KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO
Local artist Charmaine Doroski, center, and a group of young Floyd Memorial Library patrons set off on a July Saturday from Preston’s dock in Greenport aboard the solar-powered electric boat Glory to do some nautical artwork. Program participants from Southold Town’s four libraries gathered at Floyd Memorial Library Monday night to share the results.
For four summer weekends, children from across the North Fork have been creating maritime artwork aboard the solar-powered electric boat Glory. They attended an artists’ reception and exhibition at Floyd Memorial Library Monday night, where their parents and mentors got a look at their creations, which were to hang at the library until today, Thursday, Aug. 12.
The Art on the Bay program was the brainchild last year of Glory captain David Berson, who confessed he launched it because he “can’t draw a whit” and wanted an excuse to get art lessons. That’s where artist Charmaine Doroski came in, going aboard for four successive Saturdays to give children in grades 4-6, representing each of the town’s four libraries, a chance to create marine art.
Glory has long offered trips to tourists in Greenport. And last year, through a project developed with Riverhead High School science teacher Robert Jester and his students, Glory became the nation’s first U.S. Coast Guard-certified solar-powered boat. The students designed the solar panel docking station and helped to raise the money to build it.
Floyd Memorial children’s librarian Joe Cortale coordinated the art program both last year and this summer aboard Glory with Southold, Cutchogue-New Suffolk and Mattituck-Laurel libraries, each of which sent 10 young sailors to work with Ms. Doroski, who didn’t make it to Monday’s reception because she was honeymooning this week. This was the second summer for the program.
Pointing to Floyd Memorial Library director Lisa Richland, Mr. Cortale said, “I couldn’t have done it without her.”
“The best thing about this program is that the kids see the water; they’re surrounded by water, but they’re never on the water,” Ms. Richland said. Thanks to the captain, they get to go out on a boat and experience the water, she said.
Bringing the Art on the Bay program together took money and that’s where former supervisor Josh Horton and Jen Hellreigel came in. Mr. Horton provided 501(c)3 tax exempt status through his East End Maritime Institute, enabling contributions for the program to be tax-deductible. He also provided EEMI shirts for the young artists.
Ms. Hellreigel backed the art program with an undisclosed amount of money that came from the Ty Hellriegel Peregrine Foundation, named in honor of her brother, an avid boater who died in a 2001 boating accident.
“This is so sweet; it’s so wonderful,” Capt. Berson said as the children delighted in showing off their artwork to parents and other relatives.
“It was hard and halfway through, it made me seasick,” 8-year-old artist Jimmy Vastardis admitted while showing off the pictures he had drawn. He’s from Staten Island, but his family summers in East Marion.
“He learned more here this summer than he learned the rest of the school year,” said his mother, Angie Vastardis.
“I like drawing,” announced Vanessa Hettesheimer, 12, of Mattituck, displaying her drawings.
“The captain was really good,” said Mikayla Osmer, 9, a Cutchogue East Elementary School student.
While Ms. Doroski taught them about art, Capt. Berson taught them to observe marine life in both Stirling and Dering harbors.
“It’s a unique experience to have a chance to go on a boat,” said Ryan Shuford, 10, of Cutchogue.
If Glory’s captain has his way, the art program will be a staple for many summers to come.