By Janet Serra

Posted: 02/15/2017 14:15:12

Appropriately hung to coincide within the week of Valentine's Day, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut kicks off its 10th year of presenting the Accessible Art series with HE(ART). After all, Art and passion go hand-in-hand, following Auguste Rodin's belief that "The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live." Eight exhibitions, currently running through Friday, April 14th, mark the first of five rounds of this year-long, multi-site program joining Business with Art. 

This year's premier Accessible Art mounting highlights the works of Brian Bardo (Danbury), Debra Burger (Danbury), Ted DeToy (New Fairfield), Maressa Gershowitz (Danbury), Renato Ghio (Danbury), Toni Miraldi (Sandy Hook), Helga Ruopp (Hawleyville), and Tara Tomaselli (Newtown). Hours at the venues vary, so call ahead. For more information about Accessible Art, call (203) 798 0760 or visit www.artswesternct.org All exhibitions are subject to change.

Brian Bardo
INTERACTIONS: A photographic essay portraying the dignity of people who have multiple disabilities
YMCA's ESCAPE to the Arts, 293 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 794-1413

Brian Bardo is a retired Special Education Teacher with 39 years of experience in Danbury area. He was named Teacher of the Year in1986 for Unified School District #3, Connecticut State Department of Developmental Services. He has exhibited at the State of Connecticut Capital Building in Hartford and the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, sponsored by CT Senator Lowell Weicker, and the Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC, sponsored by CT Representative William Ratchford.

Debra Burger
Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave, (203) 794-8756

Throughout the years, Debra Burger has been capturing images from her other creative passion - her garden. Challenging herself to create a body of work from the objects in her garden, she has created larger-than-life images that examine the color, shape, texture, and life of each plant and flower. They provide the viewer with a unique perspective on the fragile, yet bold impression each flower offers. She is President of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Western New York Chapter.

Ted DeToy
Mothership Bakery & Cafe, 331 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 417-6914

Ted DeToy's paintings in acrylic on canvas offer sharp and colorful encounters with familiar imagery related to pop culture, race and gender, American politics and daily life. Rendered in expressive primary colors with contemporary neo-cubist flair, DeToy takes an innovative approach to painting, drawing from books, magazine, movies and the internet as he allows both the most intimate and the most universal aspects of modern existence to influence his art.

Maressa Gershowitz
Can Imagine That
Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue, (203) 797-4511

Maressa Gershowitz claims her story is the same as always. "No photoshop, no flash, no strobes, just me and the camera looking at the world," she says.

Renato Ghio
CityCenter Danbury, 268 Main Street, (203) 792-1711

Renato Ghio's collection is inspired by his continued fascination with mobile photography. He says, "My goal is to demonstrate that mobile devices are an extension of photography as an art form. I enjoy pushing the limits of what's possible with mobile-created imagery by transforming seemingly normal snapshots into another world. All the photographs in this exhibition were taken and edited on my phone."

Toni Miraldi
Hodge Insurance Agency, 283 Main Street, Danbury, (203) 792-2323

Toni Miraldi writes, "As a mural artist, my mission is to transform plain walls into stimulating walls. I believe our attitudes are subtly influenced by our environs. If we surround ourselves and our communities with small positive messages--whether they be art, nature, inspiring architecture or kind words--we will see the world differently than if we are surrounded by suspicion, fear and despair. This is why I love murals. They take a thing that literally surrounds us--a wall--and turn it into an encouragement."

Helga Ruopp
Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street, (203) 797-4505

Helga Jensen-Ruopp was born in a refugee camp in Czechoslovakia into a family displaced after WWII, Helga eventually emigrated to the USA. Since she didn't understand English, she took to art as a way of expressing herself. Later, she attended Adelphi University receiving Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Education with a concentration in Fine Arts. She has taught at Danbury High School, Western Connecticut State University, and teaches cooking and painting to children at YMCA's Escape to the Arts.

Tara Tomaselli
Filosa/Hancock Hall, 31 Staples Street, Danbury, (203) 794-9466

Tara Tomaselli is a fine art photographer with over 20 years working in the industry. Primarily self-taught in photography, she has been professionally exhibiting and selling her photographs since 2012. She notes,"When I come upon an interesting subject, I like to observe and take it in from all angles, then I hone in on what I feel is the most appealing part - most often a close up view of an object or section of something larger. I want to show the beauty in things no matter their current state, objects that are old, discarded, junked, rusted, decayed, interesting. Many of these rusty relics are transportation-related, exciting to find, and windows into the past."

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK