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Mary Waka

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.

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 Tara Mae

Art traverses the boundaries that reality calls home. Silhouettes illuminated by soft sunlight; seascapes awash in mist; hints of humankind identified by what is left behind, Smithtown Township Arts Council’s latest exhibit at Mills Pond Gallery, Celebrating Nature and Light, explores environmental elements of everyday life. 

On view from Oct. 28 to Dec. 9, the gorgeous show features 66 works of art. All watercolor or gauche, the pieces were created by 49 artists from 28 Long Island communities, as well as the greater state of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Dakota. 

Although other exhibits at the Mills Pond Gallery have featured watercolors, Celebrating Nature and Light highlights the medium’s malleability in conveying the nuances of the natural world. 

“I believe that watercolor possesses a radiant quality that best conveys both light and mood. It imparts an airy and transparent quality to the skies while infusing the landscape with a vibrant array of colors,” said juror and watercolorist Joel Popadics, Vice President/Treasurer of the American Watercolor Society.

Shades and tones, whether muted or ebullient, entice the audience to immerse itself in the places portrayed in the paintings. Watercolor blends edges of reality with intrinsic openness of imagination. Realistic scenes are imbued with an ethereal essence that feels both intimate and expansive. 

Such qualities inspired Popadics in choosing the exhibit’s underlying motifs of nature and light. “I’ve always been drawn to watercolor and I have worked with it my entire career. The unpredictable quality of watercolor makes this medium special,” he said. “As a landscape painter, this theme is particularly close to my heart.” 

It is an appreciation shared by Mills Pond Gallery’s Executive Director Allison Cruz. She organizes a few landscape shows a year, but had never before organized a juried watercolor exhibit at the gallery. 

“Landscape is of course a popular subject, especially here on Long Island. Watercolor paints are transparent and fluid, making them a perfect medium for capturing light,” Cruz said. 

The accessibility of watercolor is not limited to locations familiar to locals, but encompasses those vistas that may only be known to the artists themselves. Natural light enhances evocative views that are demurely dappled or boldly bright, accentuating humanity either in the signs of its presence or the abundance of its absence. 

“Art is subjective so it’s important to respect the diversity of artistic expression…I also think it’s fascinating to see the unique personal interpretations that each artist brings to the theme,” Popadics said, a sentiment also shared by Cruz.

“I look at every new exhibit as an opportunity to create new art lovers…to get more people to enjoy art and to help artists get their creations to new audiences,” said Cruz. 

Exhibiting artists include Alexander Kaluzhny, Alisa Shea, Angela Mirro, Ann Shoshkes, Antonio Masi, Brenda L Bechtel, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christopher Buckley, Daniel Walworth, Denis Ponsot, Diana Aliberti, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gentry L. Croshaw, Gisela Skoglund, Jan Guarino, Jeffrey Van Esselstine , Joan Vera Martorana, Joanne Teets, Joyce Bressler, Karen Bennett, Karen B Davis, Karin Weibert, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Lisa Claisse, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lynn Staiano, Lynn Liebert, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Mary Waka, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia Morrison, Patty Yantz, Robert Tuska, Roberta Rogers, Robin Foreman, Sally Anne Keller, Susan Toplitz, Susan Herbst, Teresa Cromwell, Tianzhou Zhao, Tracy Tekverk, and Victoria A. Beckert.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving weekend). The public is invited to an opening reception for ‘Celebrating Nature and Light’ on Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

'Perennial Chrysanthemum' by Natalie Preston

What is your favorite childhood memory? Going to the beach, strawberry picking, holidays, road trips? From April 22 to May 20, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James will present Childhood Memories, an exhibit featuring 74 works from 69 artists who were asked to explore the early rituals, the rites of passage, and the innocence of early life experiences that celebrate the passionate world of childhood. 

Juried by Seung Lee, the exhibit reveals that many artists integrate their life experiences into their work either consciously or unconsciously, often incorporating what they see and sense in the present with their memories. 

“Memories are often the inspiration for art. Artists give life to the characters and environments of our childhood memories, recording fragments of dreams, snippets of passing time, and experiences that have shaped our lives,” said Lee. 

Some works evoke happy memories with vibrant colors that portray the playfulness of childhood, while others echo personal struggles in the artist’s inner emotional world of their childhood. Visitors will see artwork in a wide array of mediums including photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and more.

Participating artists include Nari Ahn, Kirsten Angel-Lambert, Brenda L. Bechtel, Michelle Bond, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Steve Caputo, Linda Ann Catucci, Cynthia Celone, Rocco Citeno, Linda C. Clune, Jane Corrarino, Donna Corvi, Robert Crawford, Daniela Crimi, Eleanor Day, Patricia  DiGiovanni, Beria Dumankaya, JoAnne Dumas, Paul Edelson, Barry Feuerstein, Noah Hanselman, Gia Horton, John Hunt, Genesis Johnson, George Junker, Moritz  Kellerman, Lynn  Kinsella, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Mark Levine, Ellie Liu, Bobbie Ludwig, Caitlin Marx, Suzanne McLeod, Avrel Menkes, Jonathan Mills, Alison Mosher, Frank Musto, Monica Nask, Loretta Oberheim, Raissa Oliveira-Silva, Eileen Palmer, Paula Pelletier, Rima Potter, Kelly Powell, Linda Prentiss, Natalie Preston, Toni Raiten-D’Antonio, Jesse Ramirez, William Dunham Reed, Jairid Rossow, Irene Ruddock, Michael Sapone, Gisela Skoglund, Mike Stanko, Robert Stenzel, Christine Kane Stevens, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Tracy Tekverk, Terry Tramantano, Robert Tuska, Carlos Vega, Daniela Velez, Judy Vine, Mary Waka, Steve Walker, Patty Yantz and Tianzhou Zhao.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Please note the gallery will be closed on May 14. Admission to the gallery is always 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.