Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time to Clean Up

Day 1

Those who have followed the news of the Belmar Arts Council over the past two months know that we have suspended most of our activities since the end of October and Sandy's arrival on our shores.  (the painted barriers closer to the beach are a notable exception) Belmar took over the Boatworks to use as an aid intake and redistribution center, filling the building with all kinds of relief supplies.  There are still several large truck trailers parked outside the building, which one assumes will eventually be hauled (along with their contents) to other places.  However, much of the building itself has been emptied, and so on Thursday morning the BAC began the process of clearing the building of what remained, and getting it cleaned up and ready for a new season of art.  Supplies that could be of use to local charitable organizations were packed up to be redistributed.

We had a great turnout today, 15 to 20 people running around the Boatworks, hauling boxes, moving furniture, scrubbing, demolishing, sweeping, etc.

As long as various repairs were going on, it was decided to remove a corner of the wall that separates the office from the rest of the back room.  This will give us a little more space, and a wider view of the stage for performances.

As we suspected, the front room saw a little more damage (some water had gotten in), permanently damaging the sheet rocked walls.  They looked fine, but had been in standing water, so disintegration and mold were inevitable.  The lower two feet were of wall board were removed all the way around, and the framing treated to arrest moisture damage.

Day 2

Work continued on Friday.  That corner of the old office that was cut off yesterday was framed and sheet rocked to create a new angled wall- a better view of the stage area, and we can still hang art on the wall.

However the bigger job was in the front room.  The lower two feet of sheet rock had been removed all the way around the room, exposing the wall studs and the outer wall of the building.  The framing was sprayed and fans were deployed around the room to speed the drying of the wood.  After we are satisfied that the wood is dry, fresh sheet rock will go up.

More volunteers will be needed in the coming weeks to continue the process of getting the Boatworks ready for a full schedule of art exhibitions, classes, performances, etc.  The walls and floors will all need a bit of work from our volunteers.  If you are interested in lending a hand, check the BAC main website on a regular basis.  Information will be posted there to let people know when various help will be needed.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Murals, Murals, Everywhere

The Boatworks is still serving an important function for Belmar's Sandy recovery, but we hope to be getting it ready soon for a busy 2013 series of exhibitions, classes, performances, etc.  But that hasn't stopped us from working on art.  As part of the clean up of Belmar, a series of concrete barriers was installed along A Street from 7th Avenue to 20th Avenue, to divert non-local traffic away from Ocean Avenue while the heavy equipment is busy.  Those concrete 'Jersey walls' are effective, but not particularly pretty, so the BAC was invited to help decorate them.  Belmar Paint and Decorating on Main Street donated large amounts of blue paint so that each could be given a background coat front and back, along with some brushes.  Volunteers jumped at the chance to adopt a barrier and turn it into something bright and colorful.  The process has been going on for a few weeks.  Below are some examples of these barriers:

8th Avenue and A
Bob Mataranglo

9th Avenue and A
Merry Brennan and friends

10th Avenue and A
Pat and John Hutchinson

11th Avenue and A
Katie Maricic

12th Avenue and A

13th Avenue and A
Garth Gutierrez

14th Avenue and A
Kathryn Paul and Ava

15th Avenue and A
Rochelle Ritacco (front)
Girl Scout Troop 1517 (back)

16th Avenue and A
Tim Lucas and Friends

17th Avenue and A

18th Avenue and A
Cindy Dunn
Louise Rempe
Neil Schenk
Linda Sanfilippo

A few of the barriers shown above are still in progress, and there are a few along the route that haven't been started yet, but if we get enough decent weather, I'm sure we'll find people to finish them all.  Some of the artists have told us they have been getting many positive comments from the people who live on these blocks, who appreciate the artistic efforts of the BAC and other Belmar volunteers.  Photos of other barriers around town can be seen on the BAC website.  Even better, park your car on A Street and stroll up and down from 7th to 20th and see them for yourself.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post Storm Update

Due to the continued state of emergency in the Belmar area, the BAC has decided to suspend all programs for the rest of the year.  The Boatworks has been taken over by the borough of Belmar as a disaster relief center and distribution point.  That includes the office, so no one will be there to answer questions or provide information during this time.

Works from the recent Art of Autism show have been put safely into storage, and participants will be informed when it's possible to pick them up.  The planned Wearable Usable Functional show has been postponed until further notice.  Planned musical performances scheduled for the Boatworks are also cancelled.

Photos of the Boatworks in its new temporary function, along with some scenes of Sandy's effect on Belmar, are currently posted on the home page of the main website.  Once things are more settled and we are ready to move back into the building, check here and the website for updates on a schedule of events in 2013.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lightning Before the Storm

They say there's a big storm heading this way, but tonight it was still business as usual for the Belmar Arts Council.  The Boatworks hosted Lightning Jar, an Asbury Park based folk rock band known for interesting instrumental arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies.  Pat Hutchinson sent us this photo during the show.  Looks like it was a fun time.  Information about future musical performances at the Boatworks can be found on our main website.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Mud Mural is Really Finished

Some rain slowed down the plan a few days, but as scheduled, the mud mural was finally taken down last week.  If not for the bulldozers, there's a good chance it would be mostly down by now anyway; just a few pieces of twine were keeping it up on one side.  With all the other points of reference gone now, it's hard to say exactly where it was, but between these two photos, we're seeing the empty ground where our wall of straw, sticks, and mud once stood for well over a year.  (We did better than the straw and stick houses built by the first two little pigs, but not as well as the third house of bricks.  Perhaps if we had baked the mud first...)

It was fun while it lasted.  It involved dozens of people from the BAC and the community, and we got to experience an obscure but interesting process.  We're not likely to build another one at the Boatworks.  We'll have less unpaved ground when this construction is done, and project leader Kat Heitman has moved away to pursue graduate studies (though she has plans for more mud projects out there already).  However, if anyone does want to try a cob building project, the whole process is documented on this blog.  Just click on the words "MUD MURAL" at the bottom of this post to bring up the whole set.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Still Standing...Barely

Anyone who has been by the Boatworks in the past few weeks has noticed big changes to the area.  First, the town of Belmar trimmed, then removed the trunks of all the trees that had marked the northern edge of our parking area, the first step in the plan to repave this little corner of our town.  Meanwhile, our mud mural was still standing, looking pretty much as it did in August.  

But then about a week ago we had the first major change to the wall, it started to break away from the bundled bamboo stalks that form the main vertical support on the left side.  However, despite that the weight of the whole wall is now being supported only on one end, the wall is still intact.  No big chunks have fallen out, and while some bigger cracks have formed, all the 3D elements are still where we put them.  Pretty amazing for a bunch of mud and sticks.  We knew from the beginning that this would not be a permanent addition to our site, and documenting nature's reclaiming of the materials was always part of the project, but it has lasted a lot longer than we had expected.

We would love to see how this plays our over the next few weeks, but it looks like we won't have the opportunity.  We've got word that this coming Monday whatever is left standing by then will be bulldozed to the ground.  So if you want to make one last visit to see our cob wall, better get there soon.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Art of Autism Reception

This evening the Boatworks hosted the opening reception for our new Art of Autism exhibition.  The show features art made by individuals with autism, and will benefit future such programs.

The front room includes over 80 artworks, created from many artistic mediums.  The majority of the work was created by children participating in the Beach Bash, a two day event run by Surfers Healing, a non-profit dedicated to teaching autistic children to surf.  Earlier this month 300 children were part of the event on Belmar's beach, where they got to enjoy the waves with the help of experienced surfers.

Jane Magovern was a big help in organizing artistic activities at the Beach Bash, getting more than four dozen people involved.  For the occasion, many of the resulting artworks are surfboard shaped.

In addition to the art show in the front room, there was a different show in the back room.  Musician Cliff Bloodgood sang and played for the crowd, while a continuous slide show of scenes from the Beach Bash played on the screen on the back wall.  Plus we had our typical assortment of refreshments.   Donations from local businesses Taylor Hardware, Klein's Waterside Cafe, and the 9th Avenue Pier helped make the reception possible.  Several dozen were in attendance during the reception, with most hanging around until the end.

Almost all the work is for sale, the vast majority priced at only $10.  To help with the fundraising, the reception also included a 50/50 and a silent auction of work donated by BAC members.  Ten of the donated works sold during the reception.  The other 19 pieces, a mix of paintings, sculptures, photos, etc, will remain in our side gallery for the duration of the show, so future visitors can bid on them.

The Art of Autism exhibition remains on display at the Boatworks through November 2, 2012.  Regular gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 pm.  Admission is free.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Artists United at the Boatworks

This morning the Boatworks hosted an unusual event related to the current Unite Collaborative Exhibition.  The show, which opened three weeks ago, invited submissions from artists working in groups of two or more to create the artwork.  The combinations could include pairs of visual artists, but in many cases the works are the result of pairings of writers and visual artists.  Today the show's participants, and anyone else who might be interested, were invited to be part of a discussion of the collaboration process- for these specific works and in general.  The discussion was led by Rachel Zantarski (above) and Sandy Cook (below), who were both part of the Noble Prose writers group that also encouraged collaborations between writers and visual artists.

About a dozen artists (and one very happy little dog) were part of the discussion.  We started by talking about the different approaches the various participants took to get to their artworks- how collaborators were picked, how ideas were developed, how communication occurred through the process, and reactions to the resulting work.  It turns out that there were as many strategies as there were artists, but it demonstrated that there are potentially many paths to creativity.

In the second half of the event, we turned on the lights, got out of the chairs, and walked around so that the artists could talk about some of their specific works and give details about their role in the creative process.

The discussion was vary lively and informative, and left the group excited about the possibility of another collaborative exhibition in the future.  Meanwhile, the current Unite show is up through September 21st, so if you haven't seen it yet, make a point to get to the Boatworks soon.