Tag Archives: painting

Ralph J. Sansone Foundation Art Show

10 Jun

Update 6-10-10: If you would like to make a donation to the RJS Foundation, you may do so by writing a check out to the Ralph J. Sansone Foundation and sending to 5816 13th Avenue, Brooklyn NY, 11219.

The RJS Foundation was formed 23 years ago in memory of Ralph Sansone, who died tragically in a plane crash at an early age. To honor his life, my aunt and uncle, Mary and Zack Sansone, decided to do something meaningful for the children of their community, who might follow the path of life that Ralph was on: he was a successful lawyer and labor arbitrator, husband and father, and community activist. They began to collect money and set up a $500 scholarship at Ralph’s alma mater, Bishop Ford High School. The Foundation grew with each passing year and since its inception, has given out over $200,000 in scholarship money. Five years ago, they began an endowment scholarship program which awards one student each year with a partial scholarship to Brooklyn Law School, where Ralph received his law degree.

So, long before I started volunteering in New York City, I began my involvement with the Ralph J. Sansone Foundation. This organization is one of a few (others include CIAO and C.U.R.E) that are the creation of my aunt, Mary Sansone, who is largely responsible for the exposure I’ve had throughout my life to the world of non-profit work and community service, and consequently, the passion I have for such things. (But that’s a post for another day.) What began as my attending honoree dinners and luncheons with my mom, has in recent years evolved into my playing a more integral part in these organizations.

Another scholarship program they have is the annual Art Show, which started six years ago. For the past two years I have had the pleasure of being one of four judges for this contest. It is open to high school students across the boroughs; the winners are given monetary awards (first place gets $500, second place $250, third place $150, and four honorable mentions get $50). Also, the art department of first place winner receives $250. The level of work submitted is always impressive, and sometimes downright unbelievable. If these kids didn’t come back to get their work, I would gladly take their paintings and hang them in my own apartment.  I posted some pictures below so you can see the level of work the kids of New York City are capable of. All of the judges, including myself, are employed in the field of graphic design or art education. Deciding who wins is not easy, and heated discussions were had regarding the quality, composition, and technique of the entries. Their work will be on display for the next month or so at the CIAO office in Borough Park, Brooklyn. For more information on when and where you can see these paintings and many others, email me : info@giveandgetnyc.com


Hands On New York Day

26 Apr

What: Revitalize parks, gardens, playgrounds, community centers, and schools

Where: Bronx River Park, through New York Cares

When: Saturday, 830am-2pm

Hands On New York Day is one of New York Cares biggest days of the year. They mobilized about 5,000 volunteers, in partnership with the MillionTrees initiative, and sent them out to about 75 parks and gardens throughout the 5 boroughs. Some people planted trees, others re-painted fences or picked up trash; volunteers were doing whatever was necessary to fit the needs of the park/garden/school to revitalize and beautify the site.

I volunteered to be a registration leader and ambassador; the first job required that I register volunteers as they arrived at the site, give them a t-shirt, collect a registration fee if necessary, and have them sign a waiver. The ambassador’s (also me), were then supposed to collect all of the registration materials, money and any extra t-shirts, and bring them back to the New York Cares office on W. 29th Street. Though I’m sure that  it wasn’t the case at most of the sites, ours had some major issues that caused a late start. The directions that were sent out to most of the volunteers (including me, who was supposed to be at the site early) were wrong, so people had to get back on the subway and go two more stops to the correct meeting spot. It was really confusing; to add to this, I took the wrong train to begin with, so I was already running late. But that’s my own fault for being directionally challenged.

All of that aside, the Bronx River Alliance did a great job getting people registered and into t-shirts before we got there, and throughout the day were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about their park. It was a great day to  be outside and planting trees. This is an annual event, so you’ll have to wait until next year to try this activity out, but there are tons of opportunities during the warmer months to get outside and volunteer. Check out the organizations on my resource page to find something for you; these type of events/activities are great for groups, as you can all work together digging and planting and just having a good time.


Enrichment Murals for P.S. 171

17 Apr

What: painting/touching up canvas and wall murals

Where: PS 171, through New York Cares

When: Saturday, 10am-3pm

This project happens monthly, and was pretty straightforward. The hardest part was finding the school itself, so stick to the directions you’re given and you’ll be fine. About 10-15 volunteers gather in the cafeteria and are then split into two groups: one group ventured off into the hallways to touchup previously painted murals, getting rid of graffiti and scratches. I was in the other group, made up of those who felt they had slightly- higher-than-average painting abilities. We were each given a large canvas that had a pencil sketch of a popular book cover- done via projector by a girl who I assume is a regular volunteer- to start/finish painting. Some people returned to finish their work from the month prior, and the team leader ensured that those people could get their murals back. The rest of us newbie’s had to finish someone else’s work -which is harder than doing it from scratch- or start our own mural (it’s likely you won’t finish one in a day).

This is a good project for artists (former and current) that want to lend their skills to a school in need of some pizazz, or really, anyone who doesn’t mind spending the day painting in a relaxed environment. This is NOT the place to go paint that masterpiece you’re been putting off since high school art class, or if you’re a perfectionist. You’ll be using worn out brushes and a rotating supply of old latex-based paint from a can. I’m not saying you won’t be able to paint something amazing, because some of the canvas murals were pretty sweet. I’m just saying it won’t be easy. Other things to know:

  • You can talk to other volunteers but for the most part, everyone keeps their head down and paints. So feel free to bring your iPod and headphones.
  • Even if you think your work is horrible, the elementary-age children you’re painting for will be impressed and think it’s awesome. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  • This activity is an obvious lure for artists; if that’s you, you’ll get to meet like-minded people who not only enjoy painting, but volunteering as well.
  • Bonus: Not relaxing enough? This school is within walking distance of the Central Park Conservatory Garden. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the city that often goes unnoticed. It’s accessible, it’s free, and it’s a great way to end a day of painting and art.