by Keith Loria
Some of the area’s finest artists will get a chance to showcase their work throughout Ridgefield as the Ridgefield Guild of Artists will present the Fourth Annual Art Walk, matching artists with different merchants. The event opens on Friday and runs for two weeks.
Pam Stoddart, executive director of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, and chair of the event, said the genesis of Art Walk came about after many of the guild members had participated in similar events in surrounding towns and longed for one of their own.
“We wanted to bring it closer to them and have it right here in their backyard,” she said. “The merchants also had asked for us to create the event, bringing artists into our downtown.”
The event has been incredibly well received by both the artists and the town. The first year saw 60 artists participating and this year there will be close to 100.
“We expanded the radius even further and added a couple of new stores. We had to expand from our downtown Main Street, stores to another area in town called Copps Hill Commons (off Danbury Road) to accommodate the influx of applications,” Stoddart said. “We have a record number of entries this year with artists coming from 23 towns in Fairfield County and the New York metro area.”
Artists are chosen for the event by an Art Walk committee, who spend many long hours holistically reviewing each artist application and analyzing the best fit with local merchants. As for merchant selections, the merchant has to be on board with the festivities that go along with this event.
“It is a collaboration in the spirit of generosity for this community event,” Stoddart said. “We try to fit artists with the decor and theme of the store. Also, size is a consideration. Some stores have large wall spaces and some only have small spaces for table top easels.”
The artists are thrilled as are the merchants receiving traffic in their stores. Last year, more than 50 pieces of art were sold at all price points, and many of the artists became more established among the community.
It all begins with a Friday opening night event, when patrons can stroll the streets, weaving in and out of the stores viewing the artwork and meeting the artists. Saturday is Artists Day, when artists will set up on the sidewalks with demonstrations.
Also, during these two weeks the guild is abuzz with many visitors to the gallery.
“The entire event is in conjunction with a gallery show at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists barn at 34 Halpin Lane in downtown Ridgefield,” Stoddart said. “One piece from all participating artists is hung in the gallery as a representation of what is found in the stores. The visitors pick up the Art Walk map and take notes marking their favorite artists then head downtown to see more of their work in the matching merchant locations.”
The artists represent different genres and styles.
Abstract artist Darlene M Keeffe will be participating in the Art Walk Ridgefield for the first time and is eagerly anticipating the event.
“I love to share part of myself visually with the world and what an exciting event to do so,” she said. “I am most looking forward to seeing various works, all different artists, media and subjects coming together to create one instillation, one interactive work of art.”
Keeffe will exhibit work from her recent series of abstracted resin paintings.
“As an abstract artist, the challenge is always to tell enough information that they viewer will understand and engage but not too much that they will not interact and have their own experience,” she said. “Fluid painting is my obsession. My works are abstracted color fields where much of the art is in the process, what remains to view is the record of its movement.”
Judith Lambertson, who studied at the National Academy and Art Students League, will be showing her newest plein air work, beautifully framed and on display stands on the jewelry counters of Addessi Jewelers.
“It is a beautiful shop with friendly and generous, community minded people,” she said. “The Ridgefield Art Walk is very enjoyable. Meeting and talking to lots of people, explaining my art and process and enjoying the enthusiasm of art appreciators makes for a delightful day.”
Sally Waldrup Boyd, an artist from Birmingham, Ala., will be exhibiting her work at William Raveis Real Estate. Her sister-in-law, Cheryl Ann Boyd, is a real estate agent and local singer. The artist, a cancer survivor, is donating 10% of sales of her artwork this weekend to Raveis for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
“There is really nothing I love more than getting into the creative zone,” Sally Boyd said. “You have an outlet for ideas, art to do, and always something to learn.”
Greta Corens, a sought-after fashion designer in New York City, has taught the principles of design in various Westchester institutes and paints figurative scenes with people and flowers.
“As an artist, I look forward to meeting the inhabitants of the beautiful town of Ridgefield, to speak with them and get to know what they are looking for in their environment that I could bring in the future with my work as a watercolor botanical artist,” she said. “It would be great to know what it is this community is really looking for from artists. This event is the perfect medium to make that happen.”
Corens will showcase two watercolors of white roses on ultramarine fields and four photos of nature scenes that Ridgefield may recognize.
“Images of the ancient Ridgefield Oak tree in Halpin Lane, an image of another awesome tree in spring bloom at the Hudson River, a summery scene of an inlet of the Sound in Old Greenwich, and a scene of spring blossoms that poetically frame a church entrance,” she said. “I hope that people of Ridgefield will cater to my art, as I have selected works that I felt are beloved subject matter. Nature’s beauty and how people enrich it with finesse, care and love can be witnessed everywhere in this very special, beauty- and art-oriented community of Ridgefield.”
In addition to the art on display, there will be a number of local musicians performing on the streets and other activities throughout the two weeks.
Art Walk runs through Sept. 8. For more information, call 203-438-8863 or visit rgoa.org.
“The arts are very big in Ridgefield and we can truly call ourselves an artistic community,” Stoddart said. “The town people love it, young and old, because it’s like going to a museum right here in town. It’s a fun family outing on a nice summer day or night to stroll the streets and view the art in the windows.”