SOUTHINGTON — After years of using artwork to express herself and cope with illness, a Wolcott resident was able to show her creations at a show for the first time at the Southington Community Cultural Arts center’s Summer Sidewalk Sale on Sunday.
“There’s nothing like having a community that shares what you love,” said Erica Lubee, after she was praised for her artwork by a Southington resident. “It’s emotional, it’s overwhelming.”
Mary DeCroce, SoCCA’s executive director, said stories like this imbue the artist’s work with meaning.
“When people understand how things are made ... it puts a story behind the work,” she said.
The tables covered in artwork showcased jars with faces sculpted into sides, mugs, flower holders, paintings and drawings. Artist Sandra Winters, who takes classes at SoCCA, even brought a set of sculptures she created inspired by Italian wall fountains. The clay was formed into exaggerated faces surrounded by shells and grapes.
The goal of the center’s first sidewalk sale was to present art in an approachable environment. Aside from a small fee for marketing, all the revenue goes to the artists, many of whom live in Southington and take classes at the center.
It also gives the public an opportunity to see what they can learn to create at the center, which offers lessons in pottery, painting and drawing.
“People can come here for instruction, they can come here to exhibit, they can come here to enjoy the arts,” DeCroce said. “It’s another avenue for people to enjoy the arts.”
The sale also featured a table of artworks created by members of SoCCA’s All Access program, which has artistic workshops for those with intellectual disabilities. Program Assistant Director James Brunelle said the benefits of creating artwork is comparable to yoga or meditation.
“They develop personally through art,” said All Access Director Lauri MacLean. “They love what they produce, they’re very proud of their work.”
Southington resident Jenn Baker said the center’s workshops provide her with an outlet for her creativity that she doesn’t get in her technically oriented workplace.
“I think it’s definitely making people realize what the center has to offer,” she said of the sidewalk sale. “We started with tiny, little bowls, but we’re getting better.”
“I think it’s nice to have a cultural element here downtown,” said Rick Veilleux, a Southington resident whose wife, Karen Veilleux, takes pottery lessons at SoCCA. He said the center has become a valuable attraction to the Main Street area.
“Many of these potters hadn’t touched clay a year ago,” said Karen Veilleux. “To see the finished products is really amazing.”