Hall members mark 150 years with expression

By Alex Palmer

As it commemorates its 150th birthday, Flushing Town Hall has gotten its artist members joining in on the celebrating. Dozens of members of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, which operates the Town Hall, have contributed works to this year’s members’ exhibition, all tied to the theme of “celebration.”

Each year, visual artists who are part of the Council are invited to showcase their work based on a different theme (last year’s involved members submitting not only the piece of art, but some object that inspired the work). With much of this year’s Town Hall programming focused on the 150th anniversary, making celebration the theme of this year’s exhibition was in some ways an obvious choice.

“It is an invitation to all of our material arts members,” said Gabrielle Hamilton, director of education and public programs at Flushing Town Hall. “There are some artists who have really stuck to the theme, and there are others who have done their own thing, but everyone is trying to address the theme of celebration vis-à-vis Flushing Town Hall.”

The exhibition will be running through Aug. 19, and many of the pieces on display are for sale.

About 50 artists altogether have entered their work, which includes photographs, watercolor, weaving, and collage, each with its own specific take on the theme. Weisberg points out the variety of works first by pointing out a digital print on canvas of John Lennon done by Nicholai Cerezo Khan (“It’s very striking and celebratory,” she added), contrasted with an enamel-on-copper sculpture from June Jasen.

“Everyone has a different take,” said Louise Weinberg, exhibition coordinator for the members’ exhibition. “That’s the beauty of a group exhibition like this — you don’t know what you’re going to end up with, but when you see the final product, it’s very harmonious and everything works together even though the pieces are very disparate.”

Another component of this year’s exhibition is a Town Hall printed postcard featuring an illustration of the building, which some of the artists incorporated into their pieces. Steve Palermo’s “Postcard Weave” uses cut up and woven postcards to create an entirely new object. Tina Seligman’s collage “Moon Song for Flushing Town Hall: July & August 1862-2012 (by decade)” also uses the postcard as well as rag paper, block printing ink, and even a piece of music she composed.

“Some people did new pieces for the show with celebration as the theme, some people didn’t have new work, but brought out pieces that related to the theme, so we have a very eclectic collection,” said Weinberg.

While the exhibition wraps up on Aug. 19, the celebration of the 150th will continue for months more. On September 9th, the Town Hall will open a new exhibit of historic items that had been in the time capsule buried when the cornerstone of the building was laid in 1862. Coins, business cards, a copy of The New York Times newspaper, are a few of the items that will be on display.

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