Superstorm Sandy relief comes from art
Surf Art Benefit to Raise Money for Hurricane Sandy Victims
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 February, 2013 : - - Think of Hurricane Sandy in west coast terms and it’s unthinkable: A super-sized Pacific hurricane wreaking havoc on mainland Mexico, flooding Cab, ravaging the Baja peninsula from out at sea and gaining strength as it approached the California border.
Then imagine all that fury doing a destructo from San Diego to Palos Verdes – flooding the Wave House in Mission Beach, turning the Huntington Beach parking lot into sandboxes, bending shipping cranes and tossing yachts around Long Beach Harbor and turning the streets of Palos Verdes into rivers.
And then, the gnarly part: The hurricane engulfs Palos Verdes like a monster, moved into the Santa Monica Bay and then centerpunches Venice and Santa Monica - as if guided by an evil hand bent on doing the most possible damage.
Imagine the Santa Monica Pier gone, Most of the shops from the pier to the marina wiped out, extensive flooding from the beach through downtown and all the way to the mountains, boats stacked on top of each other in Marina del Rey harbor, and all of the beachfront homes from Pacific Palisades to the Malibu Colony to Broad Beach burned to the ground or swept from their foundations.
For San Diego surfers, imagine Belmont Park destroyed, the Pacific Beach Pier gone and mass destruction from La Jolla to Ocean Beach. For Santa Cruz surfers, think of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk completely gone, the Municipal Pier cut in half, and extensive damage from 17 Mile Drive up to Half Moon Bay. Imagine all that, and that is just a fraction of the damage Hurricane Sandy did to the east coast, with a damage window stretching from Delaware to Maine and as far inland as Pennsylvania.
That’s how destructive Hurricane Sandy was, and it’s hard to imagine for west coast surfers and citizens unfamiliar with the east coast.
Painter Lynn Grayson and curator and art adviser Sarah Belden are two surfers who know and love the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and have felt the distance ever since the October 2012 hurricane. Lynn Grayson now lives in Venice, California and Sarah Belden lives in southern Spain, but in 2004 they were both living and working in New York City, while Lynn rented a beach house at Beach 94 in Rockaway and they spent every spare second they had away from the art world surfing at Beach 94.
Lynn was an up and coming painter showing with Michael Lyons Weir Gallery and Sarah was then director of Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea. They met at an art opening in Soho in 2004 and bonded instantly over their mutual obsessions with surfing and art. Every weekend Lynn would leave her studio in Williamsburg and Sarah would hop on the A train from Chelsea to Rockaway to catch a few waves, hang out at the beach and talk about art: “I used to listen to the Beastie Boys before I moved to Rockaway to go surf,” Lynn Grayson said.
“It's cold there. Surfing isn't easy. It's freezing. Not living anywhere near a hot shower is tough if you don't live there. Many surfers moved there from the inner Manhattan boroughs, bought homes and brightened the love for nature there and revitalized what the natural landscape had to offer. I'm trying to revitalize a community I saw grow and flourish there how it did once before, again from afar."
Lynn lived in Rockaway in the mid-2000s, and the life there inspired her art: "Rockaway is so inspirational to me. My paintings of Rockaway inspired a solo show in Chelsea. Now the paintings have more meaning. It’s a place that doesn't exist. So art and surf come together in this fundraiser to bring the life back it gave not only to me but friends."
Lynn now lives in Venice Beach California – where she is still painting and surfing. Sarah left New York in 2006 to open her own gallery in Berlin, and now lives in Andalucia, Spain with her husband and son. They both felt very far away from their beloved east coast neighborhood when Hurricane Sandy swept across the Atlantic: “I was in Toronto visiting family when Sandy struck and I was literally glued to my computer,” Sarah Belden said.
“constantly checking for updates on the storm and trying to get a hold of friends and loved ones there. I was horrified as I saw the reports come in showing the extensive damage - not only the city where I spent my entire adult life, but also our old neighborhood and beach in Rockaway and the tragic fire that destroyed what was left of it after Sandy. When I started to hear reports about the lack of response from FEMA and Red Cross I got really upset. Disturbing images of New Orleans, post-hurricane Katrina and the dismal lack of relief there plagued me and I thought there must be something I can do from here.“
Lynn saw and felt the same things from her apartment on the west coast, and she reached out to Sarah from California. The two of them, along with other artists and surfers from Rockaway, Brooklyn and L.A. founded Rockaway to BK to LA: Artists and Surfers for Sandy Relief.
With over 50 artists participating from New York to L.A., and all across the globe, including Madrid, Berlin, Oslo, and Toronto, the auctions feature an amazing international selection of some of the best emerging artists working today. Works in all mediums, including painting, prints, photography and mixed media will be offered starting March 14th online at 32auctions.com/rockawaybenefit All lots are currently available for viewing and you can support this case and bid from anywhere just by signing up at 32auctions.com with your email address.
The auction in New York will take place at Hamburg Kennedy Photographs in Chelsea on March 14th with an exhibition and private preview for collectors. Organized by Sarah Belden Fine Art Advisory sarahbeldenartadvisory.com and sponsored by Hamburg Kennedy Photographs and art advisor Heidi Lee’s Editioned Art, this highly anticipated event will take place the week following the Armory Show.
The subsequent auction in L.A. will take place the following week at the RG Club in Venice Beach on March 21st, during the Venice Art Crawl. Organized by Lynn Grayson, this event will feature predominately local artists from the West Coast, and will aim to create a new kinship of artists and surfers, aiding each other and bridging the gap between these vital, creative beach side towns. Artists and surfers from Rockaway, Queens to Red Hook, Brooklyn and across a continent in L.A. have come together in solidarity, reaching hands across the sand and across oceans with the goal of raising money to help rebuild this vital coastal community by generously donating artworks for these two benefit auctions.
Families in Rockaway are still without housing, food, power and water. Amid worsening weather conditions it is imperative that we provide further assistance to organizations throughout the greater New York-area that are helping the most vulnerable victims of the storm.
All proceeds will go directly to the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund and to the Graybeards, a grassroots non-profit made up of local firemen and police from Rockaway that gives funds directly to those most in need. Artists, galleries, collectors and dealers are invited to participate by donating artworks for auction and everyone else is invited to participate by attending the auctions or bidding online at 32auctions.com/rockawaybenefit beginning March 14th.
Author: Ben Marcus
Tags: Sandy, New York, Art, Lynn Grayson, Sarah Belden