Manes family center opens with art classes, new exhibit space

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Meredith Dauman of North Hills took a drawing class during the first day of the Manes Family Art and Education Center at Nassau County Museum of Art. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

A new Nassau County Museum of Art space opened Saturday with an exhibit hall and two classrooms to host art classes.

The Manes Family Arts and Education Center on the museum grounds kicked off with an open house to show off the new space, designed with artists and students in mind.

Nassau County Museum of Art director Charles Riley discusses the works with a group of visitors. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

“It’s just a thrill to have art classes back on our campus again,” museum director Charles Riley said. “We think this is going to complement our exhibitions. We want people to come in, not just to learn how to draw, how to paint, how to sculpt, we want them to come in and learn how to see.”

Teacher Michelle Palatnik said she is excited to move her classes into the space, including figure drawing, portrait drawing, pastel drawing, acrylic painting and children’s drawing.

Palatnik said with her children’s drawing class, sequential information is important for developing artists.

“I teach in a way that’s very similar to the way music is taught,” Palatnik said. “The grammar of visual art and the language and the mechanics of it first before you get too creative in a way you can’t handle. You really need to learn how to harness that potential. By the time they’re older, ideally, they’ll be exploding.”

For a full class schedule for children and adults, visit the museum’s website.

Artist and teacher Josef Albers’ works, left, hang alongside those of his students in the Master Class exhibit. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

The center’s first exhibit, Master Class, is a collection of works by artist Josef Albers and his students, including artists Peter Halley, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra and Neil Welliver.

Albers’ “Formulation Articulation,” a collection of color screen prints from 1972, hangs alongside the works of his equally famous students, such as Rauschenberg’s “Musical Mollusk” mounted piece from 1978 and Serra’s untitled lithograph print from 1990.

“Albers was the greatest teacher of art. He taught all these hotshots,” Riley said, gesturing around the space. “These were all the stars of the 1960s and ‘70s and ‘80s. They took what he gave them and they went even further.

“That’s the whole idea of a place like this. We have great teachers, and we love to see what happens when great teachers get together with enthusiastic and wonderful students. Who knows when the next Rauchenberg is going to walk into a class.”

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