Queens-themed gallery at Resorts World reflects community
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Aug 16, 2016 | 8373 views | 0 0 comments | 330 330 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by Dominick Totino
Photo by Dominick Totino
slideshow
Photo by Dominick Totino
Photo by Dominick Totino
slideshow
Dominick Totino
Dominick Totino
slideshow
Michelle Stoddart, director of Public Relations and Community Development at Resorts World Casino, noticed two large blank walls while walking on the casino floor. Growing up with an artist for a mother, Stoddart saw the walls’ potential for featuring artwork and eventually turned it into a beautiful gallery space with exhibits ranging in topics from Louis Armstrong to Queens-based images. Photographer Domonick Totino, who developed a working relationship with Stoddart through his 17-year career at the Queens Borough President’s office, now has his own spotlight with the “Summer in Queens: A Photographic Exploration” exhibit at Resort World’s Red Wall Gallery.

After working on similar Queens-based exhibitions with Stoddart, the two agreed on the more general theme of summer in Queens, which visitors can see until Labor Day. Besides working with the Queens Borough President office, Totino is a freelance photographer and has photographed events for Queens College, Queensborough Performing Arts Center, Queens library, NY International Auto Show and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade among many others.

"He has a special array of images from Queens and we were able to draw on his talent for this piece,” Stoddart said.

Totino's work has allowed him to travel all around the borough and the city. Whenever he’s on a shoot, he always looks for something different and artistic separate from what he’s shooting. Even when he isn’t working, he’s constantly out exploring different neighborhoods with his camera. In result, Totino has a catalogue of images that fit the summer in Queens theme.

This particular exhibit features mostly Queens-based images along with a few taken in Long Island.

The recent festival celebration of Louis Armstong’s Wonderful World in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of the events displayed within the gallery.

“There was a lot of variety in musicians, and with the different ethnic groups, and the festival in itself really shows off the diversity that Queens has to offer food-wise, culture-wise and music-wise,” Totino said. "[The photos] show what summer is like in Queens because it covers a lot of these different areas.”

One of his favorite pieces throughout the gallery is of an image of children playing in front of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows. The close-up shot of the kids playing in the water shows what Queens is about, he said.

“Part of the Unisphere is showing, which is part of the world, and you’ve got a couple different ethnic groups of kids out there playing in the water,” Totino said. “Every time you go to Flushing Meadows, that’s what you’re going to see. And for me, that was an eye catcher."

The response for the gallery has been nothing short of great.

“You can see our guests walking by and appreciating the work that’s there and you can see people who are coming in specifically to see the different exhibits each month,” Stoddart said. “[The gallery] has also encouraged others to reach out to us about showing some of their work.”

Currently, there are two senior centers who have shown interest in having the artwork from their art classes shown. Stoddart is currently working on exhibiting one later in the year and the other sometime early next year.

"With the two levels, we are able to do one huge exhibit for one artist or feature many artists at once. We hope to continue to showcase art from the community and New York going forward,” Stoddart said. “We really want this to be a space that is used by the community and we welcome people to submit their work to our committee. We want to present the best for the artist and the community."

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