Community Outreach in the Expressions Gallery

Sahil Sangwan, Staff Writer

The Expressions Gallery of the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook recently held an exhibition featuring the artwork of Three Village student artists.  The pieces, which were produced by students ranging from kindergarten through grade 9, were displayed in the hotel’s lobby. This art exhibit brought talented works to the public that may have otherwise gone unrecognized by the large and appreciative audience in the Three Village area. It was truly a celebration of local art that sought to involve as much of the community as possible. Mike Sacco, an art teacher from Paul J. Gelinas JHS, appreciates the fair because of the attention it draws.

“It’s an opportunity for student artists to be hung in the same setting as professional artists,” he said, referencing the fact that professional artists from the LI-NYC area are also exhibited in the Expressions Gallery.

The relatively new event began only three years ago as a collaborative effort between the hotel and Three Village administration; the elementary art coordinator and Minnesauke school’s vice principal, Linda Messina, as well as the hotel’s director of sales, Lenore Paprocky, worked together on this endeavor. It has accomplished a great deal since its inception. Aside from being a demonstration of Three Village students’ creativity, it is a fundraiser- and an incredibly successful one at that. Over three years, more than $300,000 have been raised through matched donations for the Stony Brook University Children’s Hospital.

“Consider it a community outreach,” Paprocky said.

The Gallery is actually only one of several programs organized by the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook, all of which are free for the community. There is the annual Easter egg hunt, which has 500 to 1,000 attendees; there is also the “Bark Fest,” in which pet owners can dress up their animals in halloween costumes for a competition (complete with judges and prizes)- this year, it’ll be on October 30. Due to the effort it puts into organizing outreach programs, Paprocky likes to refer to the hotel as a “home base for community events-” a very apt description.  

There are many polarizing forces in our world today that encourage division and a vanishing sense of community. However, in Three Village, community spirit is more alive than ever. The businesses and institutions of our area have been particularly well at hosting well-run events designed to give back to the community they serve. The Holiday Inn Express at Stony Brook is no exception, promoting a sense of community through its Expressions Gallery (and many other activities). More student works, produced by another group of skillful young artists, will return next year- and the Three Village community will have a chance to appreciate local talent yet again.