Murals planned for JumpstART II in Riverhead

06/17/2015 5:59 AM |
During the Town Board's work session last Thursday morning, illustrator Samantha Neukirch and her assistant, Joe Arias, presented her plans to install a mixed media mural project near the River and Roots community garden. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

During the Town Board’s work session last Thursday morning, illustrator Samantha Neukirch and her assistant, Joe Arias, presented her plans to install a mixed media mural project near the River and Roots community garden. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The back of the Riverhead Town comfort station by the River and Roots Community Garden will soon not only face the water — it will look like the water.

Artist Samantha Neukirch was given an informal go-ahead last Thursday to begin working on a “mixed media mural based on the local aquatic system” that will be attached to the back wall of the comfort station, which also abuts a new playground.

The 22-year-old Smithtown artist plans to create images digitally on a computer, print them out and attach the prints to boards, which will be affixed to the comfort station. The mural will be about 8 feet by 20 feet, she said.

“We’re excited,” Supervisor Sean Walter said at last Thursday’s Town Board work session, where Ms. Neukirch made a presentation in hopes of getting permission to proceed with her project.

“The theme of the mural is to celebrate the local aquatic ecosystem in this digital age, depicting ocean life native to Long Island Sound,” she said.

Ms. Neukirch is creating the mural as part of JumpstART, an East End Arts public art project now entering its second year.

“It’s an innovative way to help local artists with professional development,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot of business and things like that in the arts, and at the end of the program, we all get to initiate a public arts program to help invigorate Riverhead.”

“In the beginning of August, there will be a mix of things like murals and people showing their art and dance and performance and music, all in the hope of bringing excitement to Riverhead,” Ms. Neukirch said. 

JumpstArt will take place Friday, Aug. 7, in downtown Riverhead.

A mural from last year’s JumpstART remains on the side of a building at the corner of East Main Street and McDermott Avenue. It was created by Huntington artist Caitlyn Shea, who is mentoring Ms. Neukirch.

Another mural is planned this year for the side of the Ben Franklin/Red Collection building, according to East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder. A third is planned for the half-wall/barricade in front of the Long Island Science Center parking lot.

JumpstART is designed to train 16 artists in various aspects of the arts world, including the business portion. The artists who will display projects in August are required to raise money for them through an online Go Fund Me campaign. Ms. Neukirch will also sell individual art pieces and hold a yard or garage sale to raise the funds. In addition, she will sell her artwork during the Aug. 7 event to raise funds for donation to the nonprofit Riverhead Foundation for Marine Preservation and Research, housed in the downtown Long Island Aquarium.

The program has inspired East Hampton Town to plan a similar event, according to Ms. Snyder, who said she’s also had discussions with people in Mastic who are interested in doing a similar program.

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