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Bursting with Art

By Kerri Provost

November 14, 2011

A watercolor artist tells me it’s a shame Hartford is not recognized for having such an abundance of artists. Across town, a photographer reminisces about the thriving artists’ community in the Colt Building; years ago, the artists were pushed out as the building went through a “revitalization” resulting in more expensive and fewer units. Even with apparent setbacks like loss of studio space, this past weekend should have removed any doubt that Hartford is an arts city.

Among Friday evening’s fare: the grand opening of The Dirt Salon. This space at 50 Bartholomew Avenue houses several studios and a stage. The first floor offered standard art opening food; the second floor featured sangria and paella. Classes will be offered at this space.

Anne Cubberly, Dave Borawski, Nina Salazar, and Carlos Hernandez Chavez are some of the artists with work on display at Dirt Salon.

On Saturday and Sunday, over 100 local artists presented their works at Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, Real Art Ways, Hartford Square West, The Studio at Billings Forge, 56 Arbor Street, 30 Arbor Street, ArtSpace, and Maurice D. Robertson Photography. Those seeking a less chaotic, less crowded art viewing experience took themselves away from the overstimulation of ArtSpace and into quieter studio spaces.

At 56 Arbor, Vinfen-CT opened its doors to allow a glimpse at the organization that provides individualized classes for “youth and adults with psychiatric, development and behavioral disorders.” The large, bright space showcased textiles — among other arts and crafts — created by artists.

The Arbor Street Potters could make any Tim Burton fan’s day. Besides pins, earrings, and pendants, there were large, happy skull masks. They have the right idea by providing artwork of various sizes so that people with a modest income can support local artists without going broke.

One floor up from the Arbor Street Potters is The Parisky Studio: Pastel and acrylics by Sandy Parisky are displayed opposite photographs taken by Flora Parisky. Both Sandy and Flora find inspiration from their travels to places like Canyon de Chelly and Yellowstone. On November 16th there will be a wine and cheese reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Town & County Club (22 Woodland) for A Retrospective: Paintings by Sandy Parisky. Currently, Flora’s photography is also on display at the West Hartford Art League.

At his home in Asylum Hill, Maurice Robertson engaged visitors in conversation about musical performance, travel abroad, and how to learn digital photography. His work features images from nature and people he has seen during his travels; it also chronicles decades of live musical performances he has attended around the world. He hosts the Wednesday evening jazz show on WWUH and is, more or less, the local authority on what’s happening.

A five-minute walk from Robertson’s home is ArtSpace, which hosts dozens and dozens of artists — some who live in the building, some who do not. Visitors were also welcome to listen to live musical performances on both days; these ranged from dulcimer to acoustic guitar to blues.

gwyneth amy

The ArtSpace gallery was set up to give visitors a taste of what was offered throughout the rest of the building. Artist Andres Chaparro offered advice: visit two floors on one day, and two on the next. Between the crowds and just the pure sensory overload, it’s hard to see — really see — all four floors in one trip.

Chaparro will have a solo show at ArtWalk Gallery in February 2012.

The watercolor SteamFolk collection by Geoffrey Houghton was a highlight of ArtSpace. Think steampunk, but brighter.

The gathering at the Studio at Billings Forge was on the smaller side. There were performances on Saturday; Asaad Jackson did African drumming, but changed up the beat so that the Zulu Bratz could have a cypher. This was followed by breakdancing battles between children (not pictured).

Visual artists set up displays inside of The Studio. On November 16th, there will be a potluck slideshow at this venue.

People are asked to either pay $2 or bring a food dish large enough to serve four. Billings Forge describes it this way:

Potluck Slideshow is a crowd-sourced slideshow of artworks by visual artists, graphic designers, fashion designers, performance, conceptual and multi-media artists, garden designers and more, presented along with a communal potluck meal. All artists are invited to submit to the slideshow and a prospectus may be obtained by contacting: Janice@billingsforgeworks.org.

The original deadline for submissions was last Friday, but it has been extended.

Over at the Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford residents received free admission on Saturday, allowing them entrance to the Steampunk Bizarre exhibit (on display through January 15, 2012), the Clemens’ house, and a program about the puppets from the Ballard Institute at UConn. The puppets representing characters from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court are on display through March 5, 2012.

House & Museum

Because of time constraints, this is only a fraction of what was actually available this weekend.

Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford. To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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