Longtime resident of northeastern Connecticut, Carly Martin founded Silver Circle in 2008 with the belief that art is the glue that keeps communities together, granting local artists a space to exhibit their masterworks, hosting classes for aspiring Picassos to hone their craft, and providing a venue for jewelry makers to sell their crafts. The original pieces in Martin's gallery––which have included works by Jean-Paul Jacquet and George Chaplin––rotate on a four- to six-week schedule, and featured exhibits can be viewed in the main hall every Tuesday through Sunday, or through an enchanted mirror on Monday. Rather than having a decorative mindset while choosing the pieces for the gallery, Martin takes a more spontaneous approach, telling the Putnam Villager, “We don't concern ourselves with 'matching'... If a piece of artwork speaks to us, it can change our whole space and add energy and interest in unexpected ways. Art truly breathes life into a home.”
The Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220 is the only black and white photo facility in Rhode Island offering affordable public access to skilled snappers and amateur aperture setters. Classes occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7-10 p.m., and cover all the basics of manual 35mm shooting, such as shutter speeds, f-stop setting, ISO numbers, clutch popping, focal lengths, and minimizing glowy mouth. Class sizes are kept to five or fewer students in order to ensure each developing documenter gets personal attention. Once they've mastered the art of lens and light manipulation, students are ushered into the community darkroom to explore the chemical processes needed to advance their newborn negatives into fully mature prints in sizes ranging from 4" x 5" to 20" x 24".
Since the days of President Lincoln, Providence Picture Frame’s expert artisans have been assembling wood, metal, glass, and mats into stunning artwork displays. Staff usher in homeless pictures of all sizes, eager to measure, examine, and fit them with customized metaphorical mansions. Pricing for custom framing varies based on size, style, and materials used, starting at $50, with premade frames starting as low as $25 for an 11" x 14" frame. All work is performed on-site by highly experienced craftspeople and designers, who work with customers to provide options that fit with most budgets, like a carpenter waiting to whittle down square pegs until they fit into round holes.
With a dedication to each individual and family, the seasoned instructors at The Dance Factory teach students of any age a variety of dance styles, ranging from ballet and acrobatics to jazz and hip-hop. Kids can express themselves through free-form choreography in various dance styles, or take a more structured approach through the French traditions taught in ballet sessions. Hip-hop and modern/contemporary classes equip older children and adults with the steps to commandeer any dance floor or spontaneous public musical number, and students looking for more heart-pumping excitement can also bust moves in dance-inspired Zumba fitness classes. Preschool- and kindergarten-age classes are also available for budding dancers. Classes meet once a week Monday–Saturday.
Luke Adams's childhood talent for drawing spurred him toward an education in glasswork at the Massachusetts College of Art, where he honed his technique under artists from all over the country. Today, Luke molds his molten medium into colorful, one-of-a-kind starfish suncatchers, jewelry, and paperweights. Through jewelry-making and glassblowing classes, his studio spreads a passion for glass-oriented artistry, teaching students to shear and assemble artful shards, molding them into versatile, translucent building blocks similar to the kind used to by Gustave Eiffel to construct an ice-cube model of his infamous tower.
Founded in 1975, Real Art Ways is one of the United States' leading innovative contemporary-arts organizations. The cinema at Real Art Ways screens first-run and classic independent films seven nights a week for the viewing pleasure of card-carrying art haus-ers and visually starved celluloid fanatics alike ($9 for non-members, $5 for members). Leave the distracting 4G smart-toaster at home to put all the focus on Life 2.0, a thought-provoking film about human interaction in the digital age. Vintage hits like the horrifying Japanese 1977 flick House and the slightly less-horrifying 1955 Guys and Dolls share silver-screen space with surprising ease. Visit the calendar for a full list of show times.
For almost 40 years, Center Framing and Art has readied treasured keepsakes for indefinite stays on house walls. Owners Glenn Lazinsk and Lori Chozick preserve pieces with each customer's unique aesthetic in mind, maintaining an attention to detail that earned Center Framing & Art the title of Best Picture Framing Shop in 2008, 2009, and 2010, from Hartford magazine. Staffers complete all services onsite, surrounding prints, portraits, and diplomas with acid-free materials that guard against the damage of time. They also accept challenging assignments such as shadowboxes or 2-D aquariums for lazy goldfish.
Glenn and Lori advocate for the dissemination of fine art, displaying upward of 90 original paintings from both local and international artists inside the store. Their Saturday artist events permit up-and-coming painters, glassblowers, and sculptors to speak about and demonstrate their craft.
Center Framing & Art also emanates caring, neighborly vibes by amassing countless donations of sundries from guests, which Lori distributes to charitable organizations and those in need. Her dedication to the community merited the title of Greatest Person of the Day from the Huffington Post and a feature in the West Hartford Patch.