A new art museum is opening Saturday, June 5 in central Norwalk with a free weekend celebratory party. The museum will include an exhibition gallery, a sculpture garden with regular live music on weekends, a cafe, studios for artists, a classroom and workspaces for students.
— an announcement from The Norwalk Art Space
The Norwalk Art Space is located at 455 West Ave., next to Mathews Park (the location of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum). The museum building is the former Norwalk First Church of Christ Scientist.
“Our goals are to promote local artists, offer free art classes to high school students, and provide the public a welcoming space to enjoy art and music,” the museum says on its website.
The museum announcement didn’t mention parking, but an article in Nancy on Norwalk during the building’s renovation last summer said, “Four parking spaces are being added to the 16 noncomforming parking spaces that were already part of the property.”
There are also parking spaces in neighboring Mathews Park, and metered street parking within a block of The Norwalk Art Space.
Opening day hours on Saturday, June 5 will be from 12 noon to 7 p.m., and the celebration continues for the same hours on Sunday. Admission is free. The opening weekend day celebration is free and “open to the public with registration RSVP requested,” according to the museum website.
Registration is for either Saturday, June 5 or Sunday, June 6. “Event is open to the public with admission limited to the first 300 people to register and RSVP,” according to the Sunday registration page (that statement is not on the Saturday page).
During the opening weekend and later weekends this summer, live music will be played in the sculpture garden by a wide variety of musicians curated by the museum’s Music Director, David DeJesus.
“The Norwalk Art Space is a wonderful addition to our community. Norwalk is a vibrant place with a deep connection to the arts, museums, galleries, and culture, and the Norwalk Art Space is a perfect fit in a truly unique location,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling in a news release from the museum.
The opening follows an 18-month redevelopment and remodeling of the building , named “ADK House,” after its founder, Alexandra Davern Korry (1959-2020).
“The Norwalk Art Space will be a place that celebrates the work of artists across mediums and will expose visitors to new creative and innovative heights,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz in the news release.
Opening Weekend Celebration
The opening weekend will feature:
—A group exhibition by the museum’s resident artists and Korry fellows, curated by Artistic Director Duvian Montoya, and Curatorial and Policy Advisor Nicole Sansone Ruiz, PhD.
—The opening of the sculpture garden, curated by sculptural curator Yvonne Shortt.
—An outdoor live music festival, orchestrated by Musical Director David DeJesus, on June 5 and 6, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
—The opening of the Art Space Cafe by Chef Bill Taibe.
—The opening of educational facilities under the supervision of Educational Directors Duvian Montoya and Darcy Hicks.
—The launch of the museum’s website and social media platform headed by Director of Communication and Space Manager, Canyon Sharits, and Director of Design and Community Ambassador, Raf Santella (aka Five Fingaz).
About the First Art Exhibit, Resident Artists and Fellows
The exhibition, curated by Montoya, the artistic director, and Curatorial Advisor Nicole Sansone Ruiz, will feature select pieces from each of the four resident artists and five Korry fellows, and will give the public a sample of the year ahead.
Community tours of the exhibition and space will take place at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday with the artistic director and participating artists.
The exhibition will last five weeks, through July 15, and will be followed by the museum’s first Korry Fellow Exhibition, featuring Jahmane West of Norwalk.
The inaugural Korry fellows, whose work will be exhibited:
—Tara Blackwell — woman empowering pop artist — Stamford/Norwalk
—Joe Fucigna — multimedia abstract sculptor/painter — Redding/Norwalk
—Lizzy Rockwell — book illustrator and quilt maker — Bridgeport/Norwalk
—Kelly Rossetti — abstract expressionist painter — Westport
—Jahmane West — socially aware multimedia artist — Norwalk
The inaugural resident artists, whose work will also be exhibited:
—Francisco Mandujano — sculptor/creature creator — Norwalk
—Lorena Sferlazza — contemporary painter/photographer — Norwalk
—Remy Sosa — mixed media painter and collage artist — Norwalk
—Emily Teall — multimedia sculptor/painter and installation artist — Stamford
Korry fellows and resident artists were selected through a rigorous, highly-competitive process for their artistic excellence, talent, body of work, reputation in the community, and interest in teaching, mentoring and public engagement.
About the Sculpture Garden
The sculpture garden, curated by Yvonne Shortt, is intended to be a dynamic link between The Norwalk Art Space museum and the adjoining community. The garden aims to inspire interaction and conversation in an artistic, welcoming environment.
The museum has one permanent sculpture and three rotating sculptures which will change every two years. There will be public programming associated with each piece and around public art in general, as well as educational programs offering hands-on learning.
The sculptures exhibited for the opening year include:
—A permanent sculpture by Connecticut-based artist, Gilbert Boro, titled “After the Race III,” which evokes memories of sailing on Long Island Sound.
—Curator Yvonne Shortt’s “Afro Pick: Don’t Go, Don’t Grow,” which draws from her own experiences as both a mother and a daughter. It depicts a moment of transition; of taking ownership and letting go. It does so using an afro pick base, an object with a rich 5,500 cultural history.
—Yves Franciois Wilson’s “Janus of the Hollow,” which documents the artist’s grandfather’s journey from serving as a young Marine in South Carolina to working as one of the first black foremen at a shipyard in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
—Resident Artist Emily Teall’s “Tulip Bulb,” which draws on natural imagery of bulbs and wombs to evoke a gestation period in which the visitor can grow through introspection and reflection before emerging into the community.
About Art Space Cafe
The museum’s Art Space Cafe is meant to be a destination for museum visitors, artists and students. It will be operated by chef and restaurateur Bill Taibe and his team—Andrea Dinan, Caitlyn McGowan and Kelly Clement.
The Cafe will offer crafted coffees, teas, pastries and light fare. It will highlight local culinary artisans and their products and be open Wednesdays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More About The Norwalk Art Space
The Norwalk Art Space was founded and built by Alexandra Davern Korry (1959-2020), a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, educator, civil rights advocate, and philanthropist.
—See also: Korry’s obituary in the New York Times
Korry’s goals in creating and funding The Norwalk Art Space were to enhance opportunities and equity in the local arts community by promoting local artists, offering free educational opportunities to underserved students, and providing the public a beautiful, welcoming space to enjoy art and music.
The museum’s building, ADK House, has been completely redeveloped and remodeled over the last 18 months to achieve the vision laid out by Korry.