Thursday, 02 November 2017 13:58







"Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is 'to fit together' and we all do this every day." -  Sister Mary Corita Kent

"Fitting together" is at the heart of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut's Accessible Art program, a year-long, multi-site series of visual art shows that joins business with art. The decade-old program has grown significantly, this year featuring more than 30 artists in 9 venues over 5 rounds of exhibition, more than 40 shows in all. Opening Monday, October 30th, Accessible Art runs through Friday, December 29th.

This final round of 2017 Accessible Art mountings will highlight the works of Alma Al-Faham (Danbury), Steve Bean (Danbury), Frederick P. Burger (Danbury), Anne Marie Foran (Newtown), Carol Gibson (Bethel), Crystal Keeler (Patterson, NY), Chris Ludwig (New Milford), Honorah O'Neill (Bethel), and Tara Tomaselli (Newtown).   Hours at the venues vary, so call ahead. For more information about Accessible Art, call (203) 798 0760 or visit  All exhibitions are subject to change.

Alma Al-Faham

Pour Me Coffee & Wine Cafe, 274 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 743 6246

Born and raised in Kuwait to a Syrian father and a Jordanian mother, Alma Al-Faham holds a BSc in Architectural Engineering. She has lived, worked and exhibited her art in Jordan, Greece, and the US, complementing her passion for art by taking extensive courses in painting and jewelry design in both Greece and Jordan. Poetry, the blue waters of the Aegean sea, and Damascene architecture are her sources of inspiration.

Steve Bean

YMCA's ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 794-1413

Steve Bean possesses the soul of a wanderer. He earned a BA in Illustration and Painting at Western Connecticut State University, and has continued his own education and sought inspiration by exploring US National Parks from Alaska to Maine. Steve's unique style is a combination of the expressive quality of impasto painting with the fluidity of the sumi brush. He often uses cake decorating tips to create unique textures.

Frederick P. Burger

Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue

(203) 797-4511

For Frederick P. Burger, photography is all about recording the action of light on our world. His interest in the impact of man on the urban environment is evident in the way urban landscapes are changed by the choices of lighting used once the sun has gone down. His work strives to capture the ways in which artificial light are used to enhance and inform our perception of the man-made environments in which we live and play, whether they are stationary or in motion.

Anne Marie Foran

Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 417-6914

Anne Marie Foran, whose show is entitled Water and Woods, works in a variety of mediums. She received her BFA from Marymount Manhattan College and has studied at the Washington Art Association. Her works have been awarded numerous prizes and she has been included in exhibitions at The Gallery of the Brookfield for the Arts and at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury. She is a member of the Washington Art Association and the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists. 

Carol Gibson

CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street

(203) 792-1711

Carol Gibson says she is an "eclectic photographer." Her passion for photography has been instrumental in showing her the beauty in all of her surroundings. Her mantra is, 'Look up. Look down. Look all around. You never know what will be found.'  Her greatest honor is seeing her photograph of the 9/11 Flag Memorial in Newtown CT hanging in the New York Stock Exchange. Her ultimate goal is to have it hang in the Oval Office.

Crystal Keeler

Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street, Danbury

(203) 794-9466

In Frozen in Time, Crystal Keeler shows a deep passion for both science and the arts, for example, combining traditional and digital 3D sculpting techniques or abstract work mixing the effects of heat and gravity in a fast setting epoxy resin She has a degree in Media Arts & Animation. Her latest abstract series, from calm vistas reminiscent of a spring meadow or cresting waves on an ocean to dynamic expanding nebulas glowing in brilliant colors, each work represents a transient emotional state "frozen in time.' 

Chris Ludwig

Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave

(203) 794-8756

"In my art," Chris Ludwig says, "the final versions rarely seem to resemble their source, which I guess can be the case for many of my observations. We see the world how we want to, and perhaps, not as it is. My art is an extension of my own reality or lack thereof."

Honorah O'Neill

Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street

(203) 797 4505

"I give flesh to monsters," proclaims Honorah O'Neill lightheartedly.

Tara Tomaselli

Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 792-2323

Tara Tomaselli is a fine art photographer with over 20 years working in the industry. Primarily self-taught, she has been professionally exhibiting and selling her photographs since 2012. She notes,"When I come upon an interesting subject, I like to observe and take it in from all angles, then I hone in on what I feel is the most appealing part - most often a close up, showing the beauty in things no matter their current state, objects that are old, discarded, junked, rusted, decayed, interesting."


The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, with offices at 287 Main Street, Danbury, CT, is a leader in supporting a vibrant arts and culture community in Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties. The Cultural Alliance promotes and advocates for arts, history, and culture as a primary driver of the economy and as an enriching influence for communities and people. The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, a 501c-3, is the largest and only regional service organization working to ensure better access to arts and culture for all residents and visitors in Greater Danbury. Major funding is provided by the Connecticut Office of the Arts with additional support  by public and private funding, corporate sponsors, and by its 290 members including more than 55 arts, history, and cultural organizations.  For information on the services and programs of the Cultural Alliance, as well as to volunteer or donate call (203) 798 0760.


"Youth is in a grand flush, like the hot days of ending summer; and pleasant dreams thrall your spirit, like the smoky atmosphere that bathes the landscape of an August day." - Connecticut essayist Donald G. Mitchell

Ever growing, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut's year-long, multi-site program, Accessible Art,  joining Business with Art, continues to catch the eye with an upcoming 10 exhibitions of visual arts, opening on Monday, August 28th. Pour Me Coffee & Wine Cafe at 274 Main Street, Danbury,  is the newest presenter, featuring the works of Bethel artist JOSEPH ANNINO in an exhibition entitled "Diffractions." 

The artist is inspired by works by Agnes Martin, El Lissitzky, Yayoi Kusama, and Mark Rothko, and each piece results in varying moods and impressions as lines and forms "diffract" through the aperture of the mind of the viewer. Signing works as JoViAn, the artist has been painting for the past two years in a variety of mediums, techniques, and styles, believing that each informs the others along a path of creative development. Joseph has presented works in solo shows at Molten Java in Bethel, and has also shown in Boston, Redding, Danbury, and New Milford.

Accessible Art exhibitions, running through Friday, October 20th, also include:

KATIE TYNAN HELU, CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street, (203) 792 1711  "As a ceramic artist and potter, I employ a meticulous gas-kiln firing process to bring out the beauty of the glazes I use, adding a unique depth to the color as the flow of the flame directs its attention to each piece.  My creations include hand-built and sculptural pieces as well as pottery thrown on the wheel. My pieces are never exactly alike, but each piece carries an essence from the potter's hand."        

SUSAN KEOWN, YMCA's ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 794-1413 "I gather parts of my life through painted and drawn papers, discarded and found objects  As a life is woven together, balanced with many parts, I combine these pieces together to form my coherent visions."

SCOTT LEWIS, Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street, Danbury, (203) 794-9466 "As a professional artist's model, I have been the subject of many works of art on display over the years. Now I am pursuing my interest in photography and travel, and drawing on my creative background in film making and writing to create my own narrative images." 

KARIN MANSBERG, Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 417-6914 "In my art, the final versions rarely seem to resemble their source, which I guess can be the case for many observations. We see the world how we want to, and perhaps, not as it is. My art is an extension of my own reality or lack thereof."

CYNTHIA O'CONNOR, Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave, (203) 794-8756 "I've been a photographer all my life. My camera is always with me, my eye, always open. Essentially self-taught, this is my gift, for which I'm so grateful. Yet, for true fulfillment, it's sharing my discoveries, moments that gave me a thrill, a lump in my throat, those that make me stop, sigh, and completely captivate me."

CHRIS PLAISTED, Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street, (203) 797-4505 "My works tend to focus on forms of contrast. It may be in the concept: man vs. nature, social vs. emotion, or it may be the tension created by the use of materials. I connect with the juxtaposition of different materials; steel with copper and concrete, wood with metals. I believe that the opposing materials, forms, or colors in my work, intensify each element's properties to produce a more dynamic form of expression."

STEPHANIE SAFARIK, Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue, (203) 797-4511 "Perseverance is how I describe my life and photography.    I love getting lost in black and white photography.  For me, it lets my imagination wander while still being elegant and simple.  Most of my work is concentrated around water since that is where I feel the most alive yet  peaceful."

GARY STANFORD, CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street, (203) 792-1711 "The very essence  of photography is the ability to create an historical record of an event  at a precise moment in time.  Events may involve people, places and things and be literal or figurative.  My purpose as a photographer is to depict the world around me and to offer my interpretation of that event."

HELGA RUOPP, Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 792-2323 "In my artwork I seek to capture 'innocence' and 'beauty' in everyday sightings using the  colors of  nature."

For information about Accessible Art and other programs offered by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, call (203) 798 0760 0r visit





"I always thought it would be a great thing to do an art carwash. So you can actually go and get your car washed, but while you're sitting around waiting you can walk in that hallway where you look at the cars going through the window, and that could be changing exhibitions." - visual artist Kenny Scharf

Summer is upon us, and with it, a sense of playfulness and ease. Art pops up in unexpected places, public visual art installations and performances appear on town sidewalks or in farmers' fields, and festivals abound. And with it, too, the Accessible Art program, now in its 10th season under the curatorial eye of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, provides leisurely summer strollers and curious arts enthusiasts plenty of opportunity to pause, reflect, and enjoy. The 3rd mounting of 2017 Accessible Art exhibitions opens on Monday, June 26th and runs through Friday, August 18th in 8 venues. People love to visit and live where the Arts thrive, and the Accessible Art program underscores that belief. So, as you take some time off to escape the everyday, consider visiting some of the exhibitions listed below.  

This round of Accessible Art, a year-'round, multi-site program, joining Business with Art, features the works of Debra Burger (Danbury, CT), Barbara Courtian (New York, NY), Justin Farigiano (Bethel, CT), Victoria Harriott (Norwalk, CT) Chris Kiely (Danbury, CT), Toni Miraldi (Sandy Hook, CT), Betsy Post (Newtown, CT), and Charlene Schosser (Danbury, CT).

Hours at the venues vary, so call ahead. For more information about Accessible Art, call (203) 798 0760 or visit  (All exhibitions are subject to change.) 

Debra Burger

Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue, (203) 797-4511

Throughout the years, Debra has been capturing images from her other creative passion - her garden. Challenging herself to create a body of work from the objects in her garden, she has created larger-than-life images that examine the color, shape, texture, and life of each plant and flower. They provide the viewer with a unique perspective on the fragile, yet bold impression each flower offers. She is President of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Western New York Chapter.

Barbara Courtian

Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 417-6914

"The nature of watercolor, my chosen medium, demands a certain spontaneity", says Barbara.  "There is a lot that is unpredictable, whether it is the way the colors flow together or how they dry on the paper. They seem to have a mind of their own and possess a certain freshness. That is what makes watercolor unlike any other medium and such a challenge." She enjoys exploring neighborhoods, whether they be amidst the quick pulse of a city or the tranquility of the country. "Both offer such wonderful contrasts and are a never ending source of inspiration".

Justin Farigiano

Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street, (203) 797-4505

Justin believes the human brain is the most complex thing in the universe. "It can create poetry or destroy itself alive, and sometimes it considers the two the same, he says. "It can build the great pyramids of Egypt and at the same time just want to spend a whole day in bed. It's essentially a computer that runs a mass of plumbing. And even though we all have the same mess of electric charges and chemicals, we perceive the world differently. Through my photography, I strive to formalize the surreal qualities of the mind, and how it interacts with people, places, and its host."

Victoria Harriott

YMCA's ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 794-1413

Before Victoria found painting, music was her escape. But during Victoria's junior year of high school, she was taking an art class specific to painting where her teacher introduced her to the monochromatic / pop art style that her work is done in currently. She recalls being so amazed by how a few different tones of color could make a complete photo. She says, "My work is the place where my love for music and passion for painting meet."

Chris Kiely

CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street, (203) 792-1711

A photographer, Chris is dedicated to exploring and documenting the beauty in vacant buildings.  His inspiration is the solitude, tranquility, nostalgia, and sometimes eeriness of forgotten places.

Toni Miraldi

 Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street, Danbury, (203) 794-9466 

Toni Miraldi writes, "As a mural artist, my mission is to transform plain walls into stimulating walls. I believe our attitudes are subtly influenced by our environs. If we surround ourselves and our communities with small positive messages--whether they be art, nature, inspiring architecture or kind words--we will see the world differently than if we are surrounded by suspicion, fear and despair. This is why I love murals. They take a thing that literally surrounds us--a wall--and turn it into an encouragement."

Betsy Post

Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave, (203) 794-8756

Though not a professional artist or even an 'artist' in the way you define it, Betsy can claim the title as a "needle artist," approaching 60 years old who has always found fulfillment creating beautiful pictures from a needle and thread. Working in her spare time, she finds that needlework "connects me to my female ancestors and hopefully those in the future who will chose to create art from fabric and thread." 

Charlene Schosser

Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 792-2323

"I have always been attracted to color", Charlene notes. "For over 10 years I have dreamt of using paint chips in artwork. Finally I was able to follow my vision, using colors that have body to them in different shapes and sizes, allowing me to explore the endless options of tiling these beautiful colors in a totally different art form. Paint chips, glue, artist board and a trusty knife or hole punch are combined to form each art piece, at first simplistic but, in viewing, quite complex. What was first intended for furniture, walls and floors, now dance around in my art pieces, expressing joy, life and light". 

Published in ArtsWestern News
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