By Joey Macellaro
My art history classes in college provided a kind of relaxing respite from the business courses in which I spent most of my time. Visits to the Met were a welcome requirement, however I reeled at the fact that many of the artists whose work I enjoyed had starved throughout their careers, only to be revered posthumously.
Thankfully, Fire Islanders are lovers of true art and have faithfully supported the work of one of their own for 50 years, first in Fair Harbor and, for over 25 years, in Ocean Beach. Kenny Goodman, a retired special education teacher, closed his gallery last season as its building was razed.
“We all have to learn to adapt,” said Goodman. “Would you believe I actually wore a pair of shorts the other day?” Always a supporter of the community but never a fan of the beach itself, he has preferred protection from sand offered by long pants. His shop may be closed, but on Saturday, Aug. 11, a number of his pieces will be featured in a retrospective at the Ocean Beach Historical Society, titled “Kenny Goodman: 50 Years of Art.”
“How appreciative I am of the many people who have helped me along the way,” said Goodman. “They have given me so much.” A variety of metal and wood pieces in the exhibit, which runs through Sept. 3, will be offered for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Historical Society.
Goodman served as a judge again this year in the Ocean Beach Community Fund’s annual children’s art show, held on July 21. The first-place winner, tiedie artist Sam Kalpin, won himself a spot in the Community Fund’s upcoming fine arts and crafts show being held around the village green from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11; and from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12. Applications for the adult show, which is sponsored this year by the Palms Hotel, are available in the village office.
“These are true artists,” added Goodman of the children. “They met the criteria. We appreciate all the young artists in town, selling their wares along the way. But some have the potential for real, fulfilling careers in art.” The runners-up were Eli Brennan with his pencil art and Aaron Portnoy with art created using modeling clay.
Community Fund co-chairperson Rita Silver reached out to announce a new adult game night program launching soon, on Tuesday and Thursday nights, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at the Ocean Beach Youth Group’s Windswept building on Bay Walk at Ocean Road. Planned games include mahjong, canasta, Scrabble, and bridge, with other card games being considered.
“The adult population has nothing to do in town at night,” said Silver. “Game nights will give residents an opportunity to socialize in an air-conditioned space.” She added that supplies, including wheelchair-accessible card tables, have already been acquired and schedules will be posted in town shortly. As previously noted, the Community Fund’s annual gala benefit dinner will be held at Windswept at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 4.
Another artist, Ocean Beach’s own Les Lieber, was remembered at a memorial service organized by his family at the community house on July 28. As previously noted, Lieber was a jazz musician and journalist who died at the age of 106 on July 10.
As we are enjoying the height of the busy season on the beach, visitors and residents should be reminded that bicycles may not be ridden on any public walks in the Village of Ocean Beach from 7 p.m. on Fridays through 7 p.m. on Sundays. Additionally, bikes must be walked at all times through the commercial district on Bay Walk. Only those with medical permits issued by the village may ride bikes at other times.
Village Trustee Chris Norris and his nephews, Theo and Kai, invite the community to join them in what they call the Bag a Day Club.
“Each day that we walk the beach looking for shells and other treasures, we also take an old bag and fill it up with plastic that has found its way to the water’s edge,” said Norris. “The boys figure that if we are picking up stuff anyway, we might as well collect things that can otherwise wind up hurting whales, dolphins, and turtles.” Thanks to the Norris family for allowing us to share this outstanding idea.
The generosity of Norris’s mother, Betty Bach Norris, is remembered with a plaque above the baptismal font at the Free Union Church on Ocean Breeze, which is hosting its third movie night of the season on Saturday, Aug. 4, with a showing of the 2017 film “The Shack” at 7 p.m.
The Ocean Beach Community Fund is showing its second movie of the season, “The Greatest Showman,” on Friday, Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. Bring your own chairs and water; popcorn will be served. The Ocean Beach Fire Department is celebrating its 80th anniversary and will be raising funds again this year through the sale of T-shirts in town for $20.
Regardless of form or medium, there is art all around us on our beautiful beach. Until next time, take it all in. See you on the beach.