Mark Twain Library’s 45th art show preview featured over 175 works

The evening was filled with much glitter and glam on Friday, Dec. 1, at Mark Twain Library’s 45th annual art show preview reception.

More than 175 works were on display in every corner of the library, created by over 100 artists. The art included paintings, graphics and sculpture. Artists in this year’s show traveled to the library from all over Connecticut, as well as from New York, New Jersey, Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

General tickets to the event cost $75.

Several hundred people — many dressed in bright, sequinned outfits — attended the sold-out event. All the artwork was for sale.

Hors d’oeuvres, wine, and other beverages were served throughout the evening.

Many of the artists discussed their work and answered questions. One of them was Redding artist Alice Smith, who created a three-dimensional piece she named Stream Reimagined.

Smith said she uses only recycled materials in her pieces.

“I source everything. Everything is taken from pages in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, as well as from a variety of catalogs,” Smith said. “I cut and roll the paper and use art glue. There is no paint involved.”

Smith’s creation, which is on sale for $1,400, is of a stream that she drew from an actual scene at New Pond Farm Education Center in Redding in May. It’s made entirely from paper, she said.

Smith was an artist-in-residence and won a full art scholarship at the Buffalo Seminary in Buffalo, N.Y., studying with artist Jean Henrich.

Redding resident Jimmy Grashow, 75, creates sculptures and woodcuts. His prints have appeared in every type of publication, from the New York Times to Playboy, he said.

Grashow received a bachelor of fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was awarded a Fulbright travel grant to Florence, Italy, for painting and graphics.

He said that to make a woodcut, “you take a piece of wood and carve into it. You ink it and make an image.”

Cat Beauregard of Bethel, a landscape artist, said she likes to come to art shows because she thinks the featured artwork is stunning.

“Art has to move you. When you look at a painting, it’s got to speak to you,” Beauregard said. “Not everybody can make a beautiful, moving piece of art.”

Redding resident Hilda Rhodes said she has been artist for 50 years. For the show, she created a charcoal drawing of her second cousin’s grandchild Myla, which she named Imagining.

In the drawing, Myla, who is about 5 years old, is dressed like a princess in the Disney movie Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas. Myla is wearing a princess outfit like the one worn by the character Mona. Her head is tilted to the side and she’s listening to music.

Rhodes, a retired kindergarten and first grade teacher, said she encourages children to take the time to use their imagination “rather than being so booked into everything.”

“I like to watch them as they are learning and thinking,” Rhodes said.

Neil and Lisi Marcus of Redding said they have come to the Mark Twain Library’s art show preview reception from its first days.

“When we first moved to Redding about 45 years ago, this function was really small. The art show was the social event of the town,” Neil Marcus said. “We came to see people.”  

Today, while the event has grown extensively, they still come to see people.

Over the years, the Marcuses have purchased several pieces of art at the reception — especially contemporary works.

“We bought a menorah made by [Redding artist] Babette Bloch a few years ago, as well as some fish made from tissue paper like a collage,” Lisi Marcus said.

Neil Marcus said he has run out of room to display art in his home, and has moved some pieces outside.

Artist Aline LaPointe of Redding drew a watercolor called Asiatic Lily. While she was discussing her piece, one of the guests at the show passed by and told her she had just purchased LaPointe’s work.

LaPointe said she based her painting on a photograph. “I have a friend in Vermont who travels all over the country. She sends me photographs of flowers.”

She has been painting for 20 years, as a hobby. She said she likes flowers that are unique.

She’s currently working on a series of paintings of the universe. Her work is being shown at the Avance Day Spa gallery in Newtown.

Artists whose works are featured donate 35% of their proceeds to the library, according to Romy Weinberg, adult program coordinator.

The preview reception also included 42 pieces of art reserved for the silent auction, held in the library’s upstairs room.

The event co-chairs were Rochelle Williston and Angela Matsuoka. An after-party took place at Redding Country Club.

The art will remain on display during regular library hours until Sunday, Dec. 10.

“For the 45th time, the Mark Twain Library is both celebrating and benefiting from the remarkable talents of our neighbors,” said Jen Wastrom, president of the Mark Twain Library Association.

Wastrom said the art show represents “all that is so special about Redding, a creative and supportive community that embraces its culturally rich roots. We are particularly grateful to the backers who graciously assisted in the event’s success — Alice’s Flower Shop, Dattco Bus, and Meadow Ridge.”

Hundreds of people gathered at Mark Twain Library’s art show preview reception on Friday, Dec. 1.
Hundreds of people gathered at Mark Twain Library’s art show preview reception on Friday, Dec. 1.
At Mark Twain Library’s art show preview reception on Friday, Dec. 1, Redding resident Hilda Rhodes stands beside her charcoal drawing of her second cousin’s grandchild Myla, which she named Imagining.
At Mark Twain Library’s art show preview reception on Friday, Dec. 1, Redding resident Hilda Rhodes stands beside her charcoal drawing of her second cousin’s grandchild Myla, which she named Imagining.
Artist Aline LaPointe of Redding stands beside her  watercolor called Asiatic Lily at Mark Twain Library’s 45th art show preview on Friday, Dec. 1.
Artist Aline LaPointe of Redding stands beside her watercolor called Asiatic Lily at Mark Twain Library’s 45th art show preview on Friday, Dec. 1.

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