Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Helping Hand

A”Helping Hand” at Fair Meadows Park
Hicksville Artist Completes 
Public Art Installation

How often is it that we find ourselves wishing for a helping hand?  If you’re one of those countless people who can’t seem to find a helping hand when you need one, then head out to Huntington’s Fair Meadows Park at the northwest corner of Pulaski Road and Park Avenue.  You’ll find not just ONE helping hand, but FOUR of them!  Created by Hicksville artist Debra Ann Kasimakis, the four, 48 x 48 inch, hand silhouettes made of quarter-inch plate steel are spaced along the eastern edge of the park adjacent to Park Avenue.  Entitled “Helping Hand”, this sculptural ensemble is the latest addition to this season’s series of temporary public art installations in Town Parks and Beaches. “I am honored to have been chosen for participation in this project. These are the sort of activities that are the soul of what creativity is about. Hand signals are universally understood”, said Debra Ann, “and I wanted to create a piece that can be seen, understood and enjoyed by the people who drive by it every day.” Debra Ann is well known in this area for such projects as The Art of Paleontology and The John Bull Art Competition. And now the residents of Huntington are being entertained by yet another creation from this prolific artist. “I think it’s wonderful that the artist is focusing attention on the expressiveness of hands, commented Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, jokingly adding that, “Of course, that’s something that comes naturally to those of us of Italian heritage.”  “I like how the artist has whimsically reminded us of how much we say merely by using our hands,” remarked Councilwoman Susan Berland.
A diamond studded pointing finger shows the way at Fairmeadow Park and if you follow its direction you will come upon a shining silver OK sign in the woods. Having been given the reassurance to move on, we see a golden hand walking in front of us. “That hand reminds me of ‘The Thing,’ the disembodied hand that was a character in the old ‘Addams Family’ TV show,” observed Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. Thing is leading us towards the final figure a coppery Thumbs Up who lets us know we have successfully completed the tour. In order to achieve maximum effect in this large park, it was decided to spread the pieces out instead of making a small grouping. In this manner if you are walking through the park you will happen upon the pieces or if you drive by you will see them peeking out at you from the trees. Councilman Stuart Besen said that he, “Gives it a big thumbs up!” “I believe the local residents are already starting to notice the installation.” said Ms. Kasimakis “Art can be a thought provoking instrument, which serves as a source of energy for the everyday beat of life.  “It is refreshing to encounter a work like this that can communicate something revealing about ourselves with a healthy dose of humor,” added Councilwoman Glenda Jackson.
A Helping Hand, which is expected to be on view through October 2006, is the fifth in a series of temporary public art installations planned for Huntington parks and beaches this year.  Along with four other seasonal public art projects, A Helping Hand was selected for installation from submissions by 11 different artists made in response to a Request for Proposals disseminated in fall 2005.  These five projects will be joined to two others selected from a prior round of proposals in 2005.  Installed earlier in 2006 and currently on view are Walking Trees/Talking Trees installed on the jogging trail in Dix Hills Park by Richard Kirk Mills of Teaneck, NJ, in cooperation with students from Northport High School and C.W. Post/Long Island University, Pole Sculptures created by Matthew Chase-Daniel a resident of Santa Fe, NM is on view at Crab Meadow Beach, The Nest installed on a sand spit at West Neck Beach is by the artist team of Ugur Kunst from Smithtown and Tonito Valderrama of Bay Shore, and Tidal Time, which is on view at Cold Spring Harbor’s Billy Joel Park was created by Winn Rea from Centerport.  Information on other planned seasonal public art installations can be obtained from the Town of Huntington Division of Cultural Affairs at 631-351-3099.  Information on each installation, after it is completed, will also be posted on the Public Art Inventory on the Town’s web site at  
If you are traveling around the Island, please stop by, take in the art and if you are so inclined, take a souvenir photo with the hands. “The Town of Huntington should be proud to take this type of leadership role in public art. My goal is to bring art into the public arena.” said Debra Ann, “My hope is that the hands will help to enhance the public’s daily routine by enjoying real art in their environment and I look forward to participating in more of these diverse art events.”

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