The Norwalk Art Space: Bringing Art to the Community
In the city of Norwalk, Connecticut, the community has begun to rejoice as a brand-new art space has opened to the public. The Norwalk Art Space that opened June 4th, 2021, showcases local artists within their gallery space and their outside sculpture garden as well as boasting space for resident artists to work and classrooms where they offer free classes to the public.
The Norwalk Art Space was founded and designed by Alexandra Davern Korry, a “trailblazing M&A lawyer, educator, civil rights advocate, and philanthropist” according to The Norwalk Art Space’s website. Through the creation of the Norwalk Art Space, Korry hoped to create a space for the community where local and under-represented artists could share their work. Unfortunately, Korry passed away in 2020 before the construction was completed just a year later. The building, however, bears her initials, the ADK House, in her honour.
Depending on where visitors enter, there is a café with coffees, teas, and a variety of food. This space has chairs and tables where many come to hang out and artists across all mediums can come to work on their craft without feeling rushed out. Just down a few steps from the café is the gallery floor where most of the work on display can be found.
Throughout the café, gallery space and the second-floor loft there are all kinds of artistic mediums from both the Resident Artists and the Korry Fellow Artists who serve as mentors to the space. Some of the Korry Fellow artists include local and established artist Joe Fucigna and Tara Blackwell, who is known for incorporating pop culture icons to explore different social issues the world faces today.
Her pieces talk about a wide variety of social issues, but one of her pieces on display in the gallery showcases the popular icons of the Power-Puff Girls holding up a sign that reads “Rise Up” on a backdrop of a Pop Rocks package. This piece pops forward with its bright colours and bold lettering, as well as the nostalgic feeling it can bring to the audience who recognize the icons. This representation of girls in power tackles the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Gender Equality head-on.
The Resident Artists are all young and local artists. Lorena Sferlazza is one of such Resident Artists and has a variety of her work on display at the Norwalk Art Space. The message of much of Sferlazza’s art is human interaction with the environment and how the biosphere is suffering. Her work, Icebreaker/We Knew it in the ‘90’s is a piece that brings attention to the melting of the polar ice caps and how long it has been going on, bringing attention to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Climate Action.
Duvian Montoya, the artistic director of the space also showcases his artwork within the gallery. His piece, “They Are Watching” greets guests as they walk in through the main doors of the first-floor gallery. This piece depicts two young children from different backgrounds hugging one another and looking out at the visitors. As Duvian Montoya put it on his Instagram “United against injustice for our black brothers and sisters! Love thy neighbor and support their struggle!!! #blacklivesmatter.”
This powerful piece reminds the viewer that the children of the world are always there watching those around them. Through this piece, Montoya is taking a stand toward the general United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ endeavour to Stand Up for Human Rights.
The Norwalk Art Space includes a sculpture garden displaying both permanent pieces as well as some that will be rotated out. The space also focuses on different types of art, including music. A Student Jazz Ensemble meets and practices outside of the ADK House on Saturdays, allowing visitors to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the talents of young musicians.
There have also been performances by local bands including The Funky Dawgz Brass Band, a local and emerging band that blends an “upbeat mix of traditional New Orleans R&B, original music, hip hop, funk, and today’s top hits with a brass twist,” according to their website.
However, the biggest goal for The Norwalk Art Space is to bring the arts to everyone within the community no matter the person's creative abilities or financial standings. One way that The Norwalk Art Space is doing this is by offering free art classes in the ADK House classrooms to any high school-age youth, which can be found at the building’s lower level.
As of right now, only high school-age children are eligible. However, they hope to expand their programs out to both younger children and adults. As the programming continues to grow, the community will only grow stronger and embrace the arts in a way that it has never been done prior to the Norwalk Art Space.
Most recently, The Norwalk Art Space hosted 3 Birds Productions for its very first Storytelling Event where people of the community gathered to share stories inspired by the song “Dancing in the Streets”. The Norwalk Art Space will also hold its very first Workshop with the artistic director, Duvian Montoya on Saturday, June 26th. To follow The Norwalk Art Space for more events and opening nights for new shows, check out their website, here, as well as their Instagram.