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History In The Making: Faces Of Newtown



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History In The Making: Faces Of Newtown

As Newtown continues to celebrate its 300th birthday, award-winning members of The Connecticut Society Of Portrait Artists (CSOPA) have been invited into an unprecedented project: A series of portraits honoring Newtown citizens of distinction, as nominated by C.H. Booth Library’s Board of Trustees.

The historic Booth Library, with its classical architecture and impressive Genealogy Room, inspired the idea.

“We could think of no better way to celebrate the town’s 300-year commitment to historical preservation than to create new paintings honoring distinguished citizens of past and present,” explained Jeanine Jackson, the founder and co-chair of CSOPA. “These museum quality works will become a part of the town’s legacy for future generations in private collections of artists or models.”

A kick-off event was held at library in March, hosted by Library Trustee Paula Stephan and CSOPA member artist Alain Picard. Since then, the artists and their subjects have set up meetings to begin work from life and photo studies.

Each of the 13 portraits can take upwards of 100 hours to complete, which will be realized over the next few months. CSOPA and Booth Library organizers believe the creation of 13 individual portraits at once in one town may be a historic first for the state of Connecticut.

The artists, who come from all areas of Connecticut (and even New York and New Jersey), and their subjects have been selected as follows:

Alain Picard of Bethel will create a portrait of Town Historian Dan Cruson;

Jeanine Jackson (Stamford) – First Selectman Herb Rosenthal;

David Luchak (Old Greenwich) – Businessman Richard Sturdevant;

William Rorick (Southbury) – Booth Library Director Janet Woycik;

Judy Perry (Old Saybrook) – State Representative Julia Wasserman;

Janice Baragwanath (Trumbull) – Family Counseling Center chairman Joseph Humeston;

Diane Aeschliman (Killingworth) – Marie Sturdevant;

Karen Martin (Chappaqua, N.Y.) – former Town Clerk and former State Representative Mae Schmidle;

Joseph Sundwall (Bridgewater, N.J.) – William Denlinger, Esquire;

James DeCesare (Hartford) – former First Selectman Jack Rosenthal;

Leslie Bender (New Paltz, N.Y.) – former First Selectman Timothy Treadwell (deceased);

Sandra Wakeen (Morris) – philanthropist Mary Elizabeth Hawley (deceased); and

Joyce Zeller (Harrison, N.Y.) – Lee Davenson, former director of Newtown Parks and Rec (deceased).

The three posthumous portraits are being done from archival photos.

An official unveiling and opening reception for the collection will be held at the library on Saturday, September 10, from 6 to 8 pm. The public is invited to view the portraits and also to meet the artists and their subjects, the majority of whom are expected to be in attendance that evening.

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