Torrington Stories

A Day of Art: Part One Open Your Eyes

Saturday 6/25/2016 was an amazing day to enjoy art in northwest Connecticut as multiple events were celebrated that showcased the work of extraordinary artists within our community.

The festivities celebrating the 2016 Open Your Eyes Studio Tour (Litchfield/Thomaston) actually began last weekend when an advance preview party was held at the Renaissance of Litchfield. Selections from some of the 25 artists were on display and information about the tour was available.

The official tour, which is presented by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, began today, Saturday 6/25 (10-5pm), and will continue on Sunday 6/26 (10-4pm).

The Open Your Eyes Studio tour is designed to allow individuals to visit the studios and galleries of artists in a focused region of northwest Connecticut and meet and talk with the artists.  Each of the tour locations were numbered 1-25 but anyone interested in the tour can select individual locations to visit-they are not required to go in order or even attempt to visit all of the locations during the event although I can imagine that viewing all 25 locations would be a wonderful opportunity and I would not be surprised if many take on that challenge.

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Jennifer Sabella in her studio during the 2016 Open Your Eyes Studio Tour

My first stop was #6 on the tour at 160 West Street and I visited with the artist Jennifer Sabella. I recognized her work instantly.  A few years back her work was featured at the renowned Five Points Gallery in downtown Torrington. Sabella has been creating art her whole life and it should be noted her family is imbued with artistic talent. During the tour I noticed some wonderful sculptures in her studio which were the works of her daughter.

Sabella creates in multiple styles but what I recognized was her iconic use of patterned colors created via a pouring process. The intricacy of the work and how thin a particular line of paint could be poured onto a canvas was very special and it was an honor to see her demonstrate the process.

Jennifer Sabella’s work can be found on her website

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My second visit on the tour was stop number 7: Amber Maida who was located at 64 West street. I’m very familiar with Maida’s work ever since it was showcased at Dennis Bialek’s “Stepping Stones” gallery in downtown Torrington last year. Maida’s work is conceptual and organic and I perceived it received some inspiration from a native America culture which, as it turns out is quite appropriate as she is part of that heritage.  On grand canvases her textured creations all have unique stories and visions and possesses a tactile quality that photographs can’t fully capture.

Maida’s “visual journals” were featured in solo shows in Torrington and in Litchfield (at Serendipity) and next month she will have he distinguished honor of a solo show at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. From a juried members exhibition, her work was selected to receive a solo show.

From our interview today I’ll be writing a separate and more detailed article about her process leading up to the opening reception which will be held Sunday, July 31, 2:00-4:00 p.m at the Mattatuck 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT 06702 and artist talk on August 17th.

Amber Maida’s website is


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My final stop on the tour for Saturday was at Anne Marie Papineau’s location. Papineau’s work is heavily influenced by nature and her signature self portrait is a deer. Illustrations of deer and wildlife abounded and I enjoyed them immensely but what caught my eye were sets of unique glasses, Lenox Crystal, with trees lovingly etched on them.  The exquisite na Birch Tree glasses have quite intricate detail as there were 6 individual layers of colors layered into place to create them. Once again, photos hardly do the work justice, it’s much better to see the work in person which is clearly one of the many benefits of the Open Your Eyes Studio Tour.


Anne Marie Papineau’s work can be found on her website

My day continued at New Hartford for the Cheers to a Year at the Hurley event which I will write about tomorrow.

The Open Your Eyes Studio Tour continues tomorrow 6/26 from 10am to 4pm and I look forward to visiting with more artists. Tell me about YOUR adventures on the tour and if you give me permission, I’ll share your photos and stories here on Nutmeg Chatter!



Categories: Torrington Stories

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