SOUTHINGTON — Each month, visitors to the public library have a chance to check out a new local artist featured on the library’s Gallery wall. Through the month of July, abstract paintings by a town resident can be viewed.
Almost 30 pieces of Debra Herrick Clen’s work are currently on display until the end of the month. On Thursday, the library will host a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. where people can talk to Clen about her paintings. She will be giving out a limited number of miniature original works and her paintings will be available for purchase.
Debra Herrick Clen was born in Massachusetts and moved with her family to New Britain as a teen. She moved to Southington about three years ago.
Although she grew up in an artistic family, she never really picked up an artistic hobby until retiring from a career as an executive administrator at Bristol Hospital. While discussing things to do in retirement, her son mentioned painting and she soon found a connection to abstract art.
“I paint with emotion, so I found abstract the best way to get that emotion across,” she said.
Now, Herrick Clen is painting most days when she’s not babysitting her grandchildren. She will continue painting as long as it’s bringing her joy.
“I have a lot of problems with anxiety and it’s very therapeutic,” Herrick Clen said. “I get a lot of joy out of doing it.”
Displaying her art in her hometown library is special and humbling, she said.
“I feel so grateful that somebody gives me the opportunity to do that and that people actually like it,” she said.
Elizabeth Chubet, the library’s adult program director, organizes the art displays. The library recently added clear cabinets to the exhibit space for 3-D artists to participate as well.
“It's a great opportunity to expose your artwork to our patrons and the public in general,” Chubet said. “We'll have anything from photography to painting...”
The Gallery is a part of a larger initiative to offer more art at the library. Chubet is planning an open mic night this fall and the library holds various paint and drawing nights.
Chubet said Artist of the Month has been a longtime and popular feature at the library – it’s booked through mid-2020. August is expected to be several community members who have been coloring with Chubet at the soup kitchen Bread for Life.
Herrick Clen’s work has been seen throughout Connecticut since her first showing in 2017. It’s now featured in local businesses, libraries and juried art shows. It is currently also at the Hospital of Central Connecticut and the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich.
Her work can be found on her website, herrickartstudio.com and by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.