VENU #32 FALL 2016

Page 20



Wilson Avenue Loft Artists Depict “A Sense of Place” WALA’s Annual Exhibition and Open Studios offers an opportunity to view a great variety of creativity and envision 16 artists at work


Written by Nancy Helle

Halfway between South Norwalk’s lively restaurant scene and the picturesque village of Rowayton, a former industrial complex has been transformed


into a unique beehive of creativity – the Wilson Avenue Loft Artists, known as WALA. Fifteen studios with soaring ceilings, tall windows and a large exhibition space have attracted an outstanding enclave of 16 artists, mostly from Fairfield County with two from nearby areas in New York. WALA was founded in 2007 by two artists, Lori Glavin and Britt Bair. Bair’s Darien neighbor, David Genovese owned an empty factory building in South Norwalk with rentable space, and liked the idea of provid-


ing a place for artists to work. WALA’s popular annual community event is a

For “A Sense of Place”, some artists have

group exhibition which opens on Friday, Octo-

depicted a special part of the world they trea-

ber 28th with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and

sure, some are captivated by the sea, familiar

continues with Open Studios on Saturday and

landscapes or everyday objects, while others



Sunday, the 29 and 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

envision imaginary landscapes and scenes or

The studios are at 225 Wilson Avenue (Rt. 136) on

share personal stories. As Nancy McTague-Stock,

the 2nd floor, but the entrance and parking are off

exhibition co-chair with Lori Glavin, says, “Place

Ely Avenue behind the building.

is a mindset of being in the moment; it can refer

The exhibition, “A Sense of Place” is curated

to a specific location or a specific state of mind.”

by Sophia Gevas, the former Director of the

According to curator Gevas, “A Sense of

Gallery of Contemporary Art at Sacred Heart

Place” is an ideal theme to celebrate the inno-

University, current Outreach Education Director

vative and singular ways we all think about our

at Silvermine Arts Center and an Adjunct Faculty

own ‘places’, whether a personal interpretation

member at Housatonic Community College. She

or a particular location in our world. Viewing this

says, “Collectives like WALA provide stimulating

exciting group of diverse works will open up our

opportunities for artists to reflect and discuss

minds to possibilities, which is what all good art

their work with other creators. In addition to

experiences ensure.”


making art, they often teach or volunteer, and


with free public events like Open Studios, con-

For more information on WALA: email:

tribute to making Norwalk the culturally vibrant

Lori Glavin: or Nancy

city it has become.”



Nancy McTague-Stock’s (1) archival pigment prints were created in Amsterdam, Holland, earlier this year. An area called Prisengracht inspired her “study of environmental observations, focused on perceptual illusions through movement”. Memories of New Mexico led to Erin Dolan’s (2) painting, Return’ to Taos, capturing “the intriguing contrast and connection between natural and urban places, and the colors, feel, mood and texture of moments which translate into visual stories that encapsulate the essence of the place.” “Water and skies have always been my passion,” says Vicki French Smith (3). “Creating movement and texture in my paintings takes me to places I want to be. I seek to create dramatic emotion using complementary colors, soft and hard edges and a variety of brushes, palette knives, and techniques.” Julie Van Norden (4) is constantly in awe of the endless blue created by the horizon where the sky meets the ocean. “There is nothing like the vastness of the sky and sea to make you realize how tiny and 4

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