Thursday, May 27, 2021

a good idea

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.



This miracle took more than just a few people and a good idea--architects, engineers, financiers, landscape architects, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, -all working hard just to makes something nice or as Barry Diller said, “ to build something for the people of New York--a space that on first sight was dazzling, and upon use made people happy.” 

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.

We are the New York Artists Circle (NYAC), a group of professional visual artists who connect to share information, opportunities, skills and resources. Exhibiting and selling artwork are priorities. Since 1996, we have built a collective bank of expertise through monthly meetings, an active listserve, a dynamic social media presence, and a group website. We support our members in their professional growth, fostering groundbreaking ideas, fresh approaches and innovative collaborations. Working together in community helps us to meet the challenges we face in our solo practices, proving that there is strength in numbers!

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?

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Gates. I lived two avenues from Central Park and the morning they were unfurled I got up early, got a cup of coffee and went to watch. I was still in my pajamas, wrapped up in a coat. I sat on a bench and called friends and said: Guess what I'm doing? In my pajamas? I walked it many times, including the last day. I even have a piece of it and one of the drawings sold. I don't know why it touched me so, but it did. I never really understand the concept of "gates."

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