Painters, performers at Plaza each Sunday

Art in the Plaza event kicks off


In the weeks beforehand, Johanna Mathieson was greatly anticipating the Long Beach artist groups who would collaborate for the first season of Art in the Plaza at Kennedy Plaza last Sunday.

The founder of the Long Beach-based Artists in Partnership, a group that promotes art through community events, Mathieson hopes Art in the Plaza will help promote membership of art groups as well as the enjoyment through public involvement.

“All groups put their resources together to make it happen,” Mathieson said. “Both the members and the community benefit from this fabulous program.”

With lead coordination from Scott Evers and support from City Manager Charles Theofan, the city-sponsored program will feature 45 artists alternating, selling and showcasing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday into November. Deriving from previous community art events, Art in the Plaza will give three separate Long Beach artists organizations the opportunity to come together and express themselves and sell a variety of pieces from photography to paintings to handmade jewelry.

“The Long Beach barrier island is chockfull of emerging visual and performing artists and AITP will be a perfect venue for their expression,” said Kathleen Regan, president of West End Arts, a non-profit organization in its seventh year of operation. Educating and creating through community and cultural events, the group has 200 members featuring two and three dimensional works by artists from western Long Island.

Betty Barto, president of the Long Beach Art League, creates watercolor and acrylic paintings, focusing of the beauty of nature scenes. “We are so very busy in the everyday business of living, that we really don’t take the time to smell the flowers,” Barto said. “That is the hidden message in my artwork.”

She said the Art League focuses on their mission to collaborate with the community for its beautification and an appreciation for the arts.

Sueanne Shirzay, a member of Artists Mothers Group, is another painter who will showcase outdoor scenes. Her landscape oil paintings will accompany her handmade jewelry at Sunday’s show. “I design jewelry with the philosophy to bring out the beauty in women,” Shirzay said.

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