How Sweet It Is: BAFFA and WSA Launch “SweetARTS”

BY JOHN COLUMBO

SAYVILLE—Local art is alive and well on the South Shore. Beginning on Feb. 1 and running through the 24, the Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts (BAFFA) will be displaying the artistic expressions of the members of Women Sharing Art (WSA) at the Gillette House in Sayville, which serves as their headquarters and art gallery. The title of the exhibit is “SweetARTS.”

On Saturday night, Feb. 2, the two groups will collaborate to put on the third Annual Student Scholarship Fundraiser, which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We give two scholarships throughout the year,” said Sue Miller, president/founder of WSA. “One is at the BAFFA Student Show in the spring, which is given to a female artist who is a college-bound senior. The South Bay Art Association, located in Bellport, also puts on a show in the fall, where we also give a scholarship to a female high school student. This serves to raise money for those awards. In total we give out $1,000 per year.”

Miller, who also serves as the vice- president of BAFFA, founded WSA in 2008 with the vision, according to their website, “to establish an artistic forum for women of all ages and backgrounds to come together and explore and share their ‘inner artists’.” She and various other local female artists, including Pat D’Aversa and Victoria Beckert, began to collaborate, and following some early shows together the group put on their first exhibit at the newly renovated Gillette House in May of 2008. It was the 2013 renovations, however, that almost put this show on hold. Wind and flood damage from super-storm Sandy left the BAFFA Art Gallery in shambles. Repairs were only just completed.

Some of the WSA artists in the show are seen here (left to right): Victoria Beckert, Sue Miller, Pat D’Aversa and Libby Hintz. SCN/Columnbo 

“From BAFFA’s end, we were trying to get the renovations done by Christmas. I called a few other art groups around the community that put on shows here, including the Bell Street Artists and the Plein Air Limner Society, and asked them for help. They all answered the call, and members of our groups spent all of last week finishing up the renovations,” explained Miller.

With its wonderfully re-done interior, the Gillette House seems well equipped to handle the large flow of people that is expected to pass through the art gallery on Saturday.

“I would say we’re anticipating over 100 people to show up,” noted Libby Hintz, a mosaic artist and member of WSA. “We’ve been gaining support during the past couple of years. It’s a small place, but over the course of a couple of hours it allows a large amount of people to pass through.”

Visitors to the gallery will be able to enjoy a wide range of artistic mediums, including examples of glasswork, photography, sculpture, watercolor and oil painting, fiber art, mosaic, mixed media, and Asian brush painting. Classical guitarist Michael Belajonas will also perform live music, and prizes donated by various local businesses will be raffled off.

Featured artists and members of Women Sharing Art include Victoria Beckert, Barbara Bilotta, Holly Black, Regina Cline, Pat D’Aversa, Anne Dignam, Libby Hintz, Patricia Kelley, Julianna Kirk, Pola Lanzaro, Joan Lengyel, Juliette Levesque, Lilian Masten, Sue Miller, Eileen Palmer, Alina Rossi, Sandy Seff, Chris Taylor, Dawn Schabner, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Mirielle Vingerhoets, Valerie Zeman and Aida Wojcik.

The exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m.

As seen in Suffolk County News / January 31, 2013

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