Big Ink Brings It

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Lyell Castonguay likes to call himself the Johnny Appleseed of large-format printmaking.

Johnny Appleseed came to Northport last week.

Castonguay is co-founder of Big Ink, a mobile printmaking operation that’s keeping alive the art of woodblock printing in a big way.

Castonguay and his partner Carand Burnett travel the country with a large size printing press they call “the Big Tuna,” and everything needed to produce fine art woodblock prints. Printmakers themselves, they are well aware that access to large size presses is rare. In order to encourage artists to produce large-scale works and to push their creative boundaries they started Big Ink with a Kickstarter campaign.

Now off and running – and poised for a west coast expansion – Big Ink landed at Northport’s Firefly Artists gallery this past weekend. A roomful of artists were ready, having prepared their woodblocks in advance.

Woodblock printing is basically the 14th-century technology that produced the Gutenberg Bible and other printed books until the advent of movable type centuries later. If you remember carving potatoes to stamp out designs as a child, this is pretty much the same thing. In this case, the artist is starting with a large block of wood and transfers a design onto it as a guide for carving away what ultimately will be the white parts of a design. The wood left in place is coated with  ink and then run through the press with a sheet of paper on top. The ink is transferred to the paper is it rolls through the press under pressure from a steel roller.

That’s the easy part. The tough part is the carving. Artists who brought their blocks to Big Ink to be printed last weekend had been carving for weeks, sometimes months, in anticipation of the press’ arrival.

Firefly Gallery hosted the project in the back of its new space on Main Street and helped helped spread the word to get artists involved.

“The space here is great for it,” one of Firefly’s directors Drigo Morim said. The gallery has a studio in the back that opens to a small yard. It gave the pressman room to work and the artists room to get involved.

“We always wanted a place where artists could get together and work,” co-director Katie Laible added.

The studio space was crowded with artists excited to finally see the results of their months of work. Castonguay kept the process moving efficiently and gave artists plenty of opportunity to help.

A team of artists from Northport High School was among them. Emma Halperin, Kat Schorn, Eli Dalton, Olivia deFeo and Elle Vezzi, students of art teacher Constance Wolf, collaborated to produce a scene of trees. Each contributed to the design as well as the carving. They were excited to lift the paper as it rolled from the press and reveal the print.

It was a moment repeated over and over all day as each artist saw their print come off the press.

Many are already thinking about what to carve for next year.

Abstract Artists Share Gallery Show

Artist Kevin Larkin, on left with his painting The Death of Van Gogh, and fabric artist Nicolette Pach, on roght with her piece New from Old, are showing together at Huntington’s b.j. spoke gallery through May 26.

Artist Kevin Larkin, on left with his painting The Death of Van Gogh, and fabric artist Nicolette Pach, on roght with her piece New from Old, are showing together at Huntington’s b.j. spoke gallery through May 26.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Artists Kevin Larkin and Nicolette Pach take viewers on two very different journeys of experimentation with solo exhibitions at b. j. spoke gallery until May 26.

The experienced creators have exhited at the gallery many times before. Larkin, the gallery’s president and Pach, a long-time member, are both thrilled to share their most recent works. Pach will feature an assortment of mediums, from fabric and textile to photography. Larkin has painted since the age five and feels it’s “ingrained in my DNA.”

“The common theme of my work is my process of painting,” Larkin said. “As opposed to having an idea for the images, while I’m working on the pieces, they lead me in a direction. I become more interested in how the painting will finally arrive, what language it will speak to me.”

Larkin builds his pieces through layers of painting with acrylics, giving them an oil-painting feel. At first he “warms up” the painting by putting the first few layers on, then feels he really gets started. Working on “The Death of Van Gogh,” Larkin spent months molding it to the ultimate form.

“I’m always experimenting,” Larkin said. “A painting could change drastically at the very last minute, it could become ‘A Walk in the Park’, instead of ‘The Death of Van Gogh’. I like taking chances and making them risky.”

Larkin’s process of editing and reworking forces him to find things within the painting that he questions. For this exhibit, Larkin utilized a new technique of collaging other works of art onto a few of his paintings.

“I figured out this was the vehicle that these particular pieces needed, to cause myself a little commotion,” Larkin said. “I don’t want to be comfortable when I’m working. I like to give myself trouble, how I resolve these problems is why I think the work is exciting.”

Fellow exhibitor Nicolette Pach shares the desire for pushing boundaries. She has been working with new processes for this exhibit, giving viewers a chance to view various materials like never before.

“I have been experimenting,” Nicolette Pach said. “I have manipulated fabric with heat, hot air and hot water. I have returned to slow stitching-embroidery and I have worked in three dimensions as well. I will be showing photos from my first foray into photography as art. All this results in a sort of an eclectic looking show demonstrating my continuing journey, enjoying the process of making art.”

Larkin and Pach debut solo exhibitions that will be on display until May 26 at b.j. spoke gallery. Artist reception will be held on Saturday, May 4, 6-9 p.m.

Council Rewards Beautification Efforts

The Huntington Beautification Council announced earlier this month the winners of the town’s 42nd annual Beautification Awards.

The Beautification Council’s chairman Dr. William Walter presented the winners at the town board meeting on April 16. Awards were given for some of the town’s most beautiful residences, commercial businesses and groups.

This year’s winners are:
Residential:
Deborah Akeson; Brian and Robina Carey; Helen Delea; Frank Di Andrea and Thomas and Meghan Foote
Association: Bay Hills Beach Association
Commercial: The Laurel Group; Meyers Law Group and White Post Wholesale
Restaurant: Dix Hills Diner and TK’s Galley
Community Service: Main Street Nursery for the traffic circles on New York Avenue in Halesite, and Birchwood Intermediate School for the mural under the overpass on New York Avenue in Huntington Station.

Photos courtesy Huntington Beautification Council

97-Year-Old Poet Publishes New Work

Local poet Jo Geluso debuts her newest book of poetry “Storyteller.”  Long Islander News Photo/Sophia Ricco

Local poet Jo Geluso debuts her newest book of poetry “Storyteller.” Long Islander News Photo/Sophia Ricco

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

With a knack for recollection and getting to the root of a story, local poet Jo Geluso has debuted her sixth book, “Storyteller.”

The book of poems comes directly from the mind of Geluso, who shares personal tales, memories and her love of nature. Born in 1921, she brings readers back to a simpler time of childhood. The 97-year old poet credits her grandfather for teaching her the art of storytelling.

“I was only four when grandpa started to tell me stories in Sicilian. He told me all these stories, because my grandparents brought us up,” Geluso said.

Geluso recalls the summer of 1934 and trips to a sweet shop. “This summer is special, I am 11,” and her favorite, “butterfly cupcakes.” What distinguishes the past is the joy she finds in choosing whatever scrumptious sweet she likes with the nickel she was given.

“I don’t know why I write, I just love to read and write. But I spend most of my time with poetry,” Geluso said. “I can’t explain how, why, when or where. I was 80 years old and I had never written a word of poetry, but decided to start.”

Her work reflects a deep love for the natural elements of the world, with many poems going into great detail to describe creatures and plants. She enjoys making readers think by portraying an object with words, before telling them what it is.

Geluso blends her Sicilian heritage with this style in the poem “Get to Know Me.” She writes, “Sicilians always welcome me into their kitchens, they appreciate my distinct flavor, my spicy bouquet. Food stout enough to partner with me, create an inspired fare...” revealing at the end that it is fennel.

Although, Geluso considers her work poetry, she does not think of herself as a poet, but rather a storyteller like her grandfather.

“I think, a poet takes a lot of time going through a poem time and time again, and changes it,” Geluso said. “I just write it the way I feel it and don’t change it.”

Geluso’s process for writing involves taking in her observations of the world and telling them honestly. She brings readers on a journey in “Way Home,” writing “dusk ebbs to dark, walk familiar path, stone walls along the way, my companions at gloaming, pink sass peaks, valley vanishes. owls glide, like sighs of wind, quiet as deep of night, dark leaves time behind, I am home.”

“The reason so many people like my poetry, well what they’ve told me, is they like that they don’t have to look up a word,” Geluso said. “I tell it like it is. I write it as if I’ve got a friend sitting in the chair of my living room and I’m telling a story.”

The book’s foreword, written by Maryanne Napoli, encapsulates the work.

“The memories Jo serves up in each of her poems transports us to a time when life was simple and sweet.”

“Storyteller” can be purchased on Amazon.

Celebrating Military's Most Decorated Dog

“Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” tells the story of how a stray who dog became a war hero during WWI. A screening of the film at Cinema Arts Centre on May 4 will benefit the American Legion posts and America’s VetDogs.  Photo/Purple Heart Foundation

“Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” tells the story of how a stray who dog became a war hero during WWI. A screening of the film at Cinema Arts Centre on May 4 will benefit the American Legion posts and America’s VetDogs. Photo/Purple Heart Foundation

The story of America’s most decorated military dog is coming to the big screen next week at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington.

Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol spearheaded the screening of the animated film “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” to benefit the Town’s three American Legion Posts- Halesite Post 360, Northport Post 694 and Greenlawn Post 1244- and America’s VetDogs.

“I realized the film’s immense potential to raise funds for our Huntington veterans, and the programs the American Legion runs to benefit the community,” Cergol said.



Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol at the Huntington Animal Shelter with former stray Penelope.

Huntington Councilwoman Joan Cergol at the Huntington Animal Shelter with former stray Penelope.

The movie tells the story of Stubby, a stray rescued by a U.S. soldier training on the eve of World War I to be deployed to Europe. Stubby went on to save countless lives in the trenches of France and received a battlefield promotion to sergeant.

Tickets for the film cost $5 if purchased in advance or $7 at the door, and all proceeds go towards the American Legion and America’s VetDogs.

America’s Vetdogs trains and places service dogs with veterans who suffer from a variety of disabilities. VetDogs will be bringing one of its ambassador dogs to the Cinema Arts Centre for the event.

All three screens at the Cinema Arts Centre will be showing “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” on May 4. Doors open at 9 a.m. for the event, and the movie starts at 10 a.m.

Country Star Billy Currington Sets Shows

Country music singer Billy Currington plays back-to-back nights at The Paramount in May.    adobe.c

Country music singer Billy Currington plays back-to-back nights at The Paramount in May. adobe.c

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Country music singer Billy Currington is set to take the stage on back-to-back nights at The Paramount in Huntington next month highlighting country music’s popularity on Long Island.

Currington, 45, has recorded six albums and 11 singles that have reached the number one spot on Billboard’s Country Music charts since he released his debut album in 2003. His number one hits include “Good Directions,” “People Are Crazy,” “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” and “Hey Girl.”

The road to number one started for Currington, as it has for many other country stars, as an 18-year-old in Nashville. He worked pouring concrete and as a personal trainer by day, and at night he played in bars struggling to break onto the scene.

“I was meeting all these songwriters. That led me into singing everybody’s songs. I was doing 10 demos a day,” Currington said. “Before you know it, I started getting deal offers from record labels.”

In 2005 Currington’s second studio album produced two number one hits “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” and “Good Directions.” The album’s success marked his place among Nashville’s top country stars.

“It’s like you work so many years to get it and you finally got it,” said Currington.

Currington has described his music as a “snapshot” into his life. His music is a mix of upbeat summertime songs and slower ballads that ask questions about life and love.

“Music is a snapshot of people’s lives and most of all, I want to leave people in a happy place,” he said.

Although it has been more than 15 years since Currington recorded his debut album, he said his goals have remained the same.

“Whether they’re sitting on a beach or they’re walking around their house or cleaning their house or whatever. Wherever they’re at listening, I want to leave them with a happy and peaceful feeling.”

Currington is scheduled to perform two shows at The Paramount on May 9 and May 10. Doors open at 7 p.m. for both 8 p.m. shows. Tickets for both shows range from $39.50-$85, and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Photographer Explores Abandoned Places

Photographer Paul Mele captures the abandoned in his exhibit, “In Absentia,” on display at fotofoto gallery.  Photos/Paul Mele

Photographer Paul Mele captures the abandoned in his exhibit, “In Absentia,” on display at fotofoto gallery. Photos/Paul Mele

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Items kept sacred can say many things about a person, but what about the pieces that are left behind? What stories can they tell?

Photographer Paul Mele explores what the forsaken have to say in a new exhibit, “In Absentia,” on display at fotofoto gallery, April 24 through May 18.

The Island Park native has pursued photography for the past 10 years. This is his fourth exhibit at the gallery.

Mele has previously shown photographs of the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Center.

“I’ve always had a fascination with abandoned areas and hospitals. This time I decided instead of focusing on the actual building I would focus on what was left behind by people,” Mele said.

Venturing to upstate New York and Connecticut, Mele spent months wandering through old hospitals and living facilities. What he found was an assortment of discarded oddities from desks to TVs to shower curtains to porcelain tubs.

“School's Out”  Photo/Paul Mele

“School's Out” Photo/Paul Mele

“It’s all just remnants of what’s left behind ” Mele said.

A landscape photographer, Mele believes this project is a different form of landscape that puts greater focus on objects while still capturing the surroundings. The elements in his photographs are quite literal and don’t require further interpretation, he said. A smashed television is really just that, but it invites viewers to explore deeper.

“To me, it’s more about the light, the place, the objects, what was left behind and putting your own interpretation about why it was left behind,” Mele said.

While shooting, Mele was at the mercy of the rooms, relying on them to provide him natural light and an intriguing setting. Even the way an item was left is part of Mele’s exploration of the past’s presence. Desks splayed in every direction say much more than desks perfectly arranged in rows.

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”  Photo/Paul Mele

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” Photo/Paul Mele

 “I didn’t alter anything, I didn’t move anything,” Mele said. “Whatever was found was exactly the way it was found. Nothing was staged.”

In the past, Mele left his work without titles. He felt these photographs deserved differentiation.

“I actually started using song titles, because music is a big influence in my life,” Mele said. “I’m trying to find song titles, that to me, maybe not so much with the matter of the song, but to me goes along with the picture I’m looking at. It can be open to interpretation to however you want to look at it.”

Mele ponders why these buildings were shut down and no one ever came in to clean them up. Although, he may never know, Mele was able to explore these strangers’ lives through his lens. To accompany the exhibit name, Mele chose the quote, “While the person involved is not present”.

“This Work Is Timeless”  Photo/Paul Mele

“This Work Is Timeless” Photo/Paul Mele

 “When I was present, all of these people were not but I found the things they left behind and decided not to keep,” Mele said. “In the reversal, I was not there when these people were living there and using these things. I feel, it’s the past talking to the present and the present talking to the past, in duality.”

An artist reception will be held this Saturday, April 27, 5-7 p.m. at fotofoto gallery, 14 W Carver St, Huntington.

Magic Dragon Set To Perform At The Paramount

John van der Put, better known as Piff the Magic Dragon, will be joined on stage at The Paramount on April 20 by his rescue Chihuahua Mr. Piffles.

John van der Put, better known as Piff the Magic Dragon, will be joined on stage at The Paramount on April 20 by his rescue Chihuahua Mr. Piffles.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Since London native John van der Put last took the stage at The Paramount in Huntington just over a year ago, the magician has extended his residency at the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas through 2019.

Van der Put’s success is thanks in no small part to the originality of his act. The 38-year-old Englishman dons a dragon costume and takes on the persona of Piff the Magic Dragon before every show.

Piff’s show combines the comedic edge of a witty, grumpy and sarcastic dragon with magic tricks that Penn Jillette from the duo Penn & Teller has called “stunningly good.”

Van der Put said the idea behind Piff was born after he kept losing gigs as a magician because he was “too grumpy.”

Piff’s persona blossomed in 2008 when a friend suggested van der Put incorporate the dragon into his magic routine after he became the life of a costume party as an angry guy dressed as a dragon.

“Suddenly, everyone who had been firing me because I’d been too grumpy was hiring me because apparently a grumpy guy in a dragon outfit is hilarious,” van der Put said.

Piff the Magic Dragon gained notoriety in 2011 when he appeared on “Penn and Teller: Fool Us,” but was catapulted to stardom in 2015 when he finished in the top 10 of the 10th season of “America’s Got Talent.”

“In that show I was in everyone’s living room for three months,” he said.

Piff the Magic Dragon is regularly joined on stage by his trusty sidekick Mr. Piffles, a white Chihuahua who’s been part of van der Put’s act since being rescued in 2009.

Piff was originally set to appear at The Paramount on April 28, but the show has been rescheduled to Saturday, April 20. The show is one stop on his new The Lucky Dragon tour, which kicked off on March 29.

“If you like grumpy reptiles doing magic, and you like cute dogs then you should give it a go,” he said.

Doors are slated to open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on April 20. Tickets range from $20-$45, and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Heckscher Exhibit Showcases High School Artists

Harborfields High School senior Nina Bennardo’s “Cradle,” was the Renzo and Lynette Bianchi scholarship prize.

Harborfields High School senior Nina Bennardo’s “Cradle,” was the Renzo and Lynette Bianchi scholarship prize.

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

The talented young artists featured in The Heckscher Museum’s 23rd “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists” exhibition were chosen for their impressive technical abilities and thoughtful artist’s statements.

The artists come from a variety of school districts. Over 350 student artists entered pieces, but curator Lisa Chalif and guest juror Robyn Cooper had to narrow the field down to only 80 for display.

“These students exhibiting in a museum before they even graduate high school is an incredible honor and great for the resume… It’s so reassuring when they work hard on something, to have someone else appreciate and affirm that their hard work has paid off,” Cooper said. “It helps propel them forward and even consider pursuing a career in the arts.”

As an adjunct professor of art at Adelphi University, Cooper’s time teaching high school intensives and aided admissions gave her a keen sense of student talent and ability.

“I am always inspired by their dedication and how hard they work, so this was another opportunity to see what they can truly do,” Cooper said.

During the 10-week program, “For the Love of Art” she teaches high school juniors and seniors who have been nominated by their art teachers the fundamentals of many mediums.

Huntington senior Jonah Anastos’s “4” was awarded for Achievement in Digital Art.

Huntington senior Jonah Anastos’s “4” was awarded for Achievement in Digital Art.

 “I know how dedicated they are, since they went to the museum, saw work on display and were inspired by to create something based on that,” Cooper said. “Spending time in a museum to be inspired is part of the learning experience of being an artist.”

She found it fascinating to view the different connections students made with the Heckscher Museum’s previous exhibits.

“I think this gives them a direction and a place to start, because just saying, ‘Be inspired and go make something,’ can be a little daunting,” Cooper said. “Some of the kids took this and made it so personal, while others look into the artist’s life and relate it to themselves, so they are not just picking and creating, they are really connecting.”

Cooper admits it was a challenge to select only 80 pieces, with all the hard work she viewed. Her decisionmaking ultimately came down to technical ability and how the student constructed their artist’s statement.

Half Hollow Hills East freshman Jeanna Boltz won Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for “Life’s Journey.”

Half Hollow Hills East freshman Jeanna Boltz won Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for “Life’s Journey.”

“I read every single statement and took that into consideration, how they articulated their inspiration and what brought them to this work. Every artist in every point of their career has to write an artist’s statement and the fact they get this kind of experience early on is incredible,” Cooper said.

“Long Island’s Best: Young Artists” opens on April 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. with the award ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Cooper encourages other young artists’ to explore the exhibit and find inspiration in their peers’ accomplishments.

Who’s On The Wall
Town Of Huntington artists in the Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best exhibit are

Cold Spring Harbor
Xiuya Gang
Half Hollow Hills East
Jeanna Boltz
Elizabeth Gordon
Anna Laimo
Half Hollow Hills West
Alexander Chin
Lillian Su
Harborfields
Lilyana Barling
Nina Bennardo
Gavin Mazzola
Huntington
Jonah Anastos
Vivienne LaVertu
Andrew McKenzie
Abraham Rodriguez
Alexa Splenorio
St. Anthony’s
James Norton

Good Faith Walk Is A Good Friday Tradition

Volunteers help participants at last years Good Faith Walk on Good Friday. This year’s walk will benefit St. Hugh of Lincoln’s Outreach program and the Makenzie Cadmus Special Needs Trust.  Photo/Ginger Hoernig

Volunteers help participants at last years Good Faith Walk on Good Friday. This year’s walk will benefit St. Hugh of Lincoln’s Outreach program and the Makenzie Cadmus Special Needs Trust. Photo/Ginger Hoernig

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

What started out as a confirmation project for seventh graders at St. Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Church in Huntington Station has blossomed into a more than two decades-old fundraising tradition in the community.

Ginger Hoernig of Huntington Station taught that class all those years ago, and said she has worked to keep the Good Faith Walk going.

“I don’t want it to stop,” Hoernig said. “Some people have been coming for the last 24 years and it does a lot to help people.”

This Good Friday will mark the 24th anniversary of the Good Faith Walk, and this year the walk will again be raising funds for two causes near and dear to both Hoernig and the Huntington Station community.

St. Hugh of Lincoln has always been one of the beneficiaries of the walk. Funds are donated to St. Hugh of Lincoln’s Outreach program, which helps local families in need through its food pantry, by offering school supplies for children in the fall and helping partially fund utilities and medical prescriptions for those who cannot afford them.

For the second year in a row, Hoernig said funds will also go to the Makenzie Cadmus Special Needs Trust. The trust benefits three-year-old Makenzie Cadmus who was born with the rare genetic disorder Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa.

The disorder is caused by the mutation of the gene that provides instructions to the body for making a protein used to assemble type VII collagen, one of the molecules that give structure and strength to a person’s skin, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

In little Makenzie’s case, any minor injury, friction, rubbing or scratching of the skin causes painful blisters and skin erosions. Although scientists have not yet found a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa, Makenzie’s parents continue to teach her to say “because I can” instead of asking “why me.”

Hoernig said the funds donated to Makenzie’s trust will help the family cover out of pocket medical costs, including bandages, which can reach as high as $10,000 per month. Hoernig said the walk usually picks a new charity to support each year, but Makenzie needs the support.

The walk kicks off at noon on April 19 at the Walt Whitman High School Track on 301 West Hills Road in Huntington Station and usually lasts around 45 minutes.

Walkers should bring donations of cash or checks made out to either of the charities, or checks can be mailed to Hoernig at 4 Chambers Court, Huntington Station, New York11729. For more information on Makenzie visit Helpmakenzie.com.

Kill and Be Done in Time for Tea

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

 Slaying has never been so slick, when it’s done with song and ends in becoming an aristocrat, as A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder proves, you can always change life’s path.

Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder has smashingly slaughtered on Broadway and is ready to entertain audiences at the John W. Engeman Theater until Saturday, April 28.

The show is set in early 20th century England and tells the story of Monty Navarro, played by Sean Yves Lessard, who learns of his ancestral ties to the Earl of Highhurst and D’Ysquith family at his mother’s funeral. A woman claiming to know his late parents, tells Monty of his mother’s banishment from the D’Ysquith family after choosing to marry a Castilian, in “You’re a D’Ysquith”. Only eight relatives lie between Monty, the title of Earl and the family fortune. He plans a little assassination to get himself there.

“It’s been fascinating, in so many ways I am similar to the character,” Lessard said. “But in the most fundamental of ways, I am not, because I am not a serial killer… It’s funny, because even though he is killing these people, everytime he does, he contemplates, ‘Should I have done this?’ He’s grappling with his conscience the entire time.”

The D’Ysquith family is anything but ordinary. Each member is more comical and hate-able than the next. What’s most impressive, is all eight relatives are played by Danny Gardener, who captures an entire family of personalities. At certain points you wouldn’t believe the same man that played Asquith D’Ysquith Jr., a snooty, rich playboy who unknowingly serenades with Miss Barley and Monty in “Poison in My Pocket”, could become a foolish society lady looking for a charity cause in “Lady Hyacinth Abroad”, within the same act.

“His characters are so specific and different from one another, it makes my job so much easier,” Lessard said. “I treat them as completely different creatures, because he does as well… It’s all different voices, postures, body ticks, inflections and accents, it’s impressive.”

As Monty gets to know members of the D’Ysquith family, he learns the good and bad of his family and society. He proves to be emotionally layered, as he ponders whether to kill his generous employer, Lord Asquith D’Ysquith, Sr. in “The Last One You'd Expect”.

“The way he justifies it is, he’s killing these people, who are all terrible… For every character you take on, you have to be the hero of your own story,” Lessard said. “Every answer to any question has to be, ‘Yes’. So would I have done it? Yes I would have as Monty.”

It’s more than just massacre on Monty’s mind, he has two loves that each dominate his world. His mistress, Sibella Hallward played by Kate Loprest, commands his passion, as evident in “I Don’t Know What I’d Do”. That is until, his distant cousin, Phoebe D’Ysquith played by Katherine McLaughlin, turns his world “Inside Out”.

“The redeeming quality of Monty is he loves unconditionally,” Lessard said. “He loves these two women who are the center of his life, he loves Asquith, and he was unconditionally attached to his mother. This is the genesis of it all, was how terribly his mother was treated by the family.”

A favorite with audiences and Lessard himself, the lively song “I’ve Decided to Marry You”, puts Monty literally in the middle of Sibella and Phoebe, as he maneuvers his way between the two rooms that the women are in. It’s a scene that truly has to be witnessed, as Monty swings back and forth from door to door, all the while harmonizing.

“It’s a lesson in being able and open to love, but also a cautionary tale to not love too many people at once,” Lessard said.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is showing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 8 p.m., as well as Saturday, 3 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets: $73-78. Call 631-261-2900 or visit engemantheater.com to purchase.

Sheikh Inspires Theater Cast At St. Anthony’s

“The Green Sheikh,” Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, a member of the United Arab Emirates’’ royal family, speaks with St. Anthony’s theater company cast members about youth empowerment and environmental issues.

“The Green Sheikh,” Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, a member of the United Arab Emirates’’ royal family, speaks with St. Anthony’s theater company cast members about youth empowerment and environmental issues.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

His Highness Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, known as the “Green Sheikh,” traveled to St. Anthony’s to watch family friend Caitlin Beirne perform as Wednesday Addams in the production. Four years prior, the Sheikh visited St. Anthony’s and toured the school with Beirne’s brother, with whom he formed a friendship.

“Since the Green Sheikh is all about youth empowerment, my older brother stayed in contact with him,” Beirne said.

A member of the Ajman royal family, Nuaimi carries a reputation as an environmental activist and youth catalyzer.

The cast of “The Addams Family” at St. Anthony’s High School were delighted to meet and perform for a member of royal family of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, March 23.

The cast of “The Addams Family” at St. Anthony’s High School were delighted to meet and perform for a member of royal family of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, March 23.

“To inspire, motivate, and mentor young leaders today, who ultimately will become the future leaders of tomorrow,” Nuaimi said. “These same leaders who will go on to make the changes required for a better, more peacefully interdependent and cooperative world.”

When the Beirnes realized the Sheikh would be visiting America at the same time as the production, they extended an invitation that was gladly accepted. The Sheikh not only attended the show, but spoke with the cast, sharing the importance of youthful activism and advocacy.

“The Sheikh told us that it’s very important we stay involved,” Beirne said. “Then our principal, Brother Gary and the Sheikh spoke about environmental concerns and how Dubai is working to solve these problems.”

The Sheikh said he hopes to motivate the youth to take empowering actions and live a meaningful, simple way of life. This is something he teaches, preaches, and practices in his own life.

Although his words were encouraging, his presence had the performers on edge. Louis Voltaggio, who played Gomez Addams, admited he was nervous before taking the stage, but knew the cast would shine with weeks of preparation.

“I thought it was really interesting just getting to talk to him,” Voltaggio said. “He inspired us all to go out there and perform to the best of our ability.”

For Beirne, it was surreal to see the Sheikh sitting between her parents in the audience. Nuaimi was social and outgoing following the musical. He stuck around to meet parents and take pictures with the cast. The Sheikh told Beirne the production was inspiring.

“I think it was really special for us, after we put so much hard work into this show, that someone who is part of a royal family would come see our show,” Beirne said. “I definitely have a great lasting memory of this.”

 

Dogs Walk The Runway Dressed To The Nines

A fashion show fundraiser for Little Shelter had adoptable pooches walking the runway.

A fashion show fundraiser for Little Shelter had adoptable pooches walking the runway.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Dogs strutted their stuff and wagged their tails in hopes of catching the eye of a future family during Little Shelter’s Rescue Runway Fashion Show held on March 21.

Little Shelter’s eighth annual fashion show fundraiser was hosted at Ferrari-Maserati of Long Island, an ideal backdrop for the lavish night. Potential families had a chance to meet and greet Little Shelter’s adoptable models before they got glammed up for the runway.

The parade of pooches enchanted the audience. News 12’s Danielle Campbell served as the show’s emcee, and spotlighted shelter dogs for adoption.

“There are so many homeless animals out there and there just aren’t enough homes to go around,” Little Shelter executive director David Ceely said. “This allows these dogs, who are in need of a loving home, to make a splash with the public.”

The event showcased dogs of all ages, sizes and backgrounds with the hopes that many would find their forever home. The shelter takes in animals with special or medical needs, like Daisy, a shih-tzu missing her front paw or Bella, a pug with a wheelchair. The shelter helps rehabilitate the animals and get them ready for adoption.

Miss Cleo, a light brown pitbull, came to Little Shelter at 16 years old from the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter, who found her as a stray.

Miss Cleo, a light brown pitbull, came to Little Shelter at 16 years old from the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter, who found her as a stray.

Little Shelter also continues to play an active role in rescuing animals from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Many of these rescued pups had their first chance for adoption at the fashion show.

“We work with the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter as well,” Ceely said. “We worked with them on a sixteen year old pitbull and later found she had BB pellets in her skin. So we got her medically ready and she will premiere for adoption at the fashion show.”

Dogs were dolled up in exclusive pieces from The Official Kane & Couture by Julie Lancaster from Off the Cuff Stuff for Pets, while FETCH Shop of Huntington village produced the show.

The Rescue Runway Fashion Show began as a fundraiser to aid Little Shelter with repairs after Hurricane Sandy caused considerable damage to the facility. The shelter has been a part of the Huntington community for 92 years, and has strong local support. As a grassroots organization that receives zero funding from the government, Little Shelter relies solely on donations and volunteers to operate.

Dogs were dolled up in exclusive pieces from The Official Kane & Couture by Julie Lancaster from Off the Cuff Stuff for Pets

Dogs were dolled up in exclusive pieces from The Official Kane & Couture by Julie Lancaster from Off the Cuff Stuff for Pets

 “The benefit of the fundraiser is tri-fold, since we run Little Shelter, the Town of Huntington Cat Shelter and a sanctuary,” Ceely said. “The sanctuary is what keeps us a true no kill shelter. If a dog has grown old or is overlooked for medical or behavioral reasons, they can go there and live out the rest of their lives in comfort.”

Dogs enjoy freedom and time to decompress at the 124-acre sanctuary in upstate New York, where each pup has their own room, 24-hour care and plenty of space for exercise. Little Shelter works to house as many animals as possible, always running at maximum capacity.

“There is nothing like the feeling of rescuing an animal and they know they’ve been saved,” Ceely said. “But when you adopt, you don’t just save that animals life, you also save the life of another animal because it opens up a space for us to bring them to the safety of Little Shelter.”

Netflix Star Brings Magic To Huntington

Justin Willman, star of the Netflix original show “Magic For Humans,” is slated to take the stage at The Paramount next weekend.

Justin Willman, star of the Netflix original show “Magic For Humans,” is slated to take the stage at The Paramount next weekend.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Whether you know Justin Willman as a magician, comedian and television host, he’s sure to entertain when he takes the stage at The Paramount in Huntington next weekend.

Willman, 38, of St. Louis, Missouri, earned his reputation as a magician performing as a regular guest on “The Tonight Show,” “Ellen” and “Conan.” He performed live for the Obama family at the White House Halloween party.

Fans of the Food Network will recognize Willman as the host of the show “Cupcake Wars” from 2009 until 2013.

Most recently, Willman became the star of Netflix’s first original show about magic. “Magic For Humans” debuted last year and features six, 30-minute episodes. The show blends street magic and social experiments to address the strange and misunderstood subcultures of America.

Willman said the idea behind “Magic For Humans” was to use magic as a way to disarm people and disguise the social experiments. Instead of finding answers, he said he was left with more questions.

Willman said in the show he “uses the art of magic to master the art of being human.” Clips of the show have been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube and other social media sites.

In both “Magic For Humans” and his live shows, Willman is known for his combination of magic and comedic timing.

Willman’s show at The Paramount is part of his Magic in Real Life tour that began in February. The show is designed to give a more intimate, personal performance for the live audience.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, April 13. Tickets range from $20-$50, and they can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.

Here Comes Thoroughly Modern Millie

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

Swing into the roaring ’20s, as “Thoroughly Modern Millie” turns back time on the Huntington High School stage.

The classic musical transports audiences to the booming jazz age in New York. The show follows Kansas girl Millie Dillmount as she finds her way as a “modern” woman in the big city, with the help of show-stopping numbers and a diverse cast of characters. Director Michael Schwendemann said he was drawn to “Thoroughly Modern Millie’s” lively soundtrack.

“One of the things I love about the show is the score. The songs are quite memorable and kinda draw you in that jazz age time,” Schwendemann said. “They make you wanna throw on your flapper dress and join the party.”

Playing the role of Millie, junior Abby Semelsberger feels it’s a dream come true to play the iconic role, especially since she grew up listening to the musical.

“It’s definitely had its challenges as a 2019 teenager playing a 1920s young adult, but it’s been so rewarding to play this character that I love,” Semelsberger said. “She’s taught me so much about bravery, going after what you want, and not apologizing for who you are, which I admire so much.”

On her path to becoming modern, Millie encounters caring, comical and conniving characters. Semelsberger said she feels fortunate to have known her co-star Izzy Cahill, who plays Miss Dorothy, and love interest Jimmy Smith, played by Kennan Lyons, for many years. The natural chemistry is evident as they share the stage.

“I’m so lucky to have an entire cast that I’m such great friends with, they’re all amazing people outside of being incredibly talented,” Semelsberger said.

A live pit orchestra of student musicians brings the show’s jazzy tunes and swinging serenades to life.

Lyons said he enjoys his solo “What Do I Need with Love?”, as Jimmy sings of his inner conflict and feelings in a jail cell, while Semelsberger is looking forward to her upbeat solo, “Gimme Gimme”.

“The ’20s is that jazz age, with flappers and speakeasies,” Lyons said. “It’s a whole new scene. It’s that time people had a spark for individuality. I feel the ’20s is just this breath of fresh air with opportunity.”

The cast has immersed themselves in the roaring ’20s, studying the walk, talk and dress of the era. Before hitting the stage, Schwendemann had each cast member analyze their character’s motivation, background and relationships.

“Something I told the kids today is, ‘no one is bigger than the production,’” Schwendemann said. “We need to be a well-oiled machine and we’re only as strong as our weakest link.”

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” hits the Huntington High School stage on April 5, 7:30 p.m. and April 6, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets sold at the door for $10. The Saturday matinee is free for seniors. For more information, call 516-749-0741.

Surreal Space Between Asleep And Awake

Northort fine art photographer Nicolas Bruno’s surrealistic scenes explore his experiences with sleep paralysis. His solo show, In Limbo, is at Haven Gallery through March.  Photo/Nicolas Bruno

Northort fine art photographer Nicolas Bruno’s surrealistic scenes explore his experiences with sleep paralysis. His solo show, In Limbo, is at Haven Gallery through March. Photo/Nicolas Bruno

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Imagine waking from sleep, not being able to move a muscle as visions of fears take over your sight, a scary scenario that has plagued local artist, Nicolas Bruno.

The Northport photographer has suffered from sleep paralysis from a young age, a condition that renders a person immobile, despite being consciously awake. Those who experience it cannot move or speak, feel pressure on their chest and will at times hallucinate frightening scenes. Bruno has channeled these experiences into his art as a form of therapy. This month, his latest exhibit, “In Limbo” will be shown at Haven Gallery in Northport until Mar. 31.

“My whole body of work is based on my experiences with sleep paralysis and how I transform them from something negative into positive artwork,” Bruno said.

This is Bruno’s first year in his own studio and feels he finally has “complete freedom” with his process and art. This will be his first time exhibiting sculptures and drawings of characters he met in dreams. He also recently debuted a jewelry collection directly inspired by his work.

“I’m really excited to share what I’ve been working on for the past year,” Bruno said. “I’ve been exploring a lot of deeper themes in my work, along with different mediums and creating new costumes and props.”

Bruno chose the title “In Limbo” because he believes it encapsulates the feeling of being stuck during sleep paralysis.

“With sleep paralysis, you’re stuck between the world of being awake and asleep,” Bruno said. “You’re just waiting for this horrible experience to end and you can’t do anything because you’re frozen in your bed.”

For this exhibit, Bruno went even deeper into his theme of sleep and dreams. His dark images pull inspiration from his own dreams and visions. He keeps in a dream journal in which he can sketch or jot down a few words after waking up.

“This helps me to express the feelings I’ve went through that are almost impossible to describe with words,” Bruno said. “Art is my universal voice to speak to anybody across the world.”

Many of Bruno’s photographs carry the dark presence of a nightmare and represent scenes he has witnessed while paralyzed in bed.

“To make these crazy, chaotic themes, I normally have to build everything,” Bruno said. “You can’t just buy something like a wishing well, I have to figure out how to create it myself. I would get insulation foam, then carve and paint it or I’ll pick up wood off the side of the road and repurpose it.”

Although Bruno outlines themes for his body of work, the artist wants viewers to make their own conclusions about pieces.

“I think it’s fun to explore the personal aspects of it,” Bruno said. “But I do leave it open to interpretation, since everyone interprets a dream differently.”

Bruno’s imagery often requires building elaborate props.  Photo/Nicolas Bruno

Bruno’s imagery often requires building elaborate props. Photo/Nicolas Bruno

Bruno will often serve as his own model, immersing himself back into the scary scenes his mind has created. He will set up his camera on a tripod, then start an interval timer that snaps a picture every few seconds as he rearranges his poses and props.

“I almost relive these chaotic experiences because I’m wading through a murky pond or I have a mask on my face or maybe I’m bound in rope,” Bruno said. “But instead of not having any control, I have complete control of the scenario and can relive the experience with control, while creating something positive.”

Growing up on Long Island, Bruno has used his surroundings as a backdrop for his eerie images. His favorite environments to shoot in take him deep into the woods, marsh lands or by the ocean.

“I like to revisit areas that I went to as a child and found inspiration or comfort in going to,” Bruno said. “I remember when I was younger, my friends and I would run around there making up stories.”

Since he was a young boy, Bruno has been capturing images and ignited his passion with a disposable camera. But it wasn’t until he took art classes in high school that he realized this was a subject he excelled in.

“At the time, I was really just not sleeping, I would stay up for two days in a row, just because I would be afraid to go back to bed,” Bruno said. “Art was really my outlet.”

Bruno hopes his work reaches those who suffer from sleep paralysis, who can relate and be inspired to possibly work through the disorder with their own “pleasant therapy.” In the future, he would like to create a Virtual Reality experience that shows people what sleep paralysis feels like. To view his work visit nicolasbrunophotography.com.

A child’s dollhouse sawed in two creates the basis of this image.  Photo/Nicolas Bruno

A child’s dollhouse sawed in two creates the basis of this image. Photo/Nicolas Bruno

Message To Cancer Patients: ‘No One Fights Alone’

Commack Director of Athletics Pat Friel, Roseanne Simone, seniors on the varsity girls soccer team, and coaches Tracie Morenberg and Jack Bayer, show off blankets purchased for chemotherapy patients. The blankets read: “No one fights alone!”

Commack Director of Athletics Pat Friel, Roseanne Simone, seniors on the varsity girls soccer team, and coaches Tracie Morenberg and Jack Bayer, show off blankets purchased for chemotherapy patients. The blankets read: “No one fights alone!”

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The Commack High School Girls Soccer program, along with the Commack High School Goal Club and the Commack Soccer League raised $6,000 to aid those with cancer.

They joined numerous schools and the Suffolk County Girls Soccer Coaches Association (S.C.G.S.C.A.) for the “Kicks for Cancer Fundraiser” that benefits cancer organizations and local families. Since 2008, Kicks For Cancer has raised more than $250,000 that has been donated to the Making Headway Foundation, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House and many others. It was started by the Hauppauge Girls Soccer Program and coach Jesseca Kulesa after the team lost soccer family member Courtney Tomkin to brain cancer.

“Courtney has been and always will be an inspiration and has affected thousands of lives in so many ways both on and off the pitch and continues to do so to this very day,” the S.C.G.S.C.A. website reads.

The Commack contingent raised the second highest school total in Suffolk County with $6,000 donated. Varsity and junior varsity soccer players amassed this amount through raffles, bake sales and collecting donations at the Commack Soccer League field on weekends. CSL showed its support by selling pink soccer socks in October. The school’s Goal Club also lent a hand by organizing basket donations and concessions at the girls’ annual “Pink Games”.

As thanks, Kicks for Cancer allows the teams to choose where a portion of their raised funds will be donated. They selected a fund chosen by Commack Soccer League board member and cancer survivor Roseanne Simone.

“Roseanne’s determination was the motivation behind this community venture,” Commack coach Tracie Morenberg said. “Through the great efforts of many, the Commack High School Girls Soccer Program knows the true meaning of ‘It takes a village to pay it forward.’”

Simone’s wish was to give back to the center that helped her through her own battle with breast cancer. In January, she was able to deliver 200 blankets for chemotherapy patients at the NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in Huntington where she was treated.

Supermarket Puts Plastic Bag Fees To A Good Use

IGA owner Charlie Reichert, left, Suffolk Legislator Robert Trotta, right, and Fort Salonga IGA’s manager Ryan Ceriello pictured last year when Reichert announced he would donate the store’s plastic bag fees to Huntington Hospital.

IGA owner Charlie Reichert, left, Suffolk Legislator Robert Trotta, right, and Fort Salonga IGA’s manager Ryan Ceriello pictured last year when Reichert announced he would donate the store’s plastic bag fees to Huntington Hospital.

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The owner of two IGA markets in the Town of Huntington donated the proceeds from Suffolk’s 5-cent plastic bag fee – nearly $18,000 – to Huntington Hospital.

Charlie Reichert of Northport pledged last February he would donate to the hospital the money his IGA markets in Fort Salonga and East Northport brought in as a result of the county’s fee on single-use plastic bags. The two stores collected $17,810 in fees during 2018, according to hospital officials.

The county law requiring retailers to charge a nickel per plastic bag used by a customer was approved by the Suffolk Legislature in September 2016, and implemented at the start of last year.

Reichert said he came up with the idea to donate the fee after he heard customers complaining about having to pay a nickel for plastic bags, and that the money was just going back into the retailer’s pockets.

Reichert and his wife Helen have been major donors to Huntington Hospital, and the money from the plastic bag fee will go towards the newly opened Center for Mothers and Babies. The center provides 19 private rooms for mothers and their babies complete with sleeper sofas for a significant other, hospital officials said.

“Charles and his family’s generosity has helped Huntington Hospital to continue to provide cutting-edge medical care to the people of Suffolk County,” Huntington Hospital’s executive director Dr. Nick Fitterman said.

Officials from Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer’s office said they are still putting together a report with data on the impact of the bill, but preliminary information from the Food Industry Alliance of New York State indicates member stores saw an 80 percent reduction in plastic bag usage over the first three quarters of 2018.

Councilman Joins Ex-Rangers On The Ice

At a charity hockey to benefit youth hockey are, from left, back row: rink maintenance worker Jerry Reikert; rink manager Matt Naples; Rangers Brian Mullen and Colton Orr; Huntington Councilman Ed Smyth; skating instructor James Chang; assistant rink manager Kevin Young and Mike Graziano.

At a charity hockey to benefit youth hockey are, from left, back row: rink maintenance worker Jerry Reikert; rink manager Matt Naples; Rangers Brian Mullen and Colton Orr; Huntington Councilman Ed Smyth; skating instructor James Chang; assistant rink manager Kevin Young and Mike Graziano.

By Charlie Crudup
info@longislandergroup.com

Ed Smyth considers himself a decent hockey player. Though it’s been a few years since he has played with a team, the Huntington Councilman agreed to lace up his skates for a charity game.

Smyth found himself on the ice last Saturday for a New York Rangers Assist charity game to benefit youth hockey. Skating alongside Smyth and other parents of youth hockey players were a handful of former New York Rangers.

Darius Kasparaitis and Ron Duguay anchored Smyth’s Team Blue, and Brian Mullen and Colton Orr skated for Team White.

The former Rangers regularly “come out of retirement” to play fundraising games through the New York Rangers Assist.

Saturday’s event at the Dix Hills Ice Rink raised $60,000 for Long Island Rebels Hockey Association and the Dix Hills Ice Rink.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to do this after my career.” Orr said.

Kasparaitis opened the scoring and he and Orr kept the score close.

“They were pretty much able to score at will,” said Smyth of the pros.

Team Blue beat Team White, 13-11.

Smyth ended the game with his teeth intact and his wallet lighter, but it was for a good cause.

“It’s always better to get in and get your hands dirty rather than talk about it.”

Art League Shows Top Student Artists

Walt Whitman High School student Reyha Mete depicts city spaces in “Stuggle.” She plans to pursue art in college.

Walt Whitman High School student Reyha Mete depicts city spaces in “Stuggle.” She plans to pursue art in college.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Youth artists shine at “GO APE,” an exhibit featuring work by high school Advanced Placement art students from across Long island at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills.

Schools were asked to submit up to four student pieces, highlighting a variety of media from drawing to sculpture to photography. The exhibit gives young artists a chance to display their work and develop experience working with galleries.

“It’s great reassurance that after all the hard work we’ve put in these years, our work can be showcased and more than just the people from our school get to see it,” Half Hollow Hills student Elizabeth Gordin said.

Her art teacher Allyson Uttendorfer believes the show is important for flourishing students.

“I think it shows them the professional side of exhibiting,” Uttendorfer said. “It shows them what’s to come if they do pursue art and what to look forward to. It also boosts their confidence, that they get to see their work, which is so strong, amongst other really talented students from Long Island.”

Half Hollow Hills HS East’s Giavanna Castro’s radiant work, “Sun Catcher” is among works by top student artists at the Art League of Long Island galleries in Dix Hills.

Half Hollow Hills HS East’s Giavanna Castro’s radiant work, “Sun Catcher” is among works by top student artists at the Art League of Long Island galleries in Dix Hills.

This year 24 students from seven Town of Huntington high schools will be among the 142 artists exhibiting. They are Giavanna Castro, Rachel Goldsmith, Elizabeth Gordin, Evelyn Shanoff, Madeline Bay, Francisco Chong, Ryan Kenny, Avery Schwartz, Nina Bernnardo, Katie Farkas, Emily Graziano, Nick Paul, Kristen Impicciche, Katya Jaworsk, Emma Mason, Shannon Wines, Anna Edwards, Diana Fogel, Reyha Mete, Cyrus Pekarek, Ryan Eno, Katie Long, Jason Saporito, and Kelly Williams.

Uttendorfer had to choose two works to represent Half Hollow Hills. She selected “Good For The Sole” by Gordin and “Sun Catcher” by Giavanna Castro.

“I take into consideration skill and finished product, but also pay attention to whose are working really hard,” Uttendorfer said. “The girls are really talented, they’ve both been at the top of the class.”

Each photographer captured subjects in a unique, exciting way utilizing effects. “Good for the Sole” comes from the project, “Faceless Portraits” where Godrin puts emphasis on the color reflecting off the shoes. While Castro’s piece sees the sunny side.

“Good For The Sole” by Half Hollow Hills AP art student Elizabeth Gordin.

“Good For The Sole” by Half Hollow Hills AP art student Elizabeth Gordin.

 “I utilized a suncatcher to take the picture, I put it over the lense of my camera to get those distinct rainbow lines,” Castro said. “I thought this would really contribute to my concentration and added a lot of character to the piece, especially with my friend smiling.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to have the community come together to see the art we’ve been making for all these years,” Castro said.

Both students are very excited and proud to have their work hanging on the gallery walls.

They are also eager to view other student’s work and techniques, like Walt Whitman senior Reyha Mete, who utilized watercolor to create “Struggle.”

The work will be on display at the Art League of Long Island Feb. 16 through Mar. 3 when awards will be given at an Artist’s Reception, from 1-3 p.m.