It's designed to showcase art — from sculpture to painting to dance and other media — that can serve as a form of healing for Newtown.
The space is a joint project of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.
The HealingNewtown Arts Space opened Thursday on Queen Street, next to Caraluzzi's, with an open house event that included Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and First Selectman Pat Llodra.
Music and performances include local songwriter Jim Allyn, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet, a Newtown children's chorus and acrobat Li Liu. Activities included bell-making from Ben's Bells, screen-printing, jewelry making and a public art word collage.
In the videos above:
- First Selectman Pat Llodra
Llodra told the crowd she had not prepared remarks. She thanked the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and others for their efforts.
- Artist Michelle Delguercio
Delguercio is the executive director of a Manhattan-based arts organization called Scraptacular, who work with children and communities to transform trash into art and science. She says her work, made from reconstituted Christmas decorations, brings a message of love to Newtown.
- Desiree Galassi
At the Language of Love table, Galassi helps make "messages of love and peace" to be distributed to children in Danbury as a thank-you for the love and support they brought to Newtown.
- Artist and pastor Lonnie E. Posley Sr.
The Chicago resident drove all night to deliver this painting, "Tree of Life," to Newtown. He says he is inspired by his mother -- a breast cancer survivor -- and his son, who has dealt with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He says he "put his pain on canvas" and the paintings can help heal others in the ways they healed him.
- Art teacher Maggie Vidal-Santos
She traveled to Newtown from Surfside, Florida, alongside Surfside's mayor Dan Deitch and tourism director Duncan Tovares to deliver the colorful turtle sculpture made by her class.
- Gov. Dannel Malloy
Malloy said the outpouring (and display) of art from around the world shows the community of Newtown has much to be proud of.