A Day to Stay Local

walking to arts desire

 

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.

will artwork 2 will artwork 3

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7 thoughts on “A Day to Stay Local

  1. When Wal-Mart was moving to my little town of Branford, everybody was up in arms. But the local Chamber of Commerce gathered all the local merchants together, and said there’s room for everyone. Let the big box stores offer the discounts, and let the local merchants offer the great service. The first selectwoman also created a downtown incentive by making our town green and surrounding area have wider sidewalks, vintage streetlights, flowers, etc. It’s truly a destination, and I’m proud to call it “home”!

    Now our little downtown area is thriving! And there’s room for both the discount stores and the locals. It sounds like Torrington is doing the same.

  2. That’s great that things worked out in Branford and they clearly did a great job of having downtown incentives! I’m happy with the choice I made today locally and I hope to do so again as often as I can!

  3. I’m not too familiar with Torrington, but I played at Snapper Mcgees a couple months ago on a Friday night, and EVERYTHING except the bar was closed by 8:30. I went to try to get a slice of pizza next door and it was dark with the chairs on the tables… The hot dog place was closing but they took pity on me and gave me a hot dog… It seemed like the downtown area needs some more action after dark!

    On the other hand, the downtown does sound active during the day judging from your posts! 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting Torrington Jessie! The Backstage restaurant/bar is open serving through 10pm weekdays, 11 weekends and 11:30 when there’s a show getting out at the Warner Theater (which is next door). But Torrington is “on the move” but its got some distance to go!

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