The Long Island Art’s Council is honoring artist Robyn Cooper and her work in the Nov. to Dec. exhibit. As a group in Freeport that specializes in showcasing artists, The Long Island Art’s Council is a nonprofit organization that is committed to the idea that the power of the arts is to touch the mind and enrich the soul of the individual and community through advocacy and education.
Executive Director Larry Dresner emphasized that the process is simple and painless for those applying.
The display space is first promoted to LI artists, and once works are submitted, they are reviewed by the board to ensure appropriateness and quality.
Each artist is provided a two month time slot in which works of their choice are put on display in the gallery.
“All artists should be presented,” Dresner said. “So many artists all have different styles with all different points of view, and we try to present the arts or forms of art to the community at large.”
Artist Robyn Cooper shared that being chosen by the Art’s Council was an honor. “As an artist, you almost always work in your studio, and to see the work outside of the studio in such a great space in the community is incredibly special and exciting,” Cooper said.
Having received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Adelphi University and a subsequent Master’s in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Cooper admits that she deems herself a “forever learner.”
“Every new experience informs or teaches me something,” Cooper said. “I think that’s why I love teaching because I continue to learn from my students and grow, and then what I do in the studio I can bring into the classroom and vice versa. It’s just this beautiful kind of symbiotic relationship of learning.”
In addition to currently teaching foundations at Adelphi University in the Department of Art and Art History, Cooper also hosts online classes for adults and teens under her 2022 Protege Art Studio.
“I do classes and workshops where students are all ages and in those, I teach painting and drawing,” Cooper said. “The workshops range from all different mediums like drawing on the iPad to sketching and using pastel watercolors.”
Though she teaches in a myriad of artistic means, Cooper’s preferred medium is paint, whether it’s acrylic, oil, or digital.
Even from a young age, Cooper has been creative, whether it was in drawing, coloring, or crafting projects; however, what truly inspired and motivated her was her family.
“My family always encouraged my art,” Cooper said. “It was always something that was celebrated, not put down.”
When asked about what inspires her to produce such organic and vibrant art, Cooper attributed it to her familial support system.
“My work is all about family, which one might not get when first looking at it,” Cooper said. “All my work starts from personal relationships, like my grandparents, my parents, or even growing up in a big family. There are direct correlations that I can sometimes pull because my work is just inspired by those people.”
“Objects have meaning, and my family are the inspirational objects behind my artistic objects,” Cooper relayed.
The notions of family and of childhood are what influenced Cooper’s choice of block paintings for her exhibit in the Art Alcove.
“The Council gave me free reign to do and hang my work however I saw, which is awesome because that’s not always the case,” Cooper said. “So, when I was thinking of what paintings I wanted to display, I chose a series of block paintings, being like the foundation, the building blocks, this kind of nostalgia I have when it comes to my love for art.”
Cooper expressed how essential this concept is even as an adult, since building as a child brings one back to their foundations in their profession, in Cooper’s case, her building blocks as a painter.
“I chose the paintings in the show that were fun and colorful and would really brighten the room and catch the eye,” Cooper said. “These choices also reflect the work I’m making in the studio right now which consists of all these blocks, making them into totems and structures by having these deeper roots.”
Drawing from the world around her provides Cooper with ever-changing and endless muses for her creations. When speaking of the art world in its entirety and the way it has transformed her into the woman she is today, Cooper emphasized the importance and the maintaining of hard work and determination.
“I think the biggest advice that I can give is to always be the one that works the hardest,” Cooper said. “You don’t always have to be the best or the most talented, but you have to work the hardest.”
From the display of her recent block paintings to her workshops and classes, Cooper has a deep-rooted relationship with art which allows her to express thoughts, ideas, and stories through her craft.
“I love how [art] gives me another language to express what’s in my soul, and painting and making art gives me that language to express myself visually,” Cooper said.
Similarly, Dresner expressed the importance of having Long Island artists and their work displayed in the Alcove.
“The Council wants to foster the belief that the arts are necessary for the community,” Dresner said.
Through almost five decades, the Council has done just that. For the past 22 years, it has hosted free concerts on the Nautical Mile; for about six to seven years, there has been a writing review for high school students throughout all of Nassau County; and the most recent 2023 tradition includes an author talk, where Long Island authors are invited to speak about their books and works.
With next year being the 50th anniversary of the Art’s Council, many events, like the South Shore Arts Festival, are planned for this celebration in addition to the already-existing ones that are hosted annually.
“We are always looking for volunteers and participants,” Dresner said. “We would love for people to get involved in different levels in the Art’s Council and Alcove.”