More than 1,000 pieces of art graced the walls of the Burr Homestead as the Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County opened its 22 annual Art Show and sale at the historic mansion Friday morning.
The event, running through Sunday, also features tours, musical entertainment and food. On Sunday, the Art Truck, Connecticut's mobile art studio, will visit.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau kicked off the event Friday, with a snip of the ceremonial ribbon on the mansion's front steps. Tetreau also issued a proclamation declaring April 4-6 "The Junior League of Eastern Fairfield County Days".
"The Junior League uses this as a major fundraiser and does such great work while providing opportunities for women to be involved in the community," said Tetreau. "They are underappreciated and underpublicized, focusing on their good works rather than publicity. More people should know about them and what they've done for our town and surrounding communities."
Artwork purchases support the JLEFC's "Healthy Families, Healthy Futures" community projects, which focus on literacy, healthy lifestyles and combatting hunger as ways to better prepare children for learning success, according to Sonal Rajan, the league president. A portion of the proceeds also helps fund programs to train JLEFC members to bring the mission into their respective communities.
Among the group's beneficiaries is the Thomas Hooker School in Bridgeport. Its students, from kindergartners through fifth-graders, paid a visit to the show Friday morning to tour the show and enjoy a healthy snack. Many of the students also had created artwork that was displayed at the show.
Tetreau welcomed the students, joking, "One of the things I could never do was paint or draw. Thank you for coming to Fairfield."
Rajan also recognized the students, noting, "We have a long-standing partnership with Thomas Hooker. I'm so impressed with your work, which is hanging alongside the work of over 130 professional artists."
Preparation for the event began nearly a year ago, according to Patricia Boyd, one of the event chairwomen. In the past week, 20 volunteers each day worked 12-hour shifts to hang and organize all of the art on display.
Rajan offered that the layout of the show had been changed this year. "To target the continually evolving tastes of the community, we put contemporary pieces on the main level and more traditional artwork upstairs," she said. "And there's a wide range of prices."
"Besides the main benefit," Tetreau said, "the show is a great way to give exposure to local artists. Fairfield is trying to be a destination for arts and culture and this event builds on that. The Burr Homestead site also ties together a contemporary event in a historical setting, which tracks with the Town's 375th birthday celebration."