The Block Island Times

Art all around us

By Fraser Lang | Sep 04, 2013

It’s been an art-filled summer.

The dedication of the new panels around the rotunda of the airport occurred on Sunday afternoon and drew a festive crowd. The mural was worth celebrating.

The island’s own Marilyn Bogdanffy, who created the panels that colorfully portray island life across the four seasons, graciously received the well-deserved acclaim. Elizabeth Keithline of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts spoke and lauded the Block Island community for embracing art as an important element of island life. She noted that this is not common to all communities.

Her remarks reminded me that indeed the arts play an oversize role here and enrich our culture. The arts draw visitors and nurture our residents. They set a tone that complements our commitment to conservation and attracts the kind of people who share our values.

Sustaining the arts — visual, musical and literary — requires effort and persistence. The “business” of art is not always robust.

Our oldest art gallery, Jessie Edwards Studio, is an enduring and critical part of the business community. The Spring Street Gallery, featured in an article in this week’s paper, nourishes artists and displays a diverse range of art forms. Malcolm Greenaway’s Gallery, Ambergris, Photo Dog and the brand new Déjà Vu put art right out front for all to see and appreciate.

We have had poetry festivals and chamber music and Conserfest this season. Summer weekends regularly feature local musicians and draw appreciative audiences.

I was fortunate to participate in a “painting class” sponsored by Cindy Lasser of Island Bound. Sharon Lehman taught me and seven other total novices about the rudiments of painting. None of the galleries will be featuring our work any time soon but it was a lot of fun.

Everywhere you turn on this island you can find art thanks to the efforts of those mentioned here and dozens of other unsung heroes. Art helps make this a great place to live.


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