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No Bare Walls

Accessible Art for the Modern Collector



LIsa Cooper sits in a quiet corner of her home, which doubles as an art salon that features contemporary works from emerging artists.

Photos by Ryan Lavine

Contrary to what you might think, purchasing art doesn’t require a master’s degree or a winning lottery ticket. “Great art is available at every price point,” says Lisa Cooper, art advisor and owner of Elisa Contemporary Art in Fairfield. “My rule: only buy what you love.”

Cooper lives by her own advice. She and her husband Mitch Cravens, a local tennis pro, began collecting art shortly after they married as a way to celebrate milestones together. After years of reverse commuting, they couple moved to Fairfield from Riverdale, where they also have a gallery.

Last year, the couple opened an art salon in their bungalow off South Pine Creek Road that showcases affordable art from emerging artists. The salon offers a unique opportunity for potential buyers to view art in natural light and familiar settings. Each room is home to several groupings of art, some of which is for sale, while other pieces are from the couple’s personal collection.

The salon is a great resource for both novice and experienced art collectors, and regularly hosts informative lectures aimed at helping locals discover what they love. “First find out what speaks to you,” says Cooper. “Once you discover what artists and styles resonate, do your own research. Follow your favorite artists on social media, subscribe to art blogs and attend local art fairs.”

While an original piece may not fit into your immediate budget, affordable art is accessible. “Focus on emerging artists, works on paper, limited edition prints, photography, and auctions.” Locally, research can begin at Southport Galleries, where you’ll find work by emerging and established artists, many of whom are local to the area. The gallery recently featured work by six female abstract artists, another exhibition included photography by Southport resident Andrew Smith with Donald Sigovich, and original paintings by Rob Brooks.

Take a walk through The Southport’s Delamar Hotel, where one of Brooks’ contemporary realist paintings “Ice” is a fixture in the lobby. In fact, the hotel showcases original art on the walls of its public spaces and guest rooms throughout its three locations. 

Other non-traditional galleries are popping up around town, offering “hang time” to featured artists in turn for filling their walls with curated eye candy. Jarosa Studio in Greenfield Hill is treating its waiting room like a gallery, featuring work from local talents Kristin Golier and Karen Rooney Proto. Clients can expect to see new artists featured on a near monthly basis. 

This type of exposure can catapult an artist to the next level. Jen Scully of Mack and Ro started selling her popular art prints and canvases at Popshop Market, a bi-annual open air market at the Fairfield Theater Company. Following collaborations with local retailers like The Beehive and Saltwater, she now spends most of her time working on commissioned pieces for clients and interior designers sourcing for their own projects. Scully is moving beyond the easel to produce a line of wallpaper that’s already garnering interest around town.

“I like to think that my artwork is accessible — both in look and price,” explains Scully. “My work has a coastal vibe, and not too serious look, if you know what I mean.”

Many of these artists are pursuing art as a second career after taking time off to raise a family. Fairfield resident Kyra Dwyer, a former member of the Coast Guard, always felt comfortable on the water, but painting for an audience was out of her comfort zone. 

After her art continuing education class ended in 2003, some of the group continued to meet privately. They used an art room in a classmate’s building and hired teachers from the community, including their current instructor Gus Moran, a professor at Housatonic Community College. The class continues to meet weekly and paint, often over a bottle of wine. “The class is open to everyone,” says Dwyer. “The only rule is that you must love art!” Dwyer is also an Associate Member at The Nest Arts Factory in Bridgeport. This open studio space and art collective is available to the public by request and at certain times of the year as part of the Bridgeport Art Trail, a unique way to discover local talent. 

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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

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More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

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View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

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Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5 suggested donation

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


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Telephone: 203-413-6735
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More information

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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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Website »

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
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Cost: Free

Where:
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370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

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Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-6490
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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More information

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Cost: Free

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More information

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
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11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

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Where:
Wall Street Theater
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View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

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Cost: $55 through August 31, $65 regular ticket price

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Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: Black Rock Yacht Club
Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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