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Artists find opportunity to show their work at Art By The Ferry festival in June

Staten Island may be known as a borough of parks, but to those who know our community well, it could also be dubbed a borough of arts.  “We have musicians, writers, painters…we have an incredible community here,” said Joyce Malerba Goldstein, founder and president of the non-profit organization Staten Island Creative Community.

Goldstein, a sculptor and painter herself, notes that while there has never been a problem finding talent on the island, the real dilemma was finding spaces for exhibits and performances.  “I did a survey to see where the needs were, and the needs were venues; artists were constantly looking for studio space and opportunities to show their work,” said Goldstein, whose organization collaborates with the business community to take un-leased spaces and turn them into temporary galleries and performance spaces.

It was from that survey and further discussions among local artists like Goldstein and her husband, Dr. Ira Goldstein—well as groups like the Staten Island Creative Community— that Art by the Ferry was born. The free annual outdoor festival (now in its fifth year) brings together approximately 180 diverse artists, including photographers, musicians, performers, writers, and film makers, and gives them the opportunity to show their work. This year, the festival will run Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10, and approximately 4,000 visitors are expected to visit its various venues throughout St. George, including 60 Bay Street, 70 Bay Street (Art at Bay), Paulo Park (adjacent to Borough Hall), and the platform of the Staten Island Ferry.

On opening night, guests will be treated to a buffet-style dinner at 60 Bay St. at 7 p.m. for a moderate donation of $20. Restaurants donating food for the fund-raising dinner include 120 Bay Café (formerly The Cargo), Pier 76, Enoteca Maria, Karl’s Klipper, and Beso. During the festival, which starts on Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon, there will also be plenty of musical performances, from WaFoo to Joan Caddell and the Midnight Choir to The Shirts, thanks to Alvin Card and Hiroko Otani, music coordinators for the event.

In addition to art and music, there will be environmental workshops, storytelling, and even crafts, coordinated by Janet Rispoli. There will also be comedy, poetry, and spoken word in the Courtyard of the Staten Island Museum at 75 Stuyvesant Place. Crystal Raso, a founder of the spoken word group the Eargasms, is curating writers and comedians who will be performing in the courtyard on June 9. Nancy Richards, a freelance comedian, will be curating comic shows at Karl’s Klipper and 120 Bay on June 8 and 9.

Goldstein notes that the event is truly a team effort, as so many support it, including the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) and NY & Co. Foundation, which both provide grants as well as a host of volunteers. Among the volunteer coordinators of the event are Marilyn Kiss, exhibition committee chair; Jessica Capuozzo and Helen Levin, who work on grants; Teresa Marks, who handles membership and grants, and Elaine Mendez-Torres, a mixed media artist in charge of public relations. Graphic artist Robert Padovano is also instrumental to the festival, as he designs everything from the event’s posters and fliers to its logo.

“The [Staten Island] ferry is the third biggest tourist attraction in the city of New York,” noted Goldstein, She added that ferry-to-festrival proximity helps show tourists and others traveling to the borough what we’ve long known—that the arts are thriving here, and that a vibrant creative community can only put wind in the sails of the real estate boom on the shore.


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