The Woodhaven Art Circle is a group of community artists who seek to highlight the artistic and cultural talents of our residents. An outgrowth of the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, the Art Circle has taken part in a few shows thus far, with a new one coming up later this week.
Woodhaven’s Deborah Camp will be hosting a display of her artwork this Friday, July 16th at the NYC Landmarked Forest Park Carousel from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Deborah has lived her entire life in Woodhaven and her artistic talent was nurtured at an early age at her first school, P.S. 97.
“They helped encourage the creative free thinking process; it wasn’t too structured or rigid. They would give you a project, but then let your imagination run wild,” she says.
She particularly credits Ms. Rudnick at P.S. 97, who taught her from kindergarten through 6th Grade, for encouraging her development as an artist.
“She taught me that everything in art is limitless. And I said Wow! I can really draw a cat flying over the moon! And they encouraged that. They said, ‘yeah do what you want.’”
Deborah’s art is whimsical, playful and fantastical all at the same time. Her art not only appeals to younger people but to the younger people inside all of us.
So, to appeal to that child inside us the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society will treat the first 50 people to show up to see Deborah’s show for a free ride on the Carousel. What a way to end the week, a fun art show and a free ride on the Forest Park Carousel.
And if you like portraits of Woodhaven’s history, Deborah has some beautiful works you will like to see including ones of the Carousel, Oak Ridge and a lovely black and white portrait of the first incarnation of Lewis’ of Woodhaven.
Deborah Camp finds that her entire life is art. “Art is everywhere,” she says. “It’s not just the physical manifestation of pen and ink and paper, that’s just one form of art. Art is in music, it’s in life, it’s everywhere.”
“When I’m painting, someone will look at me and my work and say ‘I love that, I wish I could do that, I wish I had a talent’ and I tell them you already do have a talent, you’re very kind. That’s an art!”
“Everyone has an artistic talent inside of them. Even if they claim they’re not artistic they are, in another way. Some people are artistic with cooking; they make beautiful art forms with their cakes, with their dinners.”
It’s this enthusiasm for art and people that makes talking to Deborah fun and she’s very excited and looking forward to meeting other local artists to join the Woodhaven Art Circle. If you are an artist from Woodhaven (we’re interested in painters, poets, dancers, writers, singers and more) reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend, I had the privilege to accompany Deborah and fellow Woodhaven artist MSR all the way out to Hicksville, Long Island to visit the warehouse containing the lifework of famed artist (and former Woodhaven resident) Stephen Csoka.
Csoka grew up in Hungary and attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. He immigrated to the United States and eventually moved to Woodhaven, 87th Street north of Jamaica, where he also kept his studio for over 3 decades.
Csoka is presented in many museums around the world and we were very fortunate that his son Frank Csoka invited us to visit the collection, as well as the collection of his wife, Wendy Csoka, another well-known and acclaimed artist.
Frank Csoka taught art for many years at the Fashion Institute of Technology and spoke to the young artists about their work and the importance of documenting your work. We thank Mr. Csoka for generously taking the time to meet with us.
If you would like to see more culture and art highlighted in Woodhaven, please support our efforts by dropping by to see these shows and meeting the artists. And if you are a Woodhaven artist, or know of a local artist of any age who would like to join the circle, please pass this article along.