Arts and Community

Village art class showcases finished works


The village’s Community Center’s Burgundy Room showcased the work of amateur student artists at the Valley Stream Recreation Department’s Adult Art Class at an art gallery reception last Friday. The students were part of the Fall 2021 Adult Art Class, finishing off their ten-week beginner and intermediate acrylic painting classes with a final presentation of their completed work. The class is run under the instruction of self-taught artist Matt Khan

Whether you’ve never picked up a brush or think you’re too old to learn a new skill, this art class shows that everyone’s inner talent of painting is just waiting to be tapped into, according to Khan. While the adult students ranged in age and skill level, they all thrived from Khan’s judgment-free style of instruction and encouragement. 

“You have no idea you can do anything until you try…it’s never too late to learn, ” said Lorraine Maggio, 71, who enjoyed the course and the friendly student atmosphere. Maggio’s painting of still life fruits is a classic trope in art. The fruit’s auburn color contrasted with the dark blue background evoking a brooding, dramatic arrangement.

Lucille Sartin, 74, was inspired by a local church building she once remembered seeing, transforming it into a house. As your eyes travel across her painting, you gradually pick up on layers and layers of details that would not be otherwise noticed at a glance. The bold white house stands in sharp relief. Then, you catch the flower boxes outside the windows, until you notice the enveloping scenery of trees and animals that make the setting come alive.

Maggio and Sartin both drew their inspirations for their painting from their surroundings, teaching their eyes to act as art lenses on the world.

Peter Frangas, an expert in Information Technology (IT), usually views the world in 1’s and 0’s and finds “no sense of variety” in his job because the end product is always the same even when using different methods. The art class is a much-needed break from his mundane working life, where he is free to experiment wildly with abstract styles and decide when a work of art is finished or not.

“Being able to see each brush strokes in my abstract paintings, added with the colors, almost creates a pulse that beats like the brush to the canvas,” said Frangas. “It’s like a Jackson Pollock if he was trying to be slightly more deliberate.”

“I want people to see whatever they want to see in it…and convey a feeling, not a result” he further stated. Always using the logical, numeric side of his brain, the art class has allowed him to notice things in the world he hasn’t before like where shadows lay, textures rise, and colors meet.

Matt Khan has been painting since he was four years old. He initiated the program two to three years ago at the request of his co-workers who saw and marveled at his work. Painting together for ten weeks, he and his class have developed a solid bond. Students even go so far as texting and calling each other when an art sale is happening at Blick Art Materials and offer to get one another materials. What separates his class from other community art classes, according to Khan, is that he “encourages mistakes because that’s how you learn and once that fear factor out of there, phenomenal work is being done.”

“I think Valley Stream has the best art program hands down. I know that for a fact. We have the best prices and the best instructor: it’s the most bang for your buck,” said Khan. As an homage to his students, Khan displayed his painting as well, incorporating one aspect of everyone’s painting into his own. He told his students that despite 30 years of painting, his students never fail to teach him something new about art.

The upcoming spring art class is still in the works but is expected to start in March next year on Fridays. A wider variety of times will be available to accommodate more residents of Valley Stream who would like to participate.