A painting depicting boats washed into the ruins of houses, with firefighters and police assessing the damage under a foreboding sky, captured a $10,000 check and first place in a Nassau County art competition Monday dedicated to the first anniversary of superstorm Sandy.
"We are Strong Island! -- A Salute to Nassau County Residents' Endurance and Courage" by Ron Hendrickson of North Massapequa led the awards in the Superstorm Sandy Survival Art Competition.
"I wanted to depict the destruction following Sandy," Hendrickson said. "And definitely wanted to show the response by the residents, and show our first responders -- the police, the volunteer firemen in center."
The $5,000 second prize went to Howard Busch of Oceanside for "Responders Conquer Chaos," an oil paint and wood carving piece featuring the arms of a victim and a rescuer, a field of woodcut flames and the names of towns affected by Sandy on wooden chips. The third prize of $2,500 went to Audrey Troyka of Seaford for "You're Safe Now," her mosaiac portrait of a fireman carrying a cat to safety.
Two honorable mentions, "Untitled" from Deirdre Whiston of Massapequa, and "The Wave of Recovery" by Laura O'Shaughnessy-Swan of Long Beach, each received a $1,000 prize.
The competition was the idea of real estate investor Lawrence Kadish and his wife, Susan, an artist, of Old Westbury.
"I think every piece of work here is a winner," said Susan Kadish. "Every single one has the heart of who created it." The Kadishes were not on the three-judge panel, according to county spokeswoman Katie Grilli-Robles.
The competition, announced in April, was open to Nassau residents of all ages and skill levels who wanted a chance to "create a permanent tribute to the spirit of all county residents who have endured the wrath of Superstorm Sandy," according to the announcement.
About 200 art pieces were submitted, and included paintings, mosaics, photography and mixed media. Shards of the Long Beach boardwalk, which was destroyed during Sandy and reopened Friday after reconstruction, were available to entrants for artistic use and appeared in several pieces.
"The importance of today is a day of reflection," County Executive Edward Mangano said at Monday's awards ceremony. "These artists have taken relics from a very emotional time in our history and created some very moving artwork that will certainly memorialize the challenges and the human spirit to overcome those challenges."
The award money was a private donation by the Kadishes. The couple was sued a year ago in federal court in Brooklyn by their housekeeper, Aleksandra Ciesielska, who alleged abusive treatment and wage violations. The case remains open, according to court records.