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Spring has sprung and so has Bridgeport with new exhibits, calls for art, theater, handmade markets, and more!
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BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL NEWSLETTER

Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.

Spring has sprung and so has Bridgeport with new exhibits, calls for art, theater, handmade markets, and more!

This site of the iconic Read's Department Store comes to life this week with programming at both the Read's Ground Floor Gallery and The Kennedy Center's Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative located at 1042 Broad Street. Both will be hosting special exhibitions on Thursday, April 23rd  in celebration of Earth Day.

Exciting news for the Bridgeport Theatre Company, which presents Thouroughly Modern Millie through May 9th. It was announced in a recent press release that they will be joining the Downtown Cabaret Theatre as a new division.

The Nest Arts Factory hosts a weekend of exciting programs with it's Spring Buzz! event including open studios and the opening of the encaustic themed show Encased Exhibit. Plus, a curated art, craft + design fair.

Joining the handmade marketplace, The Coastal Connecticut Arts Guild of CT will also be holding it's first annual Spring Arts & Crafts Market. Both are just in time for the perfect unique Mother's Day gift!

City Lights is extending a call to all artists for its 4th annual Same Sex exhibit, scheduled to open Thursday, July 9, 2015.

SameSex explores LGBT themes, same-sex attraction, related feelings and issues of 2015.  This year’s suggested theme is “gender identity”. However artists can choose their own subject matter and need not be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to participate.

And lastly, COAST FC provides an online platform for writers and visual artists with a Fairfield County-themed digital journal. Submissions for their inaugural May issue are currently being accepted.

Be sure to check out all the details below!

-The Bridgeport Art Trail Team

Check out the full calendar of Bridgeport Art listings at the Bridgeport Art Trail Website.
 

VISIT THE BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL WEBSITE

Go beyond green this Earth Day with two arts events at 1042 Broad Street!

The Kennedy Center's Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative and Read Artspace's Ground Floor Gallery will both be open with special programming for this year's Earth Day.

ART EXHIBITION: "Here Comes The Sun...By The Light of the Moon"
Read's Ground Floor Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 23rd 6-9PM
On View: April 23rd-May 16th


Exhibit Description:
The sun and moon have been inspiring artists of all mediums since the beginning of time.

Drawing on the poetic inspiration of these heavenly bodies in the exhibit title, "Here Comes the Sun...By the Light of the Silvery Moon" is a solar/lunar themed showcase.

Refreshments provided!
Suggested donation $5

ABOUT
The Ground Floor Gallery at Read's is a private arts space located on the first floor of Read's Artspace Lofts, a redeveloped live/work artist community based in Downtown Bridgeport.

GALLERY HOURS
Thursdays/Fridays: 6-8pm
Saturdays: 1-4PM

More Info

ART EXHIBITION: Earth Day at MDAC
Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative

Thursday, April 23rd
11-1PM,  5-8PM


Exhibit Description:
Come join us to celebrate the beauty and preservation of our planet at The Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative. We invite you to take part in recycled art activities and to view the masterpieces our MDAC artists have created from “Trash”. 11-1 PM and 5-8 PM

MDAC Artists will also have work on display at the Read’s Ground Floor Gallery for their Solar/Lunar themed Earth Day Show, “Here Comes the Sun….By the Light of the Silvery Moon”. 6-9 PM

The Kennedy Center’s Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative (MDAC) which opened in May 2014 is an exciting and unique new initiative by The Kennedy Center designed to provide an innovative environment where individuals can learn, create and benefit by participating in a multi-faceted arts program.  Located in the Read’s Artspace building in downtown Bridgeport, this Arts Cooperative provides unique programming that assists individuals in creative exploration, self-discovery and expansive artistic growth using: Mixed Media, Visual Media, Painting, Music, Dance, Yoga and more!  MDAC’s artists with intellectual disabilities have already made connections with neighbors, businesses, universities, museums, and art councils forming innovative partnerships to celebrate the universal language of art.
 

More Info

NEWS: The Bridgeport Theatre Company merges with the Downtown Cabaret Theatre 

Info: The award-winning Downtown Cabaret Theatre (DCT) held a press conference on March 12th, celebrating its upcoming 40th Anniversary Season. The event began with the announcement that the Bridgeport Theatre Company will be merging into the Downtown Cabaret Theatre operations fully, in the form of a new division within the company that will officially launch this summer, called the Downtown Cabaret Main Stage Theatre. This will join the existing Children’s Theatre and Main Stage Concert series.
 

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Eric Regan, Laura Piacenza, Chelsea Dacey, and Marc Improta; photo credit: Kevin McNair

THEATER: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Apr 24 - May 9, 2015

Music by Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Book by Dick Scanlan and Richard Henry Morris
Directed by Christy McIntosh
Choreographed by Emily Frangipane
with tap choreography by Eli Newsom


Show Description: The winner of six TONY Awards including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film,  takes us back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when “moderns”—including a flapper named Millie Dillmount—were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce, and rewriting the rules of love. This high-spirited musical romp is a delightful valentine to the long-standing spirit of New York City and the people who seek to discover themselves there.  Great for audiences of all ages, young and young-at-heart.

More Info

ART EXHIBITION AND PROGRAMMING:
Spring Buzz! Open studies, Encased Exhibit, Factory HandMade, and more!


The NEST Arts Factory
Events Saturday & Sunday, May 9-10th

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 9th from 2-4PM
On View: April 11 - May 1, 2015


EXHIBIT/EVENT DESCRIPTION:

Spring Buzz!
A multidisciplinary event to celebrate spring! Activities include: Honey tasting, demos, and crafts with Red Bee Honey; the Factory Handmade art, design, and craft fair, a plant sale; garden lectures; open studios; and much more!
 
Encased Exhibit
A stunning exhibit in the NEST Gallery featuring acclaimed local encaustic artists. Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, May 9 from 2-4 pm.
The exhibit runs from March 9-June 6, 2015
 
Factory HandMade
A curated art, craft + design fair at the NEST featuring talented local artists, designers. and artisans, perfectly timed for Mother's Day shopping

Open Studios
Visit with the artists and musicians of the NEST during our monthly Open Studios, Saturday and Sunday May 9 and 10 from 10-4 pm.
 

More Info

SPECIAL EVENT: The Coastal Arts Guild of CT’s First Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Market
Sunday, May 3rd, from 10am–4pm
Stratford’s Baldwin Center


Event Description:
The artists and crafters selected for the show bring a twist to the handmade arts and crafts, with up-cycled lighting fixtures, nostalgic mixed media papers, hand-stitched doll fashion, organically-inspired twisted wire jewelry, painted pyrography and more.

Stratford artist and guild member Susan Ernst’s mixed media piece, “Garden Songbird Silhouette” was selected for the event’s poster. She will be selling handmade art, paper and journals at the show.

And what show would be complete without artisan cupcakes?!


“There is a reason handmade is on-trend right now. How many places can you go and be certain you are buying something original?” said Melissa Benson, event organizer and guild board member. “True, one-of-a-kind craftsmanship is rare and special.”


The event is at 1000 Main Street in Stratford, with easy access right off of I-95’s exit 32, with plenty of parking.

More Info

CALLS FOR ART
First Pride Parade in Downtown Bridgeport for the opening of SAMESEX exhibit 2014

CALL FOR ART: SAMESEX 2015
City Lights Gallery

DESCRIPTION: "SAMESEX", City Lights Galley's 5rd annual gay-themed art show, opens July 9, 2015, with work that reflects the current LGBTQ zeitgeist.

City Lights is extending a call to all artists for our 4th annual Same Sex exhibit, scheduled to open Thursday, July 9, 2015.
 
SameSex explores LGBT themes, same-sex attraction, related feelings and issues of 2015.  This year’s suggested theme is “gender identity”. However artists can choose their own subject matter and need not be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to participate.
 
All artists are invited to submit jpegs of their work for consideration by June 5. 2015.
Artists will be notified by June 13, 2015.  
 
For more info email clgallerybpt@gmail.com.

SUBMISSION DETAILS: There is no size limit to the dimension of art submitted, however larger works, over 60" will be subject to space limitations.

SEND SUBMISSIONS IN JPEG FORMAT, (no more than 8 images), 72 DPI, DUE BY June 5, 2015 TO: clgallerybpt@gmail.com

NECESSARY INFO TO INCLUDE WITH SUBMISSION:
Brief artists statement, itemized list of art submitted should include:  title, size, medium, price of work, Works not for sale should include a value rather than a price. Also include artist's contact info: name, email, phone (evening and daytime numbers), mailing address and website if available. 

ACCEPTED ART TO BE DELIVERED BY: JUNE 25, 26, 27, 2015 Gallery hours, W-FRI 11:30-5, SAT 12-4, TH open ‘til 7. Art should be in excellent condition and ready to hang.
 
ABOUT: City Lights is a nonprofit, community based art organization located in downtown Bridgeport CT., easily accessible by Metro-North, Port Jeff Ferry, I-95 and the Merrit Parkway via the Route 25 Connector.

For more info please email us at: clgallerybpt@gmail.com
Visit Our Website: www.citylightsgallery.org
 
Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Friday:  11:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11-7
Saturday:  12- 4:00 p.m.
By appointment
 
City Lights Gallery, 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport.  203-334-7748.  
For more info: www.citylightsgallery.org .
 
 

More Info

CALL FOR ART AND LITERARY SUBMISSIONS
COAST FC


Description:

COAST FC, a new Digital Literary & Arts Journal for Fairfield County, is presently seeking literary and visual arts submissions. Work should reflect monthly themes based on the artists interpretation.

A cornerstone of “wedding season”, our inaugural May issue theme is love, fate, and destiny.
While work needn’t be about romantic relationships specifically, we encourage those submitting to consider the undercurrent of these bonds, the concept of devotion, and the exposed nature of trust.

VISUAL ART: Accepted medium includes painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, mixed-media, digital images, and images of 3-D work such as sculpture and installations.

LITERARY SUBMISSIONS: Accepted formats include poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (prose/memoir/reflective pieces/feature articles/etc.)

More Info

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS ON VIEW
Mixed Media by Karen Kalkstein

ART EXHIBITION: Forever Young
City Lights Gallery


Exhibit Description:
Celebrate artists of all ages who have reinvented themselves. Art on view addresses the aging process, nostalgia for youth and artists’ individual interpretation of the theme inspired by the song by Bob Dylan, “Forever Young.”

Exhibiting artists include: Jim Chillington, Ann Hodgson Cyr, Allan Dudek, Tracey Dinkin, Steve Gerber, Mark Hannon, John Favret, Karen Kalkstein, Michale Kozlowski, John Lawson, Beth Lazar, Karen Loprete, Allison Margo, Janice Mauro, Amy Oestreicher, Hilary Opperman, Lori Petcher, Michael Quirk, Colleen Reilly-Rees, Ann C. Rosebrooks, David Rosenberg, Marianne Schmidt, Ellen Siegel, Jodi Strmiska, Charlie Walsh and Al Coyote Weiner.

Read more about this exhibit in The Connecticut Post here.

City Lights Gallery is located at 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport CT. (203) 334-7748, www.citylightsgallery.org .

 

More Info

ART EXHIBITION: Visual Verse
The NEST Arts Factory
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 11th form 2-4PM
On View: April 11 - May 1, 2015


EXHIBIT DESCRIPTION: The artists of the NEST, in honor of National Poetry Month, have assembled an exhibit where each artist shows a work inspired by a poem, verse, lyric, or haiku.

Other activities during National Poetry Month at the NEST
Flex your poetic muscles with our interactive poetry wall. Create a poem or short story with oversized words on a large magnetic surface.

Join the month-long NEST Renga, a collaborative poem based on an ancient Japanese artform. The longest Renga in history had 10,000 verses. How long will ours be?

See the NEST "exquisite corpse", a collaborative art technique invented by the surrealists. Each artist adds to the work of a previous artist, with only a small portion of the previous artist's work revealed as a starting point, to create one finished work.
 

More Info

ART EXHIBITION: Parallels
Housatonic Museum of Art

On View: April 6th-26th
 
Exhibition Description: The Housatonic Community College & Shintaro Akatsu School of Design Faculty Exhibition 2015, entitled Parallels, is the second art show in which faculty from both colleges feature works from professors. This exhibition runs from April 6-26 and includes Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Video Art, Drawing, Installation, and Illustration.
 

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ART EXHBITION: “Father Sky & Mother Earth”
The Discovery Museum & Planet

On View Through May 18th
 

Exhibition Description: From purple mountains to the vanishing prairie, an eclipse and blue moon, artist MIA celebrates our natural world with her oil paintings in this solo show. The exhibition features reflective landscapes rendered in a colorful, creatively-charged montage.

More Info

 FEATURED ARTIST: APRIL
 JODIANN STRIMISKA
'Color Braid'- cut-paper installation;- 3' x 12'
 ARTIST STATEMENT
My current studio practice encompasses drawing, mixed-media works on paper, paintings, soft-sculpture, and cut-paper sculpture/installation.

The works featured in 'Chroma is Key' are a 'sampler' of my recent explorations of color, texture and form involving repetitive, meditative pattern and rhythm, inspired and informed by a diverse range of influences ranging from fashion and film to my love of nature in all its myriad manifestations and my passionate avocation as a gardener with a fondness for unusual and exotic plants.

My intention has been to take on the challenge of working with color again; with paint, paper and fabric; after a nearly ten-year hiatus; and to make work which evokes a sense of joy amidst the austere socio-economic backdrop of The Great Recession, which has impacted my own life and that of virtually everyone I know.

Choosing to create 'Slow Art' from paper, paint, fabric and scissors which is high-touch, low-tech, involving hands-on artisanal labor, is my way of pushing back against the technological tsunami of digital information overload generated by social media and the cultural obsession with life as a trivial pursuit.
 
'Higgelty-Piggelty'- Oil stick & gesso on paper;- 4'x 9';
"a series of drawings of biomorphic cartoons can lead to creating a series of mixed-media assemblages working with a vocabulary of shapes derived from the drawings, which can then evolve into a cut-paper installation. In the end, it's all inter-related."-Jodiann Strmiska
Left: 'Tumble-Bunnies'- soft-sculpture installation- set of 8 felt/foam/wire heads
Right: 'Bluebeard;- cut-paper sculpture;- 22" x 35'
Q. How would you describe your artwork/style?
A. Multi-disciplinary and maverick. My current studio practice encompasses drawing, installation, soft-sculpture, and mixed-media assemblage.  

Q. What medium do you work in?   
A. Mixed-media including: felt, paper, pom-poms, wood, paint, graphite, and sharpies. At present, I am very involved with working with color, pattern, and texture and am involved with creating my own form of fiber-art from cut-paper and cut-felt which I fashion into elongated dresses, wall hangings, and 'mandalas'.

Q. What is your process like? 
A. Either I start from an idea which dictates the materials and methods used; or, I start with a color or specific material which dictates the form and idea. Usually, I like to work on developing a series of works, which can then become a point-of-departure for works in other media. Hence, a series of drawings of biomorphic cartoons can lead to creating a series of mixed-media assemblages working with a vocabulary of shapes derived from the drawings, which can then evolve into a cut-paper installation. In the end, it's all inter-related.

Q. What inspires you? 
A. Inspiration often comes in the guise of a delightful surprise. I am inspired and influenced by nature as much as I am by fashion, film, and music. As a 21st-century female artist, I am indebted to pioneering  20th-century artists like the late, great, Louise Bourgeoise, and sculptor Louise Nevelson, both of whom had the courage, willpower, and persistence of vision needed to break new ground and create  authentic, brave, innovative work amidst a male-dominated art-world.

Q. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as an artist?
A. With age and experience, there comes a sense of urgency about cutting-to-the-quick and getting at the essence of things. I am much more results-oriented now at age 60 than I was at age 30, as I simply do not have the luxury of time to devote to endless experimentation. I now create art from a place of focused intention to a far greater extent than ever before, utilizing the most direct and economical materials and methods available to create art invested with a sense of personal authenticity.

Q. Can you tell me about your participation in the ‘Chroma is Key’ exhibition at The Schelfhaudt Gallery at University of Bridgeport? What will you have on view at the ‘Forever Young’ exhibition?
A. When Gallery Director Peter Konsterlie told me I'd be exhibiting with a group of artists from Brooklyn including Mark Sorgatz, Chris Moss, Cheres Espinosa, and an artist from New Haven;- Mark Williams; who is a 'cave-artist';  for 'Chroma is Key' , I was very excited! The Schelfhaudt Gallery is a beautiful space and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase a growing body of cut-paper sculpture and mixed-media work. Exhibiting in a university setting affords an artist an opportunity to have their work viewed in an educational context. I was flattered to discover that one of Professor Konsterlie's art history students had written a paper about my work , from a 'Pop' Art perspective' comparing my work to the Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, who is one of my art-heroes!

The upcoming 'Forever Young' exhibition at City Lights will feature my 'Power Flower' Mandala # I; which is one of a current series of cut-felt and pom-pom 'mandalas' which have a 'in-your-face', funny yet beautiful presence which is ageless, if not 'Forever Young'.
 
'Color Whirls';- set of 8;- House Paint on Wooden Barrel-tops;- 12"-28" diameter
Q. You’re presently teaching a teen drawing class at City Lights Gallery. How would you describe your experience teaching? Has it influenced your personal drawing style? 
A. My approach to teaching drawing is about learning to see and draw from direct observation. Working with Bridgeport high school students who show promise is rewarding, as these kids are living in a time when many schools have cut arts programming from their standard curriculum. Encouraging these young people to find ways to integrate art into their daily lives via local cultural venues like The Housatonic Museum of Art and City Lights Gallery is key to developing their potential and expanding their curiosity about Art. This experience has made me realize what a privilege it is to be an artist with an active studio practice and to have had recourse to the education and cultural resources I had as a young art student.

Q. You’re an avid gardener. Can you share a bit why you're so connected to the gardening field? Would you say your passion for gardening influence your creative process? 
A. Gardening is a visual art-form as it involves color, pattern, texture, scale and spatial composition. I like to say that my garden is my 'outdoor studio', as it involves an analogous process to my indoor studio practice. Instead of working with inert materials like paint and canvas, I work with flowers and plants to create outdoor 'living rooms'. I became enamored of gardening when I dropped out of the NYC Fashion Industry, where I worked as a Textile Colorist and Designer in the 1980's and moved back to CT to begin life anew. My avocation has led to opportunities to work as a freelance gardener on residential projects on a seasonal basis in Fairfield County. Gardening keeps me grounded and connected to nature and the great round of life.

Q. Any other upcoming news or events you'd like to share?
A. I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed at my studio by Mike Lauterborn for the currently available Spring, 2015 edition of Fairfield Living Magazine, which is a sister-publication of Fairfield Hamlet Hub and is distributed throughout Fairfield County.

For further information on my artwork and garden services Jodiann Strmiska can be contacted via email at jodiann54@gmail.com. All serious inquiries are welcome!
 
All artwork showcased was on view in the 'Chroma is Key' exhibition at The Schelfhaudt Gallery
*Newsletter Editor's Note: All event descriptions and featured artist profiles are published as provided.
Copyright © 2015 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.


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