Sunday, October 22, 2017

Open Studio for On the Trail of Calder

Since October 2, a group of five artists from Italy have been working in an old factory on Freight Street, creating artwork inspired by Alexander Calder. The end result will be installation of five new sculptures in downtown Waterbury. Today was the Open Studio at the factory, giving the public a chance to preview the work and meet the artists.

Artist Eduardo Giannattasio greeting new arrivals to the studio. Giannattasio came up with the idea for the project, recruiting local resident Ann Marie Somma to help make it happen.

Old factories are perfect places for art studios, with large well-lit spaces to work in, and little reason to worry about making a mess.

The other end of the factory complex, well used by a variety of businesses.

Entrance to the studio.

Skylight inside the factory.

I arrived twenty minutes after the Open Studio started and was pleased to find the place was packed. The audience was a mix of Waterbury residents and people from nearby towns. Clearly, establishing a regular artist residency program in Waterbury is a very viable idea.

Sleeping Giant by Vincenzo Liguori will be placed on Freight Street. From the label: "It resembles a giant smoke stack, honors Waterbury's industrial past, and recalls Italy's volcanoes. The mobile on top is red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag."

Off Beat by Deborah Napolitano will be placed outside the Travel Center in the Buckingham Garage (where, incidentally, Calder once offered to install a sculpture, but the City turned him down).  From the label: "It reflects Alexander Calder's love of the circus and circus sculptures. The piece is meant to inspire us to walk to a different beat."

Joe Pisani was a major supporter of the project. His father, Frank Pisani, helped construct Calder's sculptures at Segre Iron Works in Waterbury.

Artist Deborah Napolitano

This flame-like sculpture by Raffaele Falcone will be installed on Phoenix Avenue.

Returning to the Source by William Papaleo will be installed in Library Park. From the label: "It symbolizes the regenerating possibilities for Waterbury through art. It also symbolizes the city's return to its roots through metal."

Mare Nostrum ("Our Sea") by Eduardo Giannattasio will be placed outside the YMCA. From the label: "The work is a tribute to Alexander Calder's mobiles but also fitting for Waterbury as a river city. The symbolism behind the sculpture is that one sea unites humanity."

Paintings, sketches, and prints were on display during the Open Studio.

Small models and variations of the five sculptures were also on view.

One added treat: displays of vintage equipment (because what old factory would be complete without vintage and antique furnishings?).

Welding equipment used during the project. The helmet is not a stray motorcycle helmet--it's a colorful welding mask.

Welding machine used by Frank Pisani at Segre Iron Works to build Calder's sculptures.

For more about the project, you can visit their Facebook page (On the Trail of Calder). Additionally, the Rep-Am published a good article covering the project on October 15.

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