Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Friday evening opening of "New Americana" at Arts Council of Greater New Haven's Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery

Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery
70 Audubon St., 2nd floor, New Haven, (203) 772-2788
New Americana
Through Mar. 4, 2011
Artists' reception: Fri., Jan. 28, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents New Americana, an exhibition curated by Margaret Bodell and Debbie Hesse, in the Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, 70 Audubon St., 2nd floor. The exhibition will be on display during business hours from Mon., Jan. 24 through Fri., March 4. A public reception is scheduled for Fri., Jan. 28, 2011, from 5—7 p.m.

New Americana is an exhibition of drawings and paintings by emerging contemporary artists with disabilities. Featured artists will include Vito Bonanno, Ricky Hagedorn, Kenya Hanley, Andy Lacouture, Bill McDonnell, Susan Oliver, Michael Pellew, Chris Platt and Kerry Quirk (see image).

Curator Margaret Bodell, a community arts advocate in New Haven, works to develop programs and exhibits such as New Americana, which highlight the extraordinary contributions of underrepresented artists such as those with disabilities. “The work of these artists is highly personal,” she says. “Much of it focuses on themes of current events and reflects a strong sense of the artist’s community.” She describes the artists’ work as “contemporary Americana,” a term she uses to acknowledge the ever-expanding impact and significance of the work of artists with disabilities and other marginalized artists, commonly classified as “Outsider Art.”

Artist Bill McDonnell has Asperger’s Syndrome. “What I always wanted to be was a comic book artist. Now I go to a program called Second Sight where I write and draw and play music in a band.” McDonnell’s work has been shown in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York City and New Jersey.

Each artist in the show works with at least one artist-mentor. The artist-mentors are highly attuned individuals that aid in the process of enabling the artist to bring forth their artistic visions. Robert Sanchez is one such artist-mentor: “My work with Vito is collaborative. Vito has developed his own ‘brand’ around characters that emerge through his experiences. My role is helping him bring his characters to life through our discussions and through collaboration on new pieces.” Other artist-mentors include Nate Carroll, Toni Carroll, Justin Crosby, Mathew Murphy, Dan O’Brien, Liz Pagano, Carlos Sanches, Liz Squillace and Katro Storm.

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