Moon Stage to Bow Out


Originally called the “Rockaway Moon,” the iron sculpture that served as a stage backdrop and bridge between Rockaway Artists Alliance’s sTudio 6 and sTudio 7 galleries, came to be known as the “Moon Stage.” After being in place for nearly seventeen years, the sculpture has succumbed to the elements and will be removed before spring.

Formerly part of the stage set for “Ring ‘Round the Moon,” a Lincoln Center production at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway (April-June 1999), the installation of the sculpture in Fort Tilden was conceived by former RAA board director and member of the Belasco staff, Jan Nebozenko. The set was dismantled and brought to the fort by the Belasco staff and the Lincoln Center production crew.

On site volunteers from RAA, Rockaway Theater Company, National Parks Service, Bracci Fence and Iron Works, Two Brothers Construction, and more began the three year process of modification and installation.

The Moon Stage opened as a performance space in 2003, and saw the heyday of its use from 2005-2010. During those years RAA staged the Summer Moons concert series from 2005-2007. The series hosted several musical acts each summer featuring local favorites like Indaculture, Squid and special guests, Seaside Songfest. There were magicians and belly dancers to add variety and spice things up. During those years, RAA’s camp kidsmART hosted the annual camp show on the stage, and often RAA’s opening receptions for art exhibitions were complemented by dance, music and theatrical performances on the stage.

The gazebo stage set was designed for interior use and never intended to be an outdoor piece. Through the years, RAA tended to the sculpture extending its lifespan, welding weak joints, cleaning and painting the piece. Unfortunately, the combination of salt air and hurricanes have weakened the metal beyond salvation.

While RAA is sorry to see the Moon Stage leave the organization’s campus, there are plans for something new to be put in its place. Always interested in improving the grounds and capitalizing on their unique placement within an urban national park, RAA will begin to rethink the space between their two galleries. The process will include an exploration of ideas from artists and landscape designers in concert with the National Park Service.

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