The gallery held its ribbon cutting ceremony February 8.

Art League Overcomes Flood’s Fury

Galleries, classrooms reopen after months of reconstruction
Last fall’s torrential rain had a devastating impact on many local businesses and organizations. One of the most affected was the Art League of Long Island. Their facility, located in Dix Hills, rests in a small depression, allowing the flow of water to accumulate both inside and outside the building. Due to a clogged drain, water from the exit ramp of the Northern State Parkway was able to flow directly into the property. Additionally, faulty windows on the second floor caused water damage in some rooms. Thankfully, almost no art was lost; only two murals were damaged.
The total investment in these efforts amounts to approximately $500,000. Home Depot contributed $10,000 worth of kitchen furniture and furnishings, and Zurn industries generously donated $11,000 in plumbing products. “(We appreciate) the folks who are coming to volunteer their time. Without the support, all of that adds up. But we were just so fortunate that people wanted us to succeed,” said Marianne Della Croce, executive director of the Art League.
The turnaround on the cleanup and construction was careful and deliberate, but with an eye on the calendar. It was important to keep the timeline as tight as possible, to keep the Art League community intact. “The initial work on the building to remove any of the material damage by the flood took about two weeks. And then we hired Anthony Lauto with Camber strategies, and he coordinated a lot of the contractors to put the building and the grounds back together again. (it was) two months with doing the construction work and then one month of us putting the studios and gallery space back together. We really wanted to make sure that we knew that people were aware that we were coming back, you know, like I never wanted us to stop. I didn’t want people to go elsewhere for classes or to look elsewhere to meet their fellow artists.” Della Croce said.
The comprehensive reconstruction effort included renovations to both the building and grounds. Critical infrastructure enhancements, such as the installation of six catch basins, a new concrete walkway, updated foundation curbing, a water dam, and additional drywells, ensure a solid foundation for the future. Essential repairs extend to the parking lot and internal spaces, encompassing sheetrock and drywall patching, improved insulation, repainting of the Jeanie Tengelsen and Strolling Galleries, installation of new flooring, and studio enhancements for improved lighting and storage.
After the complete cessation of operations during the pandemic, it was important to the organization to continue as close as possible to business as usual. To that end, the Art League was able to move most classes to partner organizations. “We called them our “on the move” classes. We were able to keep up with our core painting and drawing classes. Nassau Community College lent us a classroom for the whole semester; that was wonderful. We did classes at the Spirit of Huntington, at Half Hollow Hills High School; the Long Island Museum offered to give us classroom space. We had a holiday art fair that normally we do here at the building, but we did that over at Vanderbilt Elementary School. So by using our neighborhood, we were able to keep things going, which was wonderful,” Della Croce said.
Classes in ceramics, watercolor, pastels, jewelry, collage, and painting, and the Teen and Young Artist programs found satellite homes. They also partnered with Empire Mazda of Huntington, to host an onsite Instructor’s Exhibition that opened on January 20, 2024.
The Members Exhibition, which opened on February 10, marked the inaugural exhibit in the newly reconstructed Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery. Simultaneously, the annual GoAPE High School Student Exhibition will be showcased at the end of the month in the Strolling Gallery. Classes resumed on February 6 in freshly repaired, cleaned and painted studios. “People can expect all of the regular events that they’ve known and come to love, plus new ones like the Gay Pride event. They can look forward to a regular exhibition schedule. All their favorite instructors are coming back. It’s business as usual.” Della Croce said.
Looking toward the future, The League is working hard to reestablish its LGBTQIA+, Mental Health and Veteran programs within the next month. They have also hired new instructors and scheduled new classes, offering even more time slots and diversity.
Della Croce expressed the Art League’s commitment to their community and the bonds they have built. “What really drove us to keep going was to make sure that we were able to keep the community together, either through the classes or the exhibits, or just knowing that we would all be back home really soon.”

Classes were held at community partner facilities through “Art On The Move”.

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