Zachary Olewnicki was among the many student and local artists displaying their work along the waterfront on Dock Street at the annual East Rockaway Cultural Arts Council Art Walk on May 3 — and even sold several of his original photographs.
“It’s good to see that people like what I do,” said Olewnicki, a senior at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School. “A lot of what I do is message-driven, so it’s nice that they agree with what I do.”
Olewnicki started displaying his work last fall, and said that several of the people who were at that art show attended the Art Walk. He said that it was nice that they could see how he grew as an artist over the course of the year.
The Art Walk was created in October 2016 as a way to help provide an outlet for student artists to showcase their work. According to Cindy Lark, the Village of East Rockaway’s deputy clerk, village officials worked with the high school’s Advanced Placement art class and the school’s Music Department to organize the event. In addition to providing the students with a platform to showcase their talents, it also gave them an opportunity to sell their pieces.
“We always focus on the students and then we open it up for artists in the community and outside of the community,” Lark said.
Among the students in attendance was senior Kristina McDougal, who has been taking photography classes for two years. She said she liked being at the show because she enjoyed that people could see her art, rather than just have it hang up in a classroom. “I get to express my art in a way that my classroom isn’t enough,” she said. “Right now I can get connections from other places.”
But fine arts were not the only works showcased at the event. Music students, such as senior Matthew Cooney, performed for the attendees. He strummed his guitar and played “People Live Here” by Rise Against. Cooney said he enjoyed that the community gathered to celebrate art. “Today, when everyone actually comes together, it’s a peaceful setting,” he said.