Post-Sandy Relief for Rockaway Residents comes in the form of Contemporary Art

Rockaway to BK to LA: Artists and Surfers for Sandy Relief

Rockaway Wave Newspaper

EditionedArt sponsor

Benefit Auction New York and L.A. sponsored by Paddle 8

It has been over five months since Hurricane Sandy hit, and while things seem to be back to
normal in Manhattan and elsewhere along the coast, the storm-struck Rockaway Peninsula is
still grappling with the massive scope of Sandy’s destruction. Lives were lost, massive fires
burned entire neighborhoods to the ground, almost all businesses were wiped out and two-thirds
of the Rockaway Boardwalk was destroyed. With much of the recovery efforts focused on
lower Manhattan, residents said they felt abandoned by the city. Thousands of Rockaway
residents still remain homeless. The families most affected are some of this country’s most
vulnerable and many are still struggling to rebuild their lives with limited or no public assistance.
Reports have emphasized the lack of power in public housing blocks, the cold, the absence of
food and supplies and the seeming neglect by FEMA and Red Cross relief efforts. To make
matters worse the massive winter storm dubbed Nemo recently knocked out power in over
600,000 homes in the North East and dumped over three feet of snow on the region. These
worsening weather conditions have thwarted recovery efforts in Rockaway and the rebuilding of
this vital beach community has been further jeopardized.

For this reason art advisor Sarah Belden and artist Lynn Grayson, both surfers from Manhattan
who used to surf at beach 94 in Rockaway, founded Rockaway to BK to LA: Artists and
Surfers for Sandy Relief. Comprised of artists and surfers from Rockaway, Brooklyn,
Manhattan and L.A. their mission is to raise money to help rebuild the coastal community of
Rockaway, Queens with two silent auction benefits held in New York and in L.A. this March.
Organized by Sarah Belden Fine Art Advisory, the auctions will feature contemporary artwork
from emerging artists based in New York, L.A., Madrid, Berlin, Toronto, Oslo and elsewhere. “It
is imperative that we provide further assistance to the most vulnerable victims of the storm,”
said Sarah Belden, “especially in Rockaway, which seems to have been completely neglected.”
“This is a relatively low income area that was just burgeoning as a creative community. It was a
haven for artists and surfers, but Sandy has destroyed all of that. Since FEMA and Red Cross
have done so little to help, the relief has come from the residents themselves, neighbors helping
neighbors and grassroots organizations like the Graybeards- they are the ones rebuilding the
community, one brick at a time. I was in Toronto visiting family when Sandy struck and I was
horrified when I saw the media reports and the damage. I didn’t want to see the same thing

happen that happened in New Orleans post-hurricane Katrina and I thought there must be
something I can do.” While Sarah Belden and Lynn Grayson are no longer New York residents,
they wanted to do something to help remotely, so they teamed up to organize these two bicoastal
art events. “The auction features photographs, collage, works on paper and sculpture
by some of the finest emerging artists working today. There are some wonderful pieces and the
prices start low, so first time art buyers should definitely take a look. These types of auctions
are a great way to start collecting contemporary art. Not only are you supporting a worthy
cause, but you get to take home something unique and inspiring to hang on your wall.
Rockaway is an inspiration for me because these people have taken charge of their own future
and have started to rebuild the community themselves. For me though, the real “elephant in the
room” here is climate change, rising sea levels contributed to how deadly Super Storm Sandy
was. If we are not going to regulate and curb carbon emissions these types of storms will
become more and more frequent. The private fossil fuel interests who funnel tens of millions of
dollars into climate denial science, lobbying and other efforts to derail climate change policy are
the very same individuals who tried to block the proposed federal aid package for the victims of
Sandy. Instead of helping, they are using their billions to fund propaganda think tanks denying
climate change and blocking aid for Sandy victims. People need to be aware of this, especially
in the face of these increasingly extreme weather events. We hope with this grass roots
endeavor we can raise money and awareness about these environmental and political issues
through art and bring some relief to those in Rockaway who have lost everything.


514 WEST 25th STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10001


VENICE 90291

You can bid for works online NOW at PADDLE 8

Please contact Sarah Belden at
or go to: for more information
All proceeds will go to the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund and the Graybeards.


Kevin Cooley
Archival ink print
17 in x 22 in (43.18 cm x 55.88 cm)
Estimated value: $2,000
Courtesy of the Artist

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