Shakespeare’s Women in New Rochelle

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Gagapatra by Kerry Sharkey

An exhibit of works by 30 artists, all inspired by “Shakespeare’s Women”, opened Friday at the Museum of Arts & Culture in New Rochelle. The juried show features work in a variety of mediums — including oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings,  monoprint,  mixed media pieces and ceramics – created by professional and student artists to celebrate the work of William Shakespeare as part of the continuing Sound Shore Shakespeare Festival.

“For this exhibit we asked artists to explore how the female characters created by William        Shakespeare in the 17th century still resonate with visual artists in the 21st century,” says Theresa Kump Leghorn, Director of the Museum of Arts & Culture who co-curated the exhibit with Alexi Rutsch Brock. “The 43 works displayed here demonstrate that the women Shakespeare created continue to inspire, excite, disgust and fascinate us 400 years later.”

A jury of professionals – including Dr. Leslie Altschul, Chairman of New Rochelle High School’s English Department, Katrina Rhein, Director of the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, and ceramic artist Judith Weber, President of the New Rochelle Council on the arts  —  determined the awards, and prizes were presented at an artist’s reception on Friday, April 8th .

Albert Leonard Middle School art teacher Laura Heiss took first place, a cash award of $75,  for her mixed media (watercolor and pastel) work Moonshine and Dew, which depicted a fairy sprite against a background that incorporated language from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The piece was framed with pieces from an antique handcarved table. Artist Sue Girardi Sweeney was awarded second prize, a $50 gift certificate to Alvin & Friends restaurant, for Shrine to Giulettia, a mixed media assemblage that combines photos Sweeney took on a recent trip to Verona, Italy with symbolic elements like a shard of Blue Willow china and a painted stone. Kerry Sharkey, a graphic artist who teaches Graphics I and II at New Rochelle High School, took third prize, a $25 cash award,  for her Photo Shop graphic image Gagapatra, which combines the physical attributes of a classic image of Cleopatra with the face of the modern entertainer Lady Gaga. “They both exhibit tremendous confidence and power, as well as intense sexual potency,” said Sharkey. An Honorable Mention was awarded to NRHS 12th grade student Damian Brown for his Photo Shop graphic image Your Juliet.

Other participating artists include Noelia Abreu, Nicole Antin, Liana Benyair, Winnie Balzano (aka W. Vogel), Marisa Boan, Alexi Brock,  Cristina Cerone, Alan Dindas, Jorge Flores, Grace Powers Fraioli, Edgar Gonzalez,  Erika Johnson, Hunter Jones, Thomi Kamilla, Kevin Loaiza, Vidal Lopez, Moira McCaul, Malcolm Mosely, Kathleen Nesi, Yaneth Ochoa, Irene Pastarnack, Lisa Post, Brianna Sajous, Svetlana Stovboun,  and Tucker White.

“Shakespeare’s Women” will be open to the public for a month, through May 6th, at the Museum of Arts & Culture. The MAC is a program of the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence and is open to the public Mondays through Fridays, 9 am to 3 pm, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm. For details visit www.dbmac.org. “Shakespeare’s Women” has been made possible by support from Arts Westchester, with funding from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts;  the New Rochelle Council on the Arts;  the City School District of New Rochelle; and the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence.

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