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Graduated Pearls Project Will Amaze Visitors at The 28th Oyster Festival

Jerelyn Hanrahan Creates Project For Theodore Roosevelt Park Area

Visitors to the Oyster Festival will have a special place to see into the heart of Oyster Bay. The Graduated Pearls Project of sculptor/artist Jerelyn Hanrahan will be installed in time for the Oct. 15, 16 event. It has been a long project and is guaranteed to be a photo op location for visitors. It commemorates all the locations in town residents most cherish.

Jerelyn Hanrahan has been having a busy summer. She has been delivering her Pearls of Oyster Bay to those 19 organizations which local residents said they would miss the most if they left the area. Those nominations are the basis of her Graduated Pearls of Oyster Bay project that will culminate in the outdoor installation at Theodore Roosevelt Park near the playground area of her large-scale pearl necklace covering an area that’s 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. Jerelyn Hanrahan’s art project, “Graduated Pearls,” is an interactive community program. It is actually big enough to be a bench and/or a children’s play area.

Jerelyn Hanrahan said on May 6 she delivered the first pearl, standing on the pier at the Jakobson Shipyard holding a giant pearl sculpture. “It is the first nominated Pearl of the Oyster Bay Community,  voted on by the residents of Oyster Bay: the waterfront,” she proclaimed. It was accepted by Dave Waldo, The WaterFront Center executive director and at the same time the second pearl was accepted by Dawn Riley, Oak Cliff Sailing Center executive director.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site’s pearl was accepted by Sherry Justus, chief of interpretation, visitor services and natural resources; Superintendent Thomas E. Ross; and Tracy Dellomo, Graduated Pearl committee member and MSA board member. One of the last pearls Ms. Hanrahan delivered was to Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto who accepted the Pearl Nomination for Theodore Roosevelt Park on behalf of the community.

The sites include:

1. The Waterfront

2. Theodore Roosevelt Park

3. Oyster Bay Marina

4. Sagamore Hill

5. Wild Honey Restaurant

6. Raynham Hall

7. Friends of the Bay

8. Bonanza stand

9. Nino’s Pizza

10. Buckingham’s

11. Nobman’s Hardware

12. Oyster Bay High School

13. The Attic Door

14. Gooseberry’s

15. Canterbury Ales

16. Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary

17. The Life Enrichment Center

18. St. Dominic’s Chapel

19. The Printery

The original - first two pearls, a large and a small were constructed of fiberglass using a grant from the Main Street Association and the New York Foundation for the Arts. The Graduated Pearls Project also received a 501 (c) 3 tax-deductible status through New York Foundation for the Arts. This means any donations given to the project are legal tax deductions.

Ms. Harahan was seeking funding for the rest of the series to create the Graduated Pearl Project when she learned she had local sponsors. Alex Gallego, past president of the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce made some calls and found two business owners who were interested in forwarding the project.

Ms. Hanrahan said, “We have received sponsorship for all the materials needed to make the public sculpture from Glenwood Mason Supply, in Brooklyn. The owner of that company, Constance Cincotta is an Oyster Bay Cove resident and has sponsored the materials.”

Jerelyn said, “The first two pearls are made of fiberglass and were made using the MSA grant. The rest of the pearls will be made of white concrete.

“I need a cement mason to do the pour with me, and if it is allowed, we might do it before the public, probably in the studio,” she at first considered. As it turned out, Ms. Hanrahan said recently, “We just cast the pearls at Pereira Construction in Locust Valley, with Nick Pereira and his team, and now we moved the cast pearls to Muttontown for sanding and finishing work with John Lancia of JAL Construction. They worked on the Octagon Hotel project.”

She added, “Please mention the construction crews because they are wonderful, ‘amazing!’”

She thanked Alex Gallego for pitching the idea about sponsoring the materials for the project to Ms. Cincotta of Glenwood Construction and Glenwood Mason.

It’s been a group project with local people making donations. She said, “The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce is offering the project $500; Nobman’s Hardware Emporium is offering all the hardware for the installation; The Printery is printing the invitation card for the opening day; Sagamore Hill National Historic Site made a donation for finishing surface materials. Slowly we get there.  

“I will be doing a window installation at The Studio/ Atelier, at 9 East Main Street, demonstrating all the people who helped the project,” she said.

As for the nitty gritty, she said, “The largest pearl weighs 650 lbs., the smallest pearl weighs 200 lbs. The pearls will have a pearl finish. We estimate it will all be in place in time for Oyster Festival for sure.  The project still needs support and extra insurance.”

Since the sculpture will be in a public space, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, it needs insurance, as do all the entities that use the facility in this litigious society.

John Lancia is making the bases to secure the pearls into the ground. There will be a stainless steel chord running through the pearls – like a cable – or the string for a pearl necklace. There are 19 pearls that are in groups of 30,” 24” and 18.” There was a delay of over a month when a mold didn’t work and they had to get a replacement – which they are still waiting for.

The whole process has been a challenge, but Ms. Hanrahan has kept her sense of humor about things and just keeps pursuing her goal, a good example for anyone involved in a complicated project.

For more information on the project you can call Ms. Hanrahan at 205- 0907; or visit her on the web at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The project has been videotaped so it “has legs.”