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Margaret Minardi

It’s time to honor the best of the best. The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Winners Showcase Fine Art Exhibition kicks off Saturday, March 5 at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James. The exhibit features winning artists from the 2021 Members Showcase (Kyle Blumenthal, Donna Corvi, Margaret Minardi), A Sense of Place (Gia Horton Schifano) and Visualizing the Past (Lily Newland).

Stony Brook artist Kyle Blumenthal’s life is steeped in art. From a very early age, she immersed herself in art books, art prints and art works. She experiences life as an artist, always looking at color, shadow and form in order to better portray them in her art.  An illustrator, a fine artist, a stage designer and display artist, Blumenthal experiments through various media and her paintings convey a message of hope and enlightenment and her subjects echo their spiritual identity through the use of forms, patterns, media, light and color.

Montauk artist Donna Corvi began her career in illustration using watercolor, airbrush and colored pencil. After a commercial art career of 20 years in NYC, a change was in order. “Now, painting in both oil and acrylic, I can focus on painting what resonates with me most…trees, branches, wind and color.” The artist takes daily walks along the water, in the woods and across fields to record her reference material for her expressionist views of tree branches, wind and the ever-changing seasons. “I love trees and I hope that I bring a new awareness about trees to people. The earth needs them–we need them to exist.”

New Hyde Park artist Gia Horton Schifano is a self-taught artist. Her love for Long Island and its beauty from coast to coast is what inspires her. Her sense of composition and realistic style bring to the viewer a sense of peace and beauty in nature. Schifano has worked in charcoal, colored pencil, and acrylic but her latest love is water-mixable oils that lend themselves beautifully to the techniques used for her landscapes and portrait work. Her art focuses on the serenity of the east end of Long Island.

Northport artist Margaret Minardi will be exhibiting work from her new White on White series, which includes high realism portraits and solar plate etchings of her students and daughter…subjects that are close to her heart. “As a 30-year high school art educator, I was privileged to work with teenagers that were magical and complex. They created images that seemed impossible for ones so young. Their art glowed with strength and agonized with fragility. It is my hope that some of their beauty is captured in this series,” she said.

Wantagh artist Lily Newland received her BFA from Binghamton University in 2019 and is currently pursuing an MAT in art education at Queens College. While Newland is well versed in multiple disciplines including painting and printmaking, her passion lies with drawing, the purest expression of the form. She enjoys the subject of the figure in its endless variations and in her desire to distill its fleeting presence. “Drawing has remained a constant for me, when life becomes fussy and my creative enthusiasm gets a bit lost, I can usually find it again by simply returning to my sketch book.”

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James presents the Winners Showcase Fine Art Exhibition through March 27. The public is invited to an opening reception on March 5 from noon to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. Face masks are encouraged. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

The Art League of Long Island’s 15th annual “Go APE” Advanced Placement Student Exhibition features 2-D and 3-D works by 135 AP and IB Art Students from 42 Long Island High Schools.  High School art teachers selected artworks from among their talented students for exhibition in the spacious Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery. The exhibit is on view in the Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery January 29 through February 12.

Exhibition Juror Margaret Minardi has selected Awards of Excellence and Honorable Mentions.  The following 16 students have been singled out for special recognition:

Awards of Excellence: Zavier Foster, “Outside the Box”, posca marker, Baldwin High School; Natalie Hayes, “Swamped”, painting, East Rockaway High School; Sofia Innamorato, “Untitled”, ceramics on wood base, Syosset High School; Gagandeep Kaur, “Stop & Shop” acrylic paint and graphite on gesso paper, Floral Park Memorial High School; Isabel Mongiello, “Portrait Study”, painting, Syosset High School; Jean Park, “Untitled”, mixed media, Sewanhaka High School; Tierra Thomas, “Untitled”, digital art, Elmont High School; Alisha Zhou, “Growing Mushrooms”, color pencil, Manhasset High School.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Bennett, “Self Portrait”, colored pencil, Northport High School; Hannah Briggs, “Abandoned Spiral”, charcoal, Oyster Bay High School; Shirley Chen, “Self Portrait”, acrylic, New Hyde Park Memorial; Abby Garten, “Untitled”, photography, Jericho High School; Polina Kalmatckaia, “Nebesa”, digital illustration, Commack High School; Katie McMahon,“Silver Spoons”, painting, East Rockaway High School; Khadija Abdul Musawwir, “Blue Flannel”, acrylic painting, Westbury High School; Sarah Sorbi, “Superflat Love”, digital painting, Half Hollow Hills HS West.

About the Juror: Margaret Minardi taught Studio Art, Drawing and Painting and Advanced Placement Art from 1988-2017 in the Northport School District.  She has shown in over 60 exhibitions that include solo, group, local, national and international venues.  Her work continues to win top awards, including Best in Show in many of them.   She currently teaches Teen Portfolio classes at the Art League of Long Island.

Established in 1955, the Art League of Long Island is not-for-profit visual arts center whose mission is to provide a forum and showcase for artists of all ages and ability levels, whether through art education in the studios or promoting their work through exhibitions and art fairs. The Art League is located at 107 East Deer Park Road, in Dix Hills. Gallery hours:  Tuesdays & Thursdays 10am-8pm, Fridays & Saturdays 10am-3pm. For more information visit www.artleagueli.org

'Phoenix' by Jae JQ Breslow

The Huntington Arts Council (HAC) in partnership with Sea of Visibility is currently presenting SEA of Visibility: The Voyage Exhibition: Curated by Anu Annam at their Main Street Gallery in Huntington and on their website at huntingtonarts.org.  The show runs through Sept. 4.

Artists were invited to “add your vision, your voice, and your voyage, making the invisible, visible, so the story of our collective struggle can be found, and the very specific connection for healing and integration can be made.”

Participating artists include Anu Annam, Tiffany Asadourian, Leila Atkinson, Robyn Bellospirito, Angelo Blanda, Jae ‘JQ’ Breslow, John Cino, Patty Eljaiek, Sueey Gutierrez, Regina Halliday, Andrew Hornberger, Roya Jenner, Maya Kawachi, Christophe Lima, Gina Mars, Margaret Minardi, Loretta Oberheim, Mark Propper, Dr. Nichelle Rivers, Devlin Starr, Robert Stenzel and Chloe Wheeler.

“The artwork for SEA of Visibility: The Voyage was selected based on visual craftsmanship, language, and resonance, and the stories that drove their creation. The work represents the deeply personal and varied experiences of the artists included. Topics range from a life-altering accident, perseverance through various disabilities, strained family relationships, acknowledgment of vulnerabilities and shadow sides, dreams, death, living with grief, facing absurdity, coping with a harrowing pandemic to the inexplicable, even irrational, hope that is the wind in the sails of our own “hero’s journey”. The final artwork selections embrace the sunlit space of the Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery—chosen based on how they interact with one another and the venue. They create a community voice through this larger work of art that is the exhibition, together, on a singular voyage to be heard and understood” said Curator Anu Annam.

“The Huntington Arts Council is very happy to have the opportunity to partner with Anu Annam and Sea of Visibility. The pieces in The Voyage reflect a beautiful diversity of work and variety of mediums. The exhibition tells individual stories filled with emotion and powerful intent. I encourage everyone to come to our Main Street Gallery and experience this show in person” said HAC Executive Director, Marc Courtade.

The Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For weekend hours, call 631-271-8423.


SEA of Visibility is an organization based in Long Island, NY that embraces our multicultural, queer, and disabled artists and our allies, focusing on neurodiversity and mental health. It “Supports Expression through the Arts” (SEA) and promotes destigmatization and integration through multidisciplinary art exhibitions, performances, and art-making programs-broadening the public’s vision on what mental illness is.

As the world slowly reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions are lifted, the art world celebrates as well. Over at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, a new exhibit is ready to be unveiled this weekend. Titled “Awakening,” the show is described as “an exploration of the world of the past 16 months as seen through the eyes of artists.” Juried by Kathleen Gurchie of Gurchie Designs, the exhibit opens on July 17 in a virtual gallery format and runs through Sept. 6. 

Artists were challenged to submit their best works “representing their expressions of our world as we re-awaken and acclimate to a new post-pandemic normal.” 

“The title, ‘Awakening’, reflects our joy at finally awakening from the long pandemic “sleep” and stepping slowly and carefully into public life again. But that is not all! We are awakening in many other ways, including social, political and environmental,” said  Susan Peragallo, Gallery Coordinator and Curator at the Art League. “Juror Kathleen Gurchie approached her task with thoughtful care and did a wonderful job selecting some of the most powerful and beautiful interpretations of that theme.”

Of the 221 works submitted by artists from across the United States, Ms. Gurchie selected 59 to show in the virtual gallery in a range of mediums including; oil, acrylic, watercolor, ink, collage, sculpture, digital, fiber, encaustic and monotype. Of those 59, six were singled out for awards. 

Awards of Excellence were give to Gerry Hirschstein of Old Bethpage for “Standing Twice as Tall,” pastel on canson paper; Margaret Minardi of Northport for “First Awake,” colored pencil drawing; and Beth Wessel of Huntington for her plaster sculpture titled “Joy.”

Honorable Mentions were handed out to Sooltan Madsen of Savannah Georgia for “Can You Spare a Fag,” oil on canvas; Regina Quinn of Gilboa, New York for “Salmon and Blue,” encaustic, oils and beeswax; and Philip Read of Long Island City for “On the Wings of a Dream”, drawing with watercolor.

“This skillful, wide ranging visual banquet can put a face to the complex mix of emotions from 2020’s extremes,” said Ms. Gurchie. “Sculptor Lloyd Lilly once told me ‘It’s in the tightest parameters of a system (ie: Awakening Theme) that our truest uniqueness shines forth.’ Additionally, it’s in viewing this, and experiencing that bond of commonality, that can help us to heal.”

“The timeliness and diversity of this show can do much more than entertain. It can lend you a perspective that you may not have considered. It can inform and help deepen your conversation,” she said. “It can show you that the indomitable human spirit, the timeless beauty and joy are very much present.”

The Art League of Long Island, 107 Deer Park Road, Dix Hills will present “Awakening,” a virtual gallery exhibition, from July 17 to Sept. 6 at www.artleagueli.org. For further information, call 631-462-5400.

Images courtesy of Art League of LI


'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’
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.

The Smithtown Township Arts Council is pleased to announce Winners Showcase I, a fine art exhibition featuring five winning artists from 2020 exhibitions. The exhibit is currently on view at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James through Feb. 6.

 Smithtown artist Lucia Alberti enjoys painting landscapes in acrylics. Lucia finds it most comfortable to paint from her imagination, incorporating subjects she finds of interest. This allows Lucia to “create a story in her mind of another place and moment in time, while trying to capture a glimpse of it upon my canvas.” Lucia’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries across Long Island.

Huntington Station artist Shain Bard’s paintings evoke a sense of a moment captured in time that people can all subconsciously relate to. The way the light filters through the leaves of a small forest, the driver’s view of dappled sun shining through the trees on a Sunday drive, or of a snowy sunset on a suburban street.  “Nature and art are within and without us, something close to what I would call ‘home’. It is those moments when we most fully connect to our surroundings, those held-breath moments that I am interested in.”

Northport artist Margaret Minardi’s mixed media paintings juxtapose realism and expressionism. Combining years of classical training with a pure gestural mark making, she is inspired by the Expressionists of the 1950’s collage.  “I am constantly in search of new mediums and processes that can be synthesized into my works. “Important to me is serendipity. Mistakes keep me interested, intellectually challenged, and excited.” Within Margaret’s works, the viewer is constantly challenged to interpret and reinterpret what they see. There is a narrative beneath the surface of all her works. “Each brushstroke is a voice for my inner world.”

Valley Stream artist Mike Stanko, a lifelong Long Islander, has been showing his unique and whimsical art for over 20 years.  From his home in Valley Stream to the world beyond, he finds endless inspiration in the iconic, the familiar as well as the mundane — sunflowers, beach scenes, maybe even a grilled cheese sandwich. His paintings are bold and eye-catching and like the artist, convey joy, a sense of humor and a love of life.

Kings Park artist Pamela Waldroup is a fine art photographer whose work is about “hyper-focusing on the subject to solidify my own experience and provoke a memory, real or imagined, to surface both for the viewer and me.” She will exhibit black & white photographs from her series City Perspectives — Inside and Out. The works in this project “voice my strong desire to capture interactions between human, environmental and industrial elements through a geometric approach found in the repetitive patterns and shapes.” As an art educator, Pamela taught photography (darkroom and digital) and fine arts for 33 years.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in St. James. Gallery hours are Wed. to Fri., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sat.; Sun. from noon to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays. Admission to the gallery is free. Masks are mandatory. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

‘Sinking Feeling’ by Margaret Minardi. Image from STAC

By Susan Risoli

‘One Nation Under Surveillance,’ fiberglass and epoxy, by Anthony Freda. Photo from STAC

When the everyday state of things starts to look different, what happens then? Who defines what’s “real” and what isn’t? Visitors to the Connecting Art to Life exhibit, which opens this Saturday at the Mills Pond House Gallery in St. James, may find themselves asking these questions.

And that’s just fine with Smithtown Township Arts Council Executive Director Allison Cruz, who said in a recent interview she hopes the exhibit, which features the work of artists Margaret Minardi and Anthony Freda, will start a conversation about the meeting of life and art.

This is the first time Cruz invited only two artists to be part of a Mills Pond show. She was moved by the determination of these two to keep on expressing themselves through their individual projects. “Anthony and Margaret teach and have families,” Cruz said. “Yet they both said to me, ‘It doesn’t matter how busy I am. I have to make art.’”

Cruz came up with the show’s title Connecting Art to Life, inspired by the ways Freda and Minardi take isolated aspects of daily living and translate that into something to which people can respond. It’s a process similar to the purpose of an art space, she said. “I think people are intimidated by the thought of going to an art gallery,” Cruz explained, “but really it’s a place to get information about what’s going on in your world right now.” Take it all in, “then do with it what you will.”

Margaret Minardi

Artist Margaret Minardi


Margaret Minardi’s world changed through her desire to become pregnant. She adopted two children after a personal journey that resulted in an infertility diagnosis. Her series of pieces in the Mills Pond House Gallery show were inspired by Minardi becoming a mother.

The works were rendered in colored pencil some years ago, after she discovered she could no longer use oil paint because she’d become allergic to it. She turned the potential setback into a mission to continue with colored pencil, “even though I didn’t know if I could erase, or blend color over color. Hour after hour I practiced.” These days, her media include collage and acrylic paint, she said.

Growing up in Trinidad left Minardi with lasting memories of “the specific color of water in the Caribbean.” Her pieces on exhibit at the Mills Pond House are done in aquamarine blue, and many of the figures “are in fishtanks, or some water situation.” The work juxtaposes realism with expressionism, presenting a story through many layers. The artist invites her viewers to interpret what’s going on beneath the surface of her pieces.

Minardi is about to retire after 30 years of teaching drawing and painting in the Northport-East Northport school district. “I’ve been so lucky,” she said. “I get to be around art from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.” She doesn’t always know what a project is going to turn into and is sometimes surprised by the result, she said, “but it’s just important that I keep my pencil on the paper at all times. If you keep your hand moving, it becomes something important that comes from deep within.”

Anthony Freda

‘Solution’ by Anthony Freda

Anthony Freda’s 28 pieces in the Mills Pond House Gallery show are collage, his own paintings on found surfaces, limited edition prints and sculpture. As a Mount Sinai resident who grew up in Port Jefferson, he wanted to connect with a local art community and said this show seemed a good way to do it. Freda, an editorial illustrator and adjunct faculty member for the Fashion Institute of Technology, said throughout his career “I try to be honest and think about how I can best represent that with my art.”

Freda is drawn to themes of war and peace, freedom, civil liberties and encroachments upon them. “Things that impact society as a whole and impact me personally are things I want to comment on,” he said. Bombs, birds, pinup girls, reassuring American ephemera repurposed with contemporary social commentary, all can be found in his work. Humor infuses many of his pieces.

News about current events can be “provocative and emotional,” Freda said, and he’s trying to bring it all together and process it. “We’re all bombarded with memes, and disparate ideas, and news,” he said, so people will bring their own ideas when they see his work. Though some people avoid the news, saying it overwhelms them, Freda’s commentary continues. “Sometimes the truth is not popular,” he said. “Sometimes my work is not popular, but that’s almost irrelevant.” For him, it’s about defining the era he lives in, “in the way I want to define it, while trying to be honest and objective.”

The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond House Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James will present Connecting Art to Life from April 22 through May 13. There will be an opening reception April 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.stacarts.org.

‘Sam Juliet’ by Margaret Minardi
‘Sam Juliet’ by Margaret Minardi
‘Sam Juliet’ by Margaret Minardi

We all recognize that the works of William Shakespeare continue to inspire us. In recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Huntington Arts Council invited artists to submit work, literal or abstract, which was inspired by the line “A rose by any other name” from Juliet’s balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet.” Barbara Applegate, director of the Steinberg Museum of Art at Hillwood/LIU Post, juried the exhibit.

Participating artists include Shain Bard, Christine Ardito, Joanna Gazzola, Jeff Grinspan, Ellen Hallie Schiff, Shelley Holtzman, Chrysoula Highland, Yossi Manor, Pamela Waldroup, Jackie Stevens, Jan Guarino, Michael Fairchild, Michael Chait, Holly Black, Chris Ann Ambery, Brian Grandfield, Terry Canavan, Frances Ianarella, Joanne Schenendorf, Margaret Minardi, John Killelea, Vera Mingovits, William Grabowski, Jim Finlayson, Susan Sterber, Rodee Hansen, Karen Levine, Randy Ilowite, Jessica Henry, John Moore, Geraldine Hoffman, Linda Adelstein Watson, Caryn Coville, Richard Gardner, Robbii Wessen, Renee Caine, Alisa Shea, Jason Trentacoste and Jovanna Hopkins.

Best in Show was awarded to Margaret Minardi for “Sam Juliet,” and honorable mentions were given to Christine Ardito for  “Roses for Anna” and William Grabowski for “Side Show.”

“A Rose by Any Other Name” will be on exhibit at the HAC’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington from March 24 to April 16 with an artist reception on April 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. and a curated talk with Barbara Applegate on April 14 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend these free events. For more information, call 631-271-8423.

‘Side Show’ by William Grabowski
‘Side Show’ by William Grabowski