Wilton artists 'show' off with help of local business

Guy Monteleone, owner of Aren Hairstyling, stands behind Nina Pomeroy, a Wilton photographer whose work will hang in Mr. Monteleone’s business as part of Wilton’s Artist Showcase. Ms. Pomeroy is holding on of the pieces that will hang.

Guy Monteleone, owner of Arena Hairstyling, stands behind Nina Pomeroy, a Wilton photographer whose work will hang in Mr. Monteleone’s business as part of Wilton’s Artist Showcase. Ms. Pomeroy is holding one of the pieces that will hang.

As part of the first Wilton Artist Showcase, 12 area artists and businesses will join forces this weekend to provide out-of-the-ordinary galleries of work throughout Wilton Center.

Sponsored by the Wilton Arts Council, the artist showcase begins Saturday, Sept. 20, and will run through the end of October, said Beth Schneider, the event’s organizer.

“For artists in general, this event allows a venue to show their work,” Ms. Schneider said. “One of the largest problems we have in Wilton for artists is that we really don’t have a venue. The arts council is a volunteer organization without real estate.”

At the same time, the event will help draw patrons to local businesses they may not otherwise be interested in entering.

“Having a number of shows at the same time draws interest to see the collection rather than a single opening here or there,” Ms. Schneider said.

Speaking from her own experiences showing work in a local business, the organizer said the commercial venues hosting works often see great benefits, as do the artists involved. A similar event was held recently in Ridgefield, when downtown businesses stayed open on a Friday evening, and throngs filled the town’s Main Street going from one venue to another.

“The business benefit is seen through people I knew coming to the space, and then deciding to stay for dinner and returning on other occasions to have dinner there,” she said. “And, I ended up selling a number of my pieces to the customers of the restaurant.”

Of the businesses participating, Pet Pantry Warehouse and Wilton Hardware were the first to sign up, but all were eager to host art.

Rather than simply assigning a random artist to a random business, the event’s organizers took care to match the two entities.

“Matching an artist to a business was one of the considerations in having the artist complete an application,” Ms. Schneider said. “In some cases, we had a certain business request a certain medium — whether it be photography or painting — or certain ideas in the subject matter they wanted. We considered all of that in matching up the artists.”

Nina Pomeroy, a Wilton-based photographer, said by email Monday she chose to participate in the festival because she, herself, also runs a small business.

“Local businesses such as myself have to consistently work hard to keep shoppers local,” she said. “I’m happy to help bring awareness to other fellow small businesses and having a walking art exhibit right in town will hopefully get people out and see just how much Wilton’s small businesses have to offer.”

A map depicting participating businesses and their coordinated artists will be made available on Friday, Sept. 19, Ms. Schneider said.

Participating artists are:

• Vince Balzano, of Wilton

• Shannon Cruickshank, of Wilton

• Rick Locke, of Wilton

• Zita Mercurio, of Wilton

• Nina Pomeroy, of Wilton

• Dean Price, of Wilton

• Anthony Festa, of Norwalk

• Emily Kelting, of New Canaan

• Curtis Lew, of Pound Ridge, N.Y.

• Steve Pomerantz, of Danbury

• Denise Susalka, of Redding

• Paul Wear, of Norwalk.

Participating businesses are:

• Arena Hairstyling

• “B” Chic

• The GAP

• Peach Wave

• Pet Pantry Warehouse

• Starbucks

• Connecticut Coffee Company

• Stewart Flowers

• Sweet Pierre’s

• Vintage Fine Wines

• The Chamber of Commerce

• Wilton Hardware

• Witchypoo.

Information: wiltonarts.org.

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