Patchogue Pushes for Art

Increasingly, Patchogue is a place for the arts. The Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts (PTPA) has been offering live music and theater for years. Recently, the Village has pushed toward becoming a hub for the visual arts.

To wit, the first Patchogue Arts Biennial was held last month and attracted hundreds of viewers over the three-week event (see accompanying story). This month brings the Patchogue Autumn Arts Festival on November 8. The all-day event features a mix of visual art, music and poetry. The free event includes a concert with a mix of music and spoken word from 5 to 8pm.

On the visual side, Patchogue artist Laurence Lee kicks off his solo show at the Lobby Art Gallery at PTPA at 1pm. Art shows have been held on the lobby walls for the last year.

imageAt 2pm, an opening will be held for the Second Annual Walking Arts Tour. Artists are expected to gather to hobnob and answer questions about their art. The Walking Arts Tour presents the work of 44 artists in shops, restaurants and open spaces. The Tour remains on view through January 4, 2010.

Artwork can be found in window fronts and inside the establishments. The hub of the tour runs from East Main Street to West Main Street. Most of the artists hail from the Patchogue area with some living across Long Island. See for both events.

The push to bring the visual arts to Patchogue Village stems from the impending Artspace project. The village is constructing a new building under the Artspace program that will feature affordable live/work spaces for artists and a public gallery. The groundbreaking is expected by the end of the year.

In anticipation, the Patchogue Arts Council (PAC) was formed. The Patchogue Arts Biennial was the first big event sponsored by the group. PAC co-presented the Patchogue Autumn Arts Festival and the Walking Tour. A Green Art Festival is planned for June 2010.

“We didn’t want to wait until the Artspace building was completed to have art in our Village,” said John Cino, a PAC executive board member, sculptor and art educator. “We wanted it to be here already when they arrived. Artspace was the catalyst…It helped gather us together.”

Passion and Art Collide: Patchogue Arts Biennial

Passion and art collided at the first Patchogue Arts Biennial. The passion came from organizers at the Patchogue Arts Council who believe Long Island artists have something to show. The art came from 44 artists who participated in the invitational show.

The Patchogue Arts Biennial intended to bring a bit of Chelsea and Brooklyn to Patchogue by showcasing contemporary art that’s infrequently seen on Long Island. The result was an exhibition that celebrated art, the creative spirit and perseverance. An emphasis was placed on installation and sculpture.
Highlights included found-object sculptures that fused neon light and viewer interaction by Clayton Orehek. A flax-thread “house” by Marcia Widenor extended an invitation to come inside and visit the space-laced structure and ponder the handmade paper table and floating objects dangling above in a corner.

A letter addressed to “Dear Viewer” challenged biennial-goers to examine the perimeters of art and the connections between creator and co-creator (the viewer). The paper-clad intrigue was made by artist Rachel Hines. Concrete babies by Anti Liu grabbed the eye and the mind by merging political commentary with heartstring-pulling cuties.

A looping video of animated drawings vibrated and squiggled while corresponding to radio wave transmissions in an installation by Terry Nauheim. Static drawings on the surrounding walls echoed the video creating a connection between visual art and sound. Satyrs head sculptures by Jerelyn Hanrahan evoked woodland myths and drew personal beliefs into the crosshairs.

Paintings and photography were part of the diverse mix on view. Collaged paintings by Christian Frederick Nicklaus conjured street art and fantasy. Bright abstract panels by Puneeta Mittal enticed. So did paintings by Janell O’Rourke.
Classic black and white photography by Ray Germann conjured history and the beauty of architecture. Photographers Carolyn Monastra and Karen Bell used nature as their jumping off points and landed in different emotional terrains.

The Patchogue Arts Biennial was buoyed by serious support from Briarcliffe College, St. Joseph’s College and many volunteers. Powered by lots of elbow grease, a white-walled exhibition space was created at Briarcliff College. Six separate “galleries” were tailor-made to the artists.

The Patchogue Arts Biennial was held October 3 to 24. It was inspired by the biennial held by the Whitney Museum of American Art. An artist line-up and sample of some of the artwork can be found at The next biennial will be held in 2011.

pat rogers

Pat Rogers is a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture on Long Island. When not going to art openings or interviewing actors or musicians, she’s looking for the next interesting story.