Newtown native Allison Hornak has opened Migrant Salon, located at 117-D Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook Center. But do not expect to find a barbershop chair and hair stylists in this salon.
Ms Hornak is a 2010 graduate of Montserrat College of Art in Massachusetts, with a degree in fine arts, focusing on interdisciplinary art. With Migrant Salon, an art gallery and performance space, she is putting her focus on small group exhibitions by area artists. The 2005 Newtown High School graduate first considered opening an art gallery the summer of 2012, but put the idea on hold when she was accepted into the Goetemann Artist’s Residency Program in Gloucester, Mass.
Returning to Sandy Hook this past summer, Ms Hornak said, “I decided it was a good time to go forward with my plan. In 4½ years at Montserrat, I became interested in taking on the role of moderator between visual arts and people.”
Sandy Hook seemed the perfect place to start her business.
“It is an artsy area, with beautiful river views and lots of restaurants,” she said, “and I’m so hopeful for the future of Sandy Hook Center. I’ve always thought that a good place for a gallery is where there aren’t other ones yet,” she said, although she visualizes a time when other galleries and complementary businesses populate the Center.
“The idea of cultural arts moving into an area where that is not historically a precedent, is exhilarating,” Ms Hornak said.
Of the 780-square feet of space, two-thirds is devoted to the gallery, tucked into the lower level of the streetfront businesses in Sandy Hook Center. The rest of Migrant Salon houses a studio where Ms Hornak pursues her own art, primarily sculptural painting “that exists in 3-D,” she explained.
Her original idea for Migrant Salon was based on the pop up art movement that utilizes temporary spaces.
“But this permanent space opened up, so the mobility — that’s the ‘Migrant’ part of the name — now shifts,” she said. The “Salon” portion of the gallery’s name is a throwback to the Paris salons of earlier centuries, and more accurately reflects the various forms of art she plans to showcase, Ms Hornak said.
The gallery opened to the public in October, with an exhibition called “Purpose,” featured works by Fairfield County and Massachusetts artists.
“I was thinking how to introduce my gallery to the community. I think the initial question was, is there a purpose to doing art? Then, why do artists do art?” Ms Hornak said. She approached artists she knew and asked them to share works that answered those questions for the first Migrant Salon show.
Responding to her challenge, she received prints, paintings, 3-D art, and a performance piece presented via video. “Purpose” will run through November 30.
From December 7 to January 15, Migrant Salon will present an ongoing performance piece by a solo artist.
“It is community oriented, and involves participation by viewers,” Ms Hornak said.
A group photography exhibit will open mid-January 2014. Each show will remain on view for four to five weeks.
Ms Hornak said she is currently building a relationship with local student artists who are seeking to engage and wish to be critiqued. She is also planning for a lecture series and small art classes in the spring.
“I’m really interested in the possibilities art venues present, and I’m learning as I grow,” Ms Hornak said.
Migrant Salon, 117D Church Hill Road (beneath Subway), is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, or by appointment, at 203-770-8759. Guest curators and artists can apply at www.migrantsalon.tumblr.com. Guidelines can be viewed at that site.