions of our area makes you realize we might not have them forever.”

The exhibit features 60 works from 53 Long Island artists. A variety of styles and mediums will be on display, including acrylic, watercolor, oil, graphite and charcoal.

Each artist also took time to reflect on what the natural world and environmental conservation means to them.

Anita Simmons of Commack finds her inspiration while going for a drive, walking through area parks or spending the day at the beach. A retired accountant and the daughter of an avid gardener, Simmons grew up next to sprawling fields of corn and potatoes — crops that are no longer as common on Long Island.

“My paintings are an emotional response to what can be seen in the natural landscape of Long Island, which I have enjoyed all my life,” she said. “My dad would plant morning glories that grew up our chimney every year, and I have always loved them. When I saw the morning glories at Schneider Farm in Melville, I just had to photograph them to paint later.”

Ellen Ferrigno often paints scenes very close to her home in Port Jefferson. Protecting the environment has been a part of her life for many years, and she eventually became a Cornell Cooperative Master Gardener to increase her own understanding and educate others about the natural world.

“What supports nature’s environment is a community as well as individual efforts. Therefore, I paint these scenes as reminders of what nature’s beauty is,” she explained. “During the early part of the pandemic, I researched and painted the plants in my gardens that attract beneficial insects, provide a soothing tea or feed the birds. I often included a narrative to educate the art viewers. I also found myself increasing my gardens, putting out feeders for the birds and attracting the bees.”

Cruz and STAC have partnered with a number of local environmental organizations to provide information, literature and ways for visitors to support their cause. They include The Nature Conservancy, Defend H2O, Save the Sound, The Sierra Club, Higher Ground, The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, the Seatuck Environmental Association, Save the Great South Bay, Long Island Water, and Group for the East End.

“We have so many wonderful locally-focused groups that work hard every day to protect and preserve our environment here,” said Cruz. “This isn’t just about appreciating beautiful art — we also want to bring attention to all the good these groups are doing and encourage visitors to get involved.” 

Along with Simmons and Ferrigno, artists participating in this exhibit include Marsha Abrams, Lucia Alberti, Tina Anthony, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Claudia Bedell, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Carol Ceraso, Patricia Cisek, Tobi Cohen, Donna Corvi, Lou Deutsch, Julie Doczi, Karin Dutra, Dorothy Fortuna, Donna Gabusi, Vivian Gattuso, Jan Guarino, Regina Halliday, David Herman, Wendy Hildreth-Spence, Gia Horton Schifano, John Hunt, Lynn Kinsella, Liz Kolligs, Lynn Liebert, E Craig Marcin, Avrel Menkes, Annette Napolitano, Catherine Rezin, Robert Roehrig, Oscar Santiago, Hillary Serota Needle, Gisela Skoglund, Lynn Staiano, Madeline Stare, Angela Stratton, John Taylor, Tracy Tekverk, Christine Tudor, Nicholas Valentino, Daniel van Benthuysen, Mary Ann Vetter, Mary Waka, Robert Wallkam, Patty Yantz, and Theodora Zavala.

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Long Island Landscapes: From Awe to Action is on view at the Mill Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, Saint James from Feb. 5 through Feb. 26 Proof of vaccination and masks are required to visit. Meet the artists at an opening reception at the gallery on Feb. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. For more information about the exhibit and what you can do to protect the environment, call 631- 862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'Feeling Blue,' acrylic, by Cheryl Cass-Zampiva Image courtesy of Mills Pond Gallery

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery highlights the talents of 67 of its artist members with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from June 19 through July 18. Exhibiting artists hail from 40 communities across Long Island as well as New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina and Florida.

A wide variety of media is represented including acrylic, digital art, ink etching, mixed media, oil, pastel, photography, plaster & found objects, silk dyes on silk, solar plate etching, torn paper collage, and watercolor.

‘Christmas Cactus’
Photograph
By Kathee Shaff Kelson, Stony Brook
Image courtesy of Mills Pond Gallery

“The Member Artist Showcase is an important show to me. We have such an abundance of talent in our membership,” said Allison Cruz, Executive Director of the Mills Pond Gallery. “I love to give artists the opportunity to choose a piece of their work to exhibit. I know artists are usually under many constraints of Juried Exhibits due to requirements of style or medium or size. It is great to give them an opportunity to show something that maybe they haven’t had the opportunity to exhibit due to those constraints or maybe something they have created using a new medium or style. I am always excited to see what they enter!”  

This year’s juror is freelance art consultant and curator Pam J. Brown, the Director and Curator of The Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College for 16 years. Brown will choose four winning artists to participate in a future Winners Exhibit at the gallery.

Participating artists include Marsha Abrams, Lucia Alberti, Tina Anthony, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Renee Blank, Kyle Blumenthal, Joyce Bressler, Alberto Jorge Carol, Cheryl Cass-Zampiva, Linda Ann Catucci, Carol Ceraso, Rocco Citeno, Donna Corvi, Teresa Cromwell, Tania Degen, Julie Doczi, Beth Drucker, JoAnne Dumas, Karin Dutra, Paul Edelson, Ellen Ferrigno, Donna Gabusi, Vivian Gattuso, Maureen Ginipro, Jan Guarino, Margaret Henning, David Herman, David Jaycox, Jr., Modern Fossils: Judith Marchand & David P. Horowitz, James Kelson, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Myungja Anna Koh, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Ann Legere, Frank Loehr, Terence McManus, Paul Mele, Margaret Minardi, Karen George Mortimore, Annette Napolitano, Diane Oliva, Catherine Rezin, Robin Roberts, Robert Roehrig, Lori Scarlatos, Gia Schifano, Anita G. Schnirman, Joan Schwartzman, Kenneth Schwartzman, Hillary Serota Needle, Faith Skelos, Gisela Skoglund, Mike Stanko, Madeline Stare, John Taylor, Tracy Tekverk, Oxana Uryasev, Nicholas Valentino, Daniel van Benthuysen, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Don Weber, M. Ellen Winter, Patty Yantz, and Theodora Zavala.

“This show is about celebrating the talents of our artist members and I feel it does just that,” said Cruz.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James presents its Member Artist Showcase from June 19 to July 18. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 2 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. (reservations are required) to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. Admission to the gallery is always free. The gallery is open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Mondays and  Tuesdays and July 3 and 4. Please call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org for more information.