Thursday, August 06, 2009


Promotional drawing by Chris Sorrentino! (I believe I am the Scottie!)

    For a little over a year now, the art scene on the island has started to regain its bearings and unite in so many magnificent ways. With groups like SICOLAB and the many collaborations established through councils here, a mini-renaissance is brewing. In cooperation with NYC's Summer Streets, one part of the local "hip" or "happening" areas was closed off for most of this Saturday and became home to a wonderland of culture and buzzing creative energy. Van Duzer St. has been one of the artistic apexes of the island for quite a long time, but being in such a transitive area has often gone without its deserved appreciation. The street houses multiple antique shops, vibrant colors and architecture, the 'posh' restaurant Vida, the local haunt Martini Red, the artsy coffe-house The Cup, and a plethora of inspiring niches--this is one of my favorite neighborhoods to photograph!! Thus, Van Duzer Days-- a celebration of home that I knew I HAD to participate in!!
Van Duzer Street (facing Beach Street). As you can see, we totally lucked out with the weather!!

A Montage of the Lovely:

My Story: When the event was in its planning stages I offered to do some upcycling projects to celebrate art (Week 1's theme) and to finally break out of my invisible (though quite suffocating) shell. I went through various degrees of anxiety and procrastination but scolded myself and refused to allow myself to flake out. One of my dreams has been to be part of an arts happening. To create freely. To share share share. To inspire and teach others. But most importantly to both pioneer and participate. I was nervous and insecure...though I know I have SO MANY COOL THINGS TO SHARE. I just put something together and decided to play the event by ear and go into the entire day with quiet intention and little expectation other than to be mellow and have fun. I kept promotion out of my scope since all of this has been so new to me. I figured I would make something work and feel out the overall vibe. 

Little did I know, the day would be a whirlwind of loveliness, nearly a week later and I am still spinning with reflections,  inspiration, appreciation, and new ideas. I spent Friday in partial panic, and Saturday I spread some of that to Cristyn and Jay (who I owe the world to!) What we set up was a completely upcycled "booth" filled with paint and brushes for anyone to decorate while I tried to set up projects.

My "booth" on the corner of Van Duzer and Beach Street. Simple.

Here I am setting up shop. I made a binder of tutorials out of two file folders for people who were interested at the multitude of things to do with Cereal Boxes!!

photo by Laura Bruij Williams--whose brilliant little daughter was giving out stickers promoting my blog...I need to hire this kid!
    I had NO IDEA how popular this would be!! I was so so so lucky to have Cristyn on hand to tend to the hordes of people wanting to paint any old piece of cardboard! For a good amount of time, my area was the busiest...abuzz with pure creative expression and curiosity. I had little expectation, but what occurred was well beyond what I could have imagined.  My original intentions were to use up some of the massive amounts of cardboard I have collected (which is so much I decided that this week would be purely cereal/snack boxes and cardboard variants), share ideas and possibilities with people, make an art happening, and introduce people to the beauty that is upcycling. The reality was an all-ages union of art making on the streets. An empowering arena for free-expression and creative reuse of essential garbage.

Union of worlds through art!!

I spent most of the day behind the scenes multi-tasking and spinning in the clouds. From time to time I forced myself to stop and look around at everything happening. Words cannot describe my awe. The entire street was rife with beauty and the insane buzz around my booth--albeit overwhelming, was pure magic to witness. People LOVE painting on garbage!! And some of the work I saw was beyond fabulous!! (I kept some of my favorites!!) Here are some looks at what was being made:

    Jay with his "niece" and "nephew". I can't get their grandmother Marjorie's line out of my head: "There are the children at work and the inner child at work." Perfect. 

True beauty!!

    A mother and child in the throws of art!! I made a  little art-pad and gave it to them, in this picture I got to see awesome Mama making art inside of it!!

Aren't these amazing???

Our "gallery"!! It was beautiful to see how happy the kids were to see their work displayed! The ones that remained--that I didn't keep, I hung up on the telephone poles nearby. I was happy to see that after a storm on Sunday, by Tuesday many were still there!

   Lucky for me Cristyn maintained a lot of order, which gave me the chance to make loads of stuff for people, keep a clean area (the goal is about reusing junk and not creating more!), socialize in dribs and drabs (which is hard to do when your head is spinning), and get actual chances to embrace the festival. There was simultaneous art making and upcycling! I got to make and teach others how to make upcycled journals (my tutorials to come) and got to see children and adults marvel in personalizing their works!! 
Everyone was so focused and excited to make their own journals!!

This brother/sister duo were two of my favorites. I made them journals and they sat for about an hour decorating their journals on the inside and outside. I was amazed at how excited and thankful they were...even more so, how much they loved the simple act of creating!!

These make me so so happy!

Evidence that I was in fact involved in all of this! I am not sure if most people knew! Hahah!
Photo by Jason Siegel (who took my camera for awhile to make sure he got me tons of photos!)

Overall, I was more in my element than ever before and proved to myself that it won't kill me to step out of mystery and step up to my dreams. I now appreciate my home, friends, and even myself in such a more profound way!!
For more pictures of the day, check out my flickr set! I am contemplating another Van Duzer Days Week 1 post....either way, there is so much more in store!!
For even more information on Summer Streets Van Duzer Days: 

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a ton of fun! Such a great idea. It amazes me how many children do not get to express themselves in a creative way. They love to have the opportunity to use paint and paint brushes. Way to go on recycling the cereal boxes too!



Related Posts with Thumbnails