Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

90th Anniversary exhibition at Silvermine Art Center

Silvermine Guild Art Center
1037 Silvermine Rd., New Canaan, (203) 966-9700
Silvermine Guild 90th Anniversary Exhibit
May 9—June 9, 2012.
Exhibit opens at Anniversary Gala on Sat., May 5, 2012.

Press release

Silvermine Arts Center, located in New Canaan, is celebrating 90 years of bringing the arts to Fairfield County. To commemorate this historic milestone, the arts center will present a range of varied events throughout the year, including a special exhibition of works by guild artist members.

Artists have been drawn to Silvermine since visionary sculptor Solon Borglum moved here in 1906 and established it as a place for artists and art lovers to gather to appreciate, enjoy and learn about the arts. Located in the historic Silvermine area of New Canaan, Connecticut, the Silvermine Arts Center represents many things to many people. To the dedicated professional artist, it is a prestigious place to exhibit – a widely hailed showcase for talent from all over New England and beyond. For the budding artists of tomorrow, it is a source of excellent instruction in a variety of media. And to the community at large, the arts center offers an ongoing cultural and educational experience.

In honor of the 90th anniversary, there will be a celebration of the Silvermine Guild of Artists with an exhibition featuring current Guild Artist members. According to Gallery Director, Jeffrey Mueller, “In this 90th anniversary year, we take the time to honor Silvermine’s long and rich legacy by looking back and reflecting on its many transformations since 1922.” The exhibit has been designed as an open call to all the current Guild members. The Gallery Director is meeting with each of the artists to select one piece that is most representative of their work. “This ambitious installation will weave together a diverse range of media and ideas explored by the Guild’s ceramicists, installation artists, jewelers, painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors and multi-media artists. In many ways, this multi-generational exhibition will both celebrate and illustrate Silvermine’s legacy and its continued commitment to present some of the best artwork being produced in the region,” says Mr. Mueller. The exhibit will be revealed at the Anniversary Gala on May 5 and will be open to the public from May 9 and run through June 9, 2012. The exhibition is sponsored by the Rosenthal Family Foundation in honor of Hinda G. Rosenthal, and media sponsor, Venü Magazine.

“Ninety years as an artist-founded and led organization is truly worth celebrating,” says Executive Director, Leslee Asch. “A tribute to this momentous occasion will be a commemorative book which will highlight the extraordinary history of this magical place and the people who have given tirelessly to make it great.”

The history of Silvermine began in the early 1900's as a colony of artists settled in the Silvermine area, lured by the picturesque countryside. The artists gathered around noted sculptor Solon Borglum, who was to become the founding father of the Silvermine Guild and whose barn was the meeting place where these artists, the so-called "Knockers Club" came to socialize, exchange ideas and critique each others' work. By 1920, the Silvermine Group exhibitions were attracting hundreds of viewers who came out from New York by train and from the surrounding countryside by horse and buggy or car. After Borglum’s sudden death in 1922, the group realized that they needed to organize themselves to hold onto the community they had developed. They began to plan for their future as the Silvermine Guild of Artists. The group formerly incorporated in 1924 as a nonprofit educational organization with a mission to “foster art appreciation, education and the cultural growth of the community.” They purchased a barn and moved it to its present location on Silvermine Road.

As this colony of artists grew the cultural activities became even more sophisticated. On Saturday nights, the local talent put on performances incorporating poetry recitations, plays and musical programs, replete with costumes. These early theatrical endeavors helped set the stage for even more elaborate productions that came several years later, called “The Silvermine Sillies.” The Guild also began offering a few classes in the early 20's and officially became the School of Art in 1924. Through the years, the school offered not only classes in the visual arts, but dance, filmmaking, and acting classes as well.

Today, the Silvermine Arts Center is comprised of a Guild of over 300 professional artists, five galleries presenting new exhibitions every six weeks and sponsoring prestigious regional and national competitions; a gift shop; a School of Art providing a wide range of classes for all levels of experience from ages 2 to 102; and outreach programs in the Norwalk and Stamford schools. A variety of programs, lectures, performances and special events are presented in the intimate setting of our auditorium or outside on the beautiful 4½ acre campus. Silvermine is the preeminent visual arts center in Fairfield County with more than 4,500 annual enrollments at the School of Art and 12,000 visitors to the award-winning galleries. The center provides its artist members, faculty, students and visitors with a common location where they can share ideas, work on projects, teach, explore new areas and grow in their creativity and talents.

(Image is "Lost Souls Crossing the River Styx" by artist Don Axelroad (Web) of Stamford.)

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