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Kevin McEvoy

Music and Art by Naomi Diracles

By Melissa Arnold

Looking at a beautiful painting, photo or sculpture can sometimes evoke strong memories or emotions. For many people, the same is true when listening to music. It’s even possible to have a piece of music conjure up an image in the mind’s eye, or for artwork to seem musical.

The Huntington Arts Council is exploring the intersection of visual arts and music in its newest exhibit, Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales, on view at its Main Street Gallery from Feb. 7 through March 14.

The unique subject has been on business manager Kieran Johnson’s mind for some time.

“The overlap of music and visual art has always been a fascination of mine with my favorite visual artists, both contemporary and historical, having their background in music,” Johnson said. “I was reviewing video and listening to tracks from our monthly Singer-Songwriter Night and decided I wanted to do [an exhibit] about auditory and visual art.”

Artists were asked to consider a series of questions as inspiration for their submissions: Does your work exude rhythm, melody, lyrics, harmony or dissonance from a social, political or musical perspective? Does it elicit a reaction in sounds, words or movement? Does it dance or sway? Does it move or move the viewer? Does it sing? 

Johnson called on friend of the Huntington Arts Council Kevin McEvoy to jury the exhibit. McEvoy has worked with the council in a number of capacities, from a member and past juror to panelist and educator.

“Kevin has been a supportive partner in the work we do for over a decade. He is an incredibly skilled artist and arts educator, and his professional and personal background make him an interesting person to know and work with,” Johnson said.

A Long Island native, McEvoy studied fine arts at Stony Brook University and refined his painting skills while in Chile and Italy. He is also the founder of The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James.

“I’ve always appreciated the relationship of mutual respect and support I’ve had with the Huntington Arts Council. They are so warm and encouraging not just with me, but with all of the artists who approach them,” McEvoy said. “I’ve painted a lot of musicians, musical instruments and music inspired pieces, and I’m excited to jury an exhibit on a subject I feel passionately about.”

In total, 60 artists from across the country submitted 156 pieces for consideration. McEvoy narrowed the field to 44 pieces by 40 artists. The final exhibit includes oil paintings, pastels, graphite drawings, photography and more.

Participating artists include Rose Ann Albanese, Sheri Berman, Zintis Buzermanis, Lisa L. Cangemi, Linda Ann Catucci, Kenneth Cerreta, Kaylynn Chenn, Jody Cukier, Doris Diamond, Naomi Diracles, Vicki Field, Jim Finlayson, Cori Forster, Andrea Fortunoff, Kathleen Gerlach, Roxana Gheorghe, Bill Grabowski, Jan Guarino, Margaret Henning, Nayyar Iqbal, David Jaycox Jr., Wendy June Jensen, Marc Josloff, Julianna Kirk, Beth Laxer-Limmer, Jacques LeBlanc, Stephanie L. Marcus, Kristen Memoli, Margaret Minardi, Mary Nagin, Thais Osorio, Luda Pahl, Eli Rabe, Andrea Rhude, Olivia Rodson, Saul Rosenstreich, Barbara Stein, Victor Vaccaro, Pamela Waldroup and Ella Yang.

“Long Island is a musical place. Our identity is rooted in music and it’s a big part of the culture here, so it’s a natural fit for artists to explore,” McEvoy said. “I tried not to bring any preconceptions of what a piece should look like. Whether it is a lilting line of a kinetic wire sculpture, an atmospheric photo of a violin that almost reads as a mountainscape, or the joyful pluck of an instrument in beautiful pastel colors, indeed, across Long Island, painters, sculptors and musicians are still singing.”

Andrea Fortunoff of Syosset created a digital collage entitled “Dance the Floor: Generations in Rhythm,” depicting dancing people of African heritage in various styles of dress.

“The Huntington Arts Council artist call for Sights and Sounds: Rhythm and Scales spurred me to reflect on the historical synergy between music and dance,” Fortunoff stated in an email. “As an ancient and ephemeral art, dance relies on passing cadence from body to body. My collage is a visual representation of how rhythm and pattern intertwine and are inscribed in a dancer’s memory; reverberating from dancer to dancer through time.”

The exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. will allow artists and visitors the chance to get to know each other while appreciating the variety of media on display. McEvoy will select a best in show and honorable mention before the reception begins.

“We are thrilled to feature this exhibit and have Kevin McEvoy as the juror. This show is a wonderful depiction of the intertwined nature of art. The work is beautiful and highlights a wide array of artists,” said HAC Executive Director Marc Courtade. “Kevin has been a longtime friend of HAC. His talent, knowledge and contribution to the arts have meant so much to us and the Long Island community. We are looking forward to seeing him at the reception.”

The Huntington Arts Council will present Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales at its Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington through March 14. For further information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

Kevin McEvoy's free art history lectures draw a crowd.

On the evening of Jan. 8, the Town of Smithtown held its first public hearing about the subdivision and development for the Flowerfield/Gyrodyne property on Route 25A in St. James. The plan, however, has already had a notable impact on the community.  

Prior to Wednesday night’s meeting, members of a vibrant local art community with studio space at Gyrodyne disbanded, leaving some artists searching for a new home.  

Kevin McEvoy, president and art director for The Atelier at Flowerfield, resigned Jan. 2. The studio’s operations director, youth program coordinator, two administrators and four teachers also resigned, he said, walking out along with more than 93 students. McEvoy is seeking new space in other towns. He was unable to respond to request for comments for legal reasons but did not deny that the subdivision and development situation was a factor. 

The Atelier trustee Barbara Beltrami, one of six trustees, said Monday’s classes were canceled, but the studio is still open for business. She expects operations to resume under a new director, when they find one.   

“Some classes are still functioning,” she said. “People should check with The Atelier for further information by calling 631-250-9009.” 

The Atelier website lacked information about the resignations. Its class schedule still lists McEvoy as instructor for 10 out of 21 classes in the winter schedule. Sources said that all but two teachers are gone.

Kevin McEvoy paints a portrait. The classically trained artist resigned Jan. 2 as president and art director of the Flowerfield Atelier.

 Paul Lamb serves as chairman for The Atelier at Flowerfield. He also has been Gyrodyne’s chairman of the board since 1999. Lamb, a lawyer with an office in Melville, was traveling and did not respond to messages left with requests for comment about the subdivision plans impact on the art community.  

Gary Fitlin, Gyrodyne’s CEO, president, CFO and treasurer, said in a phone interview the company is laying low until after the public hearings. He explained that the existing facilities will remain intact, when and if the project is ultimately approved by the town. Gyrodyne tenants, he said, will not be impacted by the subdivision development. The proposed 150-room hotel, two assisted living centers, two separate medical office parks and a new sewage treatment system, he said, will be located on the site’s undeveloped land.

“It is all very positive for our tenants,” he said. “The subdivision doesn’t impact them, its beneficial to our current tenants because it increases their opportunities.”

Sama Millwork, a fine quality handmade cabinet maker has been located at Gyrodyne for 28 years. John Sama said that he doesn’t expect any impact from the subdivision/development plans. 

“I’ve been hearing about this for a decade,” he said. “I’ll likely be retired by the time it happens.”

Vinny Galanti owns Picante Tex Mex, a Mexican deli and food truck kitchen that’s been located on the site for the last year. He said more development could be good for his operation. 

But for McEvoy and his following, doors have closed.

McEvoy and musicians perform in the atelier’s fine art library and cafe to celebrate its opening.

A native Long Islander, McEvoy was classically trained as an artist in the Charles Cecil studios in Florence, Italy. He opened the studio in the spring of 2016 with a vision to revive the classical drawing and painting techniques and traditions taught for centuries in Europe. In addition to offering instruction and hosting exhibitions of local, national and internationally renowned artists, he incorporated free art history lectures open to the community. The events typically drew large crowds. The studio recently renovated a portion of its space to create a library and café comprised of special collection of thousands of fine art books. McEvoy feverishly sketched in charcoal on the building’s cinder block walls the design he envisioned for the library space. Once the studio was gifted a collection of art books, construction was completed.

In previous interviews, McEvoy said that his hope for the library was to offer artists a space where they could share ideas and offer inspiration to each other. McEvoy also had architectural renderings created to convert the outdoor space surrounding the studio into a less industrial, more inviting garden space.

McEvoy paints with fellow artists while musicians perform at the Jazz Loft in Stony Brook.

It’s unclear how The Atelier’s unique original mission and vision will change with new leadership.  

The Atelier news comes at a time when the St. James community and its Celebrate St. James campaign is gearing up for revitalization by emphasizing the arts. Ironically, those plans hinge upon Gyrodyne’s development.  

Since the project would require the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, town officials have been expecting to use the new plant to serve the Lake Avenue business district. 

“The town has had talks with the folks at Gyrodyne regarding their sewer treatment plant and the Lake Avenue business district, and they verbally indicated they would be willing to build their facility to accommodate Lake Avenue,” said Smithtown council member Tom Lohmann (R). “Additionally, the town received funding from Sen. [John] Flanagan [(R-East Northport)], $3.9 million, so we could install a sewer line when we start the Lake Avenue project, with the expectation we would be connecting to their plant.”

Representatives from Celebrate St. James, a group focused on the revival of the community’s art district, is also depending upon the Gyrodyne sewage treatment plant. 

“If we don’t connect, the town has to find a new location and get approvals from local, state agencies and health departments, which would take not months or years, it could take decades,” said its president, Natalie Weinstein.

'Ensnared' by Jonathan Horn

By Melissa Arnold

For the past three years, The Atelier at Flowerfield has buzzed with activity. Artists of all skill levels come to the St. James art studio to create, learn and connect with others through classes, studio time, social events, art history lectures and exhibits.

As The Atelier has grown, it has also attracted a host of young, talented creatives looking for a place to hone and share their skills. Since 2017, the annual Long Island Young Artists Exhibition has provided a platform to celebrate their accomplishments with the community.

“I believe that when artists are young, they’re uninhibited. The sky is the limit for their creativity, and they don’t filter themselves by what will or won’t sell or how people will respond,” said Director Kevin McEvoy in a recent interview. “They’re willing to experiment, to take risks with their art. It’s incredible to be a part of that,” he said.

McEvoy estimates that 50 to 60 young people spend time at a workshop on a regular basis, many of them students at local schools or recent college graduates. Some of the artists take classes or have studio time five nights a week, while others come by for several hours during the day. The Atelier’s state-of-the-art studio space simulates natural light, allowing nighttime students to create pieces with realistic-looking daylight without interrupting their daytime responsibilities.

This year’s Young Artists Exhibition invited artists ages 11 to 28 to submit works of any medium or theme to be reviewed by a panel of curators including Margaret McEvoy, Gaby Field-Rahman, Dr. Stephen Vlay and Barbara Beltrami.

In total, 46 applicants submitted 130 different pieces for judging. The completed exhibit includes 47 pieces from 33 artists, mostly from Suffolk and Nassau counties.

Aside from age, there were no specific requirements to enter a piece for consideration. McEvoy said he wanted to welcome young artists of all kinds to explore themes and mediums that appeal to them the most.

One of this year’s exhibitors, Ariel Meltzer, 16, has always been fascinated with drawing people. “I’ve always found art to be very calming, and even when I was young I loved drawing faces and people in general,” said the artist, who lives in Stony Brook. “There’s so much diversity in the human figure, but there are so many similarities at the same time.”

Meltzer discovered The Atelier a few summers ago after her mother encouraged her to find something fun to do. She said she was interested in continuing to develop the art skills she’d gained during the school year at The Stony Brook School, and the St. James studio was a perfect fit.

“You get to know so many different people that each have their own perspective on art,” Meltzer said. “I love the connections that I’ve been able to make through The Atelier. Everyone is welcoming and supportive — it’s a great atmosphere to learn in.”

Whether she’s attending morning classes in the summer or night classes during the school year, Meltzer always has a new project to work on. She’s worked with charcoal, oil, acrylics and more, but at home she tends to return to her old standby, graphite pencil.

Her submission to this year’s exhibit, “Grace,” is a drawing of a classmate she completed for a school assignment. Meltzer said she wanted to make the girl’s hair and face appear softer to match her name, Grace.

“I’m proud of the work that I send in no matter what, so I don’t worry too much about whether or not it gets chosen. But it’s still really exciting to be a part of the exhibit. This is my second year being included,” Meltzer said.

Jonathan Horn, 27, is on the upper end of the young adult group, but that doesn’t stop him from creating whimsical, unique and fun works of art.

The East Setauket resident has been artistic his entire life, starting to draw with markers at just 2 years old. These days, he’s primarily a painter, but his tools are one of a kind. Horn studied studio art and anthropology at Stony Brook University, and in the process developed a deep curiosity for the tools used in ancient civilizations.

“I started to wonder what it would be like to make and use these tools to paint with,” Horn said. “So I did. And I found that they work just as well as anything you’d buy commercially today.” His yucca leaf and palm brushes are used with paints Horn has made himself using a special clay. 

While Horn enjoys painting using classic techniques and subjects, his real passion is fantasy. “I grew up watching a lot of cartoons and playing video games, so the work I do tends in the direction of fantasy,” he explained. 

Horn’s two works in the exhibit include a clay-based gouache painting of flowers done on watercolor paper and a vivid gouache painting on gypsum board of a fish being attacked by a squid and eel. 

“This is the first recent exhibit I’ve submitted work for, so I was pretty nervous and relieved to be chosen,” he said. “The Atelier is a fantastic place to learn, whether you’re an experienced artist looking to hone your skills or a beginner looking to dip your toes in the water for the first time.”

The Long Island Young Artists Exhibition is currently on view at The Atelier at Flowerfield’s Atelier Hall Gallery, located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, St. James through Nov. 21. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and admission is free. For more information, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org.

Image courtesy of The Atelier at Flowerfield

 

'Stony Brook Harbor' by Leo Mancini-Hresko

By Melissa Arnold

From as far back as the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the standard setting for art education and professional work was the atelier. At an atelier — which means “workshop” in French — a master artist would work in a studio setting alongside his students, rather than simply telling them what to do. The result was a collaborative community built on shared expertise and creativity.

In the 1940s, art classrooms built on a lecture-based dynamic became popular and the era of ateliers faded into history. But today, more artists are returning to the roots of their craft by starting and joining ateliers.

‘Silence,’ bronze with warm silver patina, by Gwen Marcus

Here on Long Island, Kevin McEvoy is the artist-director of The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James. The space is home to an art studio, a 2,000-square-foot exhibition space titled Atelier Hall and even a developing library of fine art books.

Beginning this week and continuing throughout the summer, Atelier Hall will display its annual Masterworks collection, an exhibit showcasing the works of nine gifted artists from around the world.

“The Masterworks exhibit is the crystallization of dreams I’ve had for more than a decade to take our Long Island community, which has so much momentum, and marry it to the international art community, to put them all in the same room and celebrate the work they do,” said McEvoy in a recent interview. 

The journey to opening an atelier was a long one for the 38-year-old artist, who has traveled the world to hone his artistic talents. A first-generation American, he spent time as a boy living in Ireland, where his father was raised. After studying studio art at Stony Brook University, he headed to Santiago, Chile, and Florence, Italy, where he joined the prestigious Charles H. Cecil Studios.

The time abroad allowed McEvoy to cross paths with a diverse group of artists from around the world, nestled in a community where he continued to learn and grow.

By the time he returned to the States, McEvoy was married with young children and his career was taking off. But he found himself aching for something more — a social and professional circle like the one he left overseas. He began to teach at different places on Long Island in hopes of making new connections, and the rest is history.

“As soon as I plugged into teaching, this community was born and it was such a breath of fresh air,” McEvoy recalled. “Many of my students were very serious painters, and to share ideas and fan those latent gifts into flame meant so much to me. I knew then that I wanted to start an atelier.”

‘Quarter Rest’ by Wendy Jensen

The Atelier at Flowerfield officially opened in the spring of 2016. As his classes grew, McEvoy knew he needed help. He began to reach out to friends in different parts of the country and overseas, offering to put them up while they taught workshops at his studio.

“In the past, there were all of these artists I knew, but couldn’t work with because of a lack of infrastructure. And now they were able to come in regularly to stay,” McEvoy said.

The Atelier now boasts more than 120 artists who come to lecture, create and learn. Among them is Leo Mancini-Hresko, who regularly makes trips from his home near Boston to give workshops on oil painting and materials. 

Mancini-Hresko is a graduate and former principal instructor of The Florence Academy of Art whose paintings of New England and his travels abroad have appeared in exhibits across the globe. He and McEvoy got to know each other while living in Florence. 

“Many of us [who met in Florence] were not really art teachers. We’re professional artists with careers who happen to teach occasionally, and I think that’s part of the attraction, to learn from someone who considers themselves an artist first,” Mancini-Hresko said. 

‘Codman Barn’ by Leo Mancini-Hresko

Lana Ballot of Lake Grove continues to find a wealth of inspiration in Long Island’s natural scenery. She grew up in a small town in Russia where an art education wasn’t easily accessible. She studied foreign languages instead, and when she arrived in the U.S. in 1994, pursued a degree in studio art at Stony Brook University.

Ballot worked in web design for more than 15 years, but the desire to paint never faded. She eventually began freelance work, then full-time painting and teaching. Today, she teaches an ongoing pastel class at The Atelier. “It’s really like a family here,” she said of The Atelier. 

“Kevin says a lot that he wants to create a community, and that’s what is happening. It’s not just us coming in, teaching a class and going home. We interact, and as working artists we are connecting to one another and continuously learning.”

Masterworks 2019 will feature 31 two-dimensional works, including still lifes, landscapes, interiors, figures and portraits painted predominantly in oil, as well as charcoal and pastel. The show also boasts a collection of sculpture pieces by notable local artist Gwen Marcus, who will present several full life bronze cast figurative pieces. McEvoy will display his own bronze sculpture of his grandfather, Bill McEvoy. The inclusion of life-size sculpture in the Masterworks exhibition also highlights the introduction of The Atelier’s first sculpture program set to begin this summer.

Participating artists:

• Lana Ballot

• James Beihl

• Megan Euell

• Bill Graf 

• Wendy Jensen

• Leo Mancini-Hresko 

• Gwen Marcus

• Kevin McEvoy

• David Shevlino

The Atelier at Flowerfield, located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, St. James will present Masterworks 2019 from May 16 through Aug. 30. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and admission is free. Join the artists for an opening reception on Thursday, May 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy live demonstrations by Atelier instructors and fellows during the event. Prosecco and hors d’oeuvres will be served. For more information, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org. 

All images courtesy of The Atelier at Flowerfield

Open House

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, will hold an Open House on Friday, Nov. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tour the studios, meet the instructors and learn about the Atelier’s mission to foster a community of local artists of all levels and experience. Enjoy art demos by instructors and apprentices, participate in a scholarship raffle and browse the current art exhibition, Charles Yoder: Natural Resources, in Atelier Hall. Refreshments will be served. Free. For more information, call 631-250-9009. 

 

Kevin McEvoy will discuss the works of Leonardo da Vinci including ‘The Last Supper.’

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, St. James continues its art history lecture series with Leonardo da Vinci, Part II on Thursday, March 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Director Kevin McEvoy will discuss the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci as a scientist, experimenter, poet and artist and his role in the progression of naturalism from Giotto to Sargent.

Enjoy snacks, refreshments, good company and stimulating discussion. Suggested donation is $10. No reservation needed. For further details, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org.

Photo by Heidi Sutton

ART RECEPTION Despite the torrential downpours, The Atelier at Flowerfield hosted a well-attended art reception for its inaugural exhibition, a show titled Christian White: Recent Work, on July 13. Christian White is a nationally recognized painter and an instructor at The Atelier at Flowerfield, which was founded one year ago and now has over 200 students. The solo exhibit depicts local landscapes and The Atelier method of drawing and painting from life.

Above, the artist (in tan shirt) poses in front of his painting “Japanese Maple #2” with, from left, Tasha Boehm, assistant director of operations; Gaby Field-Rahman, administrator; Diane Moffet, assistant secretary; Margaret McEvoy, director of operations; Kevin McEvoy, president and director of The Atelier; mother Claire Nicolas White; Paul Lamb, chairman of the board; and David Madigan, trustee. The exhibit runs through Aug. 31. The Atelier at Flowerfield is located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15 in St. James. For further information, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org.

The Art of Jazz, led by Kevin McEvoy, above, kicked off on March 8. Photo from Margaret McEvoy

Clothed Figure Sketch Nights at The Jazz Loft

The Atelier at Flowerfield artists of St. James has joined forces with the improv musicians of The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook for an inspirational evening of music and art every other Wednesday night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. While The Jazz Loft hosts its weekly jazz jam sessions, the Atelier at Flowerfield will host a sketch session featuring a clothed figure model posing with musical instrument. Included in this event will be drawing boards and tables for all artists in attendance.

“I am quite thrilled for The Jazz Loft’s collaboration with the Atelier. The jazz workshops and artist lofts of the past were a big part of the inspiration in creating The Jazz Loft. Once again artistic collaboration across the spectrum will be in full view and the cross pollination can begin! Add some dancers and poets and the jazz nest will be in full swing,” said Tom Manuel of The Jazz Loft. Atelier director Kevin McEvoy will be doing a live painting demonstration that will continue through the weeks so that people can watch the painting progress. Next event will be held on March 22. Admission is $20 per person. For more information or to sign up, call 631-250-9009.