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Artists make presence known on Bell

A growing community of local artists brightened the face of Bell Boulevard recently with the first-ever Bayside Village Art Fair.

The combined effort of the Bayside Business Association, Business Improvement District and Village Artists’ Organization held the event Oct. 17 at the Long Island Rail Road station plaza at 41st Road, and by all accounts the event was a well-received success.

“We got the idea a year ago and worked on it for four months — maybe longer,” said BID Executive Director Greg Sullivan, with a nod to BBA Vice President Dominic Bruccoleri. “We’re working closely together on several ideas,” Bruccoleri said.

The driving force behind the show was artist Lou Cattaruzza, founder of the Artists’ Organization. “We certify local artists and craftspersons as members to ensure a quality show,” he said, noting that all the exhibitors were from Bayside and nearby neighborhoods.

“We’re striving to make this an annual event that will be welcomed by the neighborhood — we even selected the live music to be a pleasing addition to the atmosphere. Even the kids are loving it,” he said, glancing at an expectant line of tykes waiting to get their faces painted by a local artist.

“Working with the BID and BBA was a pleasure. Even the weather cooperated,” Cattaruzza observed, noting that future events would be planned for earlier in the year. He also said that the Village Artists’ Organization was working with other local neighborhood groups with an eye to bringing quality local art to other nearby communities.

BID Chairman Jim Riso said that this success was a forerunner of more community events to come. “We’re thinking of doing two or three a year, including a street fair,” he said, noting that they would be nothing like the event held in years past, which became notorious for public intoxication and rowdy behavior.

“The last thing we want is to hamper public transit, detract from Bayside’s image, or take away from local merchants. We’re thinking along the lines of a sidewalk fair by our local merchants and artists that’s completely family-friendly.”

“The other thing is that unlike those old affairs,” he said, “the BID has the resources to guarantee a thorough cleanup after this and any future activities.”

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