New York's famed Rockaway Beach is hosting a sculpture exhibition from June until October called "On the Rock." The show will take place close to the iconic New York beach boardwalk which was recently reconstructed after it was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The event will feature sixteen artists displaying sixteen works along fifteen sites. It is sponsored by a nonprofit called 14 Sculptors, Inc. who are dedicated to producing opportunities for sculptors to display their work publicly and promote the visual arts. Aside from the Rockaway show, artwork from the group is also on view in North Salem, New York, at the Hammond Museum-Japanese Stroll Garden from June 14 until September 16, 2017.

Sand, sun, summer and sculptures

14 Sculptors Inc. is proudly associated with the New York Foundation for the Arts. The "On the Rock" exhibition is done in conjunction with the "Art in the Park's" program and the Queens Council on the Arts who provided public funding to support the exhibition. Each sculpture celebrates the beauty and spirit of the Rockaway neighborhood and its famous boardwalk. Inspired by the coastline of Rockaway, many works have beach themes.

One of the participating artists is Anne Stanner, an award-winning sculptor, and educator who is deeply inspired by nature, especially the ocean. Anne frequently incorporates found objects into her sculptures and other mixed-media assemblages which can include a range of mediums such as plaster, stone, wax, clay, metal, and wood.

A well-established and widely exhibited artist, Anne currently serves as the President of the Sculptors Alliance, Inc. and teaches at the renowned Art Students League of New York. Anne heard about the “On the Rock” show from a friend of hers who is a resident of the Rockaway community and introduced her to Esther Grillo, one of the exhibition’s two coordinators.

Having the opportunity to display a sculpture at a beach-side location--especially a sculpture that pays homage to the sea--was extremely fitting for Anne who used to go to Rockaway Beach during the summers of her teenage years to hang out with friends and check out boys.

“From a young age in visits to the beach, I was attracted to the ocean,” she stated in a recent exclusive interview.

“Floating in the waves made me feel at one with the universe and the power of the surf was exhilarating.”

Anne’s contribution to the exhibition is a metal piece titled “Rockaway WAVE” which is designed to resemble a rolling wave. “The concept of the rolling wave from curved triangles came to me many years ago when I was in a sculpture course at Hunter College, but at the time, I made the wave from cardboard rather than steel. I tried to capture the energy and life force of the wave,” Anne explained and noted that it took her over three months to complete. The finished sculpture is somewhat similar to a piece she created in 2013 that is now permanently installed at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York.

“The most challenging part was translating my smaller model or maquette, into the final piece, making adjustments to the final piece along the way, which always occurs with a public sculpture,” Anne stated. “I had a fabricator help me, and they were instrumental in providing advice. Another challenge was deciding on the colors and type of paint for the sea horses and sea stars, plus getting it all done by the deadline! I spent many hours towards the end to paint the piece, and even my husband helped with that aspect of it.”

Despite the pressures associated with building and finalizing the sculpture, Anne is delighted to be included in the show, and she would readily suggest the venue to other artists.

“Just to be able to exhibit a work at the beautiful setting of Rockaway Beach, where my wave concept fits in so perfectly, and which inspired it all those years ago,” she said. “To exhibit here brings me full circle back to those great beach memories. I also enjoy the camaraderie and collaboration with the other fifteen artists in this exhibit, several of whom I knew previously."

Other exhibitions and events

Aside from the “On the Rock” show, Anne’s work is also presently on display at Theater for the New City’s "Art vs. Tyranny" exhibition and at the Eighth Annual Biennial Exhibit at the City College of New York, which is her alma mater. Both shows are on view until June 30, 2017. Anne is also co-curating and anticipating showing a metal sculpture exhibit at Governors Island in September where she will also hold a series of free Creative Sculpture Workshops in August.

For each month that the “On the Rock” exhibition is on view, many arts and cultural events are planned for the Rockaway Beach area. To learn more about these special programs, tours, and other free events open to the public, check out the "Calendar of Events" on the official 14 Sculptors website. Moreover, the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) played a major part in arranging this exhibition, and their website provides a wealth of information about the community and its events.