The Roosevelt Island Artists Association organized the “Art Frenzy” exhibition in association with PS1, Queens Council for the Arts, LIC Business Corp, Socrates Park and the Noguchi Museum in May of 2001. The success of this group art exhibition inspired the founding of RIVAA in June of 2001. The Board of Directors included: Arline Jacoby, President; Tadeusz Sudol, Vice President; Esther Cohen, Vice President; Harry Small, Treasurer, and Phillip Groner as Director/Legal Council.
Gallery RIVAA opened in the hub of Main Street, with space and a grant provided by Roosevelt Island Operating Cooperation (RIOC). The support of the community along with the hard work and dedication of the founding members and of the ethnically diverse group of artist members brought the gallery to fruition. Following a complete renovation of a former pharmacy located in the RIVERCROSS complex, the grand opening took place in March 2002, with a members’ group exhibit, “Vernissage1”.
Exhibition space is also provided to RIVAA artists by the OCTAGON Gallery located in the Octagon Building in Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island. Group and solo exhibitions run continuously at both Gallery RIVAA and the OCTAGON Gallery throughout the year, featuring work of RIVAA members and international guest artists - painters, sculptors, photographers, computer artists, graphic designers, ceramists and installation artists.