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Seniors' Artwork Adorns City Hall

A collection of watercolors and other pieces, some created by seniors who paint despite arthritis and vision problems, was displayed in Glen Cove's City Hall Thursday.

Paintings and sketches created by members of the Glen Cove Senior Center were displayed in City Hall Thursday, an exhibit requested by Mayor Ralph Suozzi after he visited the center's weekly art class earlier in the year, according to Lucy Van Horn, the center's program coordinator.

Two of the paintings were created by 92-year-old Natalie Caracciolo, who suffers from severe arthritis. She said each took her less than one month to complete, working for 15 minutes at a time when she wasn't in class.

"We have been surprised," said daughter Jane Armstrong. "It's been a great outlet for her, filling a void a little bit since our dad passed away."

Armstrong and her sister, Diane Jordan-Ursprung, accompanied their mother at City Hall, where they pointed out one of her paintings of the bridge where they used to collect mussels with their father and their two other sisters when they were children.

"That one has sentimental value," said Armstrong, who said her parents were together for 68 years.

Asked if she plans to continue her art, Caracciolo answered, "As long as I can." 

City councilman Anthony Gallo said the exhibit is the first time he has seen the creations of the Senior Center's members.

"What beautiful, detailed work," he said. "A lot of them also highlight the beautiful parks and areas of Glen Cove."

He pointed to Caracciolo's bridge, where he said he used to fish when he was young. 

"I'm not surprised at the talent, but I'm just in awe of the beauty," he said.

Deputy Mayor Maureen Basdavanos said she was impressed with the quality of the pieces, many of which were created by seniors with no artistic background preceding their lessons at the center.

"You hear of an art class that's doing work and, you know, you figure it'll be kind of amateurish, but it really looks so professional - it looks like they've been doing this all their lives," she said. 

Basdavanos said she and Suozzi have talked for years about making the main chambers in City Hall an exhibit of the city's art. 

"I think we're going to try and do maybe a photo exhibit next, and we're just going to open it up to different photographers and artists in Glen Cove and do a month at a time...and always have something that people can come in and see," she said.

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