Part of the charm of life in Arverne By The Sea and the Rockaways is the relaxed, artistic vibe. While the area is increasingly getting a reputation for being home to many hipster types, the truth is that all residents enjoy a healthy and growing arts scene, thanks to some inspired locals. Dedicated organizations like the Rockaway Artists’ Alliance ensure that everyone in the local area can enjoy the arts.
What Is the Rockaway Artists Alliance?
This not-for-profit arts organization was formed in 1994 with the mission of encouraging and engaging local residents in the arts, with a focus on the youth. Over the years, the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) has accomplished a great deal, such as implementing a comprehensive school arts program in local public schools, and obtaining contracts with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Board of Education to do so. They also make use of two buildings located in the Gateway National Recreational Area, slated to be a local cultural arts center.
Looking to get involved? The RAA has plenty going on around the community. Whether making the art, or behind the scenes, there’s plenty to do for artists and art-lovers of all ages.
- Free Lectures
- Special Community Events
- Artistic Mentoring for Local Youth
- Public Beautification Projects
- Camp KidsmART – summer camp
- Art Classes – for children and adults
All types of artists will find their niche within the classes offered. Whether interested in signing up for a series of classes, or paying as you go, you’re sure to learn some new skills and make some new friends in the community. Examples of subjects offered include watercolor painting, basic digital photography, coastal and seascape landscape painting, cartooning, and creative writing, plus of course many more. Look for courses to change each season.
Where Are Exhibitions Held?
The approximately 12 exhibitions a year put on by the RAA are held at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways. Specifically, they can be found in galleries studio 6, and studio 7, at the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA). Just a short 15-minute drive from Arverne By The Sea, these exhibitions can make for a great weekend outing, especially when accompanied by a stroll along the beach at Jacob Riis Park, or a trip to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge just across Rockaway Point Boulevard.
The best way to support the RAA is to join! Joining will give you access to the local facilities, workshops, exhibitions, and more. All that is asked in return is a small contribution of $40 for a 12-month membership (at the time this was written), and a donation of your time through volunteering, or using specialized skills like events, publicity, lighting, building and construction, gardening, and more! You can even offer to volunteer as a general cleaner, something that anyone, even without a shred of artistic talent, can do brilliantly!
For more information about what’s going on with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, start by exploring the RAA website, where you’ll find important contact, events, exhibitions, and membership info.
To contact other local artists in the area, learn more about upcoming workshops, classes, events, and to immerse yourself in the local artistic community, check out the RAA Facebook page.