TWO YEARS AGO, artist Damon Tommolino and entrepreneur Stephen E. Brander starting talking about the area’s various artists and how they might pool their talents to positively impact Long Island. Very quickly, Chimera Artworks was born “to insight social awareness through art.” The word got out and about eighteen artists came together as the inaugural Chimera group. Their first show was at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (Melville), as part of the 2004 Suffolk County ArtsWave kickoff.
Today, Chimera includes about 35 affiliates, including writers and musicians, as well as artists. They are installing shows in a variety of locations, like at Martha Clara vineyards this month. Shows are often focused on a theme, such as “America: Who we are, where we’re going,” but not always. (The Martha Clara show is a general showcase of the artists’ works.)
Who “gets in” to the group is often Tommolino’s call—and he’s willing to take a chance on a young artist—however, earning a spot in a show is based on quality of the work, and that selection process is done either by committee or juror/curator. When asked what he thinks is the best thing about the group, Tommolino says, “that people are willing to forfeit making money for something better.” He goes on to say he’s also thrilled about the shows not so much because the group is changing art on Long Island, but because their installations are changing how Long Islanders view art – attendees are surprising themselves.
The Martha Clara show will hang from October 15—22nd. A special reception on October 21st from 7:30—11pm will feature live music and readings by George Wallace, Mark Karwoski and Stephen Brander. WPKN will be broadcasting live from the event. www.chimera-artworks.com.