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From Trash To Art

What do a Westchester waste treatment plant, the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, a sculptor and a ribbon weaver have in common?  The answer will be revealed at an artist’s reception in the Atrium of the Tilles Center on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. , when the installation “Sea Change” will be unveiled.  

 

“Sea Change” is a collaborative effort of Glen Head sculptor, Barbara Grossman Karyo, and Locust Valley ribbon weaver, Sally Shore. The installation, created almost entirely of plastic items and other detritus invading our natural environment, evokes the experience of being underwater in a colorful, whimsical way and, at the same time, makes a very powerful statement about the damaging effects such waste has on our local waters.

 

The impetus for the project occurred in March of 2011 when millions of wagon wheel shaped, plastic disks used for water filtration accidentally escaped from an aeration tank under construction at a Westchester County-owned waste treatment plant in Mamaroneck. In no time, thousands of the little plastic disks washed up on the beaches throughout Long Island’s North Shore.  

 

The Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor put out a call to its members to assist in beach clean-up and Barbara Karyo, active member of the coalition and Beach Captain for Tappen and Sea Cliff beaches, enlisted the help of friends, fellow artist Sally Shore among them. In the scope of just one hour coalition members and other volunteers collected approximately 23,000 of the disks. 

 

“It was a travesty,” said Shore when recalling that day. “Seeing all these disks just pushed me over the edge.”   The two artists stared at the bulging bags of disks and decided to “do something” with them.  

 

“I’m making a big fish out of all this,” said Karyo, with the intention of towing it to Mamaroneck to “make a statement.”  

 

Karyo, who had been experimenting with crocheting plastic, set out to create her fish by crocheting strips of plastic bags to form the fish’s body, using the plastic disks for the scales. In the meantime, Shore began incorporating the disks into strands of on-hand ribbons and other fibers to recreate the effect of the disks tangled up in seaweed. Although the five-foot-long fish never got towed to Mamaroneck, a larger project was conceived.

 

After receiving a grant from Art Under Glass, the friends set out on a year and a half long endeavor to create “Sea Change,” an explanatory display designed to encourage education about the environment, waste prevention and recycling.  The installation is almost entirely composed of leftover ribbons, discarded telephone wires, zip ties and twist ties, bubble wrap, discarded foil, Styrofoam peanuts, plastic bags,  old shoe laces and, of course, the ubiquitous plastic disks. 

 

Shore created the vast underwater environment, including the surface of the water and all the vegetation.  Karyo was responsible for creating the oversized fish that swim through it.  In addition to the original five-foot-long disk fish, the environment now includes a shark, a seahorse, a blowfish and an eight-foot-long octopus.  “Hundreds of plastic bags were used to create the fish,” said Karyo.  “The octopus alone used 80 bags per tentacle.”   

 

Barbara Karyo holds an MFA in painting and ceramics from the Pratt Institute and works primarily in clay. She is known for her playful,  three-legged tea pots as well as her protest art highlighting issues of the environment and women’s equality. She is a professor of art at Suffolk Community College’s Selden campus.

 

Sally Shore received a BFA from Kent State University in Ohio and works primarily with ribbons and fibers.  She is known for her exquisite evening bags, tri-axial weave wall hangings and intricate beaded jewelry. Shore provides private and small group instruction at her Glen Cove studio.

 

Neither artist had worked collaboratively before.  

 

“We were both used to working alone,” said Karyo.  “This experience was both challenging and enjoyable.”  

 

Karyo and Shore were supported in their project by fellow artists from the Long Island Craft Guild and other friends of theirs who helped collect materials and sterilize all the disks. Shore documented the entire process from its inception in her blog, which can be found at sallyshorefiberart.artspan.com/blog  under the heading “Reclaiming the Beach.”   

 

Since 2006, the Art Under Glass project at the Tilles Center at LIU/Post, on Route 25A in Brookville, has been bringing visual art to public spaces highlighting “Long Island’s best, cutting edge, avant-garde,  local sculptors and artists.”  The current installation, “Sea Change,” will run through July 2014.


News

In order to meet the necessary budget requirements, the Glen Cove School District will reduce school staff members, starting in the 2014-15 school year. One administrative staff member and nine instructional staff members will be let go, according to Superintendent

Maria Rianna’s report at the Monday night school board meeting. Staff reductions will also be made to teaching assistants, school monitors, substitute teachers and custodial and maintenance workers. The total savings for the district is $1,227,669.

 

As of March 31, revenues for the district total $79,281,428. The revenues include the tax levy ($64,780,719),  P.I.L.O.T.s ($1,908,060), tax on consumer utility bills ($1,250,000)n use of reserves ($1,250,000), State Aid ($8,751,799), all other revenues ($635,850) and appropriation of unassigned fund balance ($750,000).

 

The total appropriations for the district are $80,509,097 and revenues are $79,281,428 with a budget gap of $1,227,669.

 It has been five years since a particularly heavy rainfall closed all the beaches in Glen Cove including Crescent Beach. As per Nassau County Department of Health standards, beaches are ordered closed after heavy rainfall because of storm water runoff that adversely affects bacteria levels at local beaches. Typically, bacteria levels subside within a day or so, allowing for the beaches to be reopened. This was not the way it went with one popular beach after the June 2009 rain storm.

 

“Unfortunately, this was not the case with Crescent Beach,” said Glen Cove Parks & Recreation Director, Darcy Belyea, at last Wednesday night’s public forum at Glen Cove City Hall. “Elevated levels of microbiological contamination continued to be found in the bathing water months after the heavy rain and recent samples show they are still elevated today.”

 

Belyea was one of a number of panelists at the public forum, which included Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, City Attorney Charles McQuair, Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee Eric Swenson and representatives from the Nassau County Department of Health. 


Sports

 

Glen Cove High School players, from left, Tajah Garner, Dejon Taylor, Manny Sican, and Ralik Jackson, after the Long Island Colts u18’s team vs. St. Anthony’s at Robert Finley Middle School last week. Touchdown ‘tries’ by Garner, Taylor and Sican.


The third- and fourth-grade Knights took to the road last weekend as they faced off against Jericho early Sunday morning, April 6.  Jericho’s teamwork and hustle brought down the Knights by a final score of 5 – 0.  The early game may have been a factor as the boys started to play better and more like a team as the game went on.  Once again, goalie Tyler Shea played outstanding in goal and was relieved by Christian Maiorano, who did just as well in the second half.  Andrew Guster played solid defense in the loss.


Calendar

Eggstravaganza - April 16

Live Music - April 16

Community Easter Egg Hunt - April 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com