Don't you love it when someone says, "You know what would be fun?" and someone else says, "Yeah, let's do it!" and they get a lot of other people together and share their ideas and get to work and then something magical appears? That happened this week in my neighborhood. Well, it took a few years but...
Here it is
Little Island. a four acre public park built on pillars and the remnants of pier 55. I'm afraid my pictures don't really show the wonderfulness.
Go to littleisland.org
and see videos of the amazing construction process. I think it's kind of Tolkien-y, with those giant mushroom supports.
From 6 am until noon you can just walk in; in the afternoon when it gets crowded you need to make a reservation but it's still free. I visited Monday morning; I followed the winding trail past gardens and open sloping lawns all the way to the top and saw from there the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge!
On my way down the path I ran into two artist friends-Regina Silver and Norma Greenwood. Regina had already started a painting with her tiny watercolor set. Here it is.
I think there's a special grace about the act of saying, "Yes, let's." Or, "That's a good idea-how can I help?"
I've seen this happen before. Michael Bloomberg will always have a place in my heart because when Christo and Jean-Claude went to him, after twenty years of struggling to get approval for their plan to erect an extravaganza in Central Park, he said, "Sure, let's do it!"
And our city and people from all over the world rejoiced in the Gates.
I desperately wanted to be part of that project but had no idea how to apply. How did I get in? Well, that's another story.
Around 1995 the artist and arts educator Barbara Ellman looked at the art world and said, "This feels like an exclusive club." Lots of artists complain about that, but what to do? Barbara gathered a few artist friends and said, "There must be a better way." They kept meeting and talking and now we have the New York Artists Circle. Here's our story.
Learn more at nyartistscircle.com
The New York Artists Circle listserve posted instructions for signing on to the Gates and I was all set.
I spent a magical two weeks, standing guard over my assigned area, keeping the curtains unfurled, answering questions, shoveling snow, and thinking and getting inspired.
I thought, if Christo and Jean-Claude can do this, I should be able to hang some art on the walls of my church. I asked our pastor, Jon Walton, if we could start an arts program and he not only agreed, he urged me forward, saying,
"A church in Greenwich Village should serve the artistic community." So we started Art at First, and held shows in the Great Hall. Now we're expanding to include the performing arts as well. We've got big plans, so watch this space for further developments.
and, by the way, have you met our new neighbors?