– November 15th, 2013 by Carly Stevens –
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Community comes out to celebrate local artist

Nov. 7 marked the grand opening of longtime New London resident and talented artist Tomie dePaola’s “Then” exhibit featured from his “Tomie dePaola: Then and Now” collection. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. the entire community was welcomed to a reception in the Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery in the Sawyer Fine and Performing Arts Center for the spectacular display.

With dePaola’s 80th birthday approaching in the next year, the exhibit highlights his talents, achievements and dedication to the art world within the early years of his life. Members of the Colby-Sawyer community including many students came together to celebrate dePaola’s hard work.

Viewing dePaola’s artwork as a lifetime of expressionism and memories, senior Courtney Hayner noted, “His work is very interesting, especially the religious pieces.” As a Psychology major with a minor in Fine Arts, Hayner was awarded the Tomie dePaola Award last year and was pleased to have the opportunity to see dePaola’s artwork up close and personal. “It’s great to check out his work and be able to see the variation in his paintings.”

Similar to Hayner, junior Faith Bouchard also expressed her excitement for dePaola’s exhibit and even had a chance to connect with the art on a more personal level. Bouchart explained, “When I was a kid my Mom would read me dePaola’s books, and I loved the illustrations.” While walking around the gallery, Bouchard continued to add that as a Graphic Design major, the exhibit allowed her to prosper new ideas from the artwork and from the artist himself. “With the opening of this exhibit I knew I had to meet him in person,” Bouchard said with enthusiasm.

Indeed, Bouchard was one of the many eager students and community members to meet and greet dePaola throughout the reception. When asked about his favorite part of the exhibit, dePaola responded, “Seeing old friends through my artwork and in person, while meeting new faces is always great.” The artist concluded by stating that aside from using new innovative tools such as computers, he has high hopes that his artwork will inspire students to still create artwork that is real in the sense of using a paint brush and paper.

Senior Katie Arsenault commented on the variety of different mediums used by dePaola. “His work is so diverse including the color scheme and the choice of presentation. It is interesting to see where inspiration comes from.” From photographs, to early storybook illustrations, many visitors noted that the “Then” portion of dePaola’s artwork was as beautiful as it was diverse.

The Tomie dePaola “Then” art exhibit will continue to be displayed in the Sawyer Center until Dec. 20. Coming in the fall of 2014, dePaola will showcase the “Now” exhibition to coincide with his 80th birthday.


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