Embracing Art In The Park

East Northport’s Erin Foley creates in the shade.

East Northport’s Erin Foley creates in the shade.

Thirty-three artists set up shop in Northport Village Park Saturday, bringing with them jewelry, furniture, photography, paintings and more for hundreds to peruse during the Northport Arts Coalition’s 13th annual Art In The Park.

“We thought we’d stop at 30. We didn’t know if we’d have enough room, and they were pleading to show their art, so we found more space for them,” former Northport Arts Coalition director and event organizer Lauren Paige said.

Of those the 33 artists, 10 were there first-timers, including Northport native SallyAnne Keller, who now lives in Port Jefferson. Keller said participating in Art in the Park as a watercolor painter marked a welcome return to her roots.

“I’ve been inspired since I was a kid by Long Island scenes,” she said. “I like to share my atmospheric paintings. I like to share my talent with people and network.”

SallyAnne Keller and canine companion Onyx feature watercolors during the Northport Arts Coalition's Art in the Park festival Saturday afternoon.

SallyAnne Keller and canine companion Onyx feature watercolors during the Northport Arts Coalition's Art in the Park festival Saturday afternoon.

Sculptor Ken Strier, of Commack, found the show through a Port Washington art group’s email blast.

“It’s a beautiful venue,” he said. “I’ve been looking for a place where more people could see my work, and I wanted something local, so this worked out really well.”

Strier first began working with stone after he retired from his career as a computer technician in 2001, then branched out into materials like steel, bronze and clay.

“I love taking something inanimate and making it look fluid and alive,” he said.

Commack's Ken Strier specializes in metal sculpture.

Commack's Ken Strier specializes in metal sculpture.

Amidst the array of traditional busts, there is a steel sailboat and striking bouquets of flowers crafted from forks and spoons. The idea came as he and his wife were decorating their Arizona winter home.

“We were decorating our house and my wife said, ‘I’d really like you to make something for the dining room wall,’” Strier said. “We were at a show and I saw someone who made a flower out of spoons… that’s where I started with this, and I found I really liked it and thought it was a lot of fun to work on.”

Meanwhile, Cold Spring Harbor’s Ellie McBroom decided that, rather than decorate her dining room, she would bring the dining room to Northport Village. Her company, Garbagge Art Furniture, focuses on recycling old furniture and refurbishing it into chic, functional art.

“I have a passion for old furniture,” she said. “It’s beautiful. It’s heavy. I go around and try to save as many as I can by turning them into an art pieces.”

She finds her materials in thrift shops, at yard sales, and on curbsides once in a while.

“It literally hurts me emotionally,” she said of seeing old furniture on the curb, destined for the garbage heap.

Village Park proved to be a perfect staging area for her first-ever professional showcase of her work, and for the other 32 exhibitors to shine.

Northport’s Amy Connor, herself a photographer, said she and her family have been going to the festival every year since moving to the community 11 years ago. “Anything that involves the arts is something we’re going to try to attend.”