Art and history at the Rowayton Arts Center
By Marcia Powell
Aug 29, 2008 - 1:21:29 AM
Located in the heart of Rowayton on the scenic banks of the Five Mile river, the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) serves as a community cultural hub that generates an environment for the exchange of arts-related ideas. Monthly exhibits, classes and workshops for artists at all levels, lectures and other activities attract participants and visitors from Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1960, the Rowayton Arts Center now has more than 600 members, including nationally-recognized professionals, talented amateurs, beginners and non-artists from Fairfield County and beyond.
Each monthly exhibit begins with a reception that is open to the public and some exhibits include demonstrations of painting techniques by RAC artists. Admission to the main floor gallery, which is open from 12:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Sunday, is free.
According to Hu Lindsay, the RAC president, “The theme of each Arts Center exhibit turns the spotlight on different media and the high quality of the art is truly impressive. The 11 annual exhibits—including two that are open to all artists, not just RAC members—run the entire gamut of visual creativity. From photography and sculpture through all paint and print media plus a more craft-based holiday show, each Arts Center exhibit challenges and satisfies with its diversity. I look forward eagerly to the opening of every exhibit and go back often to re-admire these well-presented eye feasts.”
Exhibits this fall include the Oil and Acrylic Show from September 14-28, and the Mavis Fenner Memorial Juried All-Media Show from October 5-November 9. The year concludes with the annual Holiday Show featuring one-of-a-kind gifts and ornaments created by RAC members.
Throughout the year, adults and children can explore their creativity during classes in the well-equipped upstairs studio and at outdoor locations. For adults, the Arts Center offers acting classes with Michael Douglass plus daytime, evening and weekend art classes in a variety of media for beginner through advanced levels. Instructors include artists Frank Bruckmann, Christy Gallagher, Charles Ray and Joanne Roy, who is the RAC education director. The Arts Center also provides Open Studio sessions during which artists are invited to drop in and “Do Your Own Thing.” Classes for children include weekly “Music, Music and More Music” interactive sessions for pre-schoolers with Mary Squicciarino. Art classes for older children are held after school and on weekends and are taught by Georgette Diamandis and Roy.
Each January artwork by the Arts Center’s award-winning instructors and their students is spotlighted in an exhibit titled “Emerging Artists and Their Mentors.” Roy says, “It’s always exciting to see the quality of work produced by our student artists and to follow their progress from year to year, especially when they began taking classes as youngsters.”
Susan Leggitt, who organized this year’s lecture/workshop series, says, “The Rowayton Arts Center’s goal is to provide opportunities for our members to interact with internationally-renowned artists, whose works are an inspiration to other artists and to the public. This year, we were excited to feature a lecture by renowned teacher and painter David Dunlop, who hosts the current 13-part PBS television series, “Landscapes Through Time;” a workshop with William McCarthy, who has been featured in American Artist magazine and whose works are in collections throughout the country; and a lecture/demonstration with John Ennis, who has won more than a dozen national awards for his work, nine of them from the prestigious Portrait Society of America and whose work as a portrait artist recently was featured in both International Artist and The Artists Magazine. All three events sold out well in advance.”
A popular summer activity is Art in Pinkney Park, where participants and viewers for Rowayton’s annual Memorial Day Parade can browse among a diverse display of artwork by RAC members.
For more information about the Rowayton Arts Center call 203-866-2744 or visit the web site at www.rowaytonartscenter.org.
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