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William Reed

In perfect timing with Earth Day, the Smithtown Township Arts Council presents Surrounded by Water, a juried art exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James featuring the work of 94 artists from 53 communities in New York whose work shows us the elegance, power, and fragility of the Long Island waters that are a source of beauty and wonder. The show runs from April 20 to May 18. 

From ponds, streams and bays to oceans, the waters of Long Island have long provided artists endless possibilities in which to seek their muse. Artists were invited to submit works that will stir memories and curiosities about our beautiful Long Island waters, inspiring gallery visitors to reflect on their relationship to the water that shapes nearly every aspect of their lives and how we must all work to protect it.

Mediums include oil, acrylic, colored pencil, conté, gouache, ink, mixed media, pastel, pencil, photography, and watercolor. Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show along with second and third prize.

Exhibiting artists include Adam Smith,  Al Candia, Anastasia Eswar, Angela Stratton, Anthony Davis,Barbara Bilotta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Barbara Keenan, Barry Feuerstein, Bart DeCeglie, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carol Ceraso, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine MacDonagh, Christopher Buckley, Daniel van Benthuysen, Diana Aliberti, Diane Oliva, Dominique Treboux, Drigo Morin, Ellen Ferrigno, Frederic Mendelsohn, George Junker, Gia Horton, Hillary Serota Needle, Howie Pohl, Irene Vitale, Jacques Garant, James Fingado, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Jared Glennon, Jeanette Martone,  Jim Minet, Joan Rockwell, JoAnn Gushue, JoAnne Dumas, John Mansueto, John Taylor, Judith Musaro, Judy Pagano, Judy Stone, Karen Davis, Karen Mortimore, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Katheryn Laible, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kusuma Bheemineni, Linda Hartman, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Lynn Staiano, Margaret Governale, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Matthew Lombardo, Melanie Reim, Mike Stanko, Myungja Anna Koh, Nancy Wernersbach, Oscar Santiago, Patricia DiGiovanni, Patricia Venturino, Patti Peterson, Patty Yantz, Paul Edelson, Regina Halliday, Renee Caine, Robert Berson, Robert Roehrig, Robert Wallkam, Sally Anne Keller, Scott Hartman, Sheila Breck, Sheniqua Young, Stacey Schuman, Susan Guihan Guasp, Terry Tramantano, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhou Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracy Mahler Tekverk, Vanessa Pineda Fox, Vicki Field, Vivian Hershfield, Whitney Bell, and William Reed.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, 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 May 12). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

"Horseshoe Crab Rising" 48" w x 34" h, by Hank Grebe

An artist’s little black book is often a secret stash of intimate expressions, innermost thoughts, and experimental techniques that lay the groundwork for their final piece. Now some of those secrets will be revealed at the next art exhibit at the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James. The juried show,  titled Little Black Book, opens July 23.

‘Eva and the Socks’ by Kyle Blumenthal. Images courtesy of STAC

Juror Carol Fabricatore invited artists to enter works that captured the spirit, movement and emotions of their subject. When selecting the pieces for the show she looked for “works inspired by life…works that conjured narratives…that took us to places we had never seen… or introduced us to people and places.”

Artists build their work through inspiration, references, sketches, models, underpaintings and other modes of planning. Entrants were required to submit writeups digital images, sketches, etc. that showed the evolution of each piece they entered into the show.  

The result is 60 works of art by 40 artists created using a variety of mediums including acrylic, charcoal, collage, colored pencil, gouache, graphite, ink, oil, pastel and watercolor.

Exhibiting artists include Amal, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Nancy Bass, Hema Bharadwaj, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Nan Cao, Benjamin Cisek, Caryn Coville, Yunyi Dai, Kirsten DiGiovanni, James Dill, Jacob Docksey, Amanda Dolly, John Edwe, Ella Emsheimer, Nicholas Frizalone, Ayakoh Furukawa-Leonart, Hank Grebe, Susan Guihan Guasp, Stefani Jarrett, Roshanak Keyghobadi, Myungja Anna Koh, Mark Levine, Yuke Li, Edward Mills, Adam Mitchell, Amuri Morris, Patricia Morrison, Eddie Nino, Moriah Ray-Britt, William Reed, Melanie Reim, Marie Roberts, Dominick Santise, Fang Sullivan, Tracy Tekverk and Nina Wood. 

Little Black Book will be on view at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James through Aug. 27. Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, July 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information or directions, visit www.millspondgallery.org or call 631-862-6575. 

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Top, William, Charles and Marie Reed at the harbormaster building in Port Jeff. Below, William and other volunteers make sure the trains run smoothly. Photos by Kyle Barr

As the Dickens Festival filled in the chilly outdoor air with 19th-century charm, the harbormaster building itself piped into the village a different kind of old-time allure, that of locomotives and steam engines. More than 20 miniature trains ran in inexhaustible loops, little jets of steam puffing from their chimneys. Boy Scouts of Troop 354 hovered over the tracks, along with Charles, Marie and William Reed of Port Jefferson Station. 

Charles, the father, owns the trains and knows how to put all the complicated parts and tracks together. William, who makes the words “train enthusiast” seem an understatement, knew each of the models and could do “train talk” with something of a dizzying speed. Ask the youngest Reed, who’s an Eagle Scout with Troop 354, about trains and he’ll tell you about trains in far-off places.

“Korean railways is the national railway they have there, some of their high-speed trains are French derived, based on the French models like the KCX1 and 2,” he said.

The young man dashed around and between the tables, adding liquid to the trains’ stacks and helping his father fix the tracks.

The Reed family has been chugging along for the last several weeks setting up the train display, although in earnest the family spent several months beforehand gathering all the materials it needs to have on hand. Setting up the public display has meant several long nights, carting box after box of train collections, laying it out and making sure each is in operating order. The family asks for donations at the door, where on average around $1,400 is raised for Toys for Tots.

“We don’t need them in the boxes, that’s why we can take them out and share them,” Marie, the mother, said.

In previous years, another man used to set up trains during the Dickens Festival. After he moved away, the Reed family stepped in. Marie said that, while he would have a score of volunteers, the Reed family only has themselves and a few people from the Scout troop.

Charles said that each year since they started, six years ago, they have added more tables. At first, they had six tables with 10 trains. Today they set up 10 tables with 20 trains. 

“It’s crazy, but it comes together eventually,” the father said.

The amount of effort the family puts into it was recently acknowledged by Mayor Margot Garant at a Port Jefferson village meeting in November.