Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NRAA Honors Bro. Andy LaCombe

New Rochelle Art Association
Honors Bro. Andy LaCombe

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the New Rochelle Art Association. The Association celebrated its centennial last nite (Oct. 2) with a fine buffet dinner at Top of the Roc, an events venue on the 40th floor of Avalon Building, one of the 2 tallest skyscrapers in the Queen City of the Sound, and at the dinner they honored our own Bro. Andy LaCombe.

Bro. Andy invited your humble blogger to join him at the dinner--at which even he had to pay to attend.  Fr. Dennis Donovan, province treasurer, bought one more ticket, hoping that he'd be able to attend, but he wasn't able.  So Bro. Andy invited our mutual friend journalist Claudia McDonnell to come along, and she was delighted to do so.

It was my 1st time in the building, and Bro. Andy's also.  There are spectacular views from that high up--from our room, to the west, mainly.  Unfortunately, it was far too foggy and rainy to see much; we could barely make out the spire of Blessed Sacrament Church (just off center here):

But the company was excellent! Since Bro. Andy was the honoree--beyond the NRAA itself--we were seated at Table 1 along with Mayor Bransom (who didn't stay long), Jesse Sanchez, the president of the Association, and Barbara Davis, the city's unofficial historian and a great friend of the NRAA and of Brother, and a couple of other attendees.  There were about 80 others present, mostly members of the NRAA and their spouses.

The mayor presented a proclamation from the city honoring the NRAA, and County Representative Sheila Marcotte did the same on behalf of County Executive Rob Astorino.  Mercifully, the speechifying was brief and on point!

In mid-dinner (between courses) Bro. Andy was presented with a plaque from the Association, reading (beneath his name) "In Recognition Of Your Dedication, Creativity, Hard Work, And Devotion To The Ideals Of The New Rochelle Art Association."

Bro. Andy has belonged to our provincial residence community since 1967 and is the province's architect. He studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and is a member of the AIA.

I don't know when Brother joined the NRAA, but he has been heavily involved in it for many, many years.  Besides serving as its  president from 1985 to 1989, he has chaired the admissions committee (one has to be qualified as an artist to join), organized numerous shows (competitive and otherwise) at the public library, and on several occasions taken care of refurbishing the 10 signs that welcome people to New Rochelle at most of the main entrances to the city.
Edward Penfield's sign at the west end of the Boston Post Road (US 1).

There are signs at both ends of the Post Road, Pelham Road, 2 entrances from the Hutchinson Parkway, Kings Highway, Eastchester Road, Lincoln Avenue, 2 on or near Weaver Street. The signs were proposed by the NRAA around 1921 and commissioned by the city in 1923. They were designed by 10 luminaries of the Association, including Norman Rockwell. Others were executed by Clare Briggs, Cole Phillips, Lawrence Loeb, Frederick Dana Marsh, Edward Penfield, Ralph Robertson, and George Tobin.  (One doesn't have the artist's name on it--the one closest to our house, as it happens, just east of us on Main Street.  And I still haven't located one of the 10, altho Ms. Davis last nite gave me indications of its whereabouts.)

At the beginning of the 20th century, New Rochelle was home to many of the leading illustrators of the magazine and advertising businesses based in Manhattan.  Frederic Remington died in 1908, four years before others organized the NRAA.  Founders included Charles Ayer, Frederick Dana Marsh, Remington Schuyler, Herman Lambden, George Tobin, Armand Booth, Leon Schafer, Lucius Hitchcock, Orson Lowell, and Alta Salisbury West.
Pres. Jesse Sanchez presents plaque to Bro. Andy. Note Norman Rockwell in the title frame of a PowerPoint (behind Mr. Sanchez) that Mr. Sanchez prepared to review the NRAA's 100 years.

No comments: