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ARTWALK Fills The Streets Of Downtown Stamford

Jackie Wetenhall, director of retail development for the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, stands on Bedford Street where much of the action for ARTWALK will take place. Art is on display in galleries and downtown businesses. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Photographer Nina Antolino places one of her photographs in Fleet Feet Sports on Bedford Street. ARTWALK takes place Friday and Saturday. Art will be on display at galleries and downtown businesses. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn., -- For the second year in a row, downtown Stamford will be a haven for art lovers as ARTWALK makes its return.

The official opening is Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, where the public is invited to meet and greet the 95 participating artists.

Nina Antolino was busy Thursday afternoon placing her paintings inside Fleet Feet Sports at 168 Bedford St. A yoga instructor, the Norwalk resident has become entranced by photography since receiving a Canon EOS as a Christmas gift in 2002. Increasingly, photography has become a more intense artistic expression for her.

"It really just started out as a passion for me, a hobby, and now I like to do it more as a business,” she said. Antolino said she has found her niche when it comes to her artwork.

“It’s really all naturescapes, so that anything that moves me I call soulscapes,” she said referring to water settings and floral art as examples of her work.

After the official opening, the ARTWALK Gallery Stroll will take place as seven galleries open their doors to the art-loving public. That takes place from 7 to 9 p.m.

All of the art is available for purchase and most of the art will be on display until July 7.

Painter Anna Baldini said the event spurs her own artistic drive.

“I get to see what everybody else is doing and I get to meet people in the community,” she said. “I get inspiration from it.”

A native of Italy, the painter has resided for about 40 years in Stamford, a community that has become a strong supporter of the arts, she said.

Baldini praised the Artwalk event and the Loft Artists Association as standouts in Stamford.

She is displaying her work at F.I.S.H. at 245 Bedford St.

Antolino agrees with Badini on the importance of the art-themed event.

“I think it is great. It allows local artists to display their talents, their art, what they are passionate about and it gives people in the community a chance to take part in it as well,” she said.

The event was created by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District as part of its Art in Public Places initiative. ARTWALK runs concurrently with the outdoor sculpture exhibition entitled, "Street Seats."

Jackie Wetenhall, director of retail development for the Downtown Special Services District, said the event fits well into the landscape of the city.

"Stamford is all about the arts and the diversity of the arts, and it was overdue," she said.

It was artist Barbara Boeck who brought Wetenhall to Nyack, N.Y., two years ago to see that community's artwalk. Wetenhall said that she realized immediately that a similar event in Stamford would be a natural fit.

"We said this is perfect for Stamford. We can do this in Stamford," she said.

Special events continue Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of ARTWALK. For more information, check out the DSSD website .

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