Snug Harbor Announces Autumn 2019 Art Exhibitions

Breaking Ground: Twenty Years of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden

Reclamation: Artwork by Julia Simoniello

October 15, 2019 | Staten Island, NY— Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is excited to announce two new visual art exhibitions at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Buildings C & G.  The new exhibitions (Breaking Ground: Twenty Years of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and Reclamation: Artwork by Julia Simoniello) will launch on October 19, 2019 in an opening reception from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at the Newhouse Center.

“I am really excited to present our fall exhibitions at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art,” said Melissa West, Vice President of Curation, Visual & Performing Arts, at Snug Harbor. Breaking Ground explores the deep cultural impact of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, and considers its fascinating past, present and future as we celebrate the 20th anniversary. Julia Simoniello’s charcoal work in Reclamation is an arresting display of feminine power and beauty. Both of these shows demonstrate the power of our arts community and highlight the unique assets of our grounds.”

Breaking Ground: Twenty Years of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden

Breaking Ground: Twenty Years of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden brings the fascinating story of this unique space to life through artifacts, photographs, and artwork, in honor of the 20th anniversary of its completion.  Breaking Ground features work from artists Robert Bunkin, Michael Falco, Annemarie Trombetta, and Andrea Phillips.

The exhibition explores the cultural impact of the NYCSG, an immersive space modeled after traditional Ming Dynasty gardens (1368-1644), featuring a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, a Koi-filled pond, Chinese calligraphy, and a variety of Ghongshi scholar’s rocks, creating the first authentic outdoor classical scholar’s garden in the United States.  All the architectural components of the New York Chinese Scholars Garden were fabricated in Suzhou, China, including roof and floor tiles, columns and beams, doors and windows, bridges and paving materials.

“We are honored to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor,” said Lincoln Wang, Director of Foreign Exchange and Cooperation Division at Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism. “Suzhou is called the city of gardens because there are over 100 classic gardens around Suzhou, nine of which have been collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor epitomizes the authentic, classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou. Our sponsorship offers us a profound opportunity to share the beauty of Suzhou’s gardens and other top tourism attractions with North American travelers.”

An exciting roster of related programming is scheduled for the remainder of 2019.  The schedule of events is as follows, with tickets available at

Calligraphy & Language Workshop: Sun, October 20 | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | $10
Panel Discussion: Breaking Ground, Building Bridges: Sat, Nov 2 | 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM | $10
Lantern Making for Families: Sat, November 23 | 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM | $10
Ink Wash Painting: Sat, December 7 | 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM | $10
Artist Talk: Robert Bunkin, Under Construction: December 14 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | $10

Reclamation: Artwork by Julia Simoniello

Reclamation is a series of drawings and paintings by Julia Simoniello that documents the artist’s experience as a queer, femme artist living in a changing suburban landscape in a dying world.

The art will confront sexuality, femininity, death, loss, and life on Staten Island through an exploration of psychological portraiture. The art on display aims to undermine the prototypical figure as mother or object of beauty.

In honor of her exhibition, Simoniello will host “ArtTalk: Charcoal Workshop with Julia Simoniello” on November 7, 2019 from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM at the Newhouse Center. Admission is $10.

Julia Simoniello is an artist living in Staten Island, NYC. She has shown work in various group shows in galleries around Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a few small galleries in her hometown of Staten Island. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in Illustration. She is also an award-winning musician, beauty queen, and tomato gardener.

Currently on display at the Newhouse Center through December 29, 2019:

Heal the Man in order to Heal the Land: Artwork by Tattfoo Tan

Heal the Man in order to Heal the Land explores how spirituality manifests itself out of the connections between internal experience and the material world. How can we connect with nature in a society that continues to give primacy to disposability and mass-consumption? How do we move away from a mindset of scarcity to one of collaboration? How can we be transformed from the egocentric “i” to the love supreme “I AM”?  In this exhibition, artist Tattfoo Tan uses participatory prompts, games and affirmations to engage you in the play of the universe.

Snug Harbor and Tan will host monthly events in the Newhouse Center to dive deeper into the exhibition’s themes and provide a more meaningful experience to visitors year-round.  The schedule of events is as follows, with tickets available at

Cosmic Walk with Eros Romero: October 19 | 11:00 AM | $10
Basic Tarot and Oracle Card Reading with Tattfoo Tan: November 2 | 11:00 AM
Blackout Poetry with Tattfoo Tan: December 14 | 11:00 AM
Mandala Reading with Tattfoo Tan: December 21 | 11:00 AM

Staten Island based artist Tattfoo Tan’s practice focuses on issues relating to ecology, sustainability and healthy living. His work is project-based, ephemeral and educational in nature. Tan has exhibited at venues including the Queens Museum of Art, Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts, Parsons the New School for Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Wave Hill, Macalester College, Ballroom Marfa, Creative Time, Project Row Houses, and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. Tan’s projects have been presented by the Laundromat Project, the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for the Arts program, and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts program. His work has been published by Gestalten and Thames and Hudson.

Tan has been widely recognized for his artistic contributions and service to the community, and is the proud recipient of a proclamation from The City of New York. He is the recipient of grants from Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Art Matters, Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and Staten Island Arts.  In 2010, Tan received the annual Award for Excellence in Design by the Public Design Commission of the City of New York for his design and branding of the Super-Graphic on Bronx River Art Center. He currently serves on the Mayor’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee to support the development of a Comprehensive Cultural Plan.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is located at 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY and is open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.  General admission to the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art is $5 ($4 for students/seniors, free for Snug Harbor members and students grades 6-12 with student ID).  Spring-autumn hours are Thurs-Fri from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM and Sat-Sun from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. 

Heal the Man in order to Heal the Land; Breaking Ground; and Reclamation are all made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  Additional support is provided by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.  Additional support for Breaking Ground is provided in part by Suzhou Tourism.  Reclamation is made possible in part by a DCA Premier Grant from Staten Island Arts, with public funding for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden’s historic 83-acre campus is one of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse projects in America, with 28 structures, 14 unique botanical gardens, 10 acres of wetlands, and a two-acre urban farm. Our mission is to provide a vibrant, regional cultural destination that offers dynamic programming in the arts, education, horticulture, agriculture, and recreation for diverse cultures and all ages while ensuring a well-managed campus for all residents of Staten Island and surrounding communities. Snug Harbor is a proud Smithsonian Affiliate. Learn more about Snug Harbor at

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