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Art by Alicia Degener
Art by Alicia Degener
"Coney Community" is on display at The Coop now through June 17.

Just in time for summer, a Bay Ridge coffee shop is giving a nod to Coney Island.

A month-long art exhibit centered on the People’s Playground opened at the Coop, 9504 Fourth Avenue, on Thursday, May 10 and will run through mid-June.

The exhibit which features homages to everything from the Wonder Wheel to the Parachute Jump was curated by veteran Coop artist Alicia Degener, a Bay Ridge resident whose stills of Southern Brooklyn and beyond have stolen hearts across the borough.

“Coney Island is a place for everybody,” said Degener, a Detroit native and mother of two who relocated to southern Brooklyn in 1986 and to Bay Ridge specifically in 1997. “The artists in this show all have a commonality in their vision. The funky, freaky grandeur of a place steeped in history shines through their artwork as we watch Coney evolve.”

This new installation, dubbed “Coney Community,” features the work of artists that span the borough and art’s mediums – its opening having featured spoken word performances by poets Cathy Brown and Michael Schwartz.

Other featured artists include Maya Carino, Kate Dobrowsky, Lucia Dutazaca, William Folchi, Tommy Holiday, Antonio Kel, Dan Lamanna, Deirdre Laughton, Danielle Mastrion, Cait McCarthy, James McCormack, Robin Michals, Patricia O’Donnell, Marianne Ponton, Marie Roberts, Elizabeth Romo, James Rose, Christopher Spinelli, Resa Sunshine and Jeff Watts.

“The artists are often jacks of all trades,” added Degener, who now has spearheaded a bevy of both solo and community shows at the Coop. “Coney sign painters, muralists, fine art and graffiti artists who have worked on projects and exhibited art together: they are my Coney community.”

As for the show’s opening, Degener said it was “absolutely packed.” The exhibit’s response after the fact, she said, has been just as generous.

“The shows have resulted in the artists fostering a strong sense of community and interaction with the neighborhood,” she said. “The artists have brought along many new artists to the shows. Artists empowering other artists and in turn empowering the community in their appreciation of local Brooklyn art is the purpose of this show.”

Degener’s own contributions to the series included watercolors of the Wonder Wheel and the world famous Nathan’s on Surf Avenue.

“Coney Community” will close at the Coop on Sunday, June 17.


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