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Mills Pond Gallery

Mills Pond Gallery. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Mills Pond Gallery takes heart that some communities across the country are beginning to see fewer cases of COVID-19, but we remain concerned about the well-being of our artists, staff, gallery visitors and families in our communities. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to postpone many of our planned gallery exhibitions. Visit our exhibition page for schedules www.millspondgallery.org.

We have posted our Summer Art Classes Program on our website, offering over 30 creative art classes for children ages 5 and up. Class sizes will be kept small to continue social distancing and strict cleaning and disinfecting procedures will continue throughout the summer.

We recognize this is a challenging time for artists, schools, teachers and communities. At the same time, we are encouraged as we see creativity flourishing everywhere as people quickly adjust to a changing reality.  It is certainly reassuring to see so many organizations and families do so much to ensure that arts, culture and creativity remain a part of our lives.

We believe the arts are indispensable in building good character in the citizens of our communities fostering communication, offering new insights on the world and adding to the greater appreciation of both life and society. We look forward to reopening soon, engaging you with the arts so you are able to See What the Arts Can Open Your Eyes To!

We look forward to brighter days, good health and healing for all!

Allison J. Cruz

Executive Director

Mills Pond Gallery

By Heidi Sutton

What inspires you? Perhaps the color blue? From now through March 21, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James is featuring a unique juried exhibit centered around this calming color. Titled Inspirations in Blue, it highlights the talents of 46 artists from Long Island and beyond with 57 pieces in mediums including acrylic, ink, colored pencil, mixed media, oil, pastel and watercolor. 

The call for entries challenged artists to enter artwork that reflected the captivating power of the color blue, and how it has enhanced the subject, theme or mood of the artwork. Allison Cruz, executive director at the Mills Pond Gallery, credits her staff member Irene Tetrault with coming up with the original idea of using a color.

“Blue represents the sky and sea. It is associated with freedom, imagination, sensitivity … I have seen many shows about colors and knowing how common the color blue is, especially in local landscape paintings, but I wanted this exhibit to look just a bit deeper into the color,” she explained.

The result was overwhelming. “We received over 183 pieces for this show! The exhibit was only posted locally,” said Cruz. “Sometimes I wish I had double the space to fill in the gallery so we could accept more work! On a whole, most entries were Long Island artists (or past Long Islanders who heard about the exhibit). There is such an abundance of talent on Long Island and we are so lucky to have so many wonderful spaces to show their work!”

Cruz is pleased with the result. “It is a beautiful show to look at … very pleasing to the eye. Viewers will find exactly what the call for work asked for: entries may range from serene landscapes to vibrant abstracts and anything in between,” she said.

Exhibiting artists include Lucia Alberti (Smithtown), Amal (Port Jefferson), Tina Anthony (Northport), Shain Bard (Huntington Station), Ernest Bellico (East Northport), Karen Bennett (Medford), Ivy Michelle Berg (Smithtown), Marlene Bezich (Middle Island), Joyce Bressler (Commack), Linda Ann Catucci (St. James), Gail L. Chase (Stony Brook), Donna Corvi (Montauk), Karin J. Dutra (Port Jefferson), Paul Jay Edelson (Poquott), Ellen Ferrigno (Port Jefferson), Vivian Gattuso (Ronkonkoma), Rhoda Gordon (Port Jefferson Station), Joyce Greenbaum (Smithtown), Jan Guarino (East Northport), Maria Hansson (Ronkonkoma), David Herman (East Meadow), Katherine Hiscox (Commack), James Kelson (Stony Brook), Lynn Kinsella (Brookhaven), John Koch (Hauppauge), Liz Kolligs (Glen Cove), Terence McManus (Mount Sinai), Margaret Minardi (Northport), Roni Murillo (Valley Stream), and Gail Neuman (Islip Terrace).

Also exhibiting are Robert Roehrig (East Setauket), Irene Ruddock (Stony Brook), Anita Schnirman (Kings Park), Joan Schwartzman (Maryland), Joan Sicignano (Central Islip), Gisela Skoglund (Kings Park), Mike Stanko (Valley Stream), Irene Tetrault (East Meadow), Susan Trawick (East Setauket), Oxana Uryasev (Port Jefferson), Nicholas Valentino (North Babylon), Mary Ann Vetter (St. James), Don Weber (Freeport), Nancy Weeks (East Setauket), Patty Yantz (Setauket) and Theodora Zavala (East Meadow).

The winners were announced at an artist reception on Feb. 22. First place was awarded to Gail Neuman for “Birches in Blue,” second place went to Karin J. Dutra for “Pria do Norte.” Honorable mentions were Shain Bard for “Birches in Blue Bottle,” Karen Bennett for “Tis the Season,” Marlene Bezich for “Your Colors,” Liz Kolligs for “Little Guide in Deep Winter,”  Margaret Minardi for “Summer Blue” and Nicholas Valentino for “Shades of Blue.”

Because of all the positive feedback, Cruz is considering a similar theme in the future. “I’m already thinking about one with a much less common color! We really like to challenge artists to stretch themselves … to try something new.”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present Inspirations in Blue through March 21. Up next is Hand Drawn:  A Juried Exhibition of Drawings opening April 25. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Heidi Sutton

Do you have a case of the winter blues? A surefire cure is a visit to the Winners Fine Art Showcase, currently on view at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James through Feb. 15. The gorgeous exhibit features the works of local artists Ross Barbera, Kyle Blumenthal, Julie Doczi and Liz Kolligs, who won the 2018 Members Showcase, along with Cliff Miller who took first place in the 2019 Water, Water Everywhere exhibit. The artists were selected by juror Dawn Lee, art curator of the Omni Gallery in Uniondale, professor and chair of the art department at St. Joseph’s College, and coordinator of the artist-in-residency program at Fire Island National Seashore. An artist reception was held on Jan. 25.

According to STAC’s Executive Director Allison Cruz, the annual exhibit was created over 30 years ago “to allow the public to experience a larger body of work from winning artists.” Each artist chose from 6 to 14 of their favorite pieces to showcase and then Cruz was tasked with the design aspect, filling four gallery rooms and the center hall on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

“That is my favorite part of the show … those days before when I get to spend time with the works and figure out how each piece might be best presented in what space,” she said. “It’s a challenging puzzle but so satisfying and I really learn so much about the artist during this time.” 

The executive director is proud of the end result. “I think this is an impressive exhibit. There is such a wide variety of painting styles and mediums and techniques by five accomplished artists … and all from Long Island! Viewers should easily connect with the works in this show.”

While completely unintentional, much of the artwork shares a common theme − the beauty of Mother Earth. “I love the threads of nature that run through almost all the works in this show,” said Cruz. “Each artist clearly has a love and respect for the natural world. Although their work is very different in style, medium and color palette, that theme is strong throughout the show. That does not usually happen in a Winners Show but when it does it is just wonderful. It makes for a strong exhibit.” 

A perfect example of this is “Mountain Mallards” by renowned illustrator, portrait artist and muralist Cliff Miller. Beautifully executed, it is sure to be a conversation starter (yes, it is an oil painting; no it is not a photograph!). The Seaford resident has several other pieces in the show including a jaw-dropping Western-themed portrait titled “Desperado” and a humorous oil on gesso panel piece titled “The McDivots,” which features a golfer riding an alligator to the next tee.

Pastel lovers will be drawn to Julie Doczi’s delicate landscapes including “Croatian Stream,” “Connecticut Marsh” and one of the artist’s favorite, “The Lavender Harvester.” In her artist statement, the Port Jefferson Station resident said, “My journey into painting as an adult began when I encountered the medium of pastel. I began to find my view of the world around me opening up in a way never experienced before. It is a joyous experience to put these perceptions onto paper, to capture a scene and ultimately have it achieve its own unique identity.” Doczi’s “First Bloom” depicting a blue morning glory is simply stunning.

If you have a soft heart for horses, you’ll love the large equine oil on canvas paintings of Liz Kolligs including “A Herd of Your Own,” “Reflection” and “Bell – A Portrait.” The artist also has several beautiful wildlife paintings on display including “At the Edge of the Woods” and “Mill Neck Creek.” As a lecturer and demonstrator of equine painting techniques and anatomy throughout Long Island, the Glen Cove resident has truly perfected her art.

Perhaps the most unique art represented in the exhibit is by Kyle Blumenthal, who also has the most pieces in the show. Drawing inspiration from nature, her large 3-D paintings made from fabric, including several from her “All the Future Is in Today” series, explore the ocean and the Earth in an abstract manner. 

“I like to see my work float in midair,” the Stony Brook resident said in a recent interview with TBR News Media. “More and more of my paintings have started to come away from the wall as if to free themselves from restrictions and straight edges.”

Rounding out the exhibit are the massive landscape paintings of Ross Barbera. Created in acrylic on canvas and watercolor on paper, Barbera “strives to create images that communicate a sense of beauty, painterly integrity, and capture specific places in terms of time, light, space and texture,” according to the Ronkonkoma resident’s artist statement. One can’t miss the 48- by 72-inch winter-themed piece, “The Athabasca Glacier, Alberta Canada” or the eye-popping “Bonnie’s Summer Garden.”

“These talented artists are making passionate statements about the things they value in this world but in a gentle way,” said Cruz. “There is so much room for wonder!”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Winners Showcase through Feb. 15. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'Matinee' by AM DeBrincat, oil and acrylic paint and transfer print on canvas

By Melissa Arnold

In the coming weeks, Mother Nature will show us both sides of her personality as the cold darkness of winter melts into colorful spring. It’s a time of opposites, with life and death at the center of it all.

The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James is reflecting on these themes with its newest fine art exhibition, In the Garden of Eden: Artist Reflections, on display now through April 14.

‘Mirror’ by Yvonne Katz

“Each artist I selected helped tell a story for me — the origin of choice, good and evil, light and darkness, the origin of creation,” said guest curator Melissa Masci, who developed the concept for the exhibit. “The premise of this show is that there’s balance to every aspect of life, in the experiences we have and the decisions we make that define us. There’s a duality at play — you can create something incredibly light and beautiful from the darkest experiences.”

It is the first time that STAC director Allison Cruz has invited a guest curator to the gallery, and while she admits it wasn’t easy to hand over the reins, she knew Masci’s vision had to be shared.

Masci, a Seaford resident, is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Her career has led her from designing women’s apparel and store window displays to teaching art classes for children. Cruz invited her to teach at the St. James gallery, and they’ve built a fierce friendship since.

“Melissa visited the gallery just by chance about seven years ago, and we struck up a conversation,” Cruz recalled in a recent interview. “She fell in love with the space — the light and the spirit of it. And she’s such a genuine and creative person.”

The unique exhibit, which fills four gallery rooms and the center hall gallery on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion, will feature the works of eight artists using a variety of mediums and styles, including oil, acrylic, mixed media and sculpture.

All of the artists are contemporary, and the majority are local to Long Island. Masci aimed to choose artists from a mix of backgrounds and experiences to expose visitors to something new, she said.

‘Ode to Giuseppe Sanmartino’ by Nicholas Frizalone

Brooklyn-based painter AM DeBrincat creates layered works on canvas, blending painting, digital photography and even printmaking for a unique style. She uses images pulled from online searches and Xerox transferring for her pieces, which explore how we create a sense of self in the digital age. “I have always felt compelled to make art, ever since I was young. I’m not sure why, but it’s always been such a strong impulse and brought me joy, so I don’t over analyze it – I just go with it,” she said.

Nicholas Frizalone of Lake Grove attended Stony Brook University and Long Island University before becoming an art educator and creator. He paints, draws and creates prints that explore the implication of language in art. “Through the use of painting, drawing, and printmaking, I wish to investigate the implications of language in art, and communicate in a way words will never be able to accomplish,” he said.

Jennifer Hannaford is more than just an artist ‒ the Port Jefferson resident is also a forensic scientist. To get in touch with her creative spirit, Hannaford began to create artistic mug shots using her fingerprints. Working primarily in oils, she enjoys exploring themes that include life, ascension and balance.

Ashley Johnson of Buffalo works with ceramics, collage and photography but expresses her creativity most through stippled ink drawings and large-scale ink paintings. “Creating art is a therapeutic way for me to work through my emotions … to dig deep and explore my trauma, joy, confusion, anger, love, and anything else I need to release,” she said.

Smithtown artist Yvonne Katz believes art is the “elixir that allows us to fluidly slip and break the threshold of all boundaries.” She loves working with oil and bronze because there is a maneuverable interaction with these mediums, as if the materials collaborate in the process of realizing the results.

‘Flower Puzzle’ by Neta Leigh

Neta Leigh is a surreal-impressionist photographer from Locust Valley. Inspired by the sights and locales that surround her daily life, Leigh is most drawn to photograph in natural light during times of fog, clouds, snow or rain. She also enjoys photographing fruit and flowers in her dining room before and after destruction.

Peter Bragino of Copiague is a multidiscipline, mixed-media artist, designer, treasure hunter and soul searcher. “In the same way we build layers in life to become who we are as human beings I allow my creations to take on the same life, the same layering, the same history. This process naturally led me to a mixed-media workflow where any medium is a viable medium to complete the formation of the life that the creation would like to take,” he said. Bragino will be collaborating with artist Kevin Corcoran for this exhibit.

“I’m always looking for something unique to bring into the gallery – not just landscapes or realism or abstracts all the time,” said Cruz. In regards to the exhibit, “I had only seen a few of the pieces initially. But the themes in it are so evident, strong and beautiful. It’s unlike anything else in this area, and I think people will really enjoy the experience.”

The community is invited to an opening reception on March 16 at 5:30 p.m.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, St. James. Hours are Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Visit www.millspondgallery.org or call 631-862-6575 for more information.

By Heidi Sutton

For almost a month now, the Mills Pond House Gallery has been exhibiting the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s annual Member Artist Showcase, a unique exhibit featuring the original artwork of 61 STAC member artists. The juried show will run through Dec. 2 and most of the works are available for purchase.

While typically a juror or curator selects works for an exhibit, the Member Artist Showcase allows the artists to choose what piece they would like to display, which is most likely their favorite or a new piece they want to debut.

“I always like the member show but this is a pretty member show and very eclectic,” said STAC director Allison Cruz during a recent guided tour. “I’m proud of these artists,” she said, adding that there are many new members this year.

It is also a very diverse show, with many different types of medium represented including oil, acrylic, watercolor, solarplate etching, photography, charcoal, pastel, torn paper collage, colored pencil and mosaic sculpture.

Exhibiting artists, which hail from 33 communities across Long Island as well as North Carolina, Alaska and Maryland, include Amal, Chris Ann Ambery, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Karen Bennett, James Berger as well as Barbara Bilotta, Renee Blank, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Susan Carney, Linda Ann Catucci, Carol Ceraso, Jane Corrarino, Donna Corvi, Donna Crinnian, Bernadette De Nyse, Julie Doczi, Paul Edelson, Vivian Gattuso, Maureen Ginipro, Rhoda Gordon, Justin Greenwald, Diann Haist, Diane Henderson, Katherine Hiscox, Donna Howard, David Jaycox Jr, Anne Katz, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Lynn Kinsella, John Koch, Liz Kolligs, Susan Kozodoy-Silkowitz, Frank Loehr, Terence McManus, Frederic Mendelsohn, Margaret Minardi, Karen George Mortimore, Diane Oliva, Eileen W. Palmer, Sean Pollock, Lynne Rivellese, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Michael Sauer, Lori Scarlatos, Joan Schwartzman, Ken Schwartzman, James Scovel, Gisela Skoglund, Mike Stanko, Gunter Stern, Nicholas Valentino, Adriann Valiquette, Sherona Varulkar Kelley, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Nancy Weeks, Constance Sloggatt Wolf and Patty Yantz.

This year’s juror of awards was Dawn Lee, art curator of the Omni Gallery in Uniondale, professor and chair of the art department at St. Joseph’s College and coordinator of the artist-in-residency program at Fire Island National Seashore. 

Tasked with choosing four winners, Lee picked Ross Barbera’s “Johnston Canyon, Alberta Canada,” Kyle Blumenthal’s “Looking Within,” Julie Doczi’s “Winter Morning” and Liz Kolligs’ “Rider at Old Field Farm.” These winners will be invited to participate in a future Winners Showcase. 

Lee also selected four Honorable Mentions including Diann Haist’s “Chicken Minder,” David Jaycox Jr.’s “Meadow View,” Frederic Mendelsohn’s “Mustard Field” and Pamela Waldroup’s “Imperial Staircase, Manor House, Bayard Cutting Arboretum.”

The Mills Pond House Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Member Artist Showcase through Dec. 2 (closed Nov. 21 to 25). 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. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'Gamecock Cottage Stony Brook' by Linda Ann Catucci

By Heidi Sutton

‘Off Duty’ by Robert Roehrig

The lazy days of summer are finally upon us, a perfect time to drop by the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery to check out its annual juried summer exhibition, Capturing the Spirit of Long Island.

“So many Long Island painters find creative inspiration from the local landscape,” explained  STAC’s Executive Director Allison Cruz in a recent email. “Each brings an individual style and vision to their work so each exhibit is unique. Our Island provides endless possibilities for artistic compositions. I always look forward to seeing what hidden treasures the artists uncover!”

According to Cruz, artists were invited to share their artistic vision of any of Long Island’s four seasons and submit art depicting the characteristics of its landscape, weather, wildlife or activities associated with winter, spring, summer or fall. A total of 49 works by 32 artists were accepted into the show and feature a variety of media including watercolor, gouache, oil acrylic, pastel and colored pencil.

‘Cupsogue Coast’ by Adriann Valiquette

The beautiful exhibit fills four gallery rooms and the center hall gallery on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

“I am always amazed by the unique work received for our Long Island exhibits and I have never been disappointed. And what is so wonderful is that each year we have new artists as well. Each show gives us an opportunity to see some new local talent and each year local artists step up with new work,” said Cruz. “We never exhibit the same piece more than once here at the gallery anyway,” she added.

Exhibiting artists include Ross Barbera (Ronkonkoma), Melanie Berardicelli (West Islip), Renee Blank (Holbrook), Renee Caine (Holtsville), Linda Ann Catucci (St. James), Donna Corvi (Flushing), Julie Doczi (Port Jefferson Station), Liz Fusco (Kings Park), Maureen Ginipro (Smithtown), David Jaycox Jr. (Northport), Anne Katz (Stony Brook), Kathee Shaff Kelson (Stony Brook), Jim Kelson (Stony Brook), Lynn Kinsella (Brookhaven), Mary Lor (New York), Joan Rockwell (Stony Brook), Robert Roehrig (East Setauket), Lori Scarlatos (St. James), Gisela Skoglund (Kings Park), Irene Tetrault (Westbury), Adriann Valiquette (Ridge), Mary Ann Vetter (St. James), Nancy Weeks (East Setauket) and Patty Yantz (Setauket).

‘Two Artists Intense Focus’ by David Jaycox Jr.

The executive director is excited to show off this new exhibit. “This is an opportunity to discover or maybe rediscover Long Island,” she said, adding, “viewers will see so much beauty and variety of our island … and sometimes seeing it through someone else’s eye can put you in touch with new places or new ideas you will be inspired to explore.”

The community is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. The winners will be announced at that time. 

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s juried summer exhibition through Sept. 9. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

‘Golden Grasses’ by Julie Doczi

By Heidi Sutton

The lazy days of summer are still a few weeks away, but inside Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery the flowers are in full bloom, a warm breeze of salt air tickles your nose, and if you listen closely, you can hear the splashing of water in a pool. There are other sights and sounds as well as you travel from room to room throughout the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion — a Ferris wheel goes round and round at a carnival, children giggle as they play hopscotch on the sidewalk and waves softly lap at a fishing boat tied to a dock.

Now in its 40th year, STAC’s annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition is back with fervor. Aptly named A Summer Song, the colorful show, which runs through June 24, features over 50 original works of art by 45 artists depicting scenes relating to summer. And if one catches your fancy, it may just be available for purchase.

Artists were invited to submit “representational images of summer-related sights, activities, impressions, or atmosphere — as well as surrealistic or abstract evocations inspired by the subject” from “images of sun, sea, surf and verdure to a more melancholy awareness of summer’s last gasp, a prelude to fall.”

And much to the delight of STAC’s Executive Director Allison Cruz, the entries that poured in by local artists from Bay Shore, Brookhaven, Centereach, East Hampton, East Northport, Farmingdale, Hauppauge, Hempstead, Holbrook, Holtsville, Huntington Station, Commack, Montauk, Nesconset, North Babylon, Northport, Patchogue, Port Jefferson, Ridge, Rocky Point, Ronkonkoma, Setauket, Smithtown, St. James and Stony Brook were on point. Artists from as far as Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Vermont answered the call as well.

According to Cruz, a national show is good for a lot of reasons. “There’s so much talent here but I see it as an eye opening experience for [local artists] in a way for them to learn how to grow their art,” she said.

Chosen mediums run the gamut from oil, pastel, acrylic, watercolor and pen and ink to paper lithograph, resin mix media and torn paper collage, stoneware and kiln-formed glass.

The exhibition’s juror was Carol Strickland, an art historian who contributes feature stories on visual art to Art in America magazine. Her articles on culture have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Art and Antiques, MOMUS and Private Journey magazine. The author of “The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern,” Strickland also writes a monthly column on art and politics for www.clydefitchreport.com. 

“The excitement in this exhibit for me was having a juror who has never juried anything out [on the Island] before and whose credentials throw the exhibit into a whole different light,” said Cruz, adding, “There are a lot of new artists this year.  [The juror] attracted a lot of new people.” 

“It was a pleasure to see so many varied responses to the theme, which hit all the notes in terms of sensory and aesthetic interpretations,” said Strickland. “Some were so expressive and lively, I felt a jolt of energy, as if inhaling a big gulp of freshening wind from the seashore. Others captured a more tranquil or pensive mood, inducing contemplation of both summer’s joy and transience.”

Participating artists include Janet Amalfitano, Shain Bard, Jorus Beasley, Victoria Beckert, Marta Beltramo, Renee Blank, Jean Marie Bucich, Renee Caine, Kevin Casey, Frank Casucci, Carol Ceraso, Gerry Chapleski, Donna Corvi, Claudia Cron, Julie Doczi, Anna Franklin, Janice Gabriel, Vivian Gattuso, Maureen Ginipro, Jan Guarino, Katherine Hiscox, Paul Hitchen, David Jaycox Jr., Jim Kelson, Lynn Kinsella, Mary Lor, Jeanette Martone, Frederic Mendelsohn, Joseph Miller, Margaret Minardi, Debra Puzzo, Kate Rocks, Micheline Ronningen, Joseph Santarpia, Stacey Schuman, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Margaret Shipman, Roxene Sloate, Rosemary Sloggatt, Hannah Steele, Rita Swanteson, Alexandra Turner, Nicholas J. Valentino, Adriann Valiquette and Patty Yantz.

While finding the task difficult because “the level of technical skill in the entries was impressive,” Strickland eventually chose a first-, second-, and third-place winner along with three honorable mentions.

First place was awarded to “Summer on the Sidewalk,” pencil and ink on paper, by  Jeanette Martone of Bay Shore; second place went to “Summer Bouquet,” acrylic on canvas, by Renee Blank of Holbrook; and “Eternize #3,” paper lithograph and mixed media by Claudia Cron from Connecticut, garnered third. 

Honorable Mentions include “Driveway of the Artist,” oil, by Frederic Mendelsohn of Port Jefferson Station; “Sight,” charcoal on wood, by Hannah Steele from Massachusetts; and “Golden Grasses,” pastel, by Julie Doczi of Port Jefferson Station.

According to Strickland, she made her final decisions based on presenting “a wide array of different facets of the theme, to show images that varied in media, subject and style,” as well as looking “for works that aroused a response in me.”

For Cruz, Strickland’s presence was an important one for the gallery and the participating artists. “For me personally, it was an opportunity that fits into my line of thinking,” she said. “When I do a juried show and I’m hiring a juror, the point of it is to give the artists a different experience, a different opportunity to have someone with a different background to look at their work.”

 For Strickland, the feeling was mutual. “In all cases, I appreciated each artist’s originality and individual approach to mark-making … and wish all entrants a satisfying future of art making.”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Member Artist Showcase through June 24. 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. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

All images courtesy of Allison Cruz