Wal-Mart effect and the East End

Posted on January 6, 2011


BP statement by artist anthony galasso

BP statement by artist anthony galasso

artist anthony galasso

In The Wal-Mart Effect, Charles Fishman extensively outlines the devastation sustained by small businesses when Wal-Mart, as well as outlet malls, like Tanger, enter a town. “I think the spin they had on it early on was, ‘Oh, this is really going to rejuvenate downtown,’ said Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island  Dawn Wotapka Hardesty

But the overflow of shoppers never left the Route 58 superchain explosion to patronize the downtown merchants on main street. The enormity of its product selection and the below cost pricing tactics inevitably drove out the town’s local independent storeowners. read entire article at the artist examiner

The East End’s largest outdoor art gallery
East Main Street in Riverhead, NY is no exception to Fishman’s theory. The once thriving home of the 1933 Art Deco Suffolk Theatre, seating 896 throughout its 2 stories, has degraded into a merchant’s ghost town. Determined to overcome, The Riverhead Enterprise, Apollo Group, EEAC and approximately 60 artists have collaborated to strengthen their defense, with The East End’s largest outdoor art gallery, Art Deco Suffolk Theater designed by R. Thomas Short, 1933

The Storefront Gallery
Curated by Robin Klopher, the vacated storefronts have replaced their for sale signs with exquisite water-themed art including paintings, photography and a short film by Aquebogue artist Cliff Baldwin entitled “I love Riverhead and Riverhead loves me,”.   60 pieces were chosen from local artists like Bryan Gutman (in video),  to fill the storefront display cases. “Riverhead Enterprises and Apollo Real Estate Advisors–the two groups that own the vacant buildings –have donated the space and are fully on board for the art show, Pat Snyder said”. -Pat Rogers 27east

bringing the arts to everyone and inspiring our communities through support, advocacy and education
-The East End Arts Council

The 14th Annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival
A vital component of the downtown economy is The East End Arts & Humanities Council, Inc. It is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1972 to serve artists and promote the arts on the East End of Long Island. Located in the historic Davis-Corwin (circa 1840) and Benjamin homes (circa 1850) on East Main Street in Riverhead, it bares the artistic vision of this fruitful revitalization project.

The area’s premier outdoor exhibit launch was scheduled to coincide with The 14th Annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival. This event welcomes anxious creators and supporters into the blocked off downtown Riverhead streets. Their mission was to demonstrate the contagious string of creativity flourishing in the area and reinforce the desperate need to cultivate the arts on Main Street.

For a $20 fee artists of every age and ability were granted temporary pardon from the usually punishable crime of public self expression. Fostering the diversity of each individual street piece in a collective collaboration of community, the enthusiastic East End Arts Council volunteers enabled this fleet of over 75 artists. The provisions included  a box of pastel chalk, a blending tool (eraser or paintbrush) and a 4′ x 6′ asphalt canvas.

Live music, and a dynamic drum circle supplied the ideal atmosphere for the wildly popular Cosmic Swirl hoops by Adrienne, standing room only poi demonstrations by Susan Blacklocke, craft vendors of the finest caliber and even a sighting of The Good Emu admiring the diverse subjects and styles housed in each of the 4 by 6 foot decorated street sections. This annual cultural phenomenon personified the most essential element of art:

“the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.” ~Brittanica online

Iconic street art representations included, Disney characters in full splendor, a vibrant Sesame Street grouping, Nintendo’s Mario, Gene Simmons, Daffy Duck, howling wolves, flowing american flags, enchanted rainbows and numerous depictions of the devastating April 20th BP oil spill. The most notable, an insightful and revealing diptych (seen in the video) by artist Anthony Galasso. He poignantly embodied the plight of more then 30 species of birds devastated by the Gulf Coast spill. Among the most vulnerable species is the brown pelican — the state bird of Louisiana

Artists were given the chance to show their art in a unique setting and gain long-term exposure. Informational panels with the artist’s name and the title of each piece are posted alongside the art on view. The art is for sale by contacting the EEAC. Nearly all the exhibiting artists live on the East End. Hamptons artists include Philippe Cheng, Christine Chew-Smith, Margery Gosnell-Qua and Bryan Gutman. Also Anthony Lombardo, Lance Corey, Susan Gentile Hackett and Thomas Hoepker. Familiar artists from farther afield include Robert Mehling, Steve Berger and others.-Pat Rogers 27east


Included in video is artwork by
Anthony Galasso,
Send A Message To BPchalk on asphalt
Bryan Gutman,
Quogue Wildlife and Munn’s Pond -oil on canvas
Irra Verbitsky, St. Ives Surf -oil on canvas
Barbara Zegarek
, Opening Up – triptych acrylic on canvas
Lance Corey, The Cocktail Hour -latex and pen on wood
Tiffany Pelczar, One Fish, Two Fish -acrylic on canvas
Robert Mehling, Mariology -oil on canvas
Susan Gentile-Hack, Mussel Cove -oil on canvas
Patricia Feiler, Wolf Pit Lake, Mattituck -oil on canvas