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Courtesy of Gregg Sullivan
John Oneill photographs artists Willy Airaldi and Maria Sousa as they have some fun during their clean up and painting of a vacant store front for a pop up shop in Bayside last weekend.
By Valerie Victor and Tom Momberg

Some Baysiders discovered a new cultural addition to the neighborhood during its holiday celebration last weekend, when a group of artists got together wih a community advocate to put in a temporary art gallery in a vacant business front, known as a pop-up shop.

The shop featured photographs from 10 different Queens artists for a free gallery exhibition Friday and Saturday evenings.

Bayside Photo Shops was established in the empty storefront next to Lucielle Roberts in order to “bring art to Bayside,” artist Willy Airaldi, the pop-up’s production manager, said. “Nobody likes to see old spaces, so we turned an old space into a beautiful art gallery that’s worth checking out.”

And the exhibit was a hit, co-production manager and community volunteer Gregg Sullivan said.

“It brought out a different calliber of Baysider — I think we’ve uncovered a sleeping giant,” Sullivan said. “Not only is this good for economic development in bringing people to Bell (Boulevard) … it goes to show there are people who are artsy and really want these kinds of things in Bayside.”

Organizers offered refreshments at the gallery, and a handful of musicians put some soft sounds to the art.

Paul Dibenidetto was the senior advisor for the shop, and Martha’s Bakery, Cromwell Associates and Golden Liquors sponsored refreshments.

Many of the photographers got some exposure and sold some of their works. Organizers said many other photographers were attracted to the shop who said they wanted to contribute if Bayside Photo Shops were to return.

“Hopefully we inspire other artists to do the same thing,” Airaldi said.

Sullivan said he and his partners hope to bring back Bayside Photo Shops in January, possibly with several locations at once, and continue them on a regular basis.

Alraldi said he is looking to include other forms of art next time, such as painting and sculpture.

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