I recently found a little piece of Vermont right here in Greater Hartford. I paid a visit to the Farmington Valley Arts Center (FVAC), a community art center and artist community located in Avon. The environment surrounding two stories of artist studios feels pastoral and peaceful. I can see why artists retreat here for a creative place to work. I toured the facilities with Gallery Director, Sandy Buerkler; Board Treasurer, Linda Howard Sorrell; and board member Carol Kaplan who also rents a studio with her husband at FVAC.
The holiday season was fast approaching when I visited and upon walking into FVAC’s Fisher Gallery and a retail space I imagined myself checking off a few names on my holiday gift list right then and there. Sandy Buerkler brings in artists from around New England to showcase and sell their work at the center. Everything from jewelry, to prints, ceramics and textile arts can be found in the store. Another gallery is just a few steps along the porch, the Drezner Visitor’s Gallery. The latest show is entitled Contained. It features 2D and 3D artwork in response to the questions: What does a vessel or container mean to you? Is it a functional object, or something spiritual or emotional? Is it a place to put things for safekeeping, or a way to display its contents? Is it an actual pot to put things in, or a representation, or is it something else? This is the final show of 2015 and runs through December 31, 2015.
Alongside the Drezner Gallery are two art studios dedicated to FVAC’s educational programming. Art classes for children and adults are offered in various artistic disciplines including: painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography. Parents will love the opportunity to keep children busy on days when school is not in session with FVAC’s Art Fun Days. These workshops are based on the Avon Public Schools calendar and offer a full day’s worth of art activities. The Center has also begun piloting an in-school arts education program in Avon elementary schools; another way to promote their mission of promoting creativity through exhibits, special events and unique educational programs.
With the artist studios set up in rows with windows and patio furniture, you feel as though you’re strolling down a quaint city center street. You can peek into the windows and see the variety of talent that occupies the former explosives factory building. (Have I mentioned that community art centers are in some of the coolest buidlings!?). The autumn foliage and unseasonably warm weather definitely added to the experience.
You don’t have to peer into the studio windows in order to see the work being down on the campus. Every first Saturday of the month, artists open up their studio doors to anyone interested in getting a sense of their work and space. The number of open studio days increases during the holiday season with studios open to the public every Saturday through December 19th. Don’t forget to stop into the Drezner Gallery and the Fisher Gallery and retail space!
Check out www.artsfvac.org for more details on upcoming open studios, workshops, art classes and more.