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The Arts Make A Splash At Lord & Taylor

Senior triathaloner’s

exhibit runs through

end of month

On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Garden City Lord & Taylor was where fashion and art intersected at the grand opening of the newest Sarabeth’s restaurant location. Adelphi Students modeled designs from Vince Camuto and guests were treated to a free makeup session by Bobbie Brooks, all in front of a backdrop of exquisite abstract art by Dutch artist Ine Wijtvliet, all while sipping champagne donated by Sparkling Pointe Vineyard. In keeping the theme local, this award-winning Long Island vineyard is owned by Plainview lawyers Cynthia and Tom Rosicki.

The idea for this gala was the brainchild of Lord & Taylor’s visual arts manager, Ed Rawa, who reached out to events planner Karen Loeffler who knew of an artist that would be a perfect fit for this event. Department store Vice President/General Manager Joseph Ricaurte was excited about the idea and gave it the green light. Known for his involvement with the local community, Ricaurte’s deeds found County Executive Ed Mangano awarding him a citation last year. “Lord & Taylor is proud to support the local community. We are thrilled to present our very first ‘Fashion Meets Art’ event in support of local Long Island artists,” Ricaurte commented.

A petite and fit artist, Ine Wijtvliet does things in a big way. While some people swim through life in shallow waters, she literaly dives into the deep end of things, Wijtvliet is an active triathloner and at 69 proves that there is nothing you can’t do in life if you really pursue your passion. She started painting only five years ago.

Wijtvliet started out as a graphic artist graduating with honors from the Royal Academy of Artin in the Netherlands. She was recruited by Massimo Vignelli in New York and soon after, appointed director of graphic design for George Nelson and Company. In l973, the legendary Paul Rand named Wijtvliet art director of IBM headquarters and in 1976 she started her own graphic design outfit called Whitefleet Design.

The athletic sexuagenarian has been involved with sports her whole life and started swimming to help with an injury. Soon Wijtvliet took an active interest in the sport and joined a swim team, eventually going on to win medals. Unfortunately, the pool she trained at closed down and she was forced to ride an hour on the subway four times a week at 6 a.m. to find another pool. The solution to her problem was found at nearby Hunter College, which  had an Olympic-size pool. The only problem is that in order to use it, you had to be a student. So Wijtvliet did the only logical thing and signed up and was accepted. It led to an unexpected consequence.

“I wasn’t interested in becoming a student, I only wanted to swim.” the Dutch native told the audience. “I didn’t want to take anything boring so I signed up for art history classes and live drawing. Three months later the pool closed and I am still painting.”

Wijtvliet’s paintings are inspired by her love of movement from sports. One is called “Tickle me pink,” “because I felt hands are the most difficult part of the human body and it has so many parts to it.” All of the paintings are part of the vibrancy of color, movement and dynamic. One favorite of the audience were the ballons, inspired by Thanksgiving Day Parade. A favorite of the artist is “The Embrace.” “I did this when I came back from Buenos Aires after being there for 12 days learning the Tango.”

Wijtvliet lost her home on the east end of Long Island to Sandy, but instead of being depressed about it she painted a series of murals with an uplifting theme which can be seen throughout the second floor of the store. “Being forced to move out of your home with everything you own is a really hard thing. I kept my spirits up after Sandy by painting to get rid of these hard feelings.” She also made them on smaller canvases bolted together, “If another storm comes along I can move them quickly. You learn to think practically,” she laughed.

A powerhouse of energy and positive thinking, Wijtvliet shared her outlook on life with the audience,

“Whatever you have always wanted to do, just go for it. It is never too late to find another career or something you always wanted to do in your life. You only live once and you can have many careers and enjoy it.”

The artistic senior citizen credits the triathlon which she still participates in with how she views the world, “Once you go for big things, small things don’t mean anything. You think on a much bigger scale.”

This Ine Wijtvliet exhibit, which can be seen on the second floor of Lord & Taylor and in Sarabeth’s, runs through October.