Jessica Pollack
POLLACK - Jessica, founder and owner of Not Just Art children's enrichment center in Oyster Bay, NY, died on October 3, 2008, after a long illness. She was 58 years old. A true Renaissance woman, Jessica was a dancer, educator, Music Together director and business owner, world traveler, and gourmand. She was passionate in all of her pursuits and sought new challenges. Born in New Rochelle on December 22, 1949, the daughter of Leo Pollack and Dorothy Rosenberg, Jessica grew up in Mount Vernon. She studied dance at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. Jessica received her Masters of Early Childhood Education at the College of New Rochelle. She lived and taught in Toronto for 15 years. She later taught at the School for Language and Communication Development, now located in Glen Cove, NY. In 1992 Jessica founded Not Just Art with the belief that every child has creative potential, and that each one deserves a space to freely discover and develop their own unique strengths. As a teacher of young children and as a teaching mentor, Jessica lit up a room and helped those around her to shine as well. Jessica is survived by her husband, Robert Cook of Cold Spring Harbor, and by her sister, Miriam Pollack of New York City. She will also be lovingly remembered by her friends, employees, and clients. Services will be held 11:00am, Sunday, October 5th at Gutterman's 8000 Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, NY, with the Rabbi Meyer Ossey officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Not Just Art for the Jessica Pollack Memorial Scholarship Fund, to provide creative opportunities for children and families in need.
Published by Newsday on Oct. 4, 2008.
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55 Entries
My daughter took classes with Jessica from when she was 2 years old until she was 12. This year, at 16, she helped out with the camp. She was nurtured and appreciated by Jessica and her staff, who praised kids who went outside the lines, and where the art never all looked the same. Jessica was an inspiring and delightful woman, and will be missed by the kids who knew her and those that never got the chance. I am pleased that Eva is carrying the torch.
Jenny deBeer Charno
September 2, 2009
You will forever be a part of so many families whose children learned so immensely from your visions. FOr almost ten years , I have seen my children open up in wonder, expression, creativity all through your amazing ability to bring out the gifts in each child.
love, The Sweeney Family
Debbie Sweeney
March 8, 2009
There are people whose radiance and lustre is eternal, whose inner light emanates from their faces, their eyes, the very depths of their souls. These lights even death cannot snuff out completely for they live on in the memories of each one of us who have been touched by their being. Jessica, Jessica yes yes Jessica!
I miss you Jessica, I think about you often when I drive through CSH. I am so glad that I was able to see you one last time at the anniversay celebration of Not Just Art.

You who conjured joy, love, color, melody and light spilling them generously into our lives and the lives of our children will never be forgotten.
Love, Dafna
Dafna Soltes Stein
March 5, 2009
I didn't know Jessica well, but she was a bright light in the Music Together family and it was always a joy to see her at the DLG. She is already greatly missed. With sincerest condolences to everyone in her family.
Lynn Lobban
February 27, 2009
Jessica was truly inspiring. I enjoyed every interaction with her, and admired her strenght of will and her positive attitue. Even in her hardest time, she always thougth of others first. I will miss her.
Eva Arriaga
February 27, 2009
I began taking my son to Not Just Art classes in Cold Spring Harbor with Jessica before he was a year old. We went often to look at the books, puzzles and toys in the store. I have warm memories of taking my son to Not Just Art. My son is now 16. We will miss Jessica!!
Sherri Meagher
Sherri Meagher
February 13, 2009
I am very sorry for all who knew Jessica. It will be a loss to us all. My children loved NJA. Gabby started at CSH when she was 3 and now she is 11. There were very fond memories created by Jess at that wonderfully small and warm store front. She sold me our favorite book..."Guess How Much I Love You." I could hear her reading it to us now. Matthew enjoyed her Music class but would not sit still. He alwasy ended up on her lap. She was very warm and inviting. What a gift she had. God has her enriching those in heaven and teaching them to shake those eggs in rhythm....Thanks for the will be missed by many Jessica. Susan Tesoriero (Syosset)
susan tesoriero
January 12, 2009
Still missing you! I just want to pick up the phone and chat...
Sharon Foster
January 5, 2009
What a tragic loss! Jessica opened doors of wonder for myself and my children (ages 4 and 14 months), and her spirit will be felt as we continue on our musical and artistic journeys at Not Just Art. Jessica was a special individual who recognized that children not only need creative space to grow, but also special adults who will share that child-like wonder of the world with them. Jessica inspired me to become a Music Together teacher, and my children continue to enjoy the many wonderful art and music programs she created and/or brought to Not Just Art. But more importantly, she influenced the way I play with, sing to, and create with my children; with child-like abandon! I live my life differently; with much more music, light and creativity, because of Jessica Pollack. She taught me to slow down and "see" things that we often miss in our hectic lives with our children. My children's lives will be forever enriched because of her lifetime dedication to the arts and the creative process. In a world full of emphasis on test scores and "being the best", she created a space where children and parents can let go and just be who they are and enjoy each other. She was a mentor, a teacher, and kindred spirit and will be sorely missed
Nicole Yablans
October 22, 2008
We met Jessica when we first moved here from Park Slope in 1995 and knew instantly we'd met a kindred spirit....she inspired my children and me too, to look at life through beautiful colors and creativity. She always had the greatest suggestions for the "perfect gifts" ! Because of her we will always have music & Art in our lives. Because of her wonderful gentle guidance I'm sure my son, who is now in Art School looks at his work from many 'angles' incorporating music & painting, and because of her philosophy of creative freedom, I'm sure my youngest daughter Kelly is the artist she is today. AND because of Jessica I deeply saddened by her passing but better for knowing her in our lives. SHe will be missed but lives on in her inspiration to us all.
Pamela McGuinness
October 15, 2008
When my son James was 4 we started going to Not Just Art at the original location in Cold Spring Harbor. Then we followed Jessica across the street when she moved there. Jessica was a joy. The children and parents both loved her. Those were special times that we will not forget.
Joan Lowenthal
October 14, 2008
Our world has lost a special light with the passing of Jessica. Jessica embodied the rarest of combinations; authenticity, enthusiasm, love of children and passion for all she endeavored. She was remarkable in so many ways, not the least of which was her courage in facing her illness- and the grace to help others around her feel comfortable with that struggle. She sought no pity, but instead exacted every bit of productivity and joy out of each day she had.

My children and I loved her most for her teaching. Her mentoring, creativity and ability to impart a love for music have had a lifelong impact on my children's appreciation for music and all things creative. Jessica helped me to better appreciate the fleeting nature of my children's youth, and to cherish each one's own particular brand of creativity.

I feel fortunate to have enjoyed her friendship; one in which the conversations were always real, engaging and enlightening.

Her contribution to the world is enduring and manifold in the lives of all the children she taught. She will be missed more than she could have ever predicted.
Cynthia Hemley
October 13, 2008
The news of Jessica's passing was so shocking to me. I have such wonderful memories of her, having taught my son in Music Together as a baby, and then singing with friends and family at our home for his first birthday. Jessica was and always will be a shining light, and her love and passion for music and children was so evident. She will be missed and always remembered. Please accept the sincerest condolences from our family.
Colette Hudzik
October 13, 2008
Our deepest sympathy. My son (who is now 3 1/2) had Jessica as his Music Together teacher and really enjoyed her spirit. She was a wonderful teacher.
Jessica McHugh
October 13, 2008
Our world has gotten dimmer with the loss of such a shining light!Jessica was an inspiration to many, both young and old. She made our community brighter with her talent, her kindness and her communication through the art of beauty and sound!
Angela Goldman
October 12, 2008
Our deepest condolences to Jessica's family and friends. I am so saddened by her passing. Jessica, Eva and Not Just Art were such a huge part of our lives from 1993 until a few years ago when the youngest outgrew the wonderful programs. From attending nursery school to many art and music classes and of course shopping, Not Just Art and the wonderful people there were and are dear friends. I often think of stopping by but the business of daily life takes over. I really wish I had. I am happy that I did run into Jessica every now and then and was always warmed by her light. She was an inspiration in her tireless development of new ideas and promotion of freedom of creativity in children. If I had to pick the number one achievement in all the classes my children took, it is the fact that they were never given over direction. They were free to express themselves in every way. From the squeezing of the glue itself to the final work of art, it was theirs and theirs alone. You will be missed Jessica, and never, ever forgotten!
Roya Frey
October 12, 2008
Jessica has brought so much joy and so many years of happy memories to our family. Christine, Andrea, Louis, and Joanna have all enjoyed many wonderful classes and birthday parties with Jessica, Eva, Sharon, and Mara, as well as other great teachers, starting way back at the location down the stairs in Cold Spring Harbor. Jessica created a unique and wonderful place in, "Not Just Art", and the entire community will miss her dearly. We send our deepest condolences to Jessica's family. We will always remember how Jessica made everyone feel like a special member of the "Not Just Art" family. Our children have really grown up through, "Not Just Art", and we are very happy to have had Jessica's influence in their lives.
Cathy Herman
October 11, 2008
We will miss Jessica and are forever grateful for the opportunities to learn and grow that she gave our family. My children happily responded to her values of creativity, self-expression, and original thinking. They always looked forward to going to her classes and went home happy. Good luck, Eva and staff- continuing the tradition.
Sharon Saudino
October 11, 2008
Not Just Art has always been a very special place for my family. Each of our three children have enjoyed countless hours of their music and art classes over the past several years. We shall be forever grateful to Jessica for the beautiful memories and the greater appreciation of music and art she helped bring to us all. Jessica's untimely passing is tragic but she has left us all with a great gift and her passionate vision lives on in our little ones' eyes and ears.
Dawn O'Rourke
October 10, 2008
I started bringing my son Matthew, when he was 8 months old to music classes. From then on we were regulars and preferred the oyster bay location most of all. It was full of love and you could feel it as soon as you walked in the door. Matthew took his first step at his first birthday party at "NJA.
I will always remember that day .
Jessica gave a wonderful gift to all of our children and for that I am so thankful. My deepest sympathies.
lisa healey
October 10, 2008
I am very sad to hear about Jessica passing. My son attended Music Together classes for 10 trimesters in a row and seven of them were at Not Just Art. My son has taken the wonderful art classes there and attends the drop in art classes too. We love it so much at Not Just Art that we had his third birthday party there. Jessica spent so much time with me creating the perfect birthday party. We worked on the song list, song by song until it was just right. She really understood my son with Special Needs and was very sensitive. I wish her family well and please know that she will be remembered.
Debby Weinstein
October 10, 2008
The shop and programs were a wonderful addition to our community. Her creativity and devotion to this enterprise will be sorely missed. Thank you Jessica for providing me another place to relate to and enjoy my children. We hope your legacy lives on to touch others far into the future.
Erica, Will and Nicole Van Deusen
October 10, 2008
Although I never got the opportunity to meet Jessica she had a very positive impact on my families life. We started bringing my son to Music Together when he was only 4 months old. Grant is 17.5 months now and is very musical and verbal. I largely credit the program and staff with this aspect of his development. Unfortunately, my gratitude comes posthumously. We thank you Jessica for your wonderful influence on our son.
Daryl Katz
October 10, 2008
I worked with Jessica many years ago. I was the teacher, and she was the art therapist. We did not always see eye to eye. I was concerned with goals and the children getting it "right", and Jessica was concerned with their imagination and creative expression.
Fast forward 10 or 12 years and I am the mother of a bright curious 2 1/2 year old boy. My search for a nursery school program was frustrating. Teachers expected the children to sit like wooden soldiers and perform like robots; and nobody cared what my son was trying to express. Now it all made sense.
I pulled my son out of the nursery school he was in and brought him over to Jessica's. On his first day, during story time, Miss Rose mentioned a hat. My son walked over to the dress up bin and put on a hat. Miss Rose thought it was such a good idea that she invited the whole class to do the same. He was so happy there, his words and his work was proof of that. Jessica had created an environment for children to be heard; where they could learn while expressing their creativity and imagination.
My son stayed for 2 years, and when it was time to leave for school, we returned for many art classes, and mini camps.
I am glad that I took many opportunities to tell Jessica how much she enriched my son's life; and how she changed my expectations for his future education.
One day an observing mom leaned over and pointed to my son and asked if he was mine. When I replied yes, and she said "don't ever let anyone put that boy's light out." So many child educators don't get it; but Jessica knew better, and thanks to her, so many of us do as well.
She will be deeply missed.
Angelina Quartiano
October 10, 2008
I met Jessica at her tiny shop in CSH when my toddler, Jackie was enrolled in Jessica's art class. We enjoyed this first class, and Jessicals bright and supportive demeanor so much that we continued taking art classes until all of our children outgrew the progams. What a beautiful addition to the community she was-she will certainly be missed.
Alison L
October 10, 2008
Jessica's work in Not Just Art has impacted my life even today as my now 13 year old works on her art projects for school and I sit by as her "assistant" never changing a thing! I learned 10 years ago when Ally was 3 that every work of art is the creation of the artist, not the parent who wants everything to be perfect. I dare not make any changes in their work. All 3 of my children loved being at Not Just Art be it a Music Together class, Art Together or their first separation class in both Cold Spring Harbor and Oyster Bay. I am so glad that her legacy will be carried on by Eva so children can continue to benefit from her vision the way my family has. You will never be forgotten Jessica.
Carolyn Ryan
October 10, 2008
I met Jessica when I brought my then 2 year old to her first art class. Jessica went out of her way with my daughter to make her feel welcome and special. It was the beginning of a wonderful experience at Not Just Art for our family, one that would continue until we relocated to Pennsylvania. My daughter is now 9 years old and my son is 4 1/2 and they both have a passion for art, in any form. I credit this passion to the wonderful, contagious approach Jessica shared with our family. You will be missed Jessica...but your passion lives on in our children and many others.
Linda Hohn
October 10, 2008
I 'm so sorry to hear of Jessica's passing. I was lucky enoungh to have known her. I began working for Jessica in the late 90's in the Cold Spring Harbor location. She always had a smile on her face and glowed with enthusiam that was truly contagious. Now, I am so grateful to be able to take my two young children to Not Just Art and watch them grow with creativity. It is a wonderful establishment that she has created for so many to enjoy. She will be greatly missed.
Kristen Kisner
October 10, 2008
We met Jessica in 1992, @ the beginning of her business. I found a small ad in a parenting newspaper and called because I wanted a different kind of class for my daughter. I was not disappointed. She provided a wonderful nurturing atmosphere for my daughter and the other children. That was it, we were hooked. Over the years, both my kids enjoyed classes, camp and birthday parties @ her beautiful spaces. Jessica was a special presence in my kids' lives as they grew. Even if time went by and we had not seen her, it was as if it was only yesterday. I am so happy that we attended her anniversary celebration last December. She looked radiant and so proud of all that surrounded her. I ran into her @ Fairway a few months ago and as always, got the warmest hug. She emailed me a photo that we took that day. I will never forget her. She was a part of our lives during the growing up, happy, joyful years. Thanks, Jess.
Debbie Goldman
October 6, 2008
Wow I didn't know Jessica personally but her founding of NJA gave my kids such a life changing experience w the introduction of music and the arts at such an early age. I swear to this day that Matthew is as bright as he is from being introduced to this wonderful program she provided. She'll be missed.
Bethany Katz
October 6, 2008
Even thought I never met Jessica, she was a big part of my childrens lives. My daughter LOVED going to her music together class every Monday. It was her favorite activity of all. She still sings the songs she learned from the classes to her dolls. The cd's are played in our car on a daily basis. It makes a drive in the car so much fun. As a result of listening to the songs in our car my older daughter has become a big fan of the songs also. I now have my baby enrolled in a music together class and I now he will love it every bit as much as his sister did. It is a wonderful program that Jessica created. The children truly enjoy every minute they are in class. I am so glad my children get to experience such a terrific program.
My condolences go out to her family and anyone close to her.
Fran Nattis
October 6, 2008
Thank you Jessica for bringing culture and creativity to our most important resource.....our children.
Danielle McRoy
October 6, 2008
Melanie Ron
October 5, 2008
I never knew Jessica personally but she touched my family more than she will ever know. Through Not Just Art, my daughter first experienced her love for music. I watched her fascination grow, and her love and appreciation for music has continued to flourish thanks to taking Music Together classes. So, on behalf on my family, thank you Jessica for the "light" you brought into our lives.
Lori G.
October 5, 2008
The world has lost an extraordinary woman...I thank her for making "Not Just Art" and "Music Together" available to the Long Island community. These programs have helped so many children be exposed to the arts at an early age. I know that my son, Jeremy, has certainly benefited from these programs.

May her family find peace in knowing the joy and wonder that she brought to so many of us.

Kirstin Forman
Kirstin Forman
October 5, 2008
One time Jessica came to see my little garden as she was in the process of designing a garden of her own. While she patiently listened to my advice with a smile, her garden far surpassed any garden I could have ever imagined. She nurtured the "seeds" that she planted in all of us. Jessica will be missed and will continue to influence so many. May we always strive to continue her influence in our world.
Jackie Mongno
October 4, 2008
We love the music program at Not Just Art. Thank you Jessica for creating such an incredible place for children. My 2 year old son took classes at Not Just Art for a year and loved every session. The class provided him with an incredible foundation and appreciation for music. He continues to find such joy in singing and dancing!
Diane Pudell
October 4, 2008
Jessica was my daughter Charlotte's first music together teacher. She was such a joy and always let the children explore and respond to the music in whatever way they could. I am an author and when Jessica heard that I was speaking at a local book store, she made sure that she was right there in the audience supporting me. I say this with tears in my eyes because she always went the extra mile to champion her students and their parents. I will miss her and will remember the joy she brought to my daughter Charlotte.
alyson richman
October 4, 2008
We love Not Just Art and thank Jessica for creating such an amazing program for kids. My 2 year old daughter can keep a beat and sing songs better than I ever could, and I attribute it all to her early music exposure through Not Just Art. Jessica will truly be missed!!
Beth T.
October 4, 2008
Jessica Pollack was a person who was deeply involved in humanity. She loved on many levels of understanding and was adorned with many titles; she was known as wife, daughter, sister, dear friend and of course, teacher and director.

It is under that last title that knew her best; it was under that last title that hundreds of fortunate children knew her best; it was under that last title that scores of grateful parents and community members knew her best; it will be under that last title that I will miss her the most, that her students and all those she served so well will feel the greatness of the loss.

Her talents and her insights helped to shape my outlook on teaching and experiencing in early childhood music; her care and concern and willingness to put out tremendous energy for each child in her class helped to shape a countless number of lives that will be the better for knowing her, for having fallen under her gentle, dynamic, and loving teaching.
She was a wonderful person, and I thank her for getting me more involved in Music Together than I had initially planned on being. I will remember her fondly, always.
Lori Handler
October 4, 2008
Oh dear. Jessica was such an inspiration to our family and enrichment to Oyster Bay. She will be truly missed.

Ben, Laurel, Harriet and Jerry Dorfman
Harriet Dorfman
October 4, 2008
I took Music Together with my son through Not Just Art when we first moved out to long island, it was such a wonderful class where we met fabulous people and long lasting friends. I couldn't wait for my 2nd child to be able to take the class and signed her up immediately. Not Just Art has been wonderful to work with and provides immense learning opportunities for young children. I even had the opportunity to speak with Jessica last year while i was looking for raffle prizes for my sons preschool, she was incredibly accomodating and would do anything for childrens education, especially in the arts. She will be missed.
Jill DeMarco
October 4, 2008
My daughters took classes at Not Just Art in the earlier days when Jessica was still in Cold Spring Harbor, and I will always have the fondest memories of those times. No matter what the activity- music together, art, separation class, science, or a birthday party, there was always such a warm and nuturing atmosphere, not to mention the coolest projects and most interesting toys and books and cds for sale. Jessica is a person that has made such a difference in so many lives, including my own. You will be greatly missed, Jessica, and I wish you peace always. My deepest condolences to the family.
Amanda Register
October 4, 2008
Since 1994 at Jessica's old studio space in Cold Spring Harbor, we have been apart of the Not Just for Art family, but really it was Jessica's family we were apart of. My son, and two daughters were apart of classes offered, and my husband even joined in the fun when Jessica tried out the Music Together concept and had my husband teach the first class. I am grateful for having known such a beautiful person. Her memory will live on for generations to come. I will always be thankful to the one who taught me that a child's crayon expressions are artwork as well. She was a mentor to my husband and I. Always in our hearts.... Carolina and Stanley Funk, Hicksville, NY
Carolina Funk
October 4, 2008
Music Together has made my older child so happy. My youngest is first involved in it now, and as young as she is, seems to thoroughly enjoy it. We owe every ounce of this musical enjoyment to Jessica- it is a sad loss for everyone within this community. I'm so sorry for this loss.
Pam B
October 4, 2008
You will always live in our hearts and prayers.
Rachel Ziman
October 4, 2008
The music together program has been such a big part of both of my children's lives. At some point everyday my 2 year old happily sings the "hello Everybody" song to anyone that will listen. It is an hour of special time I feel blessed to spend with my children. I will have wonderful memories of the classes we have attended. The Pascarella family sends our deepest sympathy to Jessica's family. Although we never met her personally - she has touched our lives dramatically by experiences we have had in her programs. Her passion, spirit and love will live on, in our children and others for years to come.
Erin Pascarella
October 4, 2008
October 4, 2008
October 4, 2008
We will miss Jessica. She was an inspiring first music together teacher for our son Dylan. Her spirit will go on in the music and art of all of our children. What a beautiful woman. Our sincerest condolences. May you find peace and contentment somehow during such a difficult time.
Lauren, Mark, Dylan (& baby Jessica) Stone
October 4, 2008
My children attended Miss Jessica's art class about 14 years ago, and it was one of their fondest childhood memories. I feel Jessica embodied the saying "find what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." My condolences to family and friends.
Denyse Katz
October 4, 2008
We were some of Jessica's first students back in 1992, and she became an extemely special friend, much more than a teacher. As the kids grew, we went back to Jessica and Not Just Art for help with school projects and consultations on just the right birthday or holiday gift. She knew each kid individually, and took a sincere interest in them as the years went by. I looked forward to running into her once we outgrew classes. There was always something to talk about. She was passionate about so many subjects. She had such a love for every child she came into contact with, accepting them all for who they were and teaching them to love themselves. We will miss her.
Laura Lisabeth
October 4, 2008
I met Jessica through Bob, her husband, over 7 years ago. Jessica changed my life and made me the teacher that I am today. Her love for children and nurture for their creativity inspired so many, like me.
Jess was my mentor and my friend, the kind of friend that is your family.
Now, she's my angel as well.

Bob and Mimi, my thoughts are with you both.
Danielle Sexton
October 4, 2008
I remember when I became part of the Not Just Art family 3 years ago. I was looking for a way to increase the impact I made on children. After a friends recommendation, Jessica contacted me. We hit it off immediately and I began apprenticing with her. Because of Jessica I feel that I am successfully affecting the lives of of the children I work with. I will continue to follow her example. Jessica was a wonderful mentor and a grand lady. I will miss her.
Sheri Zuckerbrot
October 4, 2008
Our sincerest condolences to Bob and Mimi, and to all those that knew Jessica. I consider myself blessed to have worked under Jessica at Not Just Art. She was a wonderful friend and mentor. She will be forever missed, but her spirit will continue to inspire.
Sharon, Bill, and Caroline Foster
October 4, 2008
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