Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, Maria Mignano (Assistant Library Director), Rita Khanimov Akilova (Recreation Director), Oleg Moysa (Instructor) (Photo from the Manhasset Public Library)

Manhasset Public Library Welcomes Artists From Highfield Gardens

By Maria Mignano

On Monday, June 17, the Manhasset Public Library welcomed five special artists who attend the Highfield Gardens Adult Day Health Care Center as they kicked off their summer exhibition at the Library. Accompanied by their Recreation Director, Rita Khanimov Akilova – whose tremendous efforts ensured that this exhibit came to fruition – and their talented instructor, Oleg Moysa, the artists were pleased to have their work recognized by the community.

The exhibit was a collaboration between the Manhasset Public Library and Highfield Gardens, and came about during an outreach visit by the Library. These outreach visits are one way the Library hopes to cultivate relationships and stimulate ideas for expanding services.

“The Library is always looking to extend its reach in the community. While Highfield Gardens Care Center sits inside our Library district, its residents aren’t able to take part in most of the library’s programs and services, so we look for creative ways to make sure they aren’t forgotten,” said Maria Mignano, Assistant Library Director.

During a visit to the Care Center by Mary Glynn, Library Art Coordinator, the facility’s own art show was in full swing. “I was impressed at some of the talent on display,” said Glynn.

As it turned out, some of the work actually belonged to members of the Adult Day Health Care Center that operates adjacent to the nursing center, so the Library arranged a visit to see what the program was all about. 

In her role as Library Art Coordinator, Mary curates the Library’s exhibits. The Highfield Gardens Adult Day Health Care Center turned out to be an energetic, thriving facility with attendees engaged in creative activities, exercise, and games. So, it seemed serendipitous when an unexpected vacancy on the third floor became available, presenting the opportunity to showcase the Day Center artists. Each artist provided photos and biographies illustrating their lives – rich with joy and resilience.

It was especially meaningful to the artists to have Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, and Councilwoman Christine Liu make time in their busy schedules to meet the artists and view their work.

The Manhasset Public Library has seen the post-COVID return to in person visits and meetings steadily climb, and the demand for unique, hands-on programs continues to grow. While connecting virtually certainly has its benefits, there’s still no replacement for the nuance and stimulation that comes from human to human interaction. This exhibit is a perfect reflection of the Library’s commitment to embracing the entire Manhasset community. 

As for Mansour Simoni, Yana Krasnova, Izabella Moshkovich, Sara Yoseflaleh, and Carmen Sakhaei – they are living proof that our golden years can indeed be fulfilling. Be it a reawakening of dormant creativity, or simply the courage to try something new, the talent of these individuals, nurtured by their participation in the program — warms the heart.

Work will be on display through the first week of September.

Maria Mignano is the assistant director of the Manhasset Public Library

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