Early April is already brimming with great visual, theater, film, and literary events in Bridgeport this Spring!
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Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.

Early April is already brimming with great visual, theater, film, and literary events in Bridgeport this Spring!

City Lights Gallery, The Housatonic Museum of Art, and The NEST Arts Factory all of have new exhibitions this month and a call for art at Read's Ground Floor Gallery!

Don't miss the opening receptions for 'Forever Young' at City Lights Gallery Thursday, April 9th and 'Visual Verse' at The NEST Arts Factory Saturday, April 11th.

For a mix of crime, film analysis, and Broadway  The Bijou Theatre's 'Reel Law Series' presents Chicago.

Writer's are invited to take part in an open forum at The Writer's Group hosted by artist and poet Shanna T. Melton and The New England Ballet Company celebrates its new location in Bridgeport with a grand opening event including a live performance.

Plus, learn more about our April Featured Artist: Jodiann Strmiska. Strmiska's current studio practice encompasses drawing, mixed-media works on paper, paintings, soft-sculpture, and cut-paper sculpture/installation.

-The Bridgeport Art Trail Team

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

Mixed Media by Karen Kalkstein

City Lights Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 9th , 5:30-8PM

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.”

Live Music Special Event: Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Blues pianist Mark Naftalin sets the mood with his interpretation of Dylan tunes.

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, .


More Info

FILM: Reel Law Series Presents "Chicago"
The Bijou Theatre
Thursday, April 9th at 7PM

Film Description: Everyone loves a legend, but in Chicago, there’s only room for one. Velma Kelley (Zeta-Jones) burns in the spotlight as a nightclub sensation. When she shoots her philandering husband, she lands on Chicago’s famed murderess row, retains Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Gere), and is the center of the town’s most notorious murder case, only increasing her celebrity.
Roxie Hart (Zellweger), seduced by the city’s promise of style and adventure, dreams of singing and dancing her way to stardom. When her abusive lover tries to walk out on her, she too ends up in prison. Billy recognizes a made-for-tabloids story, and postpones Velma’s court date to take on Roxie’s case. Infamy is Roxie’s ticket to stardom. Billy turns her crime of passion into celebrity headlines, and in this town, where murder is a form of entertainment, she becomes a bona-fide star — much to Velma’s chagrin.

As Roxie fashions herself as America’s sweetheart, Velma has more than a few surprises in store, and the two women stop at nothing to outdo each other in their obsessive pursuit of fame and celebrity. Based on both the hit Broadway musical, and the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
Event Description: Stay after the film for a discussion on the legal issues raised.

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LITERARY EVENT: The Writer's Group
City Lights Gallery
Saturday, April 11th
from 2-4PM

Event Description: The Writer's Group gathers again on Saturday, April 11th from 2-4pm! This is a time and space for writing and sharing, it is not an open mic. Sharing and feedback are optional but encouraged. Bring your pen, pad and an open mind. Admission is free. The group is guided and created by Shanna Melton of Poetic Soul Arts and sponsored by City Lights Gallery.

More Info

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.

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SPECIAL EVENT: New England Ballet Company Grand Opening Celebration
Sunday, April 12th

Event Description:
Sunday, April 12, 2015 please join Artistic Director Victor Hugo Trevino, NEBC Board of Directors, Faculty, Staff & Dancers for the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Finch for our new home at 130 Elm Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut!

Performance by New England Ballet Company dancers followed by meet & greet!

Catering by Trattoria 'A Vucchella


More Info

CALL FOR ART: "Here Comes the Sun...By the Light of the Moon"
Read’s Ground Floor Gallery

SUBMISSION DETAILS: Read’s Ground Floor Gallery is now accepting submissions of all interdisciplinary media for its upcoming solar/lunar themed art show: “Here Comes the Sun….By the Light of the Moon”.

Paintings, photography, sculpture, digital images and video projections should pay homage to our life and light source, the sun or its counterpart: the moon (as interpreted by the artist).


Submission Form and Details available online at:

Details TBA


More Info


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.

More Info

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

'Color Braid'- cut-paper installation;- 3' x 12'
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 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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