Meriden blogger checks out Gallery 53 Halloween fest

Earlier this year, Gallery 53 in Meriden announced that their first-ever month-long Halloween Festival would be gracing the city come October. Going by the name “Wicked Woods”, the aim for the festival was to feature multimedia events and activities, varying local artists, Halloween treats and more—now in the midst of the festival’s run, I’m glad to report that Gallery 53 not only lived up to expectations, but far exceeded them. 

Throughout October, Gallery 53 is hosting their 97th Annual Fall Art Show as a backdrop to their Wicked Woods celebration. The eclectic pieces featured are all from Connecticut artists, and will be up through the 28th for visitors to enjoy. Another notable exhibit featured this month is from professional tattoo artist and occult collector Calvin Von Crush. He shares his pieces in a collection titled, "Art from the Other Side: A Collection of Paranormal Art" that can be found in Gallery 53’s Indianna Room through the 31st.

Many if not all works in the gallery have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that sets the tone for the festival, and provokes thought in even the least artistically trained visitors. There’s no intimidation factor here regarding “I won't ‘get’ the art”— any intimidation would come from the haunting imagery captured within the pieces themselves.

As for attending a festival event at the gallery, kudos are due to the entire Gallery 53 team regarding organization, hospitality and engaging activities throughout the night. The quasi-kick-off event of the festival was a Horror Film Fest curated by Patrick Herget.  The evening featured short flicks that fit in with the gallery’s overarching spooky theme. Regarding film selection, Gallery 53 volunteer Sam Carr says they were aiming to present “a thoughtful selection of short films that were superior to the typical ‘slasher’ movies associated with the Halloween season.”

Films shown included a film adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”, a piece on loss called, “Dust”, and a comedic short titled, “Dig Your Own Grave” among others. Admission for this event was a reasonable $10, which got you popcorn and a whole full night of entertainment. 

The ambiance of the gallery combined with the quality of all exhibits made for an unforgettable event! While Gallery 53 is open year-round and is often devising new, creative events to engage the community, regarding the month-long Wicked Woods festival, they’ve outdone themselves once again. If Gallery 53 aims to show that the last 19 months couldn’t stop their creativity, they’ve more than proved their point with this outstanding festival! Stop in anytime in October to experience the brilliance of Wicked Woods.  


Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves. When she's not helping out in the English department at Maloney High School, she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!

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