Artists' Forum gets creative juices flowing
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Wed., Apr. 27, 2011
The Vernon Arts Commission held its quarterly Artists’ Forum at Mitchell’s Restaurant on Hartford Turnpike in Vernon on April 25.
The forums are an opportunity to let artists meet each other, talk about their work and future projects, and to exchange ideas about potential collaborations and events.
“If something comes up that makes you say, ‘Wow, I’d like to do that,’” said commission member Bill Wallach, “this way you know who to talk to.”
Among the 15 artists at the forum, there were painters, photographers, and mixed-media artists, as well as a few niche artists.
Dawn Saladino-Toth, an artist who works with textiles, said she’s trying to form an artists’ collaborative in her historic home on Tolland Stage Road, just over the line in Tolland.
“It’s called the Haven Arts Society,” she said. “It’s an extension of my studio, the Haven of Hand Embroidery. I’m looking for other serious artists - possibly full-time artists - to share studio space with me and display their work. It’s going to be like an art club. It could be any type of work, but especially fiber artists, if I could find them.”
Wallach said that, although there are an increasing number of arts events in Vernon, there is a need for art critics.
“It’s great to have a preview,” he said, “because it gets people there, but somebody’s got to show up and review them. It could be good, bad, or indifferent. But, that’s our lifeblood, because if we don’t have reviews, we have nothing to put in our resumes. We have nothing to put in our advertising.”
Wallach added that sponsors of events, as well as the public at large, want to see reviews, because they lend credibility.
“For the arts community to continue to progress, you have to have reviews,” he said.
Recently-appointed commission member Lori Robeau said the events have been great for the local community.
“I think there are a lot of artists living in pockets in the community that we don’t know about,” she said. “This brings those people together - networking, and bridging those gaps.”
Some ideas were also tossed around about possibly large, town- or area-wide arts events.
“We’re hoping to encourage those kind of creative ideas,” Robeau said, “and get the collaborative juices flowing. We can’t survive being independent. Artists need strength in numbers.”