MERIDEN — The Arts & Crafts Association of Meriden at Gallery 53 will celebrate 110 years by selling 110 paintings for $110 each at an upcoming gala celebrating the organization’s history.
The gala will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. March 10 at Gallery 53, 53 Colony St.. Tickets will be $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The celebration will include live music by the Gonkus Brothers & Bitsy, drinks, appetizers and desserts.
In preparation for the gala, Cheryl Weston has been doing research into the organization’s history. Founded in December 1907 by local art advocate Indianna Thomas, the organization aimed to cultivate the local arts scene at a time when artists flocked to the city to work for silver and manufacturing companies.
“At that time there was a lot of industry here in the Meriden area among Intentional Silver, Napier, companies that made lamps and lots of other items that required art and artists,” Weston said. “Meriden was drawing artists from all over the world.”
The Association has had its ups and downs over the years, notably in World War I and II when its annual exhibitions were suspended as many of its artists were drafted for military service. A high point came in 1981, when the association purchased the building at 53 Colony St.
“Struggling in downtown Meriden, we lived through the reconstruction across the street of our parking lot and we’re just trying to get more and more people to come into the gallery,” said Gallery 53 President Christine Webster. “It’s not just paintings and photographs… we have classes for adults and kids, we have monthly exhibits.”