Work by local artists now on display at Salem library

By Erin Connolly - ReminderNews
Colchester - posted Mon., Aug. 19, 2013
The Salem Free Public Library featured local artists in its fourth annual Art Reception and Photography Contest. Photos by Erin Connolly.
The Salem Free Public Library featured local artists in its fourth annual Art Reception and Photography Contest. Photos by Erin Connolly.

Local artists of all backgrounds had their work showcased at the Salem Free Public Library’s fourth annual Art Reception and Photography Contest on Aug. 10. Artists submitted their pieces in the beginning of August, and the artwork will remain on display for the rest of the month.

Jackie Hemond, the library director, spearheaded the annual Art Reception. “We’re trying to be a community center for the town and the area. It’s been a lot of fun and we get a lot of participation,” she said.

The artists represented a sweeping spectrum of age and expertise.

Zoe Yeoh first realized her passion and talent for watercolor when she was 11 years old, after taking an art class at the Salem Free Public Library. The local watercolor artist who led the course, Dawn Shumbo, encouraged Yeoh to pursue the challenging medium. To complete one of the pieces, it took Yeoh an hour every day for a week, after finishing her homework.

One painting, called the “Fairy of Wishes,” featured a light-pink fairy sitting on the branch of an oak tree holding a long stick with what looks like a note wrapped in string at the edge of it. “She collects wishes… and occasionally she’ll make them come true,” said Yeoh, now 16. Yeoh had an entire storyline behind the piece, but likes to leave it up to viewers’ imaginations.

Now, Yeoh’s watercolor paintings are featured alongside other amateur and professional artists on exhibit. Next month, she is showcasing her work in a solo exhibit at the library.

Some other young artists were recognized at the reception for participating in the library’s third annual photography contest. Photographer Roger Riley, from Riley Photographics in New London, judged the competition. Hemond came up with the idea for the contest after a digital photography class was held at the library. The prizes ranged from $25 to $2 for honorable mention.

Thirteen-year-old Demetrios Yackovetsky, from Bozrah, came in second place in last year’s contest. His photograph was of his younger sister, Rachel, through a kaleidoscope. This year his sister was the model again. In it, she held a fist full of Black-Eyed Susans covering her mouth. Demetrios filtered the photo with black shadows and enveloped Rachel’s face an eerie crimson. “I took my dad’s camera and found the buttons and messed around with them until I found out what they did,” Demetrios said. His curiosity inspired Rachel to submit one of her own pieces in to the contest.

This year Rachel came in first for her 9- to 11-year-old age group and Demetrios came in second for his age group for 12- to 14-year-olds.

Professional artists also had their pieces featured in the exhibit. Carol Watson has exhibited her mixed media all over the country, but says her pieces complement the Salem area. “I find Salem to be a town really reverent of the wild and nature and I think they have a respect for it,” Watson said. Her collages draw influence from the west with objects like horse hair and crow feathers. “If you saw the picture of me when I was a little girl, I’m dressed in an Indian outfit. I’ve always loved the west, Indians and cowboys. [I] swear that in another life [I] must have lived out there,” she added.

The event couldn’t have materialized without the help of Friends of the Salem Library organization. The group raises funds so that the library can host weekly community events. One of those events included the class where Yeoh found her interest in watercolor.

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