06/13/11 2:45pm
06/13/2011 2:45 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | 'Sanctuary' by Gina Gilmour of Mattituck

Folk artists don’t ask, “What is art?” They just make it — in the form of everyday objects, some utilitarian, some pure whimsy.

Weather vanes, signboards, painted enamelware, itinerant portraits, decoys, quilts and whirligigs are among the most familiar examples of American folk art.

For the current Folk Art exhibition at the East End Arts Council gallery in Riverhead, director Jane Kirkwood called for works by “unschooled artists or those skilled enough to appear unschooled, funky and fabulous.”

This artist call makes no bones about it. The definition of folk art, which refers to creative works by self-taught artists, has here been tweaked to encourage EEAC participants, tutored and untutored, to take their art in fun directions they may not otherwise have pursued.

In keeping with this genre stretch, juror Kathy Curran says her selections favored pieces with a “folk mystique that recalled idealized memories of Long Island surroundings or that reflected the craft and utilitarian origins that define folk art.”

Ms. Curran, exhibition and public program coordinator for the Suffolk County Historical Society, holds a master’s degree in American folk art from New York University. She will make an informal presentation at the EEAC Gallery on Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., discussing her selections and presenting examples of folk art from her personal collection.

Each attendee may also bring one personal folk art treasure to discuss. The gallery is located at 133 East Main St., Riverhead, and there’s a suggested donation of $5 per person.

The Yankee spirit loathed waste and prized ingenuity, and much of folk art’s irrepressible charm springs from its quirky, at times freaky, constructs of odd parts and found objects made to amuse adults or as children’s toys. A great example is the best-in-show piece, titled “Skate Boys,” by Jonathan Pearlman of East Quogue.

His laugh-out-loud construction made from ordinary stuff, imaginatively assembled, features a rare breed of creatures with bodies made from dried seaweed pods resembling crabs. They wear acorn caps or feather hats and balance themselves on wooden balls connected to an old splintered wheel.

Mr. Pearlman also created a wooden sculpture of a duck, its beak formed by a woman’s high-heel, its tail from some fan-shaped metal detritus.

Pure amusement is also found in “Lion Tamer,” a miniature sculpture by Patricia Beckham of Smithtown. She used a twisted tangle of metal to create a capricious Alexander Calder-like circus lion in a face-off with his limber master.

Folk art, which relies heavily on visual symbols ­— political, social, sexual and religious — is particularly intriguing when the artist creates powerful metaphors from everyday ephemera or discarded “junk.” Gina Gilmour of Mattituck uses a bit of both in each of her two submissions.

“Sanctuary,” which won first prize, catches the viewer’s attention with gentle guile then delivers a one-two punch. Here, a modest wooden plinth supports a weighty, old iron washer, the kind used in heavy construction. It has a perfectly round opening that here serves as a cave-like space where a sweet plastic lamb finds shelter.

But the miniature sculpture also suggests a reliquary, a reminder of those who are vulnerable, who sacrifice, who are abandoned. Global tensions in faraway lands come to mind.

In “The Price of Oil,” which received an honorable mention, Ms. Gilmour makes a more direct statement. This sculpture assumes the shape of a pyramid made of charred-black plastic soldiers, a jumble of bodies ascending the stem of an unattainable bright red flower.

Riverhead resident Jane Kirkwood’s multi-media work, “An Unholy Wrath – And, The Strange, Sad Story of Santa Librada,” draws inspiration from the tradition of illustrated religious wall hangings and samplers for the home. But her decidedly feminist choice of subject transforms the humorous image of a bearded lady into an updated statement about the horrors of abusive relationships.

The work describes how Santa Librada’s prayers to avoid an unwanted marriage were answered when she miraculously sprouted a beard. That got rid of her suitor. But her father crucified her. Ms. Kirkwood created a digital image of the crucified bearded saint on handmade paper attached to bark. She then studded the crucifix with tiny nails. The text of the story, in computer-generated calligraphy, accompanies the image.

Ms. Kirkwood’s use of natural materials contrasts with her technology-driven process, just as the story of the subjugated crucified woman contrasts with her current updated status as the patron saint of both abused and liberated women.

Much folk art is enjoyed solely for its decorative embellishments of utilitarian objects. Examples in this show include “Belle Starr,” winner of the second prize,” a banjo with a woman’s portrait painted on its face, its handle encrusted with jewelry, by Scott O’Hare of Baiting Hollow.

There are also Christmas ornaments made from Ukrainian-style painted eggs by Riverhead’s Holly Barlin and a hand painted chair by Anna Jurinich, also of Riverhead.

Many paintings in this exhibition borrow from the vivid flat patterns and nostalgic scenes associated with works by Grandma Moses, as well as from the stylized designs of stencils and the geometry of quilts. Most notable are two honorable mention works: “Red Barn” by Margarita Kritsberg of Southold, chosen for it’s quilt-like surface, and “Farm Life with Sheep” by Rhoda Gordon of Port Jefferson Station.

Viewers will also find “Still Life,” a floral painting on glass by Leo Revi of East Hampton, and “Soup’s On,” a charming kitchen interior scene by Barbara Haddon of Sag Harbor.

Two lively abstract color paintings, “Hysterical Delusion” by Maez of Bayside, which took third prize, and “Lola, which won an honorable mention, by Aija Meisters of Long Beach, are closer in spirit to contemporary outsider art than they are to traditional folk art. Today the lines between these two genres are often blurred.

Outsider Art is most often informed by the artist’s personal experiences and symbolism, folk art by shared cultural signs and symbols. The outsider artist, like the folk artist, is also self-taught and works outside the realm of those academically trained.
The show runs through July 15.

‘Folk Art’
Juried mulitmedia show
On view through July 15 at East End Arts Council gallery, 133 East Main St., Riverhead.
‘What Is Folk Art?’
Talk by guest juror Kathy Curran Saturday, June 18, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at EEAC gallery.
Call 727-0900 or visit eastendarts.org.

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06/06/11 1:04pm
06/06/2011 1:04 PM

Young thespians from across eastern Long Island took bows Sunday during the East End Arts Council’s ninth annual Teeny Awards at Riverhead High School. The red-carpet ceremony, which is modeled on Broadway’s Tony Awards, recognizes excellence in high school theater, evaluating students’ delivery, stage presence and skills in movement. Awards are also bestowed in several technical categories. Special recognition this year was given to Mattituck High School students for bringing the first musical to the school in more than 20 years.

In comedy:

McGann-Mercy’s Laura Lynne Duffy took home the Best Lead Actress award for her performance in “Noises Off.” Tim MacNish and Kelly Cassidy of Mattituck received the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for their roles in “The Audition.”

In Drama:

Jennifer Etienne of Shoreham-Wading River received the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in “12 Angry Men.”

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In Musical:

Rebecca Mincieli of Mattituck received the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Amanda Gallo of Riverhead received recognition for an Outstanding Performance, an award reserved for actors in non-lead or supporting roles, for her role in “Once Upon a Mattress.”


Justin Harris of Riverhead, and Gina Arfi of Westhampton Beach tied for the honor of Best Choreography for their work on “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Guys and Dolls,” respectively.

Judge’s Choice award:

This award is chosen by the judges in a vote. It is for a particular scene, musical number, dance number, ensemble effort, or group the judges feel stands out enough to warrant the special merit. This year, the recipient of the Judges’ Choice Award are Mattituck High School Students, led by Colin Keil, Becca Mincieli and Marissa Russo, for campaigning to bring a musical to their school for the first time since 1989.

Stage Manager Recognition:

Tori Staples of Greenport for “Wizard of Oz,” Casey Burns of Mattituck for “One Acts,” Casie Binkowski of Mattituck for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Kat Dickhoff of McGann-Mercy for “Noises Off,” Stephanie Stripoli of McGann-Mercy for “Bye, Bye Birdie” and Jennifer Bliss of Riverhead for “Stage Door.”

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JOHN NEELY PHOTO | Riverhead Supporting Actor in a Musical nominee Jonathan Troiano is interviewed by WPPB's Bonnie Grice

05/30/11 10:33am
05/30/2011 10:33 AM

The streets of downtown Riverhead were transformed into a canvas for local artists Sunday as the East End Arts Council hosted the 15th annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival.

At the heart of this celebration of the arts was the street painting, an art form dating back to the 16th century. Painters 14 years of age and older were assigned squares sponsored by local businesses.

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JOHN NEELY PHOTO | Riverhead High School student Kayla Lessard ponders her next move.

05/29/11 9:30am
05/29/2011 9:30 AM


Creativity will have a field day in downtown Riverhead as the East End Arts Council is hosting the 15th annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival today, Sunday.

At the heart of this celebration of the arts will be street painting, an art form dating back to the 16th century. Painters 14 years of age or older can register in advance at no charge. They will be assigned squares sponsored by local businesses.

Artists of all ages will be able to purchase squares for $20, which includes supplies.

In addition to street painting, the festival will offer face-painting and other arts and crafts activities for children, an exhibit and sale of work by local artists and an opportunity to meet EEAC’s artist in residence. Entertainment will include storytelling, performances by local musicians and a drumming and dance circle.

The Community Mosaic, which runs from noon to 5 p.m., will take place on Main Street between Roanoke Avenue and East Street and on the grounds of EEAC. Admission is free.

For information, visit eastendarts.org or call 727-0900.

05/03/11 2:27pm
05/03/2011 2:27 PM

The East End Arts Council has announced the nominees of the Ninth Annual Teeny Awards. The Teeny’s recognize the best in student theater on the East End, with 15 schools having entered this year’s contest.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony at Westhampton Beach High School June 5.

And the nominees are …


Lead Actor in a Drama

Yori Johnson, East Hampton, I Remember Mama

Charlie Lehner, Ross School, Proof

Richard Thalman, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Lead Actress in a Drama

Maryanne Agius, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Allison Charde, East Hampton, I Remember Mama

Brianna Kinnier, Pierson, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Sophie Parker, Pierson, The Effect of Gamma Rays…

Emily Selyukova, Pierson, The Effect of Gamma Rays…

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Chris Bogaski, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Evan Fellrath, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

James Meier, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Kyan Peffer, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Max Tabet, Ross School, Proof

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Jennifer Etienne, Shoreham-Wading River, 12 Angry Men

Katie Reed, East Hampton, I Remember Mama

Laura Rinaldi, Pierson, The Effect of Gamma Rays…

Brette Rosen, Mattituck, Lockdown

Marissa Russo, Mattituck, Lockdown

Brittney Schmitt, East Hampton, I Remember Mama

Rebekah Smith, Mattituck, Lockdown


Lead Actor in a Comedy

Chris Bender, McGann-Mercy, Noises Off

Vincent Cinque, Westhampton Beach, Is He Dead?

Jake DeSimone, Southold, Lend Me a Tenor

Taylor Smith, Eastport-South Manor, Lend Me a Tenor

Kevin Spellman, Eastport-South Manor, Lend Me a Tenor

Lead Actress in a Comedy

Nicole Chiuchiolo, McGann-Mercy, Noises Off

Laura Lynne Duffy, McGann-Mercy, Noises Off

Amy Ippolito, Eastport-South Manor, Lend Me a Tenor

Kaela Murphy, Westhampton Beach, Is He Dead?

Kathleen Scotto, Southold, Lend Me a Tenor

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Jesse Keitel, Eastport-South Manor, Lend Me a Tenor

Tim MacNish, Mattituck, The Audition

Aidan Marsicovetere, Westhampton Beach, Is He Dead?

Christian Thienel, Westhampton Beach, Is He Dead?

Bret Tucker, Westhampton Beach, Is He Dead?

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Madeline Burlingame, Mattituck, The Audition

Kelly Cassidy, Mattituck, The Audition

Emily Comando, Mattituck, The Audition

Kaylee Denny, Pierson, One-Acts

Holly Goldstein, Pierson, One-Acts


Lead Actor in a Musical

Vincent Cinque, Westhampton Beach, Guys & Dolls

Drew Garrison, Shelter Island, Zombie Prom

Jack Hodgens, East Hampton, Oliver!

Sam Kortchmar, Southold, Little Shop of Horrors

Kevin Spellman, Eastport-South Manor, Beauty & the Beast

Lead Actress in a Musical

Allison Charde, East Hampton,  Oliver!

Ivy Croteau, Southold, Little Shop of Horrors

Emily Hinz, Pierson, Chicago

Laura Nikolich, Southampton, Little Shop of Horrors

Elizabeth Oldak, Pierson, Chicago

Supporting Actor in a Musical

Dylan Barone, Center Moriches, The Wedding Singer

Jesse Keitel, Eastport-South Manor, Beauty & the Beast

Stephen Peppaceno, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Taylor Smith, Eastport-South Manor, Beauty & the Beast

Jonathan Troiano, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Supporting Actress in a Musical

Laura Lynne Duffy, McGann-Mercy, Bye Bye Birdie

Kaitlyn McElroy, Greenport, Wizard of Oz

Rebecca Mincieli, Mattituck, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Shelby Nielson, Eastport-South Manor, Beauty & the Beast

Shelby Pickerell, Southold, Little Shop of Horrors


This category was created to recognize a student who “shines brightly” in a role that is not eligible for adjudication in the leading or supporting categories.

Luis Alfaro, Southampton, Little Shop of Horrors

Jack Davidson, Southold, Little Shop of Horrors

Amanda Gallo, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Susan Nygard, Hampton Bays, Grease

Deanna Romanoff, Center Moriches, The Wedding Singer


This award is chosen by the judges in a vote. It is for a particular scene, musical number, dance number, ensemble effort, or group that the judges feel stands out enough to warrant the special merit. This year, the recipient of the Judges’ Choice Award are Mattituck High School Students, led by Colin Keil, Becca Mincieli and Marissa Russo, for campaigning to bring a musical to their school for the first time since 1989.


Gina Arfi, Westhampton Beach, Guys & Dolls

Chelsea Chizever, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Justin Harris, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Shauna Huizing, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress

Amanda Kozakiewicz, Riverhead, Once Upon a Mattress


Center Moriches, Christian Peterson and Elizabeth Healy, The Wedding Singer

East Hampton, Curran Brierley, I Remember Mama and Oliver!

Eastport-South Manor, Amanda Johnson, Beauty & the Beast

Greenport, Tori Staples, Wizard of Oz

Mattituck, Casey Burns, One Acts

Mattituck, Casie Binkowski, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

McGann-Mercy, Kat Dickhoff , Noises Off

McGann-Mercy, Stephanie Stripoli, Bye, Bye Birdie

Pierson, Graylyn Serafy, The Effects of Gamma Rays…

Pierson, Xylia Serafy, Graylyn Serafy, Emily Verneuille, Chicago

Riverhead, Jennifer Bliss, Stage Door

Southampton, Skylar Borucke, Little Shop of Horrors

Southold, Stephanie Sinopoli, Lend Me a Tenor and Little Shop of Horrors


Gabe Burford, Pierson, Effects of Gamma Rays…

Molly Finnegan, East Hampton, I Remember Mama


East Hampton, Molly Finnegan, Oliver!

East Hampton, Molly Finnegan, I Remember Mama

Eastport-South Manor, Samantha Lamprecht, Lend Me a Tenor

Southold, Ivy Croteau, Lend Me a Tenor

Westhampton Beach, Lane Davenport, Guys & Dolls


This award recognizes the efforts of a school to support theatre arts by going above and beyond the regular high school play. This year, two schools are being recognized for making possible fully student-produced theatrical productions:  Ross School and Pierson School.

04/23/11 10:52am
04/23/2011 10:52 AM

East End Arts Council debuted its juried, all media art show “East End Light” at its East Main Street gallery Friday.

Gallery director Jane Kirkwood said there were 275 entries and 56 were chosen for the show by guest juror Glynis Berry, owner of Art Sites gallery on West Main Street in Riverhead.

The ‘Best in Show’ went to Marion Jones of Southold for her work titled ‘Misty Morning.’ The piece is in acrylic, graphite and crayon. It is the second time in two years that she has won best in show.

East End Arts Council is dedicated to promoting the arts on eastern Long Island.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO Artist Liz Malunowitz of Sag Harbor (left) and Art Sites Gallery owner Glynis Berry admire a sculpture by Luke Thomas of Amagansett called 'Sledding.'

04/20/11 5:04am
04/20/2011 5:04 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The walkway that leads from the East End Arts Council building to the peconic River will soon be paved thanks to grants secured by Riverhead Town's Community Development department.

For years, jazz musicians, country western performers and classic rock bands would set up their instruments — electric amps and all — on a patch of grass behind the East End Arts Council building for summer concerts. But this year, bands performing in the shows, sponsored by the nonprofit Riverhead Townscape, will have a paved pavilion from which to entertain audiences — thanks to grants secured by the town’s community development department.

The $157,000 project, already under way, includes laying a paved walkway over the dirt path the leads from the East Main Street building all the way to the Peconic River and also over a circular area where musicians will perform.

“The musicians who perform here in the summer really shouldn’t have to stand in dirt,” said council director Pat Snyder. “We have a gorgeous spot. [The walkway] is going to make it much more appealing.”

The town has an additional $30,000 set aside to pay for roof repairs at the arts council’s school building and fund construction of a permanent platform for performers, according to community development director Christine Kempner.

Construction of the walkway, which is being done by Lipsky Enterprises Inc. of Bayport, began earlier this month and is expected to be completed by late May, in time for the arts council’s annual street painting festival and before the summer concert series begins.

The project is being financed partly through a $87,500 grant from the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization program and partly with unspent funds from grants previously awarded to the town. Once this initial phase of the project is finished, Ms. Kempner said, her department will examine options to build a platform for performers.

“We are going to figure out what kind of budget we have left,” she said.

Community development has already spent about $20,000 in grant money for repairs to the East End Arts Council’s sewer system.

Ms. Snyder said that, once finished, the newly paved space will be much more inviting for the public to stroll through and an aesthetically pleasing addition to the riverfront.

“It’s the green space on Main Street,” she said. “It’s here for the community to enjoy.”

Established in 1972, the nonprofit East End Arts Council occupies the historic Davis-Corwin and Benjamin houses on East Main Street. The council holds art classes and runs galleries and a gift shop in the two mid-19th century buildings and elsewhere on its property.

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04/12/11 2:35pm
04/12/2011 2:35 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Musician Corky Laing of Greenport (center), the former drummer of the 70's group 'Mountain', works with Riverhead High School students (from left) Dakota Cohen, 15, Noah Gorman, 18, Nick DiSalvo, 18, and Jon Rizzo, 17.

Upstairs in the carriage house behind the East End Arts Council in Riverhead, seven local high school students are becoming rock stars.

On a recent cold Wednesday night, as other students began to arrive, guitarists Noah Gorman and Nick DiSalvo and bass player Jon Rizzo were up on a makeshift stage in the corner of the room, tightening up their collaboration on an intense descending rock riff as drummer Jake Schott kept them in line with a driving beat.

Many of them had never even met before a few weeks ago. They’d all been selected by the superintendents of their schools to participate in the arts council’s Music Masters Fellowship, chosen for their musical talent and their enthusiasm. Over the next six weeks, they plan to write and arrange enough songs for a concert and recording. Their mentor will be Corky Laing of Greenport, drummer for the band Mountain, whose constant gentle coaxing will keep the songs flowing.

The arts council plans more such “master class” fellowships, focusing on different genres, in the months ahead. Steve Watson, education director for the council, said the concept for the series arose from a discussion with former Southold Town supervisor Josh Horton, a friend of Mr. Laing.

“We talked about the idea of an artist-in-residence, and we came up with this idea of a master class,” said Mr. Watson, who has made it his mission in the last year to develop partnerships between the EEAC and local schools.

“If a kid is a natural sprinter, you want to get them to the Olympics,” he said, “but if a kid is a musician or an artist, what do we do for them? That’s what this program is trying to address.”

During that recent Wednesday night session — only their second together — the guitarists, bass player and drummer of the current master class had a great acid-rock sound developing, while saxophone player Jessie Sisti and singers Katie Loper and Dakota Cohen waited for a chance to jump into the mix.

Jessie had a sax solo prepared for the occasion, and the sound of her horn weaved in and out between the other musicians for a few minutes, then she decided to switch to an electric keyboard, playing chords to highlight lyrics that Nick, one of the guitarists, had brought along to share.

Nick was nervous at first. The words were scrawled in a little spiral-bound notebook and Dakota and Katie were first a little shy about singing them, But as Nick stood behind the singers, playing the chord changes on Mr. Laing’s spare acoustic guitar and quietly singing the melody, they gradually found their voices.

The lyrics tell the story of a man lost at sea, praying to the goddess of the ocean to keep him alive.

“For this ship has its own captain,” they sang, “and it’s not me.”

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They sang it again. Nick suggested they try a call and response. They tried again and their voices played off each other as if they were pros.

Nick turned to Mr. Laing.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

“If I didn’t like it, you’d hear from me,” Mr. Laing answered. “You can turn the seafaring idea into an epic. Everybody’s lost at sea. We’ve all been there in our minds.”

“Wow. A rock star likes my music,” said Nick, who kept playing rhythm guitar with a driving backbeat behind the singers. Mr. Laing stopped him, reluctantly. What he was doing was pretty advanced, tripping up the singers so early into their learning a new song.

“I work like this all the time,” said Nick. “A lot of people don’t understand it. It’s so cool that someone can tell me exactly what I’m doing.”

“Off the beat is a bit more sophisticated. It’s a percussive thing. Make it happen. But what I don’t want you to do is think about it,” said Mr. Laing.

“We decided to make this a fellowship, because we wanted to keep it non-frivolous,” Mr. Laing said of the program. “We want to give the kids self-esteem. Performance has a lot to do with everything in life. They’re writing it, performing it and recording it and they’ll sell the CD as a fundraiser. If their families have 60 to 70,000 members, we’ll have a hit record.”

The students go back to working on the lyrics, mastering the first verse and chorus and then singing them into Mr. Laing’s iPhone to listen to later.

“When you learn new stuff, if you learn too much at one time, you start bumping into yourself,” he said.

As everyone sat down on the stage for a quick breather, Mr. Laing approached them all with pencils and scraps of paper. Their next task: Write a punk song.

“There’s nothing like a song that’s a jab down the throat, though you’ve got to understand parents will be listening,” he said. “Political works, if you want to be political. I like the idea of a dictator, but it’s hard to rhyme that word.”

The students’ first Music Masters Fellowship performance will be held Tuesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the carriage house behind the East End Arts Council, 133 East Main St., Riverhead. It’s part of EEAC’s ongoing Tuesday night composers forum, an opportunity for living composers of all genres to showcase their music.

For more information, call 369-2171.

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