The event features light and reflective surfaces at Grangebel Park

Riverhead Board Greenlights Art In The Park

Art and light were fused together earlier this month during “Reflexions: Art in the Park,” a temporary art installation in Riverhead’s Grangebel Park featuring a walkable, interactive experience for visitors. The outdoor exhibit combined a daytime component with standalone art displays that were not illuminated, with a nighttime component showing lighted displays.

“It was a transformation for the park, absolutely gorgeous and really impressive. There was so many people saying they’ve never wandered through the park and didn’t realize what we have in the community here,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said to event co-founder Bryan DeLuca at an August 16 Riverhead Town Board work session. “I really thank you for that and all your work bringing it together, it was really fantastic.”

The installation featured assorted elements of light, based on artist interpretations and designs that came to fruition in a tangible exhibit. Elements of light in the exhibit included LED, incandescent, laser, fire, black light, Day-Glo, and photo luminescent displays. Curated by light artist Clayton Orehek, the exhibit showcased nautical and freeform reflective sculptures alongside the Peconic River during the day, before the flick of a switch at 7 PM transformed these professional artists’ creations with projections and moving lights.

“We really set out to create a certain vibe and get community involvement in the park, which we accomplished. The feedback was tremendous,” said DeLuca.

DeLuca, president of East End Tourism and executive director of the Long Island Aquarium, co-founded the event with Bob Kern, president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. He attended the work session and requested that a resolution be passed to allow him to apply for a $5000 grant from the Huntington Arts Council to further the evolution of Art in the Park.

His request was successful.

“There’s a lot more we can do, a lot more in our vision and on the horizon. Funding is of course always a challenge and today I’m here to ask for a resolution to be passed to apply for a small grant,” DeLuca said. “It’s part in kind, part match, and I think we’re pretty good on the match side of things.”

DeLuca said the first installation became a reality thanks to sponsorships and grants from numerous community organizations, including a grant of $11,250 from PSEG Long Island. Support also came from other community groups, including the Riverhead Improvement District, I Love New York, the East End Tourism Alliance, Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, and the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

“Timothy Hill helped tremendously. They brought the kids out and it was really nice, from a community standpoint, to see them in their own community, contributing to their community, and then come back to view and break down and see what they helped create,” DeLuca said.

“I’m very happy to see new events adding interest and appeal to our Main Street district. This beautiful light festival, in particular, really serves as a reflection of all the great things happening in Riverhead,” Jens-Smith said.

“Reflexions: Art in the Park” will return on September 15 and October 20. Both events will feature craft beverages served at the park’s brick pumphouse. The art shows will be on display from 9 AM to 10 PM, and the light show will be illuminated from 7 to 10 PM.

jade@indyeastend.com