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Octagon Field Renamed McManus, Tensions Remain

Islanders Enjoy Fall for the Arts Festival

RIOC and RIRA Meet on Back to Back Evenings Last Week

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Despite the summery weather, with temperatures in the 80’s, the Island celebrated its Fall for the Arts festival last weekend. The festivities included the unveiling of the Island’s first Book Birdhouse, live music, art, activities for children, and at the end, the annual Kite Flight for Peace at Four Freedoms Park. 

The Book Birdhouse

A jazz concert in the RIVIVA gallery on Friday evening kicked off the weekend. On early Saturday, the Book Bird House,...

After a summer hiatus, both the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association held their first meetings last week. RIOC’s was rife with updates on the tram elevator, coming, Blackwell House, opening soon, and the soccer field, scheduled to open later this month.

RIOC welcomed familiar face, Gretchen Robinson, back to RIOC as General Counel and Vice President, a role most recently held by Jacqueline Flug. Robinso...

May 31, 2019

Many Islanders and Island organizations heeded the call from Figment NYC, the two-day free participatory arts event being held here this weekend, to submit their art for consideration and will be among the 90 installations lining the Island's west promenade.

Figment celebrates creativity, and appreciates art that encourages participants to play, dance, sing, create, engage, experiment, and explore their environment, perfect for our multi-talented commu...

April 9, 2019

Despite it being a cold and rainy evening (there were heat lamps!), artists and art lovers assembled in Motorgate last Friday evening to celebrate the unveiling of the 2018 Fall for Arts Festival murals. 

A reception in the Atrium with live music from Roosevelt Island band The Jazz Kats added to the fun, as did the light refreshments and a tour of this unique art.

Artists were on hand, including the Island's girl scouts as well as a group from...

The month of March has brought yet another exciting and eclectic art exhibit to the RIVAA (Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association) gallery on Main Street. Vernissage XVIII opened on Saturday night, showcasing the work of a broad and diverse range of local artists. The gallery space, chock-full of people as well as art pieces, percolated with energy and the enthusiastic admiration of viewers coming out to support art and artists.

For those who attende...

February 11, 2019

The RI Jazz Collaborative Band, featuring Lynn Beville, provided live music at the opening, by Alexandre Tolipan

This year’s annual Black History Month Exhibition, running through March 3, is entitled Cultural Preservation. Curated by Lorraine Williams in partnership with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and RIVAA (Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association), the exhibit showcases a diverse range of African and African-American voices and visio...

December 15, 2018

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation spent much of Thursday night's Board of Director's meeting getting their ducks in a row as they close out 2018, including hirings, getting back to work on the Tram elevator, waterproofing all of the floors of Motorgate, and taking down the green fencing on the DEP site. But that doesn't mean there weren't any fireworks. The Board also took the opportunity to tweak RIRA's Public Purpose Fund recommendations, o...

November 3, 2018

When the historic Octagon building, formerly an insane asylum, reopened in 2006 as an apartment building, Victoria Thorson’s sculpture, the Oculus, was there to welcome its first residents. The bronze sculpture remained there on permanent display until September when she was told to come pick it up; the gallery in the lobby, next to the building’s entrance, would soon be closing its doors permanently.

For Thorson, the gallery’s closure represents a dis...

October 6, 2018

Although it is still listed as one of the “amenities” on the Octagon website, the 10-year old art gallery in the historic landmark insane asylum turned luxury apartment building has quietly disappeared. Local artist and Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) member Laura Hussey believes the loss of the gallery negatively impacts the entire community.

A unique pocket of culture nestled in the architecturally inspired eight-sided residenc...

June 8, 2018

On Wednesday morning, a few dozen Islanders and art lovers sat in front of a podium on the hill that connects Good Shepherd Plaza with the west promenade. On a concrete slab in front of them, hidden beneath a red sheet, stood the Island’s newest work of public art, a sculpture by Long Island City artist Michael Poast. 

The Good Shepherd Plaza Sculpture Plinth is the brainchild of Tad Sudol, president of the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVA...

May 12, 2018

Andres “Jay” Molina is tired of talking about his wheelchair. 

As part of the Open Doors program, he and a small group of fellow Coler patients have spent the last few years using poetry, podcasts, video, and art to explore their experiences as men of color now living in wheelchairs and the circumstances that got them there. Now, he says, they are ready to talk about more. 

“There is no way I could tell that story any better. I’ll come back to it later,...

March 11, 2018

“I call it American history – black history is part of American history,” said curator Lorraine Williams in her remarks at the opening of Hidden Talent, an art exhibit sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA) in celebration of Black History Month. 

Williams, known for her signature red beret and dark glasses, is a longtime Islander who has been curating RIVAA’s Black History Month exhibition for the past five years. 

The exhibit...

November 11, 2017

When was the last time you heard two upright basses play a Mingus tune? Or a guitar trio? How about a vocalist with a quartet behind her?

On Saturday, November 18, at 3:00 p.m., RIVAA Gallery will be celebrating seven years of jazz salons with its Combinatorial Equation – Duos, Trios, and Quartets jam session, featuring interesting combinations of sounds and musicianship.

Over seven years, and more than 40 performances, the RIVAA jazz salon has become a...

October 18, 2017

The non-profit Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) was established 16 years ago to establish and encourage the arts on Roosevelt Island. Mirroring the diversity of the Island, RIVAA artists hail from the United States, Romania, Germany, Japan, Korea, Australia, Poland, and beyond. 

The organization’s newest group show, Black & White 2, on exhibit at Gallery RIVAA, evokes the uniqueness of the artists’ styles in a cohesive, calming atmospher...

October 5, 2017

Despite a scorching heat wave, Islanders came out to enjoy a day of art, exercise, dance, and music at the Fall for Arts Festival on September 23. Dozens of artists spent the day decorating large canvases in Southpoint Park and on the Rivercross lawn, while kids enjoyed bouncy houses, face painting, henna tattoos, and crafts. The stage at Southpoint featured performances by Island businesses and organizations, including Main Street Theatre...

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