Artists host spring exhibition, open studios and sale

INDIAN ORCHARD The Artists at Indian Orchard Mills take visual arts awareness to a higher level. The presentation of this year's Spring Art Exhibition, Sale & Open Studios event will certainly build on their reputation as a major contender in New England.

On May 12 from 6 - 10 p.m. and May 13 from noon - 4 p.m. the public is invited to see for themselves, the level of commitment being made by this group of talented artisans.

The show will begin with the unveiling of the new Village Art Walk: a permanent installation of forty two, original, 16-square foot paintings, hung on the perimeter fence of Indian Orchard Mills. Guests are invited to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the diverse creations of the area's top talent.

Next, it's time to step inside and indulge yourself at the Dane Gallery reception. Here you will find a collection of all new work including oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, stained glass, sculptures, multi-media and more. Relax, enjoy the refreshments, and get ready to begin another adventure, a self guided tour of the artists studios. This is the part when you get to meet to the artists, see their creative spaces, and view the largest collection of original art in the area.

Since its inception in 1991, the artist colony at Indian Orchard Mills has realized tremendous growth. It all began with just a couple artists renting a studio. Over the years it has developed into a major art center with over forty artists.

The newest artists at Indian Orchard Mills are:

Karen Gilbert, of Longmeadow, enjoys painting portraits, flowers, abstracts and still lifes in oil and watercolor. She favors painting portraits and continues to learn by studying some of the masters, her favorite being Georgia O'Keeffe. After graduating from Asnuntuck Community College Gilbert entered Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar earning a BA in Studio Art.

"Being a part of the Artists at Indian Orchard Mills is a dream come true. It is a wonderful place to work," she said.

Jessica Torrant, a resident of Ellington, CT, received her BA in Fine Art from the University of NH and studied at the University of CA Santa Cruz. Torrant has exhibited throughout New England and has worked with a number of international art festivals. Her work is contemporary in style and she currently enjoys working with acrylic, ink and watercolor, and collage.

Sue Cagan, of Springfield, and Fran Nowak, of Thorndike, work together mingling a unique blend of talents and a desire to use them in their new business venture, Valley Vogue Collections.

They have worked together for many years in Palmer teaching an alternative education class for grades 5-7. Cagan is a hand weaver and fiber artist while Nowak is an artist/designer. Together they create a line of wearable art in mixed medias.

Michelle Pescetta is a native of Springfield and a graduate of Westfield State College with a BA in Graphic Arts. Pescetta has spent time studying art in Florence, Italy at the school of Lorenzo de'Medici. Pescetta has begun a new endeavor by opening her art studio at Indian Orchard Mills where she's busy creating and plans to teach art classes.