STORY AND PHOTOS BY JANIE ROSMAN
Tarrytown residents Bill Murphy and his wife Mary were standing near the back of the room when the presentation began. “We got there at about 6:30 p.m., and it was mobbed,” he said. “And then I heard my name.”
Given the huge turnout last Friday at the grand opening for “Bridging the Waters,” the 2014 New NY Bridge Art Show at Nyack Outreach Center, they thought it best to stay where they were instead of make their way through the crowd. Murphy earned Best of Show for his acrylic on muslin entry “Farewell Old Tappan Zee Bridge” that was painted from a picture he took last winter, and bordered by Heritage Frame & Picture Company, Inc. on Main Street in Tarrytown.
“This was a collaborative effort on both sides of the river,” special project advisor Brian Conybeare said prior to announcing category winners, “and we certainly couldn’t have done it without Andrew O’Rourke, who is part of our Community Outreach Team.”
Although O’Rourke was unable to attend, Conybeare told the packed room, “I know he’s with us in spirit, and it was really his drive and his enthusiasm that made all this possible.”
Runner-up was a tie between first-time artist and Tarrytown resident Dhiru Gajjar’s environmental portrayal titled “Earth Love the New NY Bridge” — detailing the project site, construction workers, river, and Rockland shoreline — and “Imagination’s Journey,” created from a 1932 edition of Roddy’s Complete Geography by Pennsylvania artist Jodi Harvey-Brown.
Special thanks went to ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam, who was also absent, Rockland Center for the Arts Executive Director Julie Ramos, Ken Burns of the Nyack Art Collective, and Naomi Vladeck of Rivertown Artists Workshop. “There is an art to designing a beautiful bridge and an art to capturing it on canvas, in a photo or other media,” Ramos said earlier that day. “The new and old bridges cross an expanse of the Hudson River that is particularly beautiful.”
Also noted was RoCA board member Rob Fellows, who sits on the Visual Quality Panel member.
“It (the show) is a fitting way for the bridge to exit, to have its grandeur recognized as it nears its end,” Fellows said. “It captured the majesty of the bridge, showed the light and surrounding environment.”
Both the Nyack and Tarrytown Outreach Centers became art galleries, thanks to Nyack Art Collective member Lawrence Hultberg. “Part of the skill of being able to hang a show is looking at the artwork, as well as the space, and taking into consideration the work in relation to the other work that needs to be hung,” he said.
“The talent was truly impressive in all the pieces,” Visual Quality Panel member David Aukland said. “More powerful was the range of insights and interpretations for the single topic of our bridge.”
The many moods and perspectives the contributors have shown us were very much appreciated which, Aukland said, made choosing among them difficult. “Congratulations are due to everyone.”
“We tried to bring the arts communities from both Westchester and Rockland together using the bridge as a metaphor, and to bridge the arts communities,” Conybeare said. Whether the art is about the existing Tappan Zee Bridge or the new bridge, “What you see is the creative works of some very, very talented people.”
“Bridging the Waters” opens at the Tarrytown Outreach Center, 2 N. Broadway, on September 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.