According to most accounts, we had a better Fall for Arts in 2023 than any since the pre-pandemic 2019 show. it’s a credit to RIVAA‘s unrewarded judging and organizing, tasks RIOC dumped on them after denuding its experienced staff. Following are some ideas for taking it to the next level in 2024.
by David Stone
Artists start with a blank slate, then build, relying on tradition, themes and inspiration. After twenty years of influencing the Island of Art theme elevating Roosevelt Island’s profile, the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association stepped up in 2022.
But that was on short notice, picking up the project after after senior staff talked RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes out of canceling it. That followed the firing of Erica Spencer-EL and Jessica Cerone, the pair guiding the even for years.
Even so, RIVAA pulled it off. This year, taking control from the beginning, the local artists group made the most of what they had on a limited budget. Well, not limited. Non-existent.
Suggestions for a Better Fall for Arts in 2024
It’s unlikely, under current conditions, that all of these suggestions can be implemented, but some can. And over time and with ideas from others, Fall for Arts may become the top of its class art event previously imagined.
- RIOC must pay RIVAA for doing its work. Although there were mumbles about compensation when the Haynes administration first leaned on them, none ever came through. A commitment of $10,000 or so isn’t much compared to wasted cash all over RIOC’s budget. That’s well below the formal bid limit, and informally showing RIVAA as best for this project would be a piece of cake.
- Expand it. Looking at the congestion of murals on the Rivercross lawn, you can imagine how valuable spreading this display across the Island can be. And it was in 2019 with art-loving CEO Susan Rosenthal fully behind it.
- Spread it. Why leave every resident north of Rivercross out of it? There’s no reason why Manhattan Park, with its sprawling lawn, or Lighthouse Park are not included. Art is better appreciated with multilple perspectives. Plus, it pushes much needed visitors down past hungry businesses in the Main Street Canyon and beyond.
- Involve the wider community. Other residential complexes and local businesses should be asked to support a better Fall for Arts. Contributions and publicity go a long way toward revitalizing communities.
- Publicity. Buy and ad somewhere for God’s sake, RIOC. Leaning solely on social media is… what’s the word?… Oh yeah, foolish. Get the word out.
- Tours. Putting volunteers in place, showing off the art on foot, is a no-brainer. It puts the Island of Art theme in perspective.
- Finally, another no-brainer: Pay the artists. Not all of them, of course, but put rewards in place for Best In Show and so forth. It doesn’t have to be much, but it must be something. Artists help us. Let’s help them.
It’s a Wrap
There’s my list with plenty of time for consideration and plans. So, RIOC, let’s get cracking!