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Art Gallery 9/17/10
September 17, 2010

Montage Launches The Art Gallery

Excitement filled the air!  Paintings were hung, jewellery placed and sculptures suspended from the ceiling.  Exotic cheeses, wine and chocolate covered apples, so beautifully arranged that the food table might easily have been confused for an exhibit, while a magnificent bronze metal sculpture stood center stage; it’s size shown to full potential in the space that is home to Montage Initiative.  All we needed now was the people!

And so they came, making our first ever art event and the launch of The Art Gallery program a storming success!  Local Connecticut artists and artisans were able to showcase the breadth of their talent and Turner Woods, our Art Gallery director, worked with lighting and space to turn an empty room into a place of beauty.  As I walked the room earlier that day, I was in awe of so much life, expressed in so many different forms, and the power that is created when intention and desire meet. 

I recalled once taking a short course of painting classes.  My aim was to recreate the luscious landscape and rolling hills of the Leicestershire countryside in England around the villages where I rode my much loved horse, Oliver; capturing him and it in watercolour, and my frustration at not being able to commit my imagination to paper in the way I wanted, which was a disappointment. Especially as the 13 year-old boy next to me had a brush that came alive in his hands and painted how I knew I never would.  Looking about me now, I felt inspired again and although I knew I wouldn’t have the patience, for a few moments I thought that perhaps I’d try again and that maybe the 25 years that have passed might have given my hands new life and more than just sun spots and arthritis!   

What moved me more than anything, though, was the simplicity of an art program to connect women around the world. The silent auction our bidders took part in will enable women around the globe to find a voice and place to show their work – mostly for the first time and mostly impoverished in ways we can only imagine. Connecting women from completely different continents because of what takes place in this room and later online makes this space and the contribution of the people who came all the more powerful.   

And that for me was the real beauty of the room and the art I stood in the midst of – the power of the program to reach beyond its four walls in Bridgeport, to impoverished artists from Vrindavan in India, to Kigali in Africa and as far as we can go, giving them the Art Gallery space and an opportunity they can only imagine to let the world know that they are out there. 

And perhaps that’s the vital ingredient the world needs today – imagination. The ability to look at what we have, where we are now, and think about where we want to go.  Dreams have no borders, are powerful motivators and imagination will bring you everywhere.  

                                                                  Ingrid Stellmacher