top of page

Exploring "Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0" with Laura Pannone

In a world where the art scene has long been dominated by male voices, a vibrant shift took place at Flagship Brewery on March 9th. As I stepped into the bustling taproom, there was an unmistakable energy, a palpable sense of celebration that fills the air. Here, amidst the photography, sculptures, fiber art, paintings, candles, music, and much more, the spotlight wasn't just on art; it's on the remarkable women who create it.

This empowering event was all thanks to Laura Pannone, also known as her Instagram handle Prism Visions. Laura is a multi-disciplined artist based in Staten Island, NY. Her foundation is Fine Arts, but she has realized her most profound inspiration and artistic expression through the medium of photography. Her photography stands out because of her creative use of prisms and holographic film to create dreamy, ethereal portraits. I had a chance to ask her some questions about her event so we can get a better understanding of her inspiration for starting Art Bloc. and how it's evolved.

Self-portrait of Laura taken at Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0

What is Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0?

The inspiration for Art Bloc. as a pop-up multimedia exhibit was to both unite a diverse community with art and provide local artists with a platform to be recognized and supported for their creative endeavors. However, the segment of Art Bloc. “EMPOWERED,” has been planned specifically with an even more critical intention: to amplify the voices of a marginalized demographic of our society, WOMEN! 

After the infamous Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, curating a conversation about Fourth-Wave Feminism became a necessity. The age of social media, and the creative and critical content creators that paint its pages, are crucial components of presenting this pivotal pursuit. As a content creator myself, my mission for this exhibit echoes that of Staten Island Art’s Premier to create a dialogue that addresses political division and inequality, particularly providing a platform for content that portrays a call for feminism. I also believe that art is a reflection of feeling and culture, which also serves as a unique and extraordinary catalyst for change. 

The EMPOWERED exhibit of Art Bloc. – intentionally scheduled to take place during Women’s History Month – featured a variety of multi-disciplined female artists from the borough of Staten Island with the purpose of empowering female creatives and amplifying their cry for freedom. The artists/vendors showcasing their work will display art they feel empowers them.

Additionally, I photographed portraits of all those who support the message by attending! By capturing the beauty of attendees live, this artist intends to further empower each and every guest to emphasize the message. The theme of “empowerment” evidently encompasses the solidarity of sisterhood, but also strives to reach an audience far beyond those who identify as female. The messaging of power and equality in EMPOWERED intends to resonate with all audiences who relate to feelings of disenfranchisement or oppression, as well as any allies in the quest for freedoms. We are all allies through art! 

Where did the name "Art Bloc." come from?

While I was deciding the name of the event, I had originally thought of “Art block” which was inspired from the term “artists block or writers block” and the way I was approaching the event, I wanted it to feel like a block party! Then, I was talking to my partner, Jason, on how to approach naming the event. He was telling me how the term “Bloc.” meant: “a combination of persons, groups, or nations forming a unit with a common interest or purpose,” which was in line with the entire purpose of the event. 

What made you want to start this event?

I remember in my high school days, some of my weekends were spent with my friends who were in the music scene. I remember telling my parents I was going to my friends house when we were really going to The Cup or Dock Street (sorry fam).  

Katherine Zarou performing at Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0

Whenever my friends had a show, I just remember seeing a room full of musicians coming together to support each other. I remember thinking I don’t see anything like this happening for visual artists on the island! At least not events like this, so during the pandemic I did some brain storming. 

During the pandemic, I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design. In my program we learned how to curate events and how to source for certain aspects of your events and such. By the time I graduated, the entire world had shut down and everything and anything I wanted to do - I couldn’t.  I struggled a lot from the pandemic- as most did. I had turned to photography and painting as my outlet for expressing myself. Also, a lot of people have found new outlets during the pandemic! People had started businesses in their living rooms. I started my business in my bedroom. As tragic as the pandemic was, I have seen beautiful transformations of people coming out of it, including their creativity. I figured I just needed to take the leap! I remember January 2022, I pitched the idea and took a leap from there!

Gaby Estrakh (GESTR), Illustrator & Fiber Artist

How was this year’s Art Bloc. different than last year's Art Bloc.? How did you improve it? What did you change?

The past year's Art Bloc., and when I say year, I am thinking from March 2023 to now April 2024, is different now because I am constantly trying to figure out new ways to engage the community more with local artists or with creativity in general. In my previous Art Bloc. (Empowered 2.0 March 9th , 2024)  had 3 different artists host their own interactive stations in what they specialize in. I hosted my own interactive station as well. I had my photo booth, but I also had my painting table where the attendees could paint and have fun! It was glow in the dark themed painting table too!! 

Interactive glow in the dark painting station!

I felt as if in the beginning I had the attendees immersed in my display work, directly at my photo booth. I would create a flower wall or a display where people would come and take a photo in front of. However, I feel that in the past two events I have been focusing on immersing the guests in the theme throughout the brewery, and not just at my booth. I made decorations to hang from the lights and the ceiling to put all over the brewery. I handmade every single one! 

I think the overall theme of what has changed is trying to have the attendees feel more a part of Art Bloc. and not just attending the event. Educating the guests about the art in different ways and to have fun with it!

Monika Nova performing at Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0

What’s your favorite part of the event?

My favorite part of Art Bloc. is turning around from my photo-booth, taking a minute to see everybody having a great time. I also love that I feel as if every time Art Bloc. happens, I gain new friends in my creative community. I think it’s more of the outcome of Art Bloc. that is my favorite.

I also love how some of the guests and artists will dress on theme with me!

Meghan.H, photographer (center) & her lovely friends

A closeup on Donna's Designs!

What is Art Bloc Create?

Art Bloc.  Create is similar to my other events however, this version of Art Bloc.  is all about interacting with local artists in the community and to be creating something new! I have seven artists who are going to be hosting their own mini workshop at each table and they will be teaching what they are specializing in!  There is something different for everybody!  I have a macramé station, crocheting, collaging, as well as candle making! I’m going to be hosting a painting station because not a lot of people know this about me, but I started off by painting/drawing and I am also a full time art teacher.  I also think this event was inspired by that side of me! 

What are you excited about with Art Bloc. Create?

I’m just excited to see the community come to together! And I’m excited for all of the art that will be created that day!  

Jeans Gallo's interactive macrame station at Art Bloc. Empowered 2.0

Check out Laura's Instagram and Website!

Article written by Em Casey


bottom of page