The Origins of Art Connection Studio

The Origins of Art Connection Studio

When Marita McDermott came to Vinfen as a contractor to start a women’s group, Art Connection Studio was just a vision she shared with coworker, Jan Koopmans – a vision for something big, something new. They knew it needed to be therapeutic, but it also had to be fun.  There had to be a sense of family and chances to build connections with others.

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Vinfen was supportive of the vision and Marita and Jan ran with it.  It started small at one of Vinfen’s residential programs.  Marita taught a horticulture class with one raised bed and Jan taught weaving on two looms. There were two separate classes in the morning, the groups came together for lunch, and then broke off after lunch for afternoon classes.  At the start, there were only 6 artists!

It was always the plan that the art would just be a way to get people together to form connections.  The relationships that form were the most important aspect of the program.  The artists took to the program beautifully.  Even those who did not function well at other programs began to bloom.

We began shopping around for a bigger space.  We found the Arbor Arts Center at 56 Arbor Street in Hartford and it was a perfect fit for us. IMG_1966Once we found our beautiful studio, everyone could visualize what it could grow into.  It allowed us to create a space where people can be together and also break off into smaller groups.

We have always refused to compromise.  We knew we needed to be a true artist studio with professional, high quality supplies and an intense aesthetic.  This focus on quality is so important because it builds identity.  “You are an artist and this is real.”

Now, Art Connection Studio has 35 artists and a rotating schedule of classes including acrylic painting, watercolor painting, jewelry, printmaking, fiber arts, photography, graphic design, charcoal drawing, illustration, mixed media, and more!

And we are still growing and evolving!

Post by: Katie Akin