I straddle a strange position in the area of art. I am an artist or at least, I thought I was, especially after selling over 4000 original pieces of it from
1978 – 1984, including a series of two lithographs, commissioned by an art dealer/distributor. In more recent years, as I travel through a journey of discovery, I find myself being more than an artist, although I will still make a sale if the demand is there.
In 2003-4, after being exposed to a Public Art Project sponsored by Nassau County, A Horse of a Different Color, (a fundraiser for the Bellmont Race Track), I became aware of a world I previously knew nothing about. I wrote a letter and sent it out to 25 assorted different municipalities, etc. My legislator made contact with me, we had a meeting and the wheels were set in motion for a fundraiser that I conceived for the Hicksville Gregory Museum, which included creative arts of many kinds. The plan was then implemented, with the assistance of a very strong support system of friends.
This interdisciplinary event involved visual artists painting fiberglass boulders LIVE, while dance, music, and poetry flowed from a stage set on the grounds of the museum, and simultaneously, an artisan mall was set up in an adjacent parking lot. To me, at that time, it seemed as though there was no art scene for artists to vent these talents. I guess it seemed that way to me because I wasn’t a member of any of the groups. In retrospect, I see there were/are tons of them. They just aren’t obvious; they aren’t a household word.
That led me to the place I am today, founder of The Artists Group and Co-founder of the Long Island Fringe Festival. Established in 2009, we try to disseminate information to over 150 assorted creatives on a somewhat regular basis. This is an enormous task. The Artists Group came out of that Gregory Museum experience. We have worked for exposure and respect for the Island’s creative people ever since.
2010 was a great adventure into clothesline art exhibits as fundraisers for the devastating Earthquake in Haiti at the beginning of the year and the disaster in the Gulf in the middle of the year. We juggled this with preparations for the second Long Island Fringe Festival, again hosted by Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, as it was for our inaugural the year before. Additionally, In our quest to be as inclusive as possible, we had also partnered with the School of Visual and Performing Arts at C.W. Post while on campus there.
Networking and providing platforms for artistic endeavor have become part of what we advocate. In 2011, we hoped to inspire even more and, hopefully, find an avenue of revenue for the members of The Artist Group and the whole of the creative community, which is the heart and soul of Our Long Island. We held the Long Island Fringe Festival again, this time as Fringe Force 3 – the Best Kept Secret on Long Island, and again at LIU, CW Post Campus. This time, we involved not-for-profits, which included arts councils to enlist new members and Long Island Animal Rescue groups to help raise awareness of the need to re-home pets, and other animal welfare issues. Later that year, we held an exhibit to raise money and awareness for Long Island animal welfare and rescue group, RSVP, in November. The subject of animal rescue, awareness and advocacy has definitely rung a chord in our hearts.
For a small core of participants, it was again a great success, but the mission is to improve the quality of life for all Long Islanders. To accomplish this goal, it is necessary for more of the people that live, love, work and play on Long Island to know about us, all of us - The Islanders, the HIPNICKS that are the musicians, poets, dancers, actors, painters, sculptors and more. We all need an audience. To that end, The Artists Group and I have blogs, a message board, a facebook group, a twitter account and actively participate in exhibits, fundraisers, and artist advocacy programs throughout Long Island.
This year (2012), we will be presenting Fringe in a new way. There are events scheduled for the next six months all around Long Island. Hidden Fringe might be right in your neighborhood. Our first event was May 15, at A Taste of Home Bakery in Bellmore. We hope we will see you at one of the performances. Our second preview event will be at Angelina’s in Massapequa on June 20.
You can learn more about Long Island Fringe Festival, The Artists Group and the creative community by using any search engine or contacting The Artists Group. We would be more than happy to talk with you.