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Banners on Rockaway Ave. feature local artist’s work

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In his free time, Mike Stanko likes to paint Valley Stream scenes. So when Rochester-based CGI Communications reached out to Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce members and village employees about refreshing the banners on Rockaway Avenue, they agreed that any new banner should feature Stanko’s work.

“We’re very happy that they were willing to feature a local artist,” Dominick Minerva, the Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce president, said of the printing company.

Stanko’s work includes paintings of local businesses and landmarks, such as Sip This, Ancona Pizzeria and landscapes from Arthur J. Hendrickson Park. Stanko said that after Mayor Ed Fare and his assistant, Barbara DeGrace, approached him about the opportunity nearly a month ago, he sent CGI Communications several of his paintings and they chose one of the “iconic benches” at the park.

“To me and to a lot of Valley Streamers, they’re so Valley Stream,” Stanko said. “I loved sitting on them as a kid.”

Now, every Valley Streamer can enjoy those benches as they drive down Rockaway Avenue. Minerva and village officials hung them along the road on May 23.

They are more colorful than the old banners, Stanko said, and feature the names of local businesses.

“I love the fact that the banners don’t have ‘stock’ artwork,” Fare said, “but are original Valley Stream scenes by our resident artist Mike Stanko.”

Stanko said he was just “proud and honored” that he was asked to design the banners, and was happy with the finished product.

“For me it’s great,” he said, adding that he hopes “other people like them too.”