STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A leading force in New York City culture showed up Thursday to pay his respects to borough creators in the sleek ARTSPACE at Urby in Stapleton.
Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, visited the new home of Staten Island Arts -- an upgrade from thenow-defunct Culture Lounge in the St. George Ferry Terminal -- to meet "re-grantees" receiving his agency's $80,000 in funds through the borough's culture council.
"What an amazing opportunity to meet with artists and cultural workers from across Staten Island, and in such a remarkable setting at Staten Island Arts' new gallery space," Finkelpearl said.
"The ideas, concerns, and palpable enthusiasm evident in our conversations were inspiring -- these people are ready to work together to support the Island's creative community and bring culture to the lives of all residents."
Wait, what exactly does "re-grantees" mean? Well, funds supplied by the Department of Cultural Affairs are redistributed to artists on the local level by S.I Arts.
Several re-grantees showed up Thursday to share thoughts with Finkelpearl and S.I. Arts Executive Director Elizabeth Bennett. (It's worth noting, however, that most re-grantees weren't free to attend the 4-6 p.m. meet-and-greet -- because they have day jobs.)
"I am excited to bring these ideas and the many others we've heard through the CreateNYC cultural planning process to my colleagues in the de Blasio administration, where they'll become part of our roadmap for a greater, more equitable cultural community," Finkelpearl said.
MEET THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS REGRANTEES
2017 PREMIER GRANTS -- 17 awards, total awarded $47,620
Brandon Perdomo - Butoh Performance in Peace
Perdomo will offer a butoh dance performance associated with the Performance in Peace Initiative using live musicians. The performance will include Peace Lights, a unique light show to compliment the movement and music. Perdomo will erect a peace pole as part of this performance in memory of Eric Garner. This event is to encourage a sense of solidarity among the greater community of Staten Island.
Emmanuel Ojo - Curl-E
Ojo will produce the comedic film "Curl-E," shot in the style of Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. The film follows a man who is trying to regain his empire from a ruthless drug lord. After suffering heartbreak, Curl-E decides to leave his kingdom in the hands of his right-hand man to watch over. During his absence, a drug lord named D-Ru slowly turns half of Curl-E's workers into drug dealers. With the help of Bobby-D and G-Baby, Curl-E seeks to put a stop to this epidemic. Curl-E's elite fighting skills and unnatural strength seem to be enough to regain his kingdom. However D-Ru has an ace in the hole that renders Curl-E helpless.
ErinKelli Kilbane - The Pride Project
The Pride Project will bring Staten Island first large scale exterior unity mural emphasizing the LGBTQ community. The project will also include an event showcasing LGBTQ artists, performers, vendors, supporters, and lecturers. The project will focus on the importance of quality, positivity, and empowerment. The public will be invited to help paint the mural at a spring festival. The completed mural will be visible from the Staten Island Expressway.
Giuseppe D'Angelo & Mikhael Antone - Sense of Place
A photography project that will explore building a scene of identity and coming of age within a particular landscape. The landscapes portray the inner landscape of place in society: old buildings, churches, empty fields, and forgotten rock formations elicit an imaginary space of hauntings and dreams. The project will focus on the landscape of "place" or hidden spaces, the spaces where one may wander or hide without organized identity or to escape unwanted reality. The project will juxtapose a few places that have no identity. These organized spaces without emotional resonance such as banks, Cineplex's and a mall are reminders of a contemporary lifestyle devoid of personality to identify with. There will be an Artist Talk using the photographs as conversation starters on how the viewer remembers the landscape.
James Verdi - The Staten Island Waterfront
Verdi will produce three 5 minute films of the history and beauty of three Staten Island waterfront locations. These iconic locations serve as a reminder of the cultural history and significance of Staten Island - Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Atlantic Salt Company, Seguine Mansion and Conference House Park. The format of each short fill will detail the historical significance of each location, storytelling through stop motion photography, aerial drone footage, and on-screen discussion.
Jordan Barone - Goodnight, Goodmorning
"Goodnight, Goodmorning" is the debut EP release, and intimate live performances series of Staten Island native, Jordan Barone (Jaybee), introducing himself as a hip-hop ballad/r&b/pop artist. Jaybee hopes this projects immerses the listener in his creative experiences full of late nights, relationships, lost lovers, early morning ferries, and city life. The live performance series will serve as an extension of these experiences, surrounding the audience with images and tones of the city. Currently known for his work as an audio engineer, this project intends to solidify Jaybee's position as a New York songwriting staple.
Kristin Reiersen & Shoestring Baroque presents: War and Peace - Schultz, Telemann, & Handel
This project features vocal chamber works by German masters G.P. Telemann, G. F. Handel, and Heinrich Schultz. It explores the difference between war and peace in terms of the composer's artistic voice. In times of war, the composer reaches out through music for aid, for compassion, and even in anger to a deity that may or may not be listening; in times of peace, the compositions are a reflection of a search for the inner divine, or the self as deity.
Kristin Wallace - Maker Park Radio
Maker Park Radio is an internet radio station, broadcasting out of a repurposed shipping container, airing video and sound 24 hours a day on its website. SI Makerspace is a partner and will allow the container to have its main home at Maker Park, adjacent to SI Makerspace in Stapleton. Maker Park Radio will bring varied communities to Maker Park through amplified music broadcasting at events, provides DJs/Artists and communities an outlet to create and perform tow hour shows, presents a variety of music and performances to the public, and provides opportunities in broadcasting through High School and College internships. The station will use music as an educator and connector of communities.
Laura Martocci - Unexpected Re:Views
Martocci will curate several art exhibitions throughout Staten Island, showcasing art from the special needs population. By giving visibility to the artistic works of these disabled and special needs individuals Martocci hopes to foster pride in the artists while changing public perception of special needs individuals. The project strives to not only change the minds of the public but to nurture positive self-feelings in the participating artists.
Michael Cala - My Coney Island 1970-1980
Cala will produce a photography exhibit of his own work which presents an evocative view of the iconic amusement locale, Coney Island. Photographed mostly in the off seasons from 1970-80. Many of the people and buildings in the photographs no longer exist. The photographs are from a time when New York was crumbling socially, financially, and physically. This project will contain context for each photography allowing Cala to explain bygone views of Coney and its denizens, hoping to capture a special place that represents much of 20th century popular art and culture.
The Museum of Maritime Navigation - S.I.: A Maritime History through the Industry
The museum hopes to achieve an increased presence in the Staten Island community through this program. They will establish a series of lectures/exhibits to provide a full hands on view and history of Staten Island. This program will provide an overview of Staten Island's change and popularity through the maritime industry from the various shipbuilding yards that stood off Front Street and some remaining in Port Richmond along Richmond Terrace. The lecture topics will range from the evolutionary changes of tubes, the technological developments of more advanced travelling equipment from the sextant to the satellites and GPS. The topics will also touch base on maps; the details and how they were used, as well as Staten Island shipyards and how they were used during World War II.
Nigerian American Community Association - African Arts and Cultural Festival
The festival will be a celebration of arts and culture across the African Diaspora. This two day event will allow participants to have the opportunity to enjoy authentic African cuisine, music, folklore, fashion, poetry, crafts, and much more - drumming, storytelling, dancing, interactive demonstrations, historical artifacts, colorful and rich textiles, and informative health and wellness workshops. The organizers hope participants will gain a greater understanding and appreciation for African people, and their artistic and cultural traditions.
Raul Barquet & Alyssa Rapp - Small Business Portraits
Visual artist Raul Barquet and photographer Alyssa Rapp will create a series of interdisciplinary portraits featuring small business owners effected by shrinking industries. The exhibition will feature recordings of interviews with each subject to accompany their portraits. The portrait photographs will feature posed and candid shots on 35mm film. Upon developing the film, Barquet will re-imagine text based logos for the businesses that will fit within the composition of the photo. The drawings and photographs are then joined together in the printing process in the dark room. The artists hope to bring attention to small local businesses and strengthen allegiance to their local community and its economic wellbeing.
South Asian Cultural Preservation and Education Center - Ridma Tharanga
The Ridma Tharanga is designed to enhance the hidden creativity and artistic ability of the adult Sri Lankan community of Staten Island. The annual event features live performances of Sri Lankan traditional and popular dance, music, poetry, and theatre. The program supports the practice of traditional and folk arts and serves as a way for the Sri Lankan community to share their culture with the general public. This event hopes to connect, strengthen, and educate the public at large about the vibrancy of cultural tradition that the South Asian Cultural Preservation and Education Center stands for.
Joon Chung - We Love Our Customers
We Love Our Customers is a video-format comedic web series. The series is about a Korean family that runs a magical dry cleaning business and how they must work together to not only tend to customers but to also deal with the magical creatures behind the counter. From little elves taking away stubborn stains to a fire demon providing steam for the machines, the series will explore what really goes on at a dry cleaner.
Virginia Sherry - Walk Back into History: 4 Centuries of S.I.'s Architectural Treasures
This project will create the first-ever website that comprehensively documents the diverse architectural styles still standing on Staten Island, beginning with landmark structures that early European settlers built in the mid-1660s in Tottenville, Richmond Town, Dongan Hills, and New Dorp. The website will serve as a 'one-stop' educational resource for Staten Island residents, public and private school teachers, and others interested in the borough's history.
Volker Goetze - Secret Island
Funding will be used to record an album with new original music and produce an audio/visual release concert in collaboration with the Alice Austen House. The music and photography - curated by Goetze and the Alice Austen House - will be inspired by stories of human interest, historic figures, social activists, and current events of the "forgotten borough" Staten Island - hence 'Secret Island,' meant to inform and open a new perspective of the island.
2017 DCA ART FUND GRANTEES -- 11 awards, total awarded $32,380
Ann McDonnell - Reinterpreting Still Life
Reinterpreting Still Life is an exhibition that will include large format photographs of flowers, printed and mounted to be shown in the Common Galleries at Snug Harbor in spring 2017. The exhibition will also include still life photographs from Curtis HS students. Along with the exhibition, McDonnell will offer three classes at Curtis HS to present her work and instruct students on how to make their own work. Her work relates to her general philosophy that life can be best appreciated through details and nothing is ordinary.
Bob Wright - Recording historic songs collected at the former Sailors Snug Harbor
In 1930 William Doerflinger spent time documenting life at Snug Harbor in 1930. During his time there he uncovered songs that the old sailors remembered from their days at sea. In 1951 he published his seminal work Shantymen and Shantyboys (later retitled Songs of the Sailor and Lumbermen) which includes such stalwarts as Blow the Man Down and What Do You Do with a Druken Sailor and it is still revered by Maritime musicians the world over. This is critical to Staten Island history and needs to be celebrated, revered, and kept alive. Wright plans to make a proper recording of a select group of songs from that collection and then perform them in the rooms they were collected in at a monthly shanty sing at Noble Maritime Collection.
Christine Dixon - Harriet Tubman Herself
Dixon will perform and tour a 2.5 hour one-woman show based on the life and times of Harriet Tubman. 2017 marks the 104th anniversary of Tubman's passing. Also happening this year, Tubman will be replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Through this show the next generation will be reminded of how important the life of Harriet Tubman was. The play is based on a series of interviews Tubman gave in 1868, to a New York Sunday school teacher and writer, Sarah Bradford. The show contains original and reinterpreted music from period spirituals.
Hiroko Otani - Japanese Culture Day 2017 'Urashima Taro'
This day long program will feature interdisciplinary art collaborations, based and influenced by the Japanese folktale 'Urashima Taro.' Participants will be able to experience Japanese folk arts and Japanese dance workshops along with performances in Asian fusion dance and Japanese traditional music demonstrations. Otani will also provide origami, calligraphy, and sumi painting workshops during the event.
Irma Bohorquez-Geisler - Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Staten Island
This program looks to preserve and promote the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition in Staten Island, which honors the lives and memories of loved ones who have died. Participants will be immersed in this Mexican tradition through hands-on workshops, learning how to build an alter (ofrenda) for loved ones, food-ways, and music & dance performances. This year's event will feature a regional ofrenda representing the Mexican state of Toluca. This event allows Staten Islanders to have an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage and values.
Janice Patrignani-Munoz - Pocketful of Dreams
Staten Island seniors at the New Lane Senior Center will participate in a series of 8 interactive textile workshops. Participants will transform silks using Chinese silk painting techniques, texture muslin using the method of Japanese bound resist dying of Shibori, and pattern canvas with African Adinkra printmaking. The seniors' work will become components for a mural. The textiles will be part of an interactive multi-dimensional sculptural wall hanging that will be displayed in the Center's lobby.
Joseph Luciano - I Hate My Friends
Luciano will produce and animated short film about three college roommates who attempt to manipulate their way up the social ladder in order to join a secret Skull & Bones-style campus society. While having to "showcase their individual worth by working together," they often undermine and outright sabotage each other in order to come out on top. They can't succeed alone, and they're the only ones they've got. In short, they hate their friends.
Nani Ferreira-Mathews - Exploring Public and Private Space through Music
Ferreira-Mathews will record an album both in-studio and on-location in public spaces. The studio tracks will explore the depth that one musician can go alone with modern technology, over-dubbing, and multi-track recording. The tracks recorded outdoors will be arranged acoustically and accompanied by several different musicians. Recording in studio allows for control and predictability, recording in public space does not allow for those comforts but there is an energy in a public space that cannot be found elsewhere. The final project recordings will be made available on vinyl. Through the action of physically flipping the record, the listener is actively moving into a new space with the recordings.
Jenna Snyder - NYSAI Press
NYSAI Press publishes Staten Island-based literary journals. Grant funding will be used to increase the quality of their biannual in-house publications. They will host two magazine release parties that will feature published writers and artists. Funding will also allow them to publish short-run editions of four local zines from Staten Island community members.
Robert Geronimo - Stat Rats
Stat Rats is a series of 50 comic strips following the humorous antics of two precocious, and adventurous best friends: Robert and Anthony. Set in contemporary Staten Island, NY, each strip will examine life on the Island, Robert's relationship with friends, family and their adventures. Much like Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy, Charles Shultz' Peanuts, and Bill Waterson's Calvin and Hobbes, Stat Rats will be a collection of brand-new comic strips giving a glimpse of isolated events in a child's life in the Staten Island suburbs.
Sara Valentine - HONK NYC! 2017
Funding will go towards "HONK! For Staten Island," a day of Staten Island events as part of its 2017 festival. Two to three brass and percussive ensembles will play at 2-3 venues in Staten Island and parade through the streets, encouraging a wide cross-section of Staten Islanders, tourists, and workers to stop, listen, and dance.