MiniMoCA, a 1:6 miniature gallery of the Patchogue Museum of Contemporary Art, officially opened its doors during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday July 17th.
Artists Rob Stenzel, Roya Jenner and Maya Kawachi were celebrated for a triumph of ingenuity and devotion to art, in all sizes.
“I had never built a structure from scratch,” Jenner said, “but Rob had a lot of experience in the precision needed, and Maya’s background in setting construction made her feel right at home. comfortable with power tools.”
Stenzel said of his experience in miniatures: “Miniatures have been a fascination for me since I was little… My mother-in-law was a doll collector, so I was given my first dollhouse kit when I was 12 years old and I immediately installed electricity.
The three worked on the project in different shifts to meet specific needs; Stenzel has a photosensitivity disease, and this shift cycle has proven effective.
Jenner typically worked days, Stenzel nights, and Kawachi was comfortable with either schedule and filled in as needed.
The idea came from a long-running project already in place in Philadelphia with miniature galleries/libraries all over the city.
“It’s a great interactive piece for the community,” said Kawachi, who came down from Westchester to provide her artistic and physical abilities to complete the project.
The gallery’s initial design included geometric lines in etched panels, with gray being a dominant color palette, along with the gallery’s traditional white walls.
Stenzel had gray faux wood floor remnants from another project which was a throwback to the MoCA’s life-size gray concrete floor.
Stenzel said: “We ended up going with a two-part system with a drop-off and pick-up kiosk in the main gallery. We also wanted to involve the general public and encourage new and young artists to participate in the project. We make miniature canvases and a variety of fine art papers available on the kiosk for people to take home and try.
“The biggest ‘visitor’ we can have in the gallery that is always in the right ratio is a Barbie doll,” Jenner said. “Unfortunately, no American Girl dolls.”
The artworks in the mini-gallery are a mix of pieces, both loaned and donated. The trio hope to have enough artwork to tour regularly.
Although there are pieces as small as 1 x 1.5 inches, most pieces are 3 x 5 or 4 x 4 inches, readily available for canvas sizes.
“We’re also looking to incorporate photography,” Kawachi said, “but it has to be small enough.”
Hoping to involve the community of all ages and abilities in creating pieces for display, as there is a capacity of 20 pieces in the mini-gallery, Stenzel is actively developing open calls.
“Two-dimensional artwork that is less than 5 inches in either direction and three-dimensional artwork that fits within a 2 x 2 inch footprint and measures less than 8 inches are our only requirements. Besides works of art, every gallery needs visitors! The MiniMoCA is game-scale, and many fashion dolls and figures are this size, so we invite the community to get creative and create mini “virtual visitors” as well, said Stenzel.