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Art Lab opens branch on South Shore

The Conference House
The Conference House
NYC Parks

Art Lab, long a stronghold of The North Shore, with an established art school located at Snug Harbor is also moving south this summer. The Art Lab now offers classes for kids, teens, and adults in Tottenville at The Conference House, even offering outdoor "plein air" classes at The Conference House's beautiful, peaceful grounds. This opens Art Lab up to those located in The South Shore of Staten Island, a major move for the art school. According to The Staten Island Advance today (July 7): "The Art Lab is taking things "down south" with new classes geared to create an artistic learning experience for art lovers on the South Shore." For more on the story visit

The not-for-profit Art Lab will be kicking off its "Art Lab at the Park" on July 14, a workshop series that will feature classes for children, teens and adults that will be held at the historic Conference House Park in Tottenville.

The first-time effort is a partnership between the Parks Department and the Art Lab designed to take advantage of the beautiful historic grounds of the Conference House while inspiring those who love to create art, adds SI Live.

"We really think it's a wonderful thing," said Lynnanne Daly, Art Lab program director to The Staten Island Advance. "People have been asking us over the years, 'Oh, can you do something on the South Shore?' As far as art is concerned, it's an underserved population and the Conference House is a better location to get some new people and some old friends to come out and participate in classes."

The program will include three classes for children/teens and three for adults. The classes will all have a nature aspect based on the environment in and around the Conference House Park, according to the report.

All the classes will have an indoor and outdoor component and the Conference House will also encourage art lovers with activities such as guided tours for participants, said Ms. Daly.

She said the idea came from John Kilcullen, the new director of Conference House Park, who believed the park and the Art Lab would be a perfect fit. She added that Frank Gessner, Conference House Park recreation specialist, who is familiar with Art Lab's mission, agreed. She said the site will serve as sort of an Art Lab annex and will include a chance for some gallery space to display the work that comes out of the art classes, added The Advance.

Kilcullen said he's excited about the Conference House-Art Lab partnership and noted there is a waiting list for the classes."The classes are specifically tailored to the park and tailored to the natural environment here and what the Art Lab can do in the park area and the studios," he said to The Advance.

He said ultimately the idea is to help a great educational non-profit like the Art Lab gain a foothold in the area, while drawing more people to explore and enjoy the Park. Ms. Daly told The Advance that she is hoping the partnership will be successful enough to become an ongoing initiative.

The children's nature class and origami classes will focus on using various art materials or origami paper to learn about nature and the surrounding landscape including animals and foliage.The teen landscape class will be a classic drawing class that focuses on park foliage and the landscaping around the site's historic buildings.The adult drawing class will incorporate basic drawing techniques and materials including graphite pencils, charcoal, pastels, conte, and watercolor crayons and pencils to capture the park's landscape and environment.The watercolor class is for mixed level and slightly advanced students. It is designed to explore and enhance one's ability to work with watercolor. The digital adult class will focus on learning new capabilities of a digital camera with an eye toward taking better photographs, adds the report. The cost of classes ranges from $150 to $175 and are in line with Art Lab at Snug Harbor.

So Staten Island kids, teens, and adults on the South Shore now have a chance to get in on the art action, at a more convenient location to them and at an equally idyllic setting.The Conference House Visitors Center is located at 298 Satterlee Avenue. All classes should be registered and paid for in advance, added The Advance. To register, call the Art Lab at 718-447-8667 or visit the Art Lab's website at If you are not signed up for an Art Lab class you should. As a participant in past classes I can tell you a summer pass to The Art Lab is worth the cost of admission. You will learn and grow as an artist during these hot summer months!