Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:25




 "It's good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new, weird way." - film director/animator Tim Burton

With a mission to join business with art - and art with business, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut will kick off a new year of its multi-site series of visual art shows, Accessible Art, on Monday, February 5th. With five rounds of exhibitions spread over the course of 2018, Accessible Art will provide those who live, work, and play in, or visit, the Greater Danbury region with a sense of the importance of Art in our everyday lives. This round of Accessible Art runs through Friday, April 13th.

 " 'New' is the operative word in 2018," notes the Cultural Alliance's Executive Director, Lisa Scails.  “More than half of the artists selected this year are new to the program.  The experience of their individual creativity and expression will be new to our growing audience and art enthusiasts.  And, all of this is only possible with the support from our small business community, and particularly Danbury City Hall, CityCenter Danbury, Hodge Insurance Agency, Bethel Public Library, Pour Me Café, Mothership Bakery, Hancock Hall, and the Regional YMCA ESCAPE to the Arts.”   

Including six artists from the ten towns serviced by the Cultural Alliance and two from neighboring towns, this premier round of the 2018 Accessible Art series will highlight the works of Clarice Azzoni (Southbury), Betsy Davidson (Bethel), Colin Harrison (Brookfield), Mary Jane Magoon (Sherman), Jan McClean (Shelton), Keith Raphael (Danbury), Wing Na Wong (Danbury), and George Zipparo (Redding).  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.

Clarice Azzoni

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

(203) 743 6246

What would life be without art and photographs?  BORING.

"When I draw or paint, I love to enjoy the process without worrying about the outcome," says Clarice.  "Sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't.  But the process always makes me feel alive." 

Betsy Davidson

Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street, Danbury

(203) 794-9466

Betsy works in an explorative process, often using many different mediums in one piece. Her use of collage and paint together provides a means to express a rich vocabulary of shape shifting in space. She values the role of chance, saying "I welcome serendipitous moments and appreciate when they occur. I strive to be present in the making and then to choose carefully what ultimately remains. My work can be viewed as an outward expression of an internal dialogue with form."

Colin Harrison

Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 792-2323

Colin believes that the photographer's job is really 90% about Seeing, about being in the right place and the right time and actually noticing a moment that is worth capturing and sharing. "Scenes that call out to me and people with whom I can strike a resonance are moments that expose truths that need to be preserved," he notes, adding "and having a camera on hand as well." 

Mary Jane Magoon

Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main Street, Danbury

(203) 417-6914

With a background and education in interior design, Mary Jane has always had a passion for art, especially watercolor. Owning an art gallery, Artistic Surroundings, deepened this infatuation.  "I am especially fascinated by the effects of light and the shadows that it creates, she comments. "Reflected glass and windows are some of my favorite subjects to paint. The transparency and luminosity of watercolor affords reflections to be even more luscious."  

Jan McClean

Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave

(203) 794-8756

Through paint, paper, fibers, fabric, found objects and a 'let's-try-this' approach to mixed media collage, Jan creates the world as  whimsical, colorful, fun and funny. She says, "I offer the viewer playful but also profound insights into the essence of humanness and of Life itself. I am a storyteller. Whether the motifs are houses, trees, critters or something more abstract, my work is always a narrative. Houses carry on conversations. Trees dance. Fish teem in cosmic seas. The story may not always be evident, but it is inevitable."

Keith Jay Raphael

Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue

(203) 797-4511

A global financier, sculptor, woodworker, and Kodak Award winner at the age of 18, Keith has produced photography for the last 46 years. He says, "I find that abstraction feeds my imagination, creativity, and alternative thinking. There is no greater artistic satisfaction for me than to produce an image that speaks to my diverse interests in art, nature, and humanity. Each time this happens, the wonderment of my inner child is triggered and I am elated."

Wing Na Wong (Wendy)

CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street

(203) 792-1711

Wendy decided at the age of twelve that she wanted to be an artist. Drawing, painting and digital arts have always been her focus. "I love the fusion of practical projects with the creative process," she passionately shares. 

George Zipparo

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

(203) 794-1413

"My work is my statement," George declares. The artist is best known for his captivating, true-to-life portraiture.


"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




Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut
287 Main Street
Danbury, CT 06810

Tel 203.798.0760


Be Part of the Arts!