Library hosts district-wide art show

By Kevin Hotary - Staff writer
East Haddam - posted Sat., Apr. 9, 2011
Riley Bradway (left), Josh Curry and Zachary Koval serenaded upstairs visitors. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Riley Bradway (left), Josh Curry and Zachary Koval serenaded upstairs visitors. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

“I think fine art needs to be shared with the rest of the community,” said Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School art teacher Claudia Mazzotta. 

Every month throughout the school year, Mazzotta’s students create works based on a particular theme – which is celebrated with an opening reception on the first Wednesday of the month - and they display their best at the East Haddam Free Public Library.April, however, was “one step up,” according to library Director Mike Gilroy, as Mazzotta joined forces with elementary school art teacher Susan Weaver and high school art teacher Jackie Fastaia to “celebrate the arts,” said Gilroy, organizing the library’s first three-school art show.  And if Wednesday’s opening reception crowd is any indicator, the community is eager to see what the student artists have been working on.

Portraiture was the general theme of the show, ranging from self-portraits created by the youngest of the elementary school students, to complex, pixilated portraits created through increasingly smaller grids, in the style of American painter and photographer Chuck Close.

“You can really see the progression from pre-K to 12,” said Weaver.

The large crowd at the reception, as well as the party-like atmosphere - which included live music performed by students on both levels of the library – helps show the kids what it might be like to be an artist, said Mazzotta, and hopefully helps fuel their enthusiasm for art.

“It’s my second class of the day, and I can’t wait for it,” said eighth-grader Mark Nicholls, who spent nearly three weeks on his portrait of John F. Kennedy. 

“This whole thing was a challenge,” he said.  Working from a black and white photograph, Nicholls gridded out the portrait, and then had to guess which colors would work best. 

According to Gilroy, hosting the monthly art shows “gives kids a stronger connection to the library,” and helps make them feel part of a larger community.

“Everybody loves the art show,” Gilroy said.  And even though it is a lot of work, particularly for a one-hour reception, “it’s a perfect hour.  It makes everybody so happy, it’s worth it,” he said.

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