New Show of Hurricane Sandy-Inspired Art Was Made Possible by the NYFA’s Relief Fund

On Friday the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) will open “After Effects,” an exhibition of works inspired by Hurricane Sandy created by 23 artists whose studios were affected by the superstorm and that is supported by its Hurricane Sandy Emergency Relief Fund. The NYFA curated the exhibition, which will be on view at non-profit Chashama‘s storefront gallery space in Chelsea February 8-24.

“A tragedy can be inspiring or devastating,” NYFA curator and director of programs David Terry told the AP. “Artists are rebuilding and have to do this as a healing process.”

“Artists and arts organizations have the skills and capacity to craft recovery projects that address the less tangible cultural and psychological recovery needs of a community,” added Craig Nutt of the national artist disaster relief organization Craft Emergency Relief Fund.

Artists in the exhibition, like Red Hook-based artist Coke Wisdom O’Neal, had similarly mixed responses of both devastation and hopefulness following the storm. “The storm destroyed tools, books, old artwork, drawings and unfinished work,” he told the AP. “They now feel to me like objects that were holding me back from going forward.”

As he rebuilt his studio and resumed preparing for his upcoming solo show at Mixed Greens, however, the watercolor-like damaged wreaked on some of his photos by the nine-foot storm surge provided a nudge in a new direction. “Prior to the storm I was experimenting with working in abstraction, but was questioning my motives,” O’Neal told the AP. “Sandy gave me the opportunity to take the leap.”

“After Effects” opens at 303 Tenth Avenue on Friday. Coke Wisdom O’Neal’s new exhibition, “Happy Little Accidents,” will be on view at Mixed Greens March 21-April 20.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Golnar Adili, Amber, photograph of flooded journal. Via NYFA/Facebook.)