By MIKE CHAIKEN
As most artists, musicians, actors, and other creative individuals hunker down for time with the family as the winter holidays commence, the Observer thought it would be appropriate to ask those individuals who graced the pages of this newspaper to look back and look ahead.
We asked them, first of all, from an artistic point of view what was the most memorable thing about 2012. Secondly, we asked them to share with us what’s on tap for 2013 in terms of their art.
Here are the responses we received.
Rachel DeCavage, owner of Sugarplum at 98 Main St., Southington and one of the driving forces behind the annual Trashion Fashion Show in Hartford.
2012: “The 2012 Trashion Fashion Show at Artspace Hartford (was the most memorable thing). After contributing as a designer for the 2011 show at a small co-op gallery in Middletown, I collaborated with (fellow artist) Amy Merli to produce the 2012 show at Artspace (on Farmington Avenue in Hartford). The venue, the turnout, the number of looks in the show was 400% bigger than the year before. Next year’s show will be at Hartford City Hall and the mayor may be modeling. I love how this eco-event is growing exponentially each year. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”
2013: “As a new small business owner, 2012, my first year as a brick and mortar (store), kicked my butt! I’m looking forward to spending an extra 1 1/2 hours a day on my artwork, aka: inventory. I’m also eager to expand my guest-artists series for the shop to highlight 12 more talented artists in the area.
Lindsey DiPietro, faculty advisor for Bristol Central High School’s Footlights and driving force behind the Getup Stage Company.
2012: “The most memorable moment for me was when we (Footlights) won the Halo Award for Best Classical Play for our production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ The Halo Awards is a competition for high school theater hosted by 7 Angels Theater in Waterbury. That was a huge payoff for us since I had never directed Shakespeare and I sort of cut and pasted—mostly cut—an abridged version of the script. We also made some gender-changes and cuts with some of the roles so there were a lot of factors that could have potentially ended in disaster—but it was amazing. The actors I had were just phenomenal and it was such a great challenge and process throughout. Winning that coveted award just made all the work worth it.
2013: “We are just getting started with a production of ‘Once on This Island’ at Bristol Central in March, which I am so excited about because of all of the creative storytelling and acting that goes into this show. Then, this summer I am moving my summer theater company — GetUp Stage Company— to Newington. We found a great location at Newington Town Hall and although I am sad to leave Bristol, this is a great opportunity to spread our wings a bit. GUSCO is doing the Hartford area’s first production of “In the Heights.” I am looking forward to all of these endeavors.”
Amanda Savio Guay, one of the driving forces behind Southington Community Theatre.
2012: “Personally, I had an absolute blast being a part of ‘The Fox on the Fairway’ cast for Southington Community Theatre. It was a joy to work with friends old and new, and to put on a new show that got a fantastic reception. (It was) so much fun.”
2013: “Southington Community Theatre has a busy year ahead. We have an amazing cast already in rehearsals for ‘Li’l Abner,’ which goes up Feb. 21, 22 and 23 at Southington High School. And, personally, I’m very excited to be directing ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ this spring for the group – stay tuned for audition dates in March. I love directing and this show is such a classic, and such a good time.”
Staci Lenart, artist and art teacher from Plainville.
2012: “Wow, 2012 was an exceptional year for me. I had a few art shows including one at a local coffee shop, my RAW (Natural Born Artists) exhibit in Hartford, and the Art Educators Exhibit at Central Connecticut State University. I also finished my degree in art education at Central Connecticut State University. My most memorable experience by far this year, from an arts perspective, has to be my student teaching experience at Bristol Central High School. I worked with an extraordinary cooperating teacher, Leslie Fernandez, along with their inspirational student body, which held talent that absolutely blew me away.”
2013: “I now have my degree in Art Education, and my K-12 certification is pending… The plan for 2013 is to dive into my personal artwork and hopefully find a position doing what I love; teaching art. Let the inspiration continue.”
Fury, Bristol’s entrepreneurial rapper, musical gadfly, and erstwhile mayoral candidate
2012: The most memorable moment of 2012 for me was being mentioned on MTV.com among most other music news websites for my involvement in Bizarre of D12’s Weirdo Movement. When I woke up that day and saw my name broadcasted on every mainstream music website, I felt like everything in my life was starting to make sense. I also had the oppor- tunity to perform at two sold out shows at The Palladium with MGK,Tech N9ne,and Psychopathic records. I even made it out to the Gathering of the Juggalos (which is organized by the Insane Clown Posse) to perform, which is something that I daydreamed of as a kid. Every month of 2012 was spent achieving goals that bring me closer to success so it’s hard to pinpoint what was the most memorable for me. I constantly stay on my toes and am ready for whatever life throws at me good or bad so its all like one big memory for me.”
2013: In 2013, I am starting off by heading out on a 25 city tour across the US. I will be performing in Oklahoma, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and California in January. Immediately after the tour, I will be finishing up my long awaited studio album “Disaster,” which I promise to the fans that this will be my best work to date. I’ve been working on this album since 2006 and only scratched the surface of how powerful of a record that this will be until now. I plan to make the most out of 2013 and, who knows, maybe I will take another run at the mayor’s office. This time… its personal….
Ginger Grant, photographer from Bristol
2012: “My most memorable show was participating in SWAN Day (in Hartford). People loved me.”
2013: “I want to get in more art galleries and get in with a publisher like Apple graphics. At the moment, I need to heal. I had a 4 level spinal fusion. Recuperation time is about three months.”
Vanessa Stevens of Bristol, member of the band, The Happening, and driving force behind the Purple Song Project, which is an organization dedicated to violence recovery awareness and prevention through music, videos, live talks and storytelling.
For The Happening, Stevens said:
2012: “Since being asked to do casinos and weddings, we had to learn more modern day music by necessity, and this has only increased our fan base.”
2013: “We’re doing fewer but more concentrated shows, since we’re taking a risk in changing our style to satisfy wedding clients.”
For The Purple Song Project , Stevens said:
2012: “There were a lot of memorable things, but learning I might win an award tops it all. I’ve been nominated to win the “Out of the Shadows” award for speaking out and giving back (volunteering). I’ve never won an award before for this work. So to be nominated is just…awesome, inspiring and of course, humbling.”
2013: “I’m moving into ‘the business’ of publishing our songs and other writing.”
Michelle St. Pierre, who along with Robin Messerli and Sarah Johnson, is one of the driving forces behind Bare Bones, the new art gallery on School Street in Bristol.
2012: “Opening Bare Bones and putting up our first gallery exhibit was an amazing moment. I remember standing outside of the building with Robin and looking in to see that we did it…we opened an art space in downtown Bristol. I’ve never felt such a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that Sarah, Robin, and I started something that could be great.”
2013: “We are looking forward to having more exhibitions, new art workshops, and an art auction. I am also hoping to get back into creating my own art. We want to continue to bring art to the community and be a place for artists to showcase their talents.”
Jennifer Hill, Bristol-raised musician, leader of the Jennifer Hill Band, and driving force behind Connecticut’s SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day.
2012: “From a music perspective, the best parts of 2012 for me were the first annual Connecticut Music Awards (held at The Bushnell in Hartford) and SWAN DAY Connecticut’s five-year anniversary (also in Hartford). The awards brought so many bands together and it was a really great form of recognition for what we all do. Everyone came dressed up and felt like they were at the Grammys. SWAN Day Connecticut celebrated its fifth year by giving out its first grant to artist Kerry Kozaczuk.”
2013: “In the new year, I look forward to a new album, SWAN Day CT 2013, and continuing my efforts to make this world a better place through music and the arts.”