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Art Loisaida’s Homage to Ginsberg – Howl Festival

Coming up on September 1st through September 30,  the new Art Loisaida show presents an ‘Homage to Ginsberg”,  at Theater for the New City (155 First Avenue at 10th St)  with an opening reception on September 9 between 5 and 8 PM. The artists in the show are: Deborah Aslanian, Amy Cohen Banker, Kathryn Bloss, Kathy Creutzburg, Lauren Edmond, Haim Elisha, Kris Enos, Millie Falcaro, Kathy Jennings, Randy Jones, Angela LaMonte, Phoebe Legere, Len Leone, Marlis Momber, Jerry Pagan, Jo Pendola, Carolyn Ratcliffe, Mike Rimbaud, Christine Rodriquez, Anne Stanner. NOTE: During the opening on September 9, I will perform (assisted by Andrew Bolotowsky, flute, soprano Mary Hurlbut and guitarist Jonathan Hirschman) a new setting of the poetry of Ginsberg, entitled – so appropriately – Velocity of Money… ‘”whistling through windows of Lower East Side…”

Art Loisaida peopleA bit of history:  Art Loisaida Foundation /Artistas de Loisaida is an important and active group of downtown artists. In 1995 three East Village artists, Carolyn Ratcliffe, (center on photo) Mario Bustamante (left)  and Robert Slaughter (right) decided to organize art shows around the Rites of Spring Pageant showcasing the works of local artist friends. The Art Loisaida Foundation incorporated as a nonprofit in May 2008, having grown out of the Artistas de Loisaida collaborative, a multicultural, muldisciplinary group showing paintings, drawings, sculptures, digital art, photography as well as performance art and artist workshops for children.  Art Loisaida is committed to opening new venues for artists in the neighborhood, with shows not only in the East Village but also in Times Square, Red Hook, Brooklyn and for ten years at the Cork Gallery, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Last June 2008, the “Wildlife of the Lower East Side” exhibition at Tompkins Square Library was humorously inspired by the ‘flora and fauna’ of the neighborhood in the summer. The show was expanded in September 2008 as “Wildlife Lower East Side: Howl’s On” as part of the annual Howl Festival downtown. This exhibition was for the first time presented in the vast lobby of the Theater for the New City. In December 2008, a “Small Works” exhibition at Tompkins Square Library was designed so that people in the neighborhood could afford to buy a piece of art as a Christmas gift, and in fact, they did buy the small artworks! Who says collecting art is a rich man’s pastime? In addition to the show, there was an “art slam” at Tompkins Square Library where several of the participating artists showed slides of their work and spoke about their creative process. In May 2008, the “Icon” show took place at the Tompkins Square Library. The theme addresses the various facets of the word “Icon” not only as we know it on a daily basis as a small symbol on the computer, but in a more archetypal sense. Then in June, the group participated in the 14th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, at Theater for the New City.

Over the years over a 100 artists have been represented in “Artistas de Loisaida” shows such as sculptors Mario Bustamante, Jose Landoni, Juan Salazar, Mario Vallejo, Ana Castillo-Ruiz, Kathy Cretzburg, Ken Hirosuka Randy Jones, Baron Perez, Alex Ross and Anne Stanner;  painters  Ken Ecker, Horacio Molina, Hector Cardenas, Jose Osorio, Jerry Pagane, Deborah Aslanian, Leslie Tanner, Len Leone, Lois Carlo, Lauren Edmund, Susann Ferris Jones, Patricia Melvin, Chjip Krezell,John Silver, Kathy Jennings, Morrena Saenz, Angela LaMonte, Mike  Rimbaud, Amy Cohen Banker and Haim Elisha; photographers Carolyn Ratcliffe, Dennis Edge, Brian Benson, Onno de Jong, Kris Enos, Marilis Momber, Bonnie Rosenstock, Silvianna Goldsmith, Evelyn Fitzgerald, Christopher Butt, Krystyna Sanderson, Shell Sheddy, Anna Swarayn and Millie Falcaro; mosaic artist Sonja Hofer, and stained glass artist Patty Kelly. These are just a few of the artists who have shown their works with Artistas de Loisaida.

Interestingly, the shows are collaboratively themed and the work is selected also by consensus of the artists who have shown in the previous show. At the heart of this colorful, lively group is Carolyn Ratcliffe, who has been organizing the shows since the mid-90s.  She schedules the venues and performs gracefully the difficult task of coordinating between wildly different personalities and styles so as to create a collective framework. The openings are a hoot, always bringing a crowd, with delicious home-cooked dishes that people kindly bring, and they often feature casual performances by musician friends.

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