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Port Jefferson Village Center

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The Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island will present its annual Mustang Car Show at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson Sunday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cars from 1965 to present will be on view inside and outside the center. Free admission.  For more information, call 631-371-1432 or 631-802-2160.

Volunteers at a previous Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson line up for the Giant Puppet Parade. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Hear ye! Hear ye! Casting of “street characters” for the 25th annual Port Jefferson Charles Dickens Festival on Dec. 4 and 5 is currently underway. Adults, teens and children are needed for scripted scenes and improv as well as some singing and dancing. No experience necessary. Participants have the option of joining for a portion of the festival weekend or for the long haul for the rehearsals and scenes. An informational meeting will be held on August 24 at 7 p.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson. For more information, email Karen at [email protected].

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The Port Jefferson Village Center hosts a Meditation for a Healthy Lifestyle program at Harborfront Park, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson on Sunday, Aug. 15 at 1:30 p.m. Join long-time meditator John Bednarik for an engaging workshop that will teach you practical strategies to reduce stress and create a more healthy and positive lifestyles. Please bring a chair, blanket or mat for seating. Class will be held indoors in case of inclement weather. Free but registration is required by visiting www.portjeff.com. For more information, call 631-802-2160.

By Tara Mae

It runs in the family! The third annual All in the Family art show opened at the Port Jefferson Village Center’s Gallery on June 2. “This particular show is for artists [who] have a family member who is also artistic to show how artistic talent runs in families. It is my most requested show; artists really look forward to it every year. Many contact me and ask when I will be having it,” said Gay Gatta, the exhibit’s organizer and curator.

A number of artists, like Marg Governale of Middle Island, have participated in the show before and appreciate the opportunity to share the experience with siblings, children, and grandchildren. 

“[The] exhibit is really exciting because I get to see not only great art from artists that I know but the talents of their family members … who may not usually exhibit their art. It’s fun to see their excitement and to hear their stories of how and why they are here,” said Governale. 

“It also gives me the opportunity to do something special with a family member, to bring them into my world. In the past my brother, Jeff, has participated in this exhibit. This year my sister, Susan [Carricato], also an aspiring artist, is exhibiting alongside me.”

Governale, who is primarily a landscape painter, chose to submit her landscape oil painting, Summer at Eagle Lake, to the exhibit. Carricato’s piece, A Day at the Vineyard, is an acrylic landscape painting. 

In addition to landscapes, the show features portraits and more abstract works, although there is no overarching stylistic theme to the show. Its concept was developed by Gatta after discussing familial talents with artists and identifying the abilities in her own family. 

“When speaking to the artists, they would mention members of their family that were very talented. I have many in my family as well and thought it would be a unique show and fun for the artists to exhibit with their families,” Gatta said. 

Beyond showcasing talent, the exhibit is a way for inexperienced artists to show their work in a gallery for the first time, according to Gatta. Having it at the gallery also eliminates some of the economic barriers artists may otherwise encounter, making it easier for any interested party to participate. 

“So many [artists] don’t feel their art is good enough for a gallery … This gives them the push they need to show their art and have others critique it positively, so they just might continue to exhibit their artwork. I have always had my shows in free venues … otherwise it can be very costly for an artist to exhibit,” she added. 

For Terry Falquero of Sound Beach, exhibiting art with her daughter, Tabitha Grit, was a realized ambition. 

Falquero’s landscape oil painting, On the Rocks, Please, is a view of the Neversink River in upstate New York. Grit’s entry into the exhibit, Honey Bee, is a mixed media portrait.  

“My daughter Tabitha is also an artist, but rarely exhibits her artwork in this forum. She prefers to show online. Ever since she was a little girl coloring with crayons, I’d dream of us some day showing artwork together. Now with this exhibit, it has finally come true,” she said. 

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A East Broadway, Port Jefferson will present All in the Family Reunited through June 30. The second floor gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free. Join the artists for a COVID-safe reception on Sunday, June 6, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call 802-2160 or visit www.portjeff.com/gallery/. 


By Melissa Arnold

The vast majority of artists will say they are influenced by the work of someone else. Whether it’s a contemporary from their own time or someone from long ago, artists blossom from appreciating and studying others.

This sentiment is held dear by members of the Smithtown Artists Group (SAG), a small network of local artists who gather for creativity and camaraderie alike.

Their friendship began at the main branch of the Smithtown Library, where artists of all backgrounds and skill levels have gathered on Tuesday afternoons to paint, some of them for decades.

“When my kids were in school I ran a lot of arts and crafts programs, and then in their later teens I took a watercolor class,” said Judy Contrino of Stony Brook, who began painting at the library 20 years ago. “Joining the library group was a wonderful experience because there were so many different mediums being used by the people there, and some of them were quite accomplished. I was a self-taught artist. And it’s wonderful to have newcomers improve and show them how they’ve grown. No one is asking you to be Rembrandt — it’s just a place to come, relax and learn from those around you.”

A few years ago, some of the library artists expressed a desire to broaden their horizons and pursue exhibitions. Roughly a dozen people came together to form what is now the Smithtown Artists Group.

With the help of a new website to showcase some of their work online, the group was able to hold exhibits in libraries around Long Island, including Harborfields, Sachem, Kings Park and East Northport. After a long hiatus during the pandemic, they are thrilled to share their work again. Their newest exhibit, A Potpourri of Art, will be on display this spring at the Port Jefferson Village Center.

Featuring more than 80 pieces from 8 artists, the exhibit will feature works done in watercolor, acrylic, oil, colored pencil and more. Each artist has a unique flair and favorite subjects, making it a great fit for art enthusiasts of all kinds.

Carol Kelly of Kings Park spent many years simply appreciating the work of others before trying her own hand at painting. “It wasn’t until I was around 45 that I started learning to paint. I would go to art exhibits and often say, ‘Wouldn’t it be marvelous to be able to create beautiful works of art for other people to enjoy?” she recalled. 

“I started taking watercolor classes, and then some time later saw a listing in my library’s newsletter about the group meeting in Smithtown. I’ve been there for 13 years and enjoy the process of critiquing and learning from one another.”  

Kelly enjoys painting landscapes and scenes from her garden, but occasionally branches out into other subjects, as with a painting of a bird she titled “Looking for Lunch.”

Lucia Alberti of Smithtown has spent the past 10 years painting at the library and was excited to participate in exhibitions with longtime friends in the group. Alberti said that the majority of her work is done in acrylics with a focus on imaginative realism.

“We have a lot of variety in our experiences and what we enjoy doing as artists. Some people teach art and have exhibited before, while others simply enjoy art and being creative,” she said. “We are friends, and we admire one another, which adds another layer of joy to our painting. Getting to do this exhibit together is a very special opportunity.”

The exhibit is a welcome source of joy for the community, too.

“We’re happy to be doing shows again — this is our second exhibit since the pandemic,” said Sue Orifici, head of graphic, archival and special projects at the Port Jefferson Village Center. “There’s a nice mix of art to enjoy in this show and we hope people will stop by and visit.”

Participating artists include Lucia Alberti, Cheryl Cass-Zampiva, Carol Ceraso, Judy Contrino, Ruth Johnson, Carol Kelly, Anita Simmons and Joanie Whalen.

A Potpourri of Art will be on display on the second floor of the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson from March 1 to April 30. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information about the exhibit, call the Village Center at 631-802-2160. To learn more about the Smithtown Artists Group, visit http://sagartists.wixsite.com/sagartists.

Port Jefferson Village Center. Photo by Heidi Sutton
UPDATED 03/15/21

Take a bite out of hunger

The Port Jefferson Conservancy is currently hosting a food drive at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson through March 20. Food pantries are in short supply after the holiday season and need support. If you’re coming to the PJVC to skate, view the latest art gallery exhibit or to visit Harborfront Park, please bring a canned food or non-perishable item to benefit local families. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, please call 631-802-2160.

By Julianne Mosher

The Christmas season may be over, but one local man just won a holiday gift that will last him for quite a while. 

Ron Carlson, a long-time employee of the Village of Port Jefferson, recently won a prize of $1,000 in gift cards thanks to the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s most recent raffle.  

Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations at the chamber, said that during December’s annual Festival of Trees display inside the Port Jefferson Village Center a Gift Tree was set up next to the Festival’s main tree in hopes of raising money for the chamber. Visitors to the holiday exhibit were able to purchase a $5 raffle ticket to take a chance in winning gift certificates from over 25 chamber partners (a combined total of $1,000), plus a mini tree the family can use next year. 

A resident of Miller Place, Carlson had worked as Parks and Recreation Director for 35 years, he said, and even after retirement decided to come back to the village part-time. “I have a strong feeling for the village and I wanted to support it when I saw the gift tree and the raffle,” Carlson said. “Barbara and the chamber are doing such a great job.” He said he didn’t expect to win, but when he did, it was “a great surprise.”

“There are a lot of fun things to do in the village,” he said, naming some of the shops and restaurants that donated including the Fox and Owl Inn, The Steam Room, Torte Jeff Pie Co., The East End Shirt Company and more. 

Carlson said he has already started using some of the certificates, bringing his wife Gina to Pasta Pasta last week to celebrate her birthday. And even though he lives a little more east than where the village is, he said that events like these keep bringing him and his family back. 

“It’s a fabulous place to come to, whether you’re a village resident or not,” he said. “Port Jefferson is one of the jewels of Long Island.”

Ransome said the raffle helped raise $200 which will go towards the operational budget of the chamber. “[The prize} couldn’t have happened to a nicer family that supports the village and the chamber of commerce.”

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A East Broadway, Port Jefferson kicks off the holiday season with its annual Festival of Trees featuring 20 professionally decorated 6 ft. trees on display on the second floor now through Dec. 30. Enjoy a magnificent display of themed holiday trees.

Overlooking the ice-skating rink, the festival starts with an evergreen thanking essential workers, and features photos of the men and women who put their lives at risk. Other trees decorated by residents, their co-workers and families celebrate the season and shine a light to the local community.

Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Social distancing protocols will be followed and masks are required. Free. For more information, call 802-2160.

All photos by Julianne Mosher

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts a special Cookieland event, an afternoon of cookie decorating, at the Port Jefferson Village Center’s Harbor Cove Room, 3rd floor, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson on Dec. 12 and 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. The cookie kit, from La Bonne Boulangerie Bakery, includes 2 large sugar cookies with all the trimmings, icing and decorations. Masks will be required. Participants will be socially spaced with additional clear barriers at tables. $15 per person. Preregister by visiting www.portjeffchamber.com.

By David Luces 

For Susan Orifici, head of graphic, archival and special projects at the Village Center in Port Jefferson, a walk along the water at Harborfront Park inspired a plan to spread positivity in the community during these uncertain times. 

“I saw the rocks on the shore and I thought of the idea of doing something creative with them; something that would be perfect for families and children who come to the park,” she said. 

The idea culminated into what she calls the “Be Kind Movement,” where individuals can come up to a table in front of the Village Center, pick out a rock, take it home and paint a message of hope, kindness or a fun design. Once they are done painting his of her rock, Orifici said they can place their rock in the designated “Kindness Garden” located behind the Long Island Explorium at the Children’s Park off East Broadway. 

Orifici also suggested that individuals use permanent markers or acrylic paint when designing their rock as these will last longer out in the elements. 

The graphic artist said the table and sign in front of the building is there 24/7. “We try to have it up everyday,” she said. “If it’s too windy or if it’s raining we take it down for the time being.”

In a short time, community members have embraced the movement, with almost  two dozen decorated rocks placed in the kindness garden so far. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the feedback we’ve been getting; everybody loves the idea,” Orifici said. “I wanted to connect with others during these times and  provide a ray of hope.”

Orifici, who is currently working with five other employees inside the Village Center, said it can be lonely sometimes as there’s only so much they can do at the moment but seeing the progress of the kindness garden has been uplifting. 

“It feels great seeing people stop by the table and taking a rock home with them,” she said.  

While the Village Center remains closed to the public, Orifici said she hopes once restrictions are lessened by the state they will be given the go-ahead to conduct a soft-opening of the center followed by an official reopening. 

With the ongoing success of the kindness garden, Orifici said she hasn’t thought about expansion yet but mentioned that participants could start placing rocks in the flower beds around Harborfront Park. 

She is thankful for the support so far. 

“Port Jeff is a tight community. We understand how they feel during this time, we miss them here [at the Village Center],” she said. “We hope they continue to be strong and keep being creative.”

Photos courtesy of Sue Orifici