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Karin Dutra

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James highlights the talents of 87 of its artists with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from Jan. 27 to Feb. 24. 

Celebrating the creativity and rich tapestry of talent that defines our communities, the exhibit features works were created in a wide variety of mediums including acrylic, alabaster, bronze, charcoal, graphite, conte, gauche, ink, medium, mixed media, monotype print, oil, pastel, pencil, photography, photomontage, stained glass mosaic, watercolor and wood.

Juror Susan Van Scoy will select this year’s Member Artist Showcase winners. The four selected winners will be invited to exhibit in next year’s Winners Showcase. Van Scoy is an Associate Professor of Art History at St. Joseph’s College where she teaches courses on the history of photography, and American and Modern art. 

The exhibiting artists hail from 53 communities…Suffolk County, Nassau County, Queens, Yonkers, and Westchester and include Adriena Masi, Amal, Angela Stratton, Anne Eckel, Annette Napolitano, Barbara Bilotta, Barbara V. Jones, Barry Feuerstein, Bart DeCeglie, Bobbie Ludwig, Carol Ceraso, Christopher Buckley, Cliff  Miller, Constance Sloggat Wolf, David P. Doran, Debra Baker, Diane Motroni, Diane Oliva, Don Weber, Ellen Ferrigno, Eugene Adamowicz, Felecia Montfort, Frederic  Mendelsohn, Gabriella Grama, George Junker, Gia Horton, Hillary Serota Needle, Jacqueline DuBarry, Jacques Garant, Jane Corrarino, Janine Menlove, Jeanette Martone, Jim Minet, JoAnne Dumas, John Hunt, Joyce Bressler, Judy Stone, Karin  Dutra, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Kusuma Bheemineni, Kyle Blumenthal, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Liz Kolligs, Lori Scarlatos, Lou  Deutsch, Lynn Kinsella, Lynn Staiano, M. Ellen Winter, Madeline Stare, Mark Levine, Marsha  Abrams, Mary Ann Vetter, Mary Waka, Matthew Lombardo, Merle McGarrett, Michael Hennessey, Myungja Anna Koh, Nicholas Valentino, Oscar Santiago, Pamela Waldroup, Pat Forie, Patricia  DiGiovanni, Patricia  Morrison, Patty Yantz, Paul Edelson, Paul Mele, Renee Caine, Robert Roehrig, Robert Tuska, Robert Wallkam, Roberta Rodgers, Roger Kramer, Ron Becker, Sean Pollock, Sebastian McLaughlin, Shain Bard, Stephen Shannon, Susan Guihan-Guasp, Teresa Idelowitz, Terry Tramantano, Theodora Zavala, Thomas DiCicco, Tina Anthony, Tracey Alemaghides, Tracy Mahler-Tekverk, Vivian Hershfield and William D. Reed. 

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and enjoy their art.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, St. James. Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575, or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Heidi Sutton

From July 15 to Aug. 11, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James will present a very special art exhibit capturing snapshots of the place we all call home. 

Titled A Sense of Place, the juried exhibit features 62 works by 54 artists from 35 communities across Long Island in a variety of mediums including acrylic, charcoal, ink, watercolor, oil, pastel, photography, torn paper collage, collage quilt, and etching.

According to Mills Pond Gallery Executive Director Allison Cruz, artists were asked to creatively capture what they experience, appreciate, or connect to in their Long Island homeland. The resulting submissions will fill the gallery walls with scenes of Long Island beaches, lakes, sunsets, parks, wineries, farms, and wildlife, exactly was Cruz was hoping for when she came up with the theme of A Sense of Place several years ago after reading an article in an Early Childhood Education Journal while serving as a school board member. 

“I was reading the Journal and this [passage] caught my eye:  ‘Places shape the stories of our lives. These stories become ongoing “ecological conversations”—i.e., expressions of the dialogue between ourselves and the environment (Lutts, 1985). When this conversation ends, so will our future.

The development of healthy environmental awareness and concern starts with a feeling response to nature. Such a response comes primarily by way of firsthand positive experiences in the out-of-doors, especially in environments fostering a “sense of place” experience.'” 

The recurring exhibit has become a favorite among the community, the artists and Cruz.

“I really love the Long Island exhibits! I have done six or seven of them and every one has been unique. Long Island artists always step up to the plate and submit me unique works every time. I never fail to find a work that makes me add a new place to my personal list of “must visit” Long Island places,” said Cruz. “And that is what I hope gallery visitors will be inspired to do…find new local places to explore. This Island we call home has so many amazing, unique places to see and learn about!”

Exhibiting artists include Marsha Abrams, Bonnie Bennett Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Kyle Blumenthal, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Carlo Buscemi, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Rocco Citeno, Lisa Claisse, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Julie Doczi, Karin Dutra, Paul Edelson, Ellen Ferrigno, Dorothy Fortuna, Stacey Gail Schuman, Vivian Gattuso, Kathleen Gerlach, Maureen Ginipro, Jan Guarino, Susan Guihan Guasp, John Hunt, George Junker, Julianna Kirk, Myungja Anna Koh, Mark Levine, Christine MacDonagh, Kathleen McArdle, Kerri McKay, Paul Mele, Patricia Morrison, Annette Napolitano, Gail Neuman, Sean Pollock, Robert Roehrig, Oscar Santiago, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Stephen Shannon, Gisela Skoglund, Lynn Staiano, Mike Stanko, Madeline Stare, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Tracy  Tekverk, Dominique Treboux, Nicholas Valentino, Steve Walker, Robert Wallkam, Patty  Yantz, Theodora Zavala and Tianzhou Zhao.

Cruz is excited to unveil the exhibit to the public this Saturday, July 15 at an artist reception from 1 to 4 p.m. 

“Visitors will see wonderful artwork created by artists living and working right here on Long Island. And all the works are actual places here on Long Island that people can visit…no need to travel too far to be exposed to wonderful history, ecology, and culture,” she said.

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in St. James. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 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 Tara Mae

One of the most generous gifts of an artist is the ability to translate private inspiration into communal offering so that viewers experience, rather than simply assess, art. 

The latest exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, Winners Showcase, features six local artists associated with the Smithtown Township Arts Council (STAC) who employ their craft as a means of communication with the world around them, enabling patrons to appreciate the simple intricacies of both everyday existence and the natural world. 

On display from Jan. 28 to Feb. 24, the exhibition presents approximately 55 pieces in multiple styles by Rhoda Gordon of Port Jefferson Station, Paul Mele of Island Park, Renee Caine of Holtsville, Karin Dutra of Port Jefferson, Catherine Rezin of Nesconset, and Angela Stratton of Selden, all of whom have shown at the gallery before. 

Gordon, Dutra, and Mele were winning artists from the 2022 Winners Showcase while Caine, Rezin, and Stratton were winning artists from the 2022 exhibit Long Island Landscape: From Awe to Action. 

“I love the Winners Showcase, as it is an opportunity to see a larger body of work from each artist. It is so interesting to sometimes discover that even in works of different mediums or color palettes, a common thread connects all their work either in technique or their creative voice and what they are trying to say in their work,” said Allison J. Cruz, Executive Director at the Mills Pond Gallery.

More than entertainment and aesthetics, art is an intimate conversation between creator and consumer. Featuring works in oil, acrylic, and pastel as well as photography and mixed media works in pastel and watercolor, pastel and ink, and watercolor and gouache, this exhibit is a dialogue in which the artists speak through their work. 

 What they choose to say is at their discretion. Winners Showcase has no particular theme and, once invited to participate, artists submit any pieces they choose, demonstrating a range of perspectives and portfolios.

“Even artists who I am familiar with will sometimes surprise me in a Winners show with a style or subject that I had no idea they pursued,” Cruz added.  

Divergent in style and substance, these works include abstract townscapes, reflective portraits, contemplative still life, tranquil nature scenes, and evocative photography. Not bound by an overarching topic, the art is uniquely personal and unflinchingly universal. It encompasses the whimsical and wondrous, the pastoral and pensive. 

Paul Mele’s photography series Confinement,  chronicling his grueling years’ long recovery from a car accident, explores dark, seemingly abandoned spaces that nonetheless offer a hint of relief, from a door ajar or a window that permits stubbornly optimistic sunlight to stream inside. 

“I kind of feel my work balances between a positive and negative, light and dark. I tend to be drawn to images that are more dark, but there is a lighter overtone in my work,” said photographer Paul Mele. “This is the most personal thing I have ever done.”

Hope is perhaps the component that appears in each print and on every canvas throughout the show: hope for a brighter future, hope to be understood. In subdued tones and vivacious palettes, realistic renderings and abstract observations, this ambition transcends from artists to audiences. 

Sharing art is an inherently brave act, making one vulnerable to public consumption while seeking understanding from those who observe and perhaps, admire. “It is nice when people see your work, relate to it, and appreciate it for it is,” Mele said.  

Catherine Rezin, a multi-genre artist, shares this sentiment, and views art as a means to forge a benevolent connection.

“In general, I want to portray the positive feeling I have of the subject to my viewer,” she said. 

Through strokes of watercolor and gouache paints, this attitude is revealed in her vibrant vistas, lush landscape, and affectionate portraits alike. She began exhibiting her art three years ago, after retiring from her career as a commercial artist. 

“I am now enjoying creating art for the love of it,” she added. 

Such passion is evident throughout Winners Showcase, a celebration of the courage of creation and ecstasy of expression. 

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, 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. 

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.