Big shows are boosting NAC’s profile

Guests view prints by Salvador Dali during a show at the National Arts Club in February. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Guests view prints by Salvador Dali during a show at the National Arts Club in February. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It was four years ago when the National Arts Club was making far more headlines for a scandal, with its longtime president O. Aldon James replaced over allegations of misusing club money and terrorizing anyone who crossed him, than for the arts it was supposed to be championing. At that time, a longtime active member, Dianne Bernhard, replaced James as president of the club. After serving for one two-year term, she opted to take the position of director of fine arts, which, she explained at the time, was to bring the focus back on the arts, and to get the social club taken seriously by the art world.

Since then, to say she’s achieved her goal would be an understatement, with the club’s five galleries, which are open to the public, running different shows each month, and at least a few times a year with works by high profile contemporary artists or old masters. There are also monthly Sunday salons with guest speakers that tie into the shows and the club is in the process of finding a new artist in residence. The club’s programming hasn’t gone unnoticed by art professionals and collectors, and club membership has even seen a boost because of it.

“It’s brought more young people in and it’s brought more art-minded people,” said Bernhard.

Continue reading

Format of sanitation garage ‘open house’ a surprise to attendees

The Brookdale campus is the city’s proposed site for a sanitation garage. A firm hired by Community Board 6 has recommended Con Ed property. J.G. Collins however suggests a portion of St. Vartan’s Park. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The Brookdale campus is the city’s proposed site for a sanitation garage. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community residents were surprised by the format of the most recent meeting on the proposed sanitation garage, held at the Brookdale Campus on East 25th Street last Thursday evening.

The meeting, billed as an open house, went “exactly as anticipated,” Economic Development Corporation senior associate of public affairs Ian Fried told Town & Village, but the set-up was different from that of previous meetings on the subject and many residents at the most recent event felt that it wasn’t as constructive as meetings in the past.

“What we were expecting was something more like what happened the last time it was in the auditorium,” ST-PCV Tenants Association chair Susan Steinberg said. “(The last meeting) was a back and forth discussion. We thought we’d be shown a slideshow and more details about the project.

Instead, there were representatives from DSNY or EDC at these stations answering questions so you got one-on-one time, but there wasn’t a real format where those who were attending could express their thoughts and react to the content. Almost everybody I spoke with, it was not what we were expecting.”

The meeting was held inside the Brookdale Campus, the location for which the sanitation garage is proposed. The second most recent meeting on the topic was a more boisterous affair, during which some meeting attendees took turns yelling harsh criticisms about the plan to the representatives of the two agencies who had given the presentations.

Continue reading