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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Staten Island Festival Weekend, Part 3: Art By the Ferry

Art By the Ferry, an arts festival sponsored by the Staten Island Creative Community in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, was the third festival I attended last weekend. Although I am the Membership Chair for SICC and have participated in Art By the Ferry in the past, I just wanted to be a tourist this year and enjoy it. As an exhibiting artist, one has to sit in attendance with one's art display. This way I could move from venue to venue.

Paul Hurst Band
The event takes an enormous amount of preparation throughout the year. It is free to the public and run by volunteers. This was the fourth year, each year a little different. Part of the reason each year is different has to do with the dynamics of the collaboration between entities involved in producing it. This year the festival was scheduled in May instead of June as in years past, to coincide with a run that was being planned. Ultimately, as the event grew nearer, the run was ditched. The permit process to stage a run has apparently become so onerous that the idea was scrapped altogether. However, another government entity, the Department of Transportation, made it possible to use a covered platform just off one side of the ferry terminal for amplified bands to perform there.

Karlus Trapp and The Entrappments
On Saturday I came to this venue to watch three bands, made up of my friends, perform; Queen Tipsy, The Paul Hurst Band, and Karlus Trapp and The Entrappments (consisting of the same personnel as the All Night Lovers from the 1980's).  The bands had plenty of room and the sound system was great, but it was too loud to get very close. Usually I'm right up next to the band dancing, but not this time.

In addition to listening to some truly excellent rock and roll, we got to witness "the rapture" in Manhattan. The skyline (it's a million dollar view from this vantage point) was completely obliterated by a big black cloud at 6:00 pm. That cloud rolled over to Staten Island in the form of heavy rain by 7:00. The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the audience.

Art by Joyce Malerba Goldstein and Sage Reynolds, blue grass band
On Sunday I took a quick tour of the visual arts portion of Art By the Ferry, with a brief bluegrass music interlude enroute. My tour started in Tompkinsville Park, to look at the jewelry offered up by the quickly disappearing crafts vendors. The air had a decidedly February-like dampness in it, making it uncomfortable for buyers and vendors alike.

Art at Bay, the community gallery for SICC, had an impressive group show of smallish artwork. I believe this exhibit will remain up through June.

Show Gallery on Stuyvesant St. was my next stop, to check out a posthumous exhibit of Norman Pate's work. Norman was such a fixture in his studio at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. He was there working every day and so prolific. I don't think there is an artist on Staten Island who was around during his lifetime who does not own a piece of his. I myself have a lovely collage in pinkish tones hanging in my library. In addition to the collages, Norman made many small wooden assemblages, ala Louise Nevelson. The exhibit makes us miss him all over again and it also remains open through June.

Norman Pate collage

The bulk of the visual art at Art By the Ferry was at 120 Stuyvesant. We were greeted there, outside the door, by Saint Philips playing on guitar, bearing the cool weather. Inside, room after room was filled with high quality artwork, the bulk of it made by friends and acquaintances of mine from SICC. There was lots of photography, as usual.
painting by Julius Wasserstein

work by Tai Woong Kang

At least one artist was absolutely new to me and quite impressive, Tai Woong Kang. Wow.

For me, this is what it's all about, finding those wonderful secrets hiding away here on Staten Island. What a strong supportive (and growing!) arts community we have.

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