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A new ‘air of excitement’

Malverne Chamber’s annual Art Walk to return on June 12

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Exhibiting photographs, sculptures, paintings, pencil drawings and more, the Malverne Chamber of Commerce’s annual Art Walk is set to return on June 12. More than 100 works of art created by Long Island artists, professionals as well as hobbyists, will be on display at businesses throughout the village.

The exhibition, which was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will run through June 25 during regular business hours, and much of the art will be offered for sale. The goal of the event, as Chamber Vice President Maria Casini described it, is to motivate people to shop, eat and use the village’s services as they roam the streets, taking in the artwork. Casini said that past participants have been surprised to discover businesses they never set foot in until the Art Walk.

“Several of our members have reported the Art Walk’s past opening days as one of their best business days of the year,” she said.

Last year, as an alternative to the Art Walk, the chamber created a photography project in which local photographers took pictures of businesses in the community. The photos were shared via social media and print advertising to help promote the chamber’s goal of shopping locally. Casini said she hoped the Art Walk’s return would unify residents and business owners after a difficult year.

“There’s an additional air of excitement this year, since shops and services are opening up more and more,” she said. “Malvernites are eager to continue supporting the businesses that have survived a challenging year. It’s about getting feet on the street, bringing people to Malverne and into shops, services and restaurants here.”

Among the artists are Malvernite Keith Rossein, a retired dentist and former village trustee who enjoys photography in his spare time. The 77-year-old said he has taken pictures for nearly 50 years, and many are displayed in his home office. One of his featured photos, “The Fiery Sky,” was shot from a friend’s back porch in Vermont.

“It’s a very, very colorful sky,” Rossein said. “I’m kind of jealous of my friend, because he gets to see that beautiful sky every night.”

Rossein, who also takes part in other art exhibits throughout the year, said it has been refreshing to be outdoors and among people again, and added that he said he looked forward to seeing people enjoy artwork in the village.

“That’s a really good feeling to be around others after being indoors for a year,” he said. “I think this year’s Art Walk will be nice for the village residents to get out, check out the businesses and hopefully meet new people in the process. Since I got vaccinated earlier this year, I’ve been hugging people that I haven’t seen in more than a year and telling them, ‘You’re getting a year’s worth of hugs right now.’”

Rich Courage Capello, a painting contractor who is a new resident of the village, said he thought the Art Walk would be a great way to meet people. “With everything that’s happened over the past year, it’s just nice to be doing anything with other people,” he said. “I don’t have high expectations and I don’t know what to expect, but I think it will be a nice event to participate in.”

Courage Capello, 45, said he has spent most of his life doing abstract geometric artwork that is based on realism, street art graffiti and fine art. His current work is based on how he paints as a contractor.

“The way I’ve been painting for the last couple of years has changed,” he said. “If you saw it, it wouldn’t look super artistic. It would look like a guy doing blue-collar work. Everything has become more processed in a sort of assembly-line type of fashion.”

Chamber President Kathi Monroe said she was excited to see both new and old faces in the village at the Art Walk. “We’ve had tremendous interest from the residents and the artists, so we’re expecting a very great turnout,” she said. “For our businesses, foot traffic is more critical now than ever before.”