Friday, September 30, 2016


Janine Ramadan

                                              Deveka Leibovitz

Paint Nite Glows in Broad Channel by Merle Exit

There are times when you need to get your creative juices flowing.  Why not take the opportunity to relax and socialize with your friends as well without having to travel much of a distance?   This is one of the reasons that Paint Nite was invented, the opportunity to learn how to paint for the first time or choose a location simply because the previewed paintings is your goal. 

Paint Nite venues are typically located at “bars and grills” rather than being in a studio setting.   One event was secured with the historic Grassy Point Bar and Grill, located at 1802 Cross Bay Blvd in Broad Channel.  Christeen  McCambridge, daughter of owner John McCambridge saw Paint Nite as a chance to gain future customers and business on a day that is considered to be a “slow night”.  

“We are not charged to book the event, although we did have to guarantee about 10 people.   With both Paint Nite having a website and our facebook page, 30 people bought tickets.  My intention is to have this fun evening once a month.  My father will be opening the kitchen on Sundays for some tasty treats.  We also have an in house horseshoe club that meets on Thursday evenings.  They stir up a barbecue and offer hamburgers and hot dogs to our Paint Nite attendees.” 

Janine Ramadan, a Queens high school art teacher, works with #Teamqueens.   Janine had the class take the following oath.   “Creating something doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty.  I promise to relax and have fun, not to throw my art across the room. Not to say, ‘mine sucks’ or ask anyone else to do it for me.  I embrace my artistic side and am proud of what I create.  Cheers!”

Janine brings the advertised painting simply as a goal to work for allowing for your own interpretation.  The paint lessons are taken step by step using the brush strokes to first create the background.   You are given a disposable plate with primary colors of which you blend.   Brown, for instance, uses dark blue, yellow and red.   To make the fall theme easier, Janine provided both red and the secondary color orange.   

One first timer, Deveka Leibovitz, came from Woodhaven.  “I did struggle a bit and Janine was most helpful, “said Deveka.  “I learned that blending colors on the painting is important so that there are no lines going from one color to another such as viewing a sunset over water as the yellow gradually becomes a light orange and the distant blue does not produce an obvious straight line.” 

Most of the attendees were painting for the first time.  “It was a lot of fun”, said Broad Channel resident Joann Bogart who was with her daughter Sarah Defillippo and a few of her local friends.  “At first it was something to do locally.  I enjoy going to Grassy.  This was more like a ‘Girlfriends Night Out’.   I’m no Picasso, but this certainly brought out my creative ability.  We actually chose the painting as the water theme reminded us of Broad Channel without the mountains.”  

A fall foliage painting is planned for October 20 th.  Grassy Point Bar and Grill events are posted on their facebook page. 

Friday, September 23, 2016


Pollution Solution by ChinChih Yang

left to right: Luchia Meihua Lee, Claire Shulman, ChinChih Yang

Left to right: Michael Dadap, Yeou-Cheng Ma

Tuesday, September 20, 2016



Nearly a year and a half after being diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease, Craftsbury, Vermont textile artist Ceci Leibovitz has launched a jewelry collection utilizing local historical materials and her own hand embroideries. Leibovitz is already gaining attention for her work; she has been accepted into Vermont Hand Crafters, the oldest and largest juried craft organization in the state. Leibovitz will debut her work in person at the CRAFT VERMONT FINE CRAFT AND ART SHOW, put on by Vermont Hand Crafters at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington, on November 18 – 20th. In addition, Leibovitz has launched a website at where her work can be viewed and purchased online. This is an important milestone for the artist: as the sole breadwinner for her family she has been working hard to devise a way in which she can bring in an income while dealing with difficult Lyme symptoms.

Leibovitz had been hand-sewing couture style hats for six years, when an ongoing sharp pain in her eye, along with nerve and joint pain signaled that something was wrong with her health. After a series of tests, Leibovitz was diagnosed with Lyme. Chronic fatigue and hand pain were making her millinery work, which required hours of hand sewing, often through thick layers of fabric, increasingly difficult. She began to experiment with making smaller pieces, in the form of textile jewelry and found this much more doable. “Textile jewelry is a dream come true for me. I can create beautiful visual treats that don't take hours and hours to make,” said Leibovitz. 

Fascinated with textiles and fabric manipulation, Leibovitz draws from her large collection of beautiful silks, antique and vintage lace and fabrics, as well as her own hand embroidery to create visually interesting, layered pendants and earrings. The work is inspired by her love of collage, flowers and color. She has been collecting antique textiles for years and has been lucky to receive many pieces as gifts, as well as to find a plethora of options at estate sales. “With the antique lace pieces, I love that I'm taking objects with a long-standing local history and placing them into a modern framework,” said Leibovitz. Each piece of artistic jewelry brings its wearer to a simpler time when many things were made by hand, by families at home, while still being relevant to today's fashion. Leibovitz uses both handmade and machine made textiles that have historical significance, ranging from the late 1800s to 1930s. “Who knows, the lace I used to make your necklace could have been worn by your great-grandmother 100 years ago!”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art




mirrored NYC Sanitation truck in 1983 and called it "The Social Mirror."

If you happen to be at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and see an odd sanitation truck at the east entrance to the Queens Museum, chances are that it’s not there to pick up garbage. Instead, it is one of many works at the museum that are part of the exhibit “Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art,” which is up through Feb. 19, 2017.

Created in 1983 and featured in the grand finale of a New York City art parade, the truck/art piece is covered with mirrored glass which captures the image of the Unisphere. Ukeles, the longtime Artist-in-Residence at New York’s Department of Sanitation, said at preview event for the exhibit that it was made to help sanitation workers “see themselves captured in their job so that they are not outside, but part of the story. Our biggest challenge is how we deal with our waste and the effects of our living in the whole world now.”

Ukeles came to her position with the Department of Sanitation after addressing those issues in her work. In 1969 she first created what she called “necessity art,” which she later named Maintenance Art. She even wrote a “Manifesto for Maintenance Art.” So perhaps it was inevitable that in the 1970s she would get a call from the Sanitation Department asking if she would like to make art with 10,000 New York City workers.

A museum within a museum, her exhibit encompasses all of the first floor gallery areas including the walls and center space. In it, Ukeles charts her work in terms of both feminist and conceptual performance, referencing both her unsalaried career with the Department of Sanitation and her work as an artist whose Jewish faith has fueled her belief in the capacity of the human spirit.

“Ceremonial Arch,” which is displayed at the entrance of the exhibition, honors service workers. The arch is composed of 5,000 used, signed work gloves from workers at New York’s Fire, Police, Sanitation, Environmental Protection, Parks, Cultural Affairs and Transportation Departments, as well as the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The arch is topped with a canopy of tools used by ConEd workers, placed over six sturdy columns.

“The black gloves that you see at the entry are from the Fire Department,” Ukeles explained. She recounted her memories of 9/11, having had some of her art displayed at a firehouse in the Bronx. Michael Judge, the chaplain of the Fire Department, blessed her work.“I put the gloves at the entrance as if to bless everyone for the sacrifice of their lives.”

Just beyond the arch sits “Peace Table,” a clear blue glass table suspended under the center skylight. Its purpose is to engage and contemporize important themes of the exhibition. Public programs will be held here, such as one with Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl that was held last month.

The exhibit also incorporates many other art forms—photographs and structures, as well as media that include video on screens and monitors. There are interactive displays and one featuring a book where you view a hand turning the pages. For works entitled “Touch Sanitation Performance,” Mierle spent a year visiting each New York Department of Sanitation districts to shake the hand of every one of the 8,500 workers who were willing to accept her gesture.

Vito Turso, who was just starting out at the department when Ukeles started out as Artist-in-Residence nearly 40 years ago, was present when Ukeles sent along her manifesto on art. “It was the first time that anyone really thanked the sanitation workers for what they do,” said Turso. “It was Mierle that brought all of this to our department. I am honored to be here on behalf of Commissioner Garcia. He referred to her as the “patron saint of Sanitation”.

The exhibition is organized by Queens Museum curator Larissa Harris and guest co-curator Patricia C. Phillips, who initiated the project in 2012 with Tom Finkelpearl.
Ukeles and her husband, Jack, currently live in Tel Aviv, to be closer to their three adult children and seven grandchildren.
Posted 12:00 am, October 13, 2016