Reine Emeish, of Valley Stream, is one of three Capital...

Reine Emeish, of Valley Stream, is one of three Capital One Bank business plan contest winners announced Thursday at Hofstra University. Credit: Steven Sunshine

A Jordanian-born artist's dream of creating a multicultural arts center and gallery on Long Island was among the winners of the first Capital One Bank Business Plan Competition. Winners were announced at a luncheon at Hofstra University Thursday.

Reine Emeish of Valley Stream won $600 in the competition.

She and two other winners -- Diana Brobmann, who won $1,100 to launch a marketing business, and Kerstein Carter-Snowden of Bay Shore, who received $800 to start a consulting business for parents and students working toward college readiness -- are students in an adult workshop program conducted at Hofstra and partly funded by the Empire State Development Corp. Hofstra is one of two colleges on Long Island -- the other is Suffolk County Community -- to operate what are called Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers. There are 24 across the state, including the two on the Island. ESD provides $73,500 for each center.

"There's a lot of multicultural groups on Long Island but not much communication between them," Emeish said of her idea to open an arts center. "We all have experiences that are worth sharing."

Emeish put together a business plan to establish such a center, probably in a building in central Nassau County. She said she believes the building will cost about $100,000 a year to rent. She is looking for support for her project from private groups and foundations, she said.

Judith Tyne, director of the program at Hofstra, said 1,130 students have gone through the program since it began in 1991. The program consists of two sessions a year, each offering 60 hours of workshops.

"The goal of the program is to foster business development in Long Island communities," Tyne said.

Emeish is a full-time studio artist. "The idea for a multicultural center is something I always dreamed of," she said.

Theresa Statz-Smith, executive director of the Woodbury-based Long Island Arts Alliance, an umbrella group for arts organizations and councils, said such groups already work toward multicultural sharing through exhibits and events. But, she said, she hopes to talk to Emeish about her idea. "We wouldn't want to dissuade anyone who has the energy or passion from pursuing" that goal, Statz-Smith said.

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