Modern art show features young adults

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Bolton - posted Fri., Jul. 15, 2011
Mike Muro and Chris Galo co-hosted the Ruggles Gallery art show with Charlie Treat, featuring works by young artists primarily from Bolton, including their own work. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Mike Muro and Chris Galo co-hosted the Ruggles Gallery art show with Charlie Treat, featuring works by young artists primarily from Bolton, including their own work. Photos by Martha Marteney.

What started as just an idea among friends turned into a brilliant summer showcase for local artists in their 20s. Bolton residents Chris Galo, Mike Muro and Charlie Treat created a modern art gallery in the 18th century Ruggles Homestead on Bolton Center Road in Bolton. “The small-town appeal has a lot to do with it,” said Treat about the willingness of the artists to participate and the response from the community.

“It gives the community a chance to see a different side of Bolton,” said Muro.

Each artist was given one room in the historic house to display the art work, which included painting and drawing in various media, as well as photography, sculpture and poetry. Some artists decorated the entire room, while others simply hung the work on the walls. The result was an art show comprised of some 20 different expositions, each with a unique feel, expressing the artist’s personality.

“I really like where they’re holding it,” said Manchester resident Kevin Vliet about the art show being at the Ruggles homestead. “I like the way they were able to incorporate the building, painting on the walls. I think it adds to it.”

“We wanted to do our own twist on it,” said Galo about the freedom given to each artist to express his art form. In addition to the individual challenge of each artist essentially creating his own show was the preparation of the homestead. The co-hosts and many of the artists scraped peeling paint off the walls, cleaned windows and scrubbed floors. “For being an idea around a campfire two months ago,” said Gallo, “it came out fantastic.”

The co-hosts themselves are all artists, and they simply invited their artist friends to also participate. As a musician, Treat said he focuses mostly on poetry and music, with some photography used to fill out his room. Muro presented digital photography with the theme, “Even Bad Men Love Their Mothers,” with many of the photographs taken on location. Galo decided to take his audience on a trip back to a 1990s dorm room, featuring his drawings of the period characters such as Steve Urkel from the television show “Family Matters.”

“The experience is what we’re going for,” said Muro.

Ben Keller, of Hebron, saw the sign announcing the art show and asked if he could join in. “I try to get my art out there as much as possible,” said Keller, who attends Manchester Community College for visual fine arts and is planning on becoming an art teacher.

Bolton residents Serge and Louise Poulin stopped into the art show, held on July 9 and 10, without knowing anything about the artists, just to support a local event. Before learning that all the artists were in their 20s, Louise described the feel of the show as “young,” as she and her husband were looking at the details in Dan Sheridan’s designs.

“I’m impressed,” said Bob Raymond, of East Hartford, Galo’s uncle. “I see a lot of stuff I like.” He especially liked the use of color.

“I wanted people to react to it, to be uncomfortable,” said Anthony Plenzio, of Bolton, about his room, which featured his love of bicycles using a variety of media and display techniques. This was his first show, which he described equally as “awesome” and “stressful.” A graphic design student, Plenzio said being part of the show gave him a better understanding of what it means to be an artist for a living.

“It’s so much fun to be a part of this,” said Amanda Sumislaski, a recent photography school graduate who is already working as a wedding photographer. At the same time, she found it a “nightmare” selecting which pieces to display. 

For the co-hosts, it was a good experience of bringing exposure to the younger crowd. For the participants, it was an opportunity to promote their artwork. For the visitors, it was an opportunity to step into the lives of the artists, who gave freely of their emotions and personality. From shades of black and white in photos and drawings, to paint dripping down the walls and sculptures melting away, the artists expressed their concerns about aging, love and the eternal meaning of life. It was art.

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