NEW BRITAIN – As the world begins to open again, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain is presenting its newest art installment from local artists for public viewing.
Currently on display at the foundation’s center boardroom located on 74 Vine St. in New Britain is the artwork of New Britain resident and artist Kathleen Curran Smits. She is the vice president of the Art League of New Britain and the second artist featured with her exhibit, “Shorelines.”
“I’m excited to have an opportunity to exhibit my paintings of local shorelines at the Foundation Center in a place where such good things happen for our community,” Smits said.
Originally from Amherst, Mass., Smits started her art career as a landscape painter, entering into oil painting as a way to recreate the New England landscapes that she loves. Smits was taking an art history class at Amherst College when her first inspiration to paint came to her. She then studied painting with James Stegall who was trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts while she was living in Texas. Then she moved back to New England and settled in Connecticut.
Since then, her landscapes have been accepted into the New Britain Museum of American Art members’ shows and two of them were sold at their annual gala. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman exhibited a landscape of hers in his inner office in Washington D.C. as part of a juried Connecticut Artists exhibition sponsored by the Connecticut Office of the Arts. She has had several solo shows and regularly exhibits in the
Connecticut area by entering juried shows and regional exhibitions. Her work also reflects her knowledge of plants and trees in the landscape as she has a degree in horticulture.
In addition to creating art, Smits is also an arts teacher. She complemented her career with teaching, drawing and painting to a variety of age groups in a variety of settings, including working with special needs children. She returned to school and received an M.A., followed by a Digital Arts Certificate from Sessions School of Design in NYC.
Those experiences landed her a job as a Digital Arts faculty member of the Graphic Design program of the Visual Fine Arts department at Manchester Community College. She teaches landscape painting at the Art League of New Britain.
Foundation President Dave Obedzinski said they are thrilled to have this partnership with the Art League of New Britain.
“We are honored to share the work of local artists with the community,” he said. “Not only does our organization use the boardroom, but many area nonprofits use the space as well. It’s a privilege to display Kathleen’s beautiful art and open our doors to the community we serve.”
The boardroom’s art gallery is located on the third floor of the Foundation Center. The first floor hallways of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain are also being used as an art space, highlighting the work from the Southington Community Cultural Arts All-Access Program.
The foundation works with local artists to rotate the pieces and give other exhibits a chance to be on display. The equipment used in both galleries was funded by a grant from Stanley Black & Decker.