Art is a draw at Walnut Beach in Milford

March is just past with its chilly windy days, and though there will be plenty of brisk spring days to follow, it’s a good time to get outdoors.

To enjoy some salt air and help support a new arts/business community, put on a jacket and take a stroll near Walnut Beach in Milford. There visitors will find a welcome from small businesses and artists, who have planned a number of special events this spring, including monthly Art Strolls.

The Walnut Beach community is the birthplace of a cooperating group of small businesses and an artists’ group called Artfish42, formerly know as The Art Collective. On the third Thursday of each month, Artfish42 and Walnut Beach businesses collaborate to showcase local artists in an evening event.

The businesses planning the Art Strolls and other events are Artfish42, Smoke and Mirrors Parlor, Wild Expressions Florist, Walnut Beach Creamery, Scoot and Paddle, and Taste and Sea. The businesses and art collective all collaborate and meet to build the beach art community.

Melissa Smeraglino, owner of Smoke and Mirrors Parlor, said that the area hasn’t had a population like this since the turn of the century. She said she and other businesses decided to start a movement of engaging businesses, art, and spiritual practice like reiki and yoga, all within the Walnut Beach community.

For the March 19 Art Stroll, Smeraglino presented Eric Perro’s “4th dimension photos.” Perro is a native of Milford who photographs landscapes and animals and uses precisely calibrated depth-of-field to create his original images. He has also provided photographs for businesses at the Milford Walnut Beach community. Smeraglino also showcased the art of Michael J. Clocks, created by Michael Johnston, who takes used materials such as cell phones and re-purposes them to make clock sculptures.

Photos by Audra Napolitano

April 1 marked the grand opening of Artfish42 art gallery, described by owner Meg Giannotti as an eclectic group of artists. The group formerly known as the Art Collective was begun by artists who displayed their work at Walnut Beach during the holidays.

On April 4, Smoke and Mirrors Parlor will have a dream catcher workshop. Smeraglino said she is inviting people to come and make dream catchers, young and old. She said she got the idea for the workshop from Daniel Marconi who owns Bend Yoga.

April 16, is the day slated for the April Art Stroll. Smoke and Mirrors Parlor will have live music and live demonstrations of avant garde hair designs on models. Other establishments will be participating as well, featuring artists and their work.

On May 16, the Walnut Beach community will be hosting Brides on Broadway, a strolling bridal show. Giannotti said the event is an opportunity for future brides to explore all the services the beach community has to offer for a wedding. They will see hair and makeup, bridal gifts, flowers, cupcakes and custom ice cream for the big day.

That day, one married couple will be chosen to participate in a vow renewal. They will have a photo session and receive items from each shop to complete the event. To enter, couples are invited to write to to tell their story and why they should be picked to have their vow renewal at the Walnut Beach community.

On the evening of June 21, the Walnut Beach community will celebrate Summer Solstice with a Fairy Frolic. Families will explore the area looking for fairy doors, which are small doors between six and 12 inches tall, made from clay, wood, or other media. Children who find the fairy doors are to leave small items for the fairies, with the promise that they will have wonderful dreams. The youngsters are encouraged to dress up as fairies. There will be face painting, music, food trucks and other events.

The Walnut Beach community will also host a summertime puppet camp July 15, 16 and 17 for children ages 5 to 14. For more information on this and all other events, call Meg Giannotti at 203-893-0823.