This weekend I was fortunate enough to visit the Farmington Valley Arts Center (FVAC) in Avon, Connecticut. A friend of mine had some pieces in FVAC’s show “Art on the Line”. After viewing the artwork in the Fisher Gallery, we walked around the campus and visited open studios.
The grounds are beautiful and utterly inspiring; trees, wild flowers and nature trails surround several red brick buildings, and all the studios have large windows; a covered walkway connects them.
There was no organized tour, but people were encouraged to visit any or all of the 20 working studios. Each artist was there to personally answer questions or speak with visitors. The caliber of work is incredible – everything from traditional oil paintings to something that I can only describe as “dynamic particled sculpture suspended from the ceiling” (check out Robin Mobiles studio 3B if you ever get a chance).
But more impressive than the works of art were the people of FVAC. Everyone has this exciting, creative, contagious energy surrounding them, administrative staff as well as studio artists. One painter told me that she has grown so much being in this artistic-group environment rather than working alone in her home studio. I could completely understand what she meant. This was only my first visit, lasting about 3 hours, and I was so energized and inspired I felt the need to go back and get to work right away… who cares that it was nearly 10:00 at night!
This is a rare and special place. I’m not sure if I can do it justice in words. It felt like a family of artists, not just people renting space in the same building. They really work together, teaching each other new techniques, offering suggestions, critiques, or just the company of like-minded people. As you might imagine, they are careful about the artists who are invited to join their community. To rent a studio you must first go through an interview & jury review. But even though it is a relatively small, close-knit group, I never felt unwelcome or excluded.
I was grateful to meet everyone. Just to know that this place exists is inspiring to me. Marty Rotblatt, Executive Director, told me that they had a very successful fiber arts show a few months back and are planning another one in the fall. I made sure to get my name on their mailing list & I’ll post a call for entries when I have more info. If anyone is now or will be in the Farmington, Connecticut area anytime soon, I highly recommend visiting FVAC.
Are there communities like this in your area? It might be nice to know, in case I find myself traveling in your neck of the woods. I hope you have a place that inspires you and captures your imagination. Better still, if you find other artists there who are doing the same.
http://www.fvac.net/index.shtml Click on the link for more info & directions to FVAC.