One-on-One with Art Connection Studio

“View from a Hawk,” 2016, Art Connection Studio

We’re frequently inspired by the local artists that brighten our communities. This month we’re excited to feature several inspiring artists at 100 Pearl Street Gallery. Our latest exhibit “Connections & Collaborations” showcases the collaborative works put together by the artists of Art Connection Studio, a community art center that provides artistic programming for  people with disabilities. However, the works are not about disabilities, explains Michael Galaburri, artist and art therapist at Art Connection Studio. Rather, they’re about “discovering one’s unique personal vision and opening up to one’s creative impulses.”

Read on for our q&a with Michael Galaburri, and join us for the opening reception of “Connections & Collaborations” Thursday, September 1 from 5-7 p.m. at 100 Pearl Street Gallery. Can’t make it to the reception? The show will be on display through September 23. 

How many artists are represented in the show?

Over thirty artists contributed to the triptych, with varying degrees of involvement and enthusiasm. Not all of our artists enjoy painting. Some prefer fiber arts, jewelry, or digital photography to those media that are wet and messy. However, everyone had an opportunity to try it out and play a bit on the surface or make comments and suggestions. Twelve artists who love painting collaboratively on the same canvas created the six other paintings in the exhibition. They worked in various combinations to achieve unique pieces.

What is your favorite piece from the exhibit and why?

The triptych is my favorite because it represents the efforts of our whole studio, a culmination of different ways of working. There are many layers of repurposed material in this work that give it the density and depth that makes me want to look at it for long periods. I get to travel all over the surface like flying low over unexplored terrain.

“Whole Lotta Circles,” 2016, Art Connection Studio

What is the story behind the exhibit and how did you decide to curate these particular works?

These works were created specifically for this exhibit. We use repurposed material much of the time, and thought, naturally, it would be in keeping with the theme. Our artists incorporate components often for the sake of their physical properties and less to use them conceptually or as symbols. Also, we chose to show pieces that represent one way we work, specifically in collaboration with one another. There is no solo work in this exhibit. We have a lot of work, but for this show we did not want to cram in tons of stuff to try to represent each of our artists. They are all represented at our studio and gallery on Arbor Street. We went with the adage “less is more.” It is important that there is sufficient space between the works like a long exhale between breaths, the silent pause before taking in the next piece.

What is the impact of these works on the artists?

Our general mission is to help our folks achieve their potential, living as independently and as accomplished as they can. At the foundation of our work is the belief that living well rests primarily on the quality of our relationships. We need each other, and this need in its healthiest and mature form is interdependence, a community of independent souls working cooperatively and each of us reaching our individual potential. Making collaborative artworks accelerates this process. The connections between us become therapeutic and healing. This is the impact of working collaboratively, and it spills over into every other arena of how we live. We can’t express enough how grateful we are to share what we do and hope we have an impact on the larger community of Hartford.