Windham Art Project Moves Outdoors

hc-rosary-solimanto-0413-20170406By Susan Dunne

Two years ago, the creative-placemaking project called My Windham had its inaugural event. Work by more than a dozen artists was installed outdoors and inside shops on Willimantic’s Main Street for five weeks in the spring. The second bi-annual event, renamed The Windham Project, will take place from April 15 to May 25 with a new focus: Nobody will have to go inside any shops to enjoy art.

“We surveyed our visitors and they liked it best when it’s all outdoors,” said Eastern Connecticut State University art Professor Gail Gelburd, organizer of the project. “It’ll all be outdoors or in storefront windows. It’ll be open all the time, 24-7.” The project — funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the town, the university and private donations —also has burst out of the borders of the state.

“We want to promote Windham all over as a place for art,” said Gelburd. So this year, along with 18 artists (or art-making teams) from Connecticut, there are two participants from New Jersey and one from Albany, N.Y.

And possibly one from India. Majunaath Naik’s work “Heart in a Jar” was juried into the exhibit, to be shown in the window of Jamaican Me Crazy restaurant. Naik planned to attend the opening reception, but he was denied a visa to travel to the United States from his home in Goa, India. His artwork may make it here in time, but there’s a chance it won’t.

Gelburd learned another thing from the first event: When everyone is inside at a reception, no one is outside looking at art. This year’s opening reception on April 20 is a “walking, progressive” event. Visitors can get a map, stroll the mile from Town Hall to Jillson Square, see the artwork, watch performance artists and get free snacks at Main Street businesses.

Melica Bloom of Willimantic — who helped create many of the murals in this mural-obsessed town — will create a new mural. Kenneth Saintonge of Windham will install a video “portal” from Willimantic to Denton, Texas, where he goes to school. People who stand in front of the portal can see the main drag in Denton, and people in Denton can see them.

Carolyn Naegeli Slead of Coventry will repurpose waste plastic into an artwork at the Hooker Hotel, which coincidentally is owned by Willimantic Waste. Tatiana Sougakova of New Jersey will repurpose old CDs to create “jewelry” for the trees to wear. ECSU’s Visual Arts Club will repurpose used shoes to create a found-object sculpture that comments on the wealth gap. It will be placed across the street from the homeless shelter. Anyone who needs a pair of shoes can grab a pair from the installation and keep it.

Other artists who will participate, working in projection, kinetic, sound, performance, murals and sculptures, include John Byrne of Hamden, Karen Davis of Vernon, Lauren Duke of Windham, ECSU professor Belinda Gabryl, Robert Greene of Ledyard, Sean Langlais of Norwich, sisters Amelia and Gretta Ingraham of Coventry, Steven Kroeger of Albany, N.Y.; Mark McKee of Ledyard, Jerry Montoya of Meriden, Chris Plaisted of Milford, Afarin Rahmanifar of Manchester, Rosary Solimanto of New Jersey, Jim Turner of Windham and Brennan Yau of Willington. The jurors were Migdalia Salas, Emily Handlin and Gelburd, who also will show her art.

THE WINDHAM PROJECT will take place along Main Street in Willimantic from the Windham Town Hall to Jillson Square, from April 15 to May 25. The opening reception is April 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. windhamproject.org.

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B L U E – a Winter Exhibition by Cynthia Guild

” B L U E ” – An exhibition by Cynthia Guild of a long standing series of paintings,

drawings and prints all based on the color blue and the theme of snowy winter contemplation. 

January 28 – March 7, 2017  Hours: 8 – 9:00 pm M-F, weekends

Naugautuck Valley Community College Art Gallery, Building A, 750 ChaseParkway,Waterbury, CT. 06708

Exhibit is located in the Atrium just outside of the college theatre. Call 203 575-8000 for info.

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Site-specific Sculpture – Assistant Professor Rob Greene & Students

_Vineyard_Art club group shot Dec 10 16 _Vineyard_Ephemeral close shot Finished 150 _Vineyard_vine rhythm 150 Ephemeral far shot finishedEphemeral is a Site-specific sculpture created by Assistant Professor of Sculpture, Rob Greene & students during early December 2016. The work is composed and constructed of materials found on the vineyard grounds — cedar, grape tree roots and the trimmings from the grape vines themselves. Ephemeral is a female form suspended across a series of rows spanning approximate 30 feet and easily seen by the public.

Greene has been thinking about this installation for several years after visiting the vineyard. He imagined the beauty of a large-scale sculpture suspended across the very rows of grape vines from which it is composed. The title Ephemeral suggests that it is impermanent and will break down and eventually disappear much like other out door installations he has done. The creation and disintegration of the piece will be documented from beginning to end using video and time lapsed photography. Eventually it will become a short film.

Students from Eastern’s Visual Arts Club — Hunter Gillen, Amber Dickinson, Adam Courbin, Rachel Waters, Nicole Lenares, Brooke Fulcher and Bella Zira— and Adjunct Professor of Printmaking, Allison Conley, graciously offered to assist with this project. They braved cold weather to come to the vineyard on Saturday, December 10th. With their help, the piece was three quarters complete by the end of the day.

A Good Summer’s Work: J. Alden Weir, Connecticut Impressionist

The-Spring-House-Windham-c.-1910-1919.-J.-Alden-Weir.-Estate-of-William-B.-Carlin-233x300Dr. Anne Dawson is the guest curator for A Good Summer’s Work: J. Alden Weir, Connecticut Impressionist on view at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum May from May 7 – Sept 11, 2016. Weir is most often associated with his studio at Weir Farm in western Connecticut, yet many of the artist’s best works were created at his little known retreat in Windham, where he painted each summer for nearly four decades. A Good Summer’s Work focuses on paintings created in eastern Connecticut by Weir and others in his circle, including Childe Hassam, Emil Carlsen and John Singer Sargent. Bringing together for the first time more than forty works from museums and private collections across the country, the exhibit considers the unique inspiration that American Impressionists drew from the eastern Connecticut landscape.

In Place, in Time: Rediscovering the work of J. Alden Weir

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1/14/16 through 2/25/16
Opening Reception: 1/21/16, 4-7pm
Artist Talk 1/28/16, 4-5pm

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University proudly presents In Place, In Time, the opening exhibition at Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center. This historically relevant exhibition celebrates the timeless parallels between contemporary and historical art-making through the work of Windham photographer T. Harrison Judd, whose images reveal striking visual and philosophical connections to the paintings of legendary Windham artist J. Alden Weir. Shared locations and points of view span generations of time to create this impressive salute to the enduring connections that unite art, love and life, in place – and in time.

In Place, In Time features thirty large-scale original photographs by contemporary Windham artist T. Harrison Judd, that demonstrate a shared aesthetic with famous American Impressionist and Windham resident, J. Alden Weir. Judd’s photographs commemorate settings and themes from today’s perspective that served as inspiration for Weir between 1882 and 1919. The show investigates significant parallels between the two artists, exploring their shared Windham location and experiences. Though from different generations, Judd and Weir both resided in southwestern Connecticut and came to Windham after falling in love – living and working in Windham with their respective soul mates. These similarities, along with strongly aligned personal philosophies reveal themselves in both subtle and dramatic ways throughout the exhibition, which includes, landscape still life and portraits of notable local artists and art-world figures.

Curator Dr. Anne Dawson presents Judd’s work in two categories that clarify its connection to Weir’s: A Shared Aesthetic – Judd’s work before he studied Weir, and A Deliberate Response – photographs composed and shot by Judd in conscious relation to Weir’s work. Explanatory wall text and image pairings of the two artists’ work further highlight these connections.

            In Place, In Time will be the inaugural event for Eastern’s new Art Gallery, a stunning exhibition space in the University’s new state of the art Fine Arts Instructional Center. This exhibition will re-identify Windham and its community as a place of rich historical and creative importance with a vibrant legacy of art and place-making that characterizes it to this day.

 

Dr. Anne Dawson’s forthcoming book selected for Driftless Connecticut books for 2016

Dr. Anne Dawson’s forthcoming book, Rare Light: J. Alden Weir in Windham, Connecticut, 1882 – 1919 (Wesleyan University Press, March 2016) has received a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. In addition to the grant, the HFPG selected the publication to be one of their Driftless Connecticut books for 2016. The Driftless Connecticut Series is a publication award program established in 2010 to recognize excellent books with a Connecticut focus or written by a Connecticut author. To be eligible, the book must have a Connecticut topic or setting or an author must have been born in Connecticut or have been a legal resident of Connecticut for at least three years.

More information about The Driftless Connecticut Series can be found here.