Unlock Your Inner Artist

Sometimes we all need to find a hobby we enjoy and awaken a whole new side of ourselves that we never knew. As a creative person myself (reader, writer, terrible artist), I sometimes find it hard to find places where creativity and art are celebrated. When I was walking down Main Street, Bay Shore, during one of the summer’s bustling Alive by the Bay events, I was drawn to the booth of the Islip Arts Council (IAC). Little did I know, they had an event, workshop, or show for any and all of my possible creative outlets. 

The Islip Arts Council is a not-for-profit organization that started in 1974. They have a gallery in the South Shore Mall next to Dick’s Sporting Goods (open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) that features published books from local Long Island authors, monthly artist exhibits, and an artisan gift shop. 

Events offered by the council are usually free and often included in the calendar of events published with Fire Island News: Shakespeare in the Park at various locations throughout Islip Township, Saturday author talks with the Long Island Authors Group, the Hispanic Heritage event in October, and the popular Vegan pop-up at the Great South Bay Brewery in the summer. When I reached out to Belinda Rubino and LuAnn Palazzo, the IAC newsletter writer and website designer, they expressed that a great event that the IAC puts on is called the Teeny Gala. 

The event ran for its 15th year on June 8, and is an IAC program that runs in the Islip High School to reward performing arts students for their talents. The event is mirrored after the Tony Awards and began with a red carpet at 5:30 p.m. “Its mission is to recognize and celebrate talented young theater students in Islip Township, encourage them to pursue their dreams, and to stimulate local interest in a well-rounded school curriculum,” said Belinda and LuAnn to me over email. As it is every year, the Teeny Gala packed the house. 

The IAC looks to highlight everyone’s voice in all forms of art. During Black History Month, from Feb. 14 to March 10, 2023, the gallery showcased Black artists from around Long Island with the support of Islip Town NAACP and Black Long Island. The turnout was the largest yet. 

Even though many of the fun summer events are coming to an end, the IAC has events you can attend (many for free) all throughout the year. From author talks in the gallery to live music at the Long Island Maritime Museum or Bayard Cutting Arboretum, the IAC has your fall weekends covered. On Sept. 23, at 1 p.m., author Graham E.E. Bailey will talk about and sign copies of her novel “Sakhalin,” which was inspired by the author’s travel to Sakhalin Island on the eastern coast of Russia.

From Oct. 10-31, the IAC is looking to highlight LGBTQ+ voices through art performance and poetry. The IAC will be hosting its annual Director’s Club Dinner at Trio in the Holbrook Country Club where “you’ll meet four arts angels who are being honored for their contribution this year, Good Samaritan University Hospital, David Auguste, Reynold Burns, and Christina Macina.”