Monday, July 30, 2012

Spoiler alert: 'Circles' entry below


Valley Arts Council President Rich DiCarlo has put his entry for the upcoming "Celebration of the Circle" show on the wall in the Gallery@37, 37 Elizabeth St., Derby. 

An opening reception will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 11.

Come see how the arts council members have interpreted the circles theme.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Celebration of the Circle is just around the corner

Artists: Have you come up with a piece of art featuring circles yet for the Celebration of the Circle?

The Valley Arts Council's next show that pays homage to the lowly circle is fast approaching.

See you at the Gallery@37, 37 Elizabeth St,, Derby, for the opening reception at 6 p.m. Aug. 11.

Consider yourself reminded! 

Reservoir ripples is what I call this entry. It reminds me of flying saucers somehow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Portraits depict different sides of Lon Chaney

At Sterling Opera House in Derby
Heather and her portraits of Lon Chaney

By Steve DiRienzo
Vice President
Valley Arts Council

Painter and craft artist Heather Dailey-Mezzacappa created a series of three striking portraits of Lon Chaney Sr. for the Valley Arts Council's Sterling Opera House Portrait Project. 
Her paintings feature him in character as the famous “Phantom of the Opera” and as the tragic clown in “He Who Gets Slapped”.  

The third and largest of the three is of the famous “Man of a Thousand Faces” as himself, in a seldom seen moment out of character.

Together the three portraits, done in acrylic on canvas, fill the window space and are quite eye-catching.
“I’m a huge fan of the classic horror genre,” Dailey-Mezzacappa said. “What drew me to the character the most was the fact that he literally suffered for his art.”

That is a nod to the fact the Senior Chaney endured grueling hours under heavy prosthetics and makeup, which contorted his features causing great discomfort and pain, all for the sake of his audience, she said.

“Ironically, most of the characters he played were grotesque, flawed creatures on the outside, but yet very human and genuine beings on the inside,” Dailey-Mezzacappa added.

“Another little known fact is that both of his parents were deaf,” she said. “This aided his acting abilities in the silent films of the era because he knew the art of communicating without speaking.”

All of these traits added up to make the actor just as interesting as the roles he played, she said.

Attention artists: Studios for rent

Valley Arts Council President Rich DiCarlo says there are four affordable art studios available for rent in Derby.

The rentals have "reasonable rates, 24-hour access, and they're secure," he said. The price includes all utilities.

Artists renting the spaces will be part of a creative atmosphere and will be meeting like-minded people, he said.

The spaces are for art only, DiCarlo stressed, and not for residential use.

For information, e-mail DiCarlo at or call him at 203-906-4343.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sterling stars

I snapped a quick photo of Harry, Amelia, and Enrico the other day as I was walking across the Derby Green.

They are part of the Sterling Opera House Portrait Project. Houdini was painted by Greg Karas of Ansonia, Earhart was created by Susan Carden-Flicker of Shelton and Caruso was painted by Rich DiCarlo of Derby.

Stay tuned for more information about the artists and their work. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

These portraits are Sterling

Works featuring famous visitors to opera house evoke simpler time

By Steve DiRienzo
Vice President
Valley Arts Council

DERBY - This is a continuation in our series of interviews with our group of very talented artists who contributed to the Sterling Opera House Portrait Project.
Jerry Mulcahy and Hope
Shelton artist Jerry Mulcahy, who chose Bob Hope as his subject and created him in the style of Shepard Fairey’s “Obama Hope Poster”, said he was “struck by boyhood memories of “seeing Hope on television and in vaudeville style comedy skits.”

He added that as he got older he developed a sense of “pride in seeing Hope perform for the Troops on multiple USO Tours!", which was something he felt was a “selfless act on the part of a big celebrity”.

His brightly colored acrylic rendering captures Hope's famous likeness.
Deneen Datcher and "Uncle Miltie"
Local painter Deneen Datcher created a striking black and white portrait of Milton Berle.

Her connection to Berle also came from her childhood days spent at her grandmother’s house where everyone gathered around the TV to watch “this really funny guy.”

“Uncle Miltie” became somewhat of a fixture and to this day evokes fond memories of her grandmother, Datcher said. “I captured his likeness in-between … not quite young and not quite old,” she said. "It’s the way I remember him.”

Deneen also says she was “excited and enthusiastic” to take part in the project. “I love the fact that this will hopefully help others learn more about this part of history.”

Karen Loprete and Gracie
Karen Loprete of Shelton created a beautiful fiber art rendering of Gracie Allen. She said she has always admired Allen for being a “powerful woman” for her time and one who really “stood up to her man.”

She also pointed out that Gracie Allen seemed to “always be smiling” and that even after the breakup of the “Burns & Allen” act, she still managed to “attract great recognition on her own.”

Editor's note: See previous posts about the Sterling Opera House Portrait Project here and here
Check back for more features on the remaining portraits.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drawing attention to emotions

A summer art program taught by Valley Arts Council President Rich DiCarlo was featured in the New Haven Register today. 

He told them how to show emotion through their artwork, and then urged the kids to draw themselves. 

Here's his hastily-drawn self-portrait.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Art class offers break at day camp

Valley Arts Council President Rich DiCarlo teaches basic drawing techniques to students in the Derby, Ct. Park and Recreation Department's summer day camp program at Bradley Elementary School. The class meets once a week.

The theme of the day Tuesday was "emotion." DiCarlo encouraged the 50 students in the class to draw happy, sad, and mad faces.

They finished the class by creating self-portraits. DiCarlo said he was impressed at how well the children were able to capture themselves on paper.

This budding artist, Jackson Kellogg, 8, of Derby, proudly shows off his self-portrait.

Photos by Patricia Villers

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reminder to artists: Think circles

For information on entering the Aug. 11 show visit

Or contact BillieJo, 203-232-7954 /,, or Rich, 203-906-4343 / for details.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gallery gets lots of visitors at fireworks event

It was good to see that the Gallery@37 was getting a lot of foot traffic last night before and during the Derby-Shelton fireworks display. I hope visitors were impressed and plan to stop by again soon.

This was the scene from right outside the Gallery ~

If only the city could have turned off the street lights during the display. But I suppose that would be a public safety concern.

Here's to a happy and safe Fourth of July! See you at the Gallery!