September 20, 2010

Brooklyn is Brooklyn! Multimedia Art Exhibit at SUNY Empire State College

Dennis Lee's "Spring" collage

Dennis Lee's "Spring" collage

(BROOKLYN, NY – Sept. 20, 2010) Current students, graduates and guest artists open Empire State College’s 2010-2011 academic year with the art exhibition Brooklyn is Brooklyn! The exhibit highlights the borough’s greatest assets, from its architecture, landscapes, landmarks and festivities to the rich cultural diversity of its residents that has given New York City much of its history embracing a myriad of cultures from all over the world.

The opening reception is Thursday, Oct. 7, from 5 - 7:30 p.m. at 177 Livingston St., sixth floor. The exhibition is curated by Raúl Manzano, gallery coordinator and faculty mentor. It will be on display from Oct. 4, 2010 - May 31, 2011. Gallery hours are noon to 6:00 p.m. or by appointment by calling 646-230-1273. Admission is free.

“We are delighted to present this exhibition as we start our third year at our new downtown site,” Cynthia L. Ward, dean of Empire State College’s Metropolitan Center, said. “After a long history in Brooklyn, we continue to reach out in new ways. This exhibit is part of our outreach to the Brooklyn arts community, in its theme and inclusion of works by Brooklyn artists.”

Bachelor’s degree candidates George Harris’ pencil drawings focus on the life of his favorite rap artist, Big. Working in collage, Dennis Lee is inspired by the beauty and color of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to create mosaics with thousands of tiny paper tiles depicting spring and summer scenes in honor of the gardens’ centennial celebration. Vanessa Moore, on the other hand, explores 2-D and 3-D collages of iconic images. Sean Stanton captures subway riders in striking digital photographs, while Monika Wachowiak’s photographs document the traditional aspects of Hasidic Jews from Crown Heights and Williamsburg. Empire State College graduate Eugenia D'Ambrosio crosses the line between photojournalism and art, using photography as a storytelling medium. Roberta Nelson explores moving images on her day-to-day bus commute revealing unusual architectural, social interaction or animated reflections through her camera lens. Imani Monroe shares her reflective moments in an abstract painting representing the many nations that have come together to create this unique city within a city known as Brooklyn. And fashion designer Amanda Whitfield arranges garment silhouettes with textiles that represent landscapes and colors reminiscent of the borough.

Guest artist Daniel Durning produced a digital image and video installation that depicts two-and-a-half seconds of the blinking sign from the entrance of Coney Island’s amusement park Astro Land on the last night it was open. Damian Gerndt, in her oil painting, “Brooklyn By Way of Africa & England,” symbolizes the borough’s interracial population. “Curious Joel” is the title of a series of portraits by photographer Joseph Silva who pays tribute to the late Rabbi Joel Tietelbaum, leader of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg. Mario Sostre’s image-transferring techniques depict various landmark sites and incorporate sand from Coney Island to emphasize the theme of the exhibition.

Kyle Christopher, a recent graduate in political science, explains: “Livingston Street was named after Phillip Livingston, founder of Livingston Distillery and Farm. The farm was situated roughly along the site of today’s Livingston Street. It was said that the beer produced by Livingston was the most favored among British troops stationed in New York during the Revolution. The earliest maps depicting the farm date back to 1766. While no records of purchase exist, we do know that Livingston, a Yale grad, was a lawyer and businessman by trade and had served on several colonial and state legislative bodies. He is most well known as a signee of the Declaration of Independence. Livingston also is noted as being one of the founders of Columbia University (then King’s College).”

“The gallery’s name is a tribute to this historical place and the school’s current location,” says the curator, Raul Manzano. “From farmland to today’s prime real estate in downtown Brooklyn, SUNY Empire State College contributes to the development and growth of this great borough. In addition to the main gallery, we have installed the show in the hallways and reception area to welcome the public.”

“Among other initiatives of the college are a collaboration with Kingsborough Community College/CUNY through a Pathways transfer agreement that allows community college students to make a seamless transition to bachelor’s degree completion,” emphasizes the dean. “As members of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the college networks with businesses seeking education for their employees. Well-known in Brooklyn for quality education in Community and Human Services, the college now offers eight other major areas including Business, The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Flexible schedules, affordable tuition, and the guidance of faculty mentors to design degrees that meet educational, career, and personal goals all support student success.”

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. They also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience. The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide with 34 locations in New York state and online. For more information, visit

Directions: #2, 3 trains to Hoyt Street or A,C,G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets.


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