Bay Shore Art Crawl: A Gathering of Long Island Artists

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PHOTOS: Suffolk County Legislator Steven Flotteron, mixed media artist Bri Sander, Musician Barry Bucaria, Artist Bryan Holland, ceramic artist Ashlee McGlone, Drew OConnor with dog Sammy, Musician A.N.A.

By Skylar Epstein

More than 80 artists and musicians gathered on Sunday, May 21, in downtown Bay Shore to display their crafts, make sales, and connect with the community at the Art Crawl, the first held in Bay Shore since the pandemic.

Artists displayed their numerous paintings, prints, photos, carvings, painted shells, custom goods, and other creative items for sale on folding tables to be viewed by attendees. Musicians and spoken word poets of numerous styles performed on the street for small crowds throughout downtown. Live art classes and children’s activities were also held. Participating Bay Shore small businesses and restaurants offered discounts to Art Crawl attendees wearing free event wrist bands distributed by organizers.

The event was coordinated by Colored Colors, a group that plans art events on Long Island and in New York City; South Shore Arts, a coalition of area businesses, property owners, and community leaders; the Islip Arts Council; as well as Suffolk County Legislator Steven Flotteron.  A member of South Shore Arts, Flotteron said that over 1,000 people had pre-registered to attend the Art Crawl, and called it a “huge success.”

He also emphasized the importance of the event for local small businesses and local artists. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” Flotteron said. “A majority of the artists are local and embrace the South Shore flavor. Events like this bring the community together, helping people rediscover Bay Shore.”

Many artists working at the Art Crawl also spoke well of the event. Bri Sander, a mixed media visual fine artist selling nautical wood block prints, praised the crawl. “It feels like the community is out to shop,” said Sander. “Everyone is out of the house and ready to support today.”

Sergio Russell, an artist who specializes in pointillism, said that he would return next year and encouraged others to do the same.

Sander and Russell both echoed similar points about the event being an excellent networking opportunity for artists to get out of the studio and meet their colleagues and members of the community. They both said that they had made sales at the event.

Event attendees also spoke positively about the Art Crawl.  “The whole vibe is cool,” said Abigail Maher, who praised the idea of having artists out in the street sharing their work. Her only piece of constructive criticism was that the event was not even bigger, saying of the Art Crawl that: “It seems like it’s going well (but) I wish it was more, it would be cool if the whole street was lined with people.” She further added that the Art Crawl was “important because we need to showcase local artists and promote creativity.”

Long Islanders who missed this Art Crawl will have another chance to explore the creative works of local artists and musicians in downtown Bay Shore. Flotteron confirmed that another Art Crawl will be held in Bay Shore this fall, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 1.