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Reboli Center for Art and History

Chocology’s Linda Johnson shares insights on savoring chocolate akin to tasting wine. Chocology’s Linda Johnson shares insights on savoring chocolate akin to tasting wine. Photo by Rob Pellegrino

By Mallie Jane Kim

Do you scarf chocolate or savor it? According to chocolatier Linda Johnson, tasting chocolate is akin to tasting wine: Take small bites and let the flavor develop in your mouth. 

“That started for me 10 years ago when I would see people just pack chocolate into their mouth and swallow it and say, ‘Oh, that was good,’” Johnson told the 30 attendees at a Three Village Historical Society tea hosted by the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook on March 11. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, it took me two days to make that.’”

Linda Johnson, owner of Chocology in Stony Brook. Photo courtesy Three Village Historical Society

In the sunlit art-lined Reboli Center, Johnson, who owns Chocology in Stony Brook, shared that her appreciation of chocolate springs from her knowledge of cacao’s rich history, from its position as a sacred tree and a currency among the Mayan and Aztec people through its evolution as a sweetened treat in Europe and to the “bean to bar” movement toward quality ingredients and good, child-labor-free processing today. She punctuated her presentation with delicious tastes of various high-quality chocolates from around the world.

Tea with a Spot of History has traditionally been held in the historical society’s cozy circa 1805 homestead on North Country Road in East Setauket, but according to TVHS community engagement manager Kimberly Phyfe, taking the event on the road allows for more attendees and solidifies partnerships among aligned organizations around the Three Village area. 

“Going on the road is a win-win-win,” Phyfe said. “It’s a win for us as the historical society, for our community partners and also for our presenters.”

Phyfe pointed out that several attendees were hearing about Johnson’s shop for the first time, and also that many people were browsing and making purchases from the Reboli Center gift shop. 

“Everybody wins, and that’s what we’re about,” Phyfe said. “We look at the whole community as our living museum.”

The Reboli Center hosted the Tea with a Spot of History on March 11. Photo courtesy Three Village Historical Society

For its next on-the-road installment, Tea with a Spot of History will visit The Long Island Museum on April 5 to celebrate the history of quilting with the Smithtown Stitchers, and Phyfe said she is in talks with other area venues to secure two other teas to round out the spring.

The tea events, in contrast with the more formal lecture series THVS holds at The Setauket Neighborhood House, are a chance for people to sit elbow to elbow, learn a bit of history interactively — and with some tasty treats. Phyfe said the teas used to draw mainly retirees, but have started to also attract others looking for “bite-sized infotainment” during a weekday, from stay-at-home parents to remote workers to those who are able to take a long lunch.

One attendee, Bianca Dresch of Stony Brook, volunteers for TVHS with her husband Dan, but can’t usually attend weekday activities due to work. Both found this event irresistible. “I try to attend whenever something grabs our attention — I saw this combination with the chocolate and Reboli, and I thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do this,’” she said. 

Teagoer Bonnie Dunbar of East Setauket does usually attend the teas and found the new venue refreshing: “It’s a nice way to get to know what’s around the neighborhood.”

Dunbar said the event piqued her interest in the history of chocolate, and she would have preferred to focus even more on that history. As for the tasters? Those left her satisfied. 

“I like the idea of putting the chocolate on your tongue and letting it melt, instead of gobbling it down like I usually do when I eat chocolate,” she said.

An item from the Pursuits Jewelry Collection

For the month of October, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook Village is showcasing the beautiful work of jewelry designer Vanassa Chan, founder of Pursuits.

A love of design, architecture and fashion is reflected in Vanassa Chan’s Pursuits jewelry designs. It is understandable since she earned her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design in the United Kingdom, and worked for many years as a designer in Canada. Her background in interior architecture has clearly influenced her jewelry lines and can be seen in the way they are created.

An item from the Pursuits Jewelry Collection

Every season’s collection begins with hand drawn designs with brass maquettes, and undergoes many stages of testing to produce a finished item that is bold and striking. “Our pieces are meticulously formed, and finished with care, in small batches in our Toronto studio,” said Chan.

Each collection has a name – the F.S. Collection is the largest with both necklaces and earrings. True to the designer’s intent, these pieces carry Chan’s signature sleekness and are created with versatility in mind. “Each design is our unique take on geometry and is finished with our signature matte plating,” added Chan.

The bold Orb shapes define the O Collection, which are minimal in design, but emphasized with pops of energy and color. Each necklace has a personality all of its own and is stylish and professional.

The 9S Sterling Collection features fine jewelry made of 925 sterling, The glamourous pieces are refined, delicate and dainty.

Pursuits newest collection is the Q Collection. These necklaces are bold and eye-catching with resin buttons and metallic accents strung on a rubber cord with a simple pop-clasp. While they look chunky, they are comfortable to wear every day.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Vanassa at a trade show in Manhattan and was impressed by her unique collections and their abstract qualities. Her desire to create a line with architectural elements, while including a feminine look was interesting.  I thought our patrons and visitors would appreciate her work,” said Lois Reboli, president and founder of the Reboli Center.

Vanassa Chan’s Pursuit jewelry is available at the Reboli Center, 64 Main Street, Stony Brook, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information please call 631-751-7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org



ONE PAINTING A DAY A cat painting created by Mickey Paraskevas on Nov. 3, 2022. Image courtesy of The Reboli Center
The community is invited to an art reception on September 9.

Up next at the Reboli Center for Art and History is a unique exhibit titled Every Picture Paints a Story by Mickey Paraskevas, on view now through Nov. 5. 

Mickey Paraskevas is an American illustrator, cartoonist and animation producer, who is best known for co-creating with his late mother Betty the animated children’s television series, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. Together they authored more than 20 children’s books. 

Paraskevas has worked for 32 years for Dan’s Papers, and has had about 120 cover paintings for the publication. In addition, he has been featured in Time, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Town & Country, Esquire, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He obtained his bachelor’s and Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts.

The exhibit is comprised of almost 365 paintings by Paraskevas that he created each day in 2022. While his work was included in the 2020 exhibition of “Dan’s Covers” show, this is the first time that he is doing a solo exhibit at the Reboli Center. 

“I am very proud of my association with this art center and it’s a beautiful location,” said Paraskevas.

Paraskevas’ new exhibit features vibrant landscapes, animals and still life paintings. During the last 12 years, most of his work has been digital, be it a children’s book or an animated series. Although he loved what he was doing, he missed the physical act of painting. 

“I missed getting up every morning and simply applying paint to paper or canvas. I was burned out working on the iPad,” he said. 

He considered painting on a small scale so he could get the desire to paint out of his system. On January 1, 2022, he made New Year’s resolution -a painting a day for the month. He took several small 8×8 canvases and started a project that was to last a month. He thought that was a realistic goal — he would have 31 small paintings by the end of the month. Then he thought that maybe he could do this longer and if he did it for a year, he would have 365 small paintings, which he accomplished at his studio in Southampton and now most will be on display at The Reboli Center. 

“We are so delighted that Mickey Paraskevas has chosen The Reboli Center to showcase his works of art. His massive collection pairs well with the Joseph Reboli originals that will also be on display,” said Lois Reboli, founder and president of The Reboli Center.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Sept. 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Guests will have an opportunity to view the show and meet the artist. In addition, Paraskevas will be back at The Reboli Center for a Third Friday art talk on Sept. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to discuss his painting a day project and to answer questions. No reservations are required for either event, but seating will be limited, and refreshments will be served.

The Reboli Center, 64 Main St., Stony Brook is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631- 751-7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org.

Pottery by Russel Spillmann

For the month of September, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook Village is showcasing the incredible work of ceramist Russel Spillmann.

Spillmann has worked in ceramics for more than 50 years, during which time he has participated in many fine craft shows and exhibited at numerous galleries. His work is included in many corporate, private, and public collections. As a former resident of the Three Village area, he is thrilled to be the Reboli Center’s September Artisan. Lois Reboli, president and a founder of The Center said, “Russel’s ceramics are just amazing and the colors so magnificent that we are pleased to have an affiliation with him.”

Pottery by Russel Spillmann

“I work with porcelain for its purity and translucence. It allows one to look into and through the pot, not merely at it. Through my work, I attempt to resolve function and beauty into a presence; for it is through presence that beauty suspends the soul in timelessness, and it is here the soul expands to sense more than itself,” said Spillmann.

The artist has fond memories of growing up in the area, riding his bike past what is now the Reboli Center and going to the local beaches, where a parade of porpoises would entertain the onlookers. He relocated to upstate New York where he earned his Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland. There he became interested in ceramics as he was inspired by his teacher, John Jessiman, who was instrumental in getting him accepted into the School of Ceramics at Alfred University. At Alfred, he had the opportunity to study under the esteemed pottery teachers, Val Cushing and Daniel Rogers. 

The Reboli Center for Art and History is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707.


Former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright begins his Aug. 18 talk on Joe Reboli’s paintings. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

At the Reboli Center in Stony Brook on Friday evening, Aug. 18, former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) presented a love letter to Long Island and its people through the landscape paintings of Joe Reboli. 

Englebright, a geologist also running against Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) for Suffolk County’s 5th Legislative District, opened for each of us who attended a new, personal and intimate view of Reboli’s paintings.

In his opening comments, Englebright touched on the importance of Reboli’s work as a local artist. 

“Joe Reboli speaks directly to us through his paintings, through his art,” Englebright said. “Joe also speaks now and forever to all who would live here in our community. I believe that open space is the beginning of our story. It’s what attracted the first colonists here, and … I believe that Joe’s paintings suggest that open space should continuously be an important part of our story.”

Englebright noted that he was initially surprised and then intrigued by Reboli’s detail in painting the most ordinary features of nature, including rocks and mud, in how they form and react to the forces of wind and waves. 

The first and largest painting was described thus:

“It is likely the Montauk Till — I call it an ice contact deposit — which means that the upper third of the painting is the till that was dropped directly, melted directly, out of the ice, and it included all of the different grain sizes — everything from clay to silt to sand to pebbles to cobble to boulders — that range of that spectrum of different grain sizes is all contained inside of that pumpkin-colored fill,” the former state assemblyman elaborated. “But when the waves break on it, they take away the small stuff, and we have a lag deposit of the boulders and cobbles.”

Englebright also noted the simple beauty and the importance of what Reboli included in his works. “Joe’s paintings speak to us regarding our exquisite coastal heritage,” he said. “Each of his natural images is a journey into nature’s splendor.”

Describing the middle painting, Englebright added, “This is quite amazing. It is a remarkable painting. Avalon is lovingly cared for, and Joe painted this before Avalon was there. They are either red oak or chestnut oak.”

Englebright described the third painting as “the convergence of a manmade feature and a natural feature. The pushed-down fence invites you into the natural world.”

With a series of slides of Reboli’s paintings, Englebright noted how Reboli placed fences, gates, chairs and even old rusting gas pumps into his images of the natural world. Sometimes, they were items that we could imagine belonged in an area of human habitation. In others, such as the images of rusting gas pumps juxtaposed in the foreground of a beach scene, Englebright suggested Reboli illustrated the permanence of the natural world over manufactured objects.

Noting that “respect for this place is infused into Joe’s paintings,” a few of Englebright’s thoughts show Reboli’s love of Long Island. “With the body of his work, Joe Reboli’s Long Island is imaginative, inviting, and I ask the question: Is he not Long Island’s most imaginative storyteller through his paintings?”

Englebright concluded, “Many of Joe Reboli’s paintings have become iconic images representing our sense of place. Joe’s paintings have defined what it means to be a Long Islander. Joe Reboli’s paintings enable us to focus upon the beauty of our community’s natural wonders. Joe’s body of work is breathtaking in its expanse and its beauty,” adding, “Joe painted sites and landscapes that should be saved for all time.”

Beverly C. Tyler is a Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730.

Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

**Important Event Update**
Due to inclement weather forecasts, the Wet Paint Festival Reception being held at The Reboli Center is being moved from Friday, July 21 to: Saturday, July 22 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm.

Join the Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook for a Backyard Picnic Reception to celebrate the artwork and artists of Gallery North’s 2023 Wet Paint Festival from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Featuring an awards ceremony (awards will be granted to Best Picnic Blanket Spread and Centerpiece and 1st, 2nd and 32d Place in the People’s Choice of Artwork), live music by the Bayport Jazz Band, coffee and cake. Bring your own picnic spread.  For more information, call 631-751-7707 or email [email protected].

'Summer Sunset' by Joseph Reboli

Join the Reboli Center for Art & History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook for a Summer Sip and Paint party with returning instructor, Linda Davison Matheus on Wednesday, July 12 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. For this paint party, the subject matter will be Joseph Reboli’s Summer Sunset. No previous experience is required to attend, suitable for all levels. Participants over the age of 21 will be offered their choice of white or red wine. A $45 registration fee includes all materials along with drinks and snacks. To register, call 631-751-7707 or email [email protected].

By Julianne Mosher

On June 17 and 18, visitors from across Long Island headed to Old Field Farm in Setauket for Gallery North’s 19th annual Wet Paint Festival, a fun-filled weekend to not only admire local artists practicing their craft en plein air, but to see the excitement of a derby. According to Sally Lynch, owner and farm operator, the festival couldn’t have come during a better weekend.

The 2023 Seaside Hunter Derby took place on June 18 on the campus and as the riders competed, over 40 artists took to their canvases to paint and sketch the local scenery and content. 

“All the horse people are thrilled to see their horses painted,” said Lynch. “There’s a reason why the horse remains a constant subject of the arts.”

She added that the day before, the farm hosted vintage riders (ones who ride side saddle) in full old-school costume who also modeled for the artists on-site. 

The two-day festival also featured nature walks courtesy of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, live music by Tom Killourhy and the Keenan Zach Trio, plein air art tours with Jim Molloy and Nancy Bueti-Randall, a history tour with Margo Arceri of Tri-Spy Tours and an animal presentation by Sweetbriar Nature Center.

The event was sponsored by bld Architecture, Jefferson’s Ferry and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning.

All of the artwork created at the festival will be on display at the Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook on July 5 through August 27. The public is invited to an opening reception on July 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Artist Laura DiLeone at last year's Wet Paint Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North
*See schedule of events for both days at end of article

By Julianne Mosher

It all started as an event to remember a local painter, but now, 19 years later, it’s bringing new artists to light. 

Since 2004 Gallery North’s annual Wet Paint Festival has invited artists from across Long Island to set up shop at a different location to paint the landscape in real time. This year’s festival, on June 17 and 18, will be held at Old Field Farm in Setauket.

Open and free to the public, the Wet Paint Festival will have something for everyone. Located at 92 West Meadow Road, Old Field Farm is a historical Long Island show grounds with a long equestrian tradition. According to its website, the farm was built by philanthropist Ward Melville as the North Shore Horse Show Grounds in 1931. For over half a century it attracted thousands of riders and spectators to equestrian competitions, many of which were successful charitable fundraisers. 

Artist Angela Stratton at a previous Wet Paint Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North

The farm was privately owned until 1986 and was then acquired by Suffolk County to prevent commercial sale of the property or possible subdivision and development as it stood vacant and began to deteriorate. The site added that during this time, the county initiated a search to identify an appropriate entity to take on an extensive restoration required and manage Old Field Farm and return this prized local institution to its rightful place in the community.

Now several decades later, Gallery North chose their annual two-day event to take place at this scenic location. According to Executive Director Ned Puchner, they are expecting at least 50 artists to come by, set up shop and paint plein air. 

“The festival is always in a new location and gives local artists the opportunity to not only paint the local scenery, but meet the public,” he said. “It’s also a great way for artists who are new to painting to try it out.”

 The festival started out as a tribute to local painter Joseph Reboli who was popularly known for his beautifully crafted landscapes that often depicted local area. His widow, Lois, helped create the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook. As president of the center, she has been involved with the Wet Paint Festival since its inception.

“Joe was a modest guy,” she said. “He painted because he loved this community; I’m sure he would be extremely honored.”

As the artists paint the different scenes at Old Field Farm, whatever is created during those days will then be on display at the Reboli Center in an exhibition from July 5 to August 27. An opening reception will be held at the Center on July 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of it again and have the opportunity to be involved with the community,” added Reboli. “This is what we’re all about.” 

While the main purpose is watching artists (coming from as far west as Port Washington to eastern Wading River), there are other events that day that will fancy people of all ages. Guides from the historic farm will be on site to provide tours of the Old Field Farm structures and grounds, and provide information on equestrian history and culture. 

Local naturalists from the Four Harbors Audubon Society will lead tours on the rich ecology and wildlife of the surrounding area, regional artists will lead guided tours on plein air painting, and there will be children’s activities as well.

Sponsored by bld Architecture, Jefferson’s Ferry and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, Gallery North will also team up with WUSB 90.1 fm/107.3 fm Stony Brook to present live musical performances each day. LevelUp Kitchen, based in St. James, will also be on site to purchase picnic lunches before the event.

“Every year the festival has been growing,” Puchner said. “Three years ago there were about 30 artists who signed up, now it’s a little over 50.” He added that last year was the first time they added tours and music, which was a huge success.

“We’re really happy about how it’s been developing,” he said. “There is a vibrant creative community made up of artists, musicians, actors and the like that live in the area and this is a great opportunity to come out, go to a free event and meet the creative community in action.”

Selden-based artist Angela Stratton is excited to be returning to the event she has been attending for 17 years. 

“As an artist, I love being outside in nature,” she said. “Long Island is beautiful and there are so many places to paint, so I want to go out and paint it!”

The Wet Paint Festival will be held on June 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  (Rain dates are June 24 and 25). For more information about the festival or to register to paint, visit www.gallerynorth.org or call 631-751-2676. 

Wet Paint Festival Schedule:

Saturday, June 17

10 a.m. – Nature Walk with the Four Harbors Audubon Society

11:30 a.m. – Meet local wildlife, courtesy of Sweetbriar Nature Center

12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Live music by Tom Killourhy

1:30 p.m. – Plein Air Art Tour with artist Jim Molloy

Sunday, June 18

10 a.m. – Nature Walk with the Four Harbors Audubon Society

11:30 a.m – History Tour with Margo Arceri of Tri-Spy Tours

12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Live music by the Keenan Zach Trio

1:30 p.m. – Plein Air Art Tour with artist Nancy Bueti-Randall


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Earthnwood Artisans pottery and woodworking

For the month of June, the Reboli Center for Art and History is showcasing the stunning pottery and woodwork of Sayville couple Bobbie and Bob Dalpiaz.

Bobbie and Bob Dalpiaz met in college where they obtained degrees in Music Education from Ithaca College. After graduation, Bobbie pursued a career as an art and  music teacher and Bob taught music in a local school district. However, Bobbie realized her true  passion was pottery and began studying sculpture, hand building, and wheel throwing at private classes and at Stony Brook University. Residents of Sayville, Bobbie retired from teaching and is a full-time potter. Bob, on the other hand, is a full-time musician and woodworker. Together this  creative duo creates unique, handmade, functional artwork using exotic woods and high-fire  pottery.  

They began working together when a lid on one of Bobbie’s pieces broke and she asked Bob to  make a replacement out of wood, leading to a new working partnership. As Bob had no experience  with a lathe, he took classes with the Long Island Woodworkers Club. Through trial and error, he  became proficient at the lathe. In 1998, they formed Earthnwood Artisans. 

According to Bob, “The creative process begins with Bobbie’s pottery, which she often hand  carves to accentuate the form. She makes her own glazes and chooses a color and texture that  complements the piece.” “Bob then selects an exotic hardwood to complement the glaze and  creates a lid that accentuates the form. We often collaborate on the final project,” Bobbie said. 

With their second career, they started traveling to art shows in the tri-state area and were awarded Best of Pottery several times at various shows. Their work is available at a few Long Island  galleries. Bobbie also teaches pottery classes. 

“This is such a great opportunity for the Reboli Center to showcase the exquisite work of this  wonderful and talented couple. I was fascinated by how they started working together and the  combination of the wooden lids with the beautiful pottery is just amazing. They are a perfect fit,”  said Lois Reboli, a founder and president of the Reboli Center.

“As artists, it can be difficult to receive feedback on our work. Being selected as Artisans of the  Month at The Reboli Center confirms our artistic vision and we are honored to show our work  among other acclaimed and well-respected artists,” said Bobbie Dalpiaz. 

Earthnwood will be on display during the month of June at the Reboli Center, 64 Main  Street, Stony Brook. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information please call 631-752-7707 or visit  www.rebolicenter.org .