Threatening clouds on the horizon promised an afternoon of indoor activity so I made the simple breakfast of eggs, bacon and french bread and contemplated what the kids and I would do today. We often travel to the Wadsworth in Hartford or to the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, or to the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury but today felt like a day of exploring and making our OWN art. It was time for some art supplies.
Torrington has its own local art supply store in downtown called the Arts Desire which is owned and operated by Jessica Stepler Washington and Lisa Stepler. They are knowledgeable and friendly and help to make downtown Torrington a very special and unique destination! The Arts Desire is a sponsor of the Parks and Recreation’s Pallete to Palate event that will occur in Coe Park on October 5th, the same day as their one year anniversary party. In their entrance by the door there’s a table with the business cards of many artisans and artists within our local community. I consider The Arts Desire to be an integral part of the fabric of downtown Torrington. And speaking of fabric, the Yarn store (In Sheeps Clothing) happens to be located a few doors down on 10 Water Street, and although I don’t use yarn in my art, if I ever needed it I know where I could go to get it!
Now there’s an expected Joann Fabric store coming to a shopping plaza very shortly and there’s even talk of a Michaels moving in to the old Circuit City building and they will be added to the landscape that already includes Walmart and Target. Individuals will be hired at those locations, presumably locally, mostly part time and then there may be temporary “sales” that undercut the existing local businesses. That is when we Torringtonians and our neighbors beyond will have an actual choice to make. The question is more than just “where will we get our paper?” The questions asked will be”Will we want to preserve the downtown not just in theory, will we want to preserve local businesses not just in theory, will we want to maintain and grow an individualistic entrepreneurial heart in our country not just in theory, but in reality with our choice in where we procure the goods we use.
Today I am happy that the kids and I stopped by our local art store, the Arts Desire. I picked up my Speedball super-black ink (which i use for my cartooning work that I send to newspapers in New York and Nebraska) and some large mixed media paper. I had a fun talk with Jessica about the art that is in their store and told her I’m looking forward to their party on October 5th- 5PM to 9PM where I and my co-cartooning partner will have the honor of having our work displayed on their wall. This is not an opportunity we would ever receive from a big box store and we’re grateful.
When we left we went to the Farmers Market at the Torrington Library parking lot and obtained some fresh local produce that we’ll enjoy tonight. And now this afternoon, we are enjoying the simple pleasure of making some art, and sharing it with the world.