With many businesses still coping with the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Malverne Chamber of Commerce has sought to find creative ways to support merchants in the village. The chamber hopes to aid businesses with a photography project that it launched last month.
“All of the photographers are volunteering their time to support the community and the businesses that were interested,” said Maria Casini, the chamber’s vice president.
The chamber paired local photographers with businesses in the community to take photos of each business, which will be shared via social media and print advertising to help promote the chamber’s goal of shopping locally. In addition, Casini said she hoped the project could also help local photographers showcase their work.
“We want to be able to remind people of the great shops and services that we have in town,” she said. “This particular project is allowing us to marry art and merchants, and it’s promoting the businesses at no cost to them as a value for chamber members.”
Casini added that the project also serves as an alternative to the chamber’s annual Art Walk, which usually takes place in June, but was canceled this year. The Art Walk features the work of artists from across Long Island, ranging from photos to sculptures, paintings and pencil drawings. “It’s turned into a win-win for all,” she said of the photographic undertaking.
The chamber, Casini explained, got the idea from Malvernite Kevin McPartland, an amateur photographer who had hoped to take part in the Art Walk. An avid fan of art and photography, McPartland moved from New York City to Malverne in 2017, and took part in the Art Walk in 2018 and 2019.
“I was kind of personally upset about the event being canceled this year due to Covid-19,” said McPartland, a health care administrator at Northwell Health in Garden City. “I started to think about ways that the local art community can support local entrepreneurs and help them to kind of get back on their feet.”
McPartland also thought the project would be a good way to help raise awareness of the new online services that businesses are providing. In addition to nurturing relationships between business owners and residents, he said, he hoped the project could become an annual event for the village in support of local businesses.
“For places like Uva Rossa, the Village Juice Garden and Kookaburra — all of these new businesses that have opened up in the past few years — I want to see them thrive,” McPartland said. “Whatever role we can play in helping these existing businesses thrive, I hope this continues to put Malverne on the map.”
Chamber President Kathi Monroe said that the photography project has also helped to boost morale in the village. With many businesses still struggling to stay afloat, Monroe said, she hoped the project could put a new focus on businesses that people may not have seen before.
“We’re far from coming out of the woods because of the restrictions that still exist,” she said. “Many merchants are still in a rough place at this time, and they might end up not making it. Art is always uplifting, and we’re looking to do anything that we can do to keep everyone financially and emotionally stable.”
The chamber hopes to gather all of the photos in the coming weeks.