WALLINGFORD — About 40 artists gathered at the Oakdale Theatre this week for a RAW Connecticut showcase event called “Arise.”
The artists included painters, dancers, photographers and makeup artists. Some performed on the main stage throughout the night, others put their work on display and some painted live.
Robert Nagelhout, showcase director with RAW Artists, said the event is designed to bring local artists exposure and help them get comfortable with performing and displaying.
“We try to provide a platform for up and coming artists in local areas by getting these types of venues (and) booking a ton of people in the show,” Nagelhout said during the Wednesday event.
Most of the artists are based in Connecticut, including Tyler Morris, of Wethersfield, who is an art teacher at Ben Haven in Wallingford and soon-to-be tattoo artist in West Haven. He was showcasing with RAW for the fourth time this week.
Morris’ art primarily consists of black, white and gray paintings, which he takes a palette knife to, to create movement. On Wednesday he displayed paintings of celebrities like Nipsey Hussle and Gaten Matarazzo, but said he also does commissions and portrait work. He said the RAW showcase is a great way to highlight the artists that maybe go unnoticed in a state sandwiched between two large art-centric cities: New York City and Boston.
“We’re kind of lost a little bit and this has been a really cool area for a much of artists that are hidden in this state and we can come together and bring some at culture to Connecticut and it’s great,” Morris said.
Bridgeport-based artist Greg Thelusma- art name Greg Aimé- was showcasing with RAW for the first time Wednesday. He does a mix of work, including collages and paintings.
“It’s kind of hard to meet other artists and network, so opportunities like these are great,” Thelusma said. “And then it’s such a large venue, with great exposure, and they’ve been so supportive.”
The Oakdale hosts the event a few times a year.