To stand at the corner of Main and Water Street on that early October evening, one would be forgiven for imagining that Main Street Marketplace had never ended. Streams of pedestrians traveled in and out of stores and galleries and, of course, the Warner Theater. On the main stage Theresa Caputo captivated her audiences at 3:00pm and 7:30pm while in the Nancy Marine Studio Theater, Evil Dead: The Musical brought forth an engaging, entertaining vision to a sold out crowd. The Artwell Gallery had vacated their position next to the Arts Desire in favor of the Morrison Hardware building further north-west but they had an active “pop-up” gallery across the street near the S & S Sweet Treats Icecream store. S & S Sweet Treats was running what appeared to be an incredibly successful fundraiser for the Torrington fire department.
And in the Arts Desire itself, the fabled art store owned by Jessica Stepler Washington and Lisa Stepler, the sound of celebration and revelry helped to ring in a new year as this was their one year anniversary as a business. The former Artwell space became a mini Main Street Marketplace as artisans and artists displayed their handiwork. Visitors enjoyed listening to the music of Preston Parrish while viewing and purchasing the artwork of Brazen Betties, Nick Palazzo Art, Kate Stephen Jewelry ,ElementForged Pottery, Janet Vail Iffland, AP Woodworking, LB Night Woodcraft, Valtinen Kari and Monkeyville and…the artwork of Nutmeg Junction that I create with my colleague and friend Jessica Ponticelli.
To be among such an amazing array of artists dedicated to their work was simply thrilling. Great artists like Joe Kopler and Geoffrey Houghton have displayed and sold their work at the Arts Desire and we had this opportunity to display our work for the first time. I brought my two principal paintings that have enormous significance for me-the dinosaur running near the Carrie Welton Fountain and the very first painting of Tony the Trolley. We also brought the Moon over Torrington painting (which had pre-sold) and a number of “firsts” that Jessica and I worked on together. I absolutely love the painting Jessica created of the Yankee Pedlar in a “Van Gogh-Seurat” manner.
My parents and my sister came to the event, traveling all the way from Massachusetts and I was grateful they participated in this important event. My kids enjoyed the food inside the event (courtesy of the new “First Act Bakery” ) and the cupcakes outside at the Hardcore cupcake van (I believe my daughter had the Brazen Betties flavored cupcake and my son had the Arts Desire flavored cupcake!). Jessica Ponticelli, her husband Eric and their son Logan enjoyed their visit to Torrington, meeting some of my family members for the first time.
When my son’s youthful patience had reached its tipping point it was time for me to take him home. Before I left I was glad to see my friend Rachel and her husband Doug and I was sorry I missed my friend Conrad. But as the evening came to a close I realized that the excitement and energy I felt in Torrington was not transitory, it did not vaporize in the evening fog, rather it remained almost tangible, almost permanent. This was a vision of what a REGULAR Saturday night in Torrington could be, a community filled with pride, enjoying an evening of entertainment and promise, of exploration and adventure, of family and friendship and a world of endless possibilities right there in the five points by a river in northwest Connecticut.