Art Matters

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By Renato Ghio

Not that this was ever a question in my mind, but I’ve read about multiple studies over the years demonstrating how the arts can have a positive impact on the development of local communities. Several cities have found that including art as part of their urban revitalization helped spur both businesses and residents to relocate to downtown areas.

In the Hat City, one of the first projects I knew that was connecting art with our downtown area was the Accessible Art project by The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. I, myself, was lucky enough to even participate in the project. Well, on February 1, The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut kicked off the 9th year of its Accessible Art multi-site program of visual art exhibitions.

This year, The Cultural Alliance received a generous award of $10,000 from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for the project. Executive Director Lisa Scails said that the generous support from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, as well as a new partnership with Bethel Arts, has helped them continue to grow their services.

Thirty-two artists, as well as art students from Western Connecticut State University, have been selected to participate in the yearlong Accessible Art program. Currently, 10 venues have signed on to host 34 exhibitions in five rounds. The premier exhibitions at Danbury locations on view through Friday, April 1, are:

Shari Abelson (Danbury) at Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury. Her show, On Location, demonstrates the main elements of traditional landscapes, but with a focus on the inter-relationship between sky and water or land and nature, and strong color and mood are primary.

Spencer Eldridge (Ridgefield), at Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue. Spencer’s show, Excursions: Abstracted landscapes by Spencer Eldridge, is the product of a voyage for the past fifteen years from abstraction towards representational works and back again.

Gayle Glecker (North Salem, NY) at YMCA’s ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main Street. Gayle works with the themes of Perception, Illusion and Magic.

Gary Stanford (Danbury) at Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street. Gary is a photographer who believes that the very essence of photography is the ability to create an historical record of an event at a precise moment in time.

Tracey Van Buskirk (Newtown) at Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street. In Color On Paper: Limited Edition Relief Prints, Tracey showcases graphic contrasts.

Virginia Zimmerman (Sandy Hook) at CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street. The works submitted to Accessible Art are from her recent show Ethereal Newtown, which was the culmination of a 2014 individual artist grant from the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission.

For more information about Accessible Art, call (203) 798-0760 or visit

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