Picture: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media
NORWALK — COVID-19 led to the postponement or cancellation of many well-liked occasions comparable to Norwalk’s annual St. Patrick’s Day pParade, its Memorial Day celebrations and the Fourth of July fireworks.
The SoNo Arts Competition got here near assembly this similar destiny. However because of just a little collaboration between the competition organizers and property homeowners on Washington Road, the Norwalk custom is going on this yr, however in a brand new manner.
The SoNo Arts Competition is being held this yr in seven unoccupied retailer fronts on Washington Road the place artists will show and promote their items, gallery-style. The competition kicked off on Thursday and can proceed by way of this weekend and subsequent. The hours are from four p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to five p.m. on Sundays.
Over 50 artists can be featured in gallery areas at 68, 132 A+C, 136, 119, 123, 127, and 135 Washington St. Guests can benefit from the works of David E. Gordon of Gordon Fantastic Arts, photographic and combined media artist Nancy C Woodward, glass blower Jason Curtis, combined media artist Tracy Hambley, jewellery designer/maker Lydia Tucci, multimedia artist Mari Gyorgyey, Blended Media Collage Artist Matt Gabel Artwork, and extra. There’s additionally reside music performances offered in partnership with Manufacturing unit Underground Studios
Director of the SoNo Arts Competition Sue Brown Gordon stated the vibe of the competition this yr is extra akin to visiting an artwork gallery given the brand new format.
“Every (house) is filled with stunning, unique fantastic artwork and craft,” stated Brown Gordon. “A few of the artists that’d usually be arrange exterior in the course of the conventional artwork competition are arrange with cubicles and shows however inside, so we nonetheless have the identical taste of the present. It’s actually stunning at night time with individuals eating and strolling. There’s an excellent ambiance. It’s actually informal and comfy. I don’t assume anybody must really feel afraid to return and take a peek.”
Brown Gordon stated to be able to maintain the competition in its conventional outside format and cling to COVID-19 codecs, the occasion would have needed to be gated to keep away from exceeding gathering limits, one thing she needed to keep away from.
Brown Gordon was then linked with AGW Companions who acquired a great chunk of the true property on Washington Road in December. Adam Greenbaum, co-founder of AGW Companions, stated when the group bought the portfolio, they met with their new tenants, a lot of whom praised the SoNo Arts Competition for the enterprise it introduced it and requested extra occasions prefer it.
Then COVID-19 hit, diminishing lots of plans AGW had. Then AGW’s advertising and marketing arm linked them with the competition organizers and the plan to mortgage out seven vacant areas on Washington was born.
“For us, the humanities competition is wonderful,” Greenbaum stated. “We’ve been principally doing our greatest throughout COVID of discovering methods so as to add to that feeling of neighborhood constructing and add a extra dynamic vitality to the realm and avenue. One of many issues that makes our funding very distinctive is our success is basically correlated with the success of small enterprise homeowners who’re our tenants. We’re going to have the next density of foot visitors. That’s going to translate to extra financial exercise central to our marketing strategy. It’s discovering methods to carry extra curiosity.”
Brown Gordon stated every gallery house has a hand sanitizer station and occupancy limits so individuals can observe safely. Members may even put on masks.
Only some days into this yr’s competition and Brown Gordon stated they’re already contemplating doing a vacation arts occasion subsequent month and persevering with including an indoor gallery element into the competition subsequent yr.
“We’ve had a really favorable response already,” she stated. “We predict the potential to maintain this going thorough vacation months can be very possible. We’ll simply preserve refreshing with new concepts and preserve stimulating individuals visually whereas conserving the artwork world alive. The most effective a part of this occasion is it’s supporting artists who’re actually underrepresented. If the general public is ravenous for artwork, come out.”