NYC artists use hurricane destruction as their muse

A man walks next to standing water and piles of sand swept onto a road from Superstorm Sandy at Rockaway Beach on November 3, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

(CBS News) Hurricane Sandy caused devastation up and down the east coast, but it also sparked a coordinated response from the creative community.

Artist Melissa Rubin's home, on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York was flooded after the storm. She lost family mementos, much of her artwork and power for more than four weeks. Her neighbors had it worse. Their homes were left ripped apart on the beach.

"The idea of doing art was sort of like really the farthest thing from my mind initially just because it was like let's get our lives back together," said Rubin.

With funding from New York Foundation for the Arts, Melissa and 22 other artists are displaying their paintings, sculptures and pictures created in the months since Hurricane Sandy. The New York City Exhibition features artists who had their homes, studios or artwork damaged by the storm.

Hurricane Sandy through the lens of humor and art

The Foundation's Executive Director - Michael Royce says that strength to stand tall comes from a connection to the community.

"Out of the destruction came beauty and resilience. Artists know how to make something out of nothing and they inspire us to do the same," said Royce. "And that is what this exhibition is about."

Scott Van Campen lives on Staten Island, just a few blocks from where a massive tanker washed ashore. He used rusted sheet metal from his flooded office and the tanker to construct the frame. Van Campen calls this piece of art "a metaphor for Sandy itself."

"It's about the we. It's about living with each other. It's about helping each other. It's about collaborating with one another and that's what artists always do," said Royce "They bring the community together through their works. They inspire."