Artistic DHS grads show off at Homestead show, sale

DARIEN — Some of the best young artists to come through town are back to share their work.

Seventeen artists, who were graduated by Darien High School between 2010 and 2019, will be displaying 43 separate works for sale a special juried Darien Alumni Art Show and sale at the Mather Homestead running Friday through Sunday.

The opening reception is Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., with the show running 1 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday, which will feature an artisan and craft fair.

“The Mather Homestead Foundation is thrilled to welcome talented Darien High School alumni artists to showcase their work in the Elizabeth W. Chilton Center, fondly known as The Barn,” Heather Raker, executive director, said.

“Our aim is twofold,” Brenda Whittaker, one of the organizers of the event, said. “First, to give these artists a platform from which they can publicize and sell their work … Secondly, we look to provide inspiration for younger Darien kids who may be enjoying their art classes, so that they can directly see what a meaningful role art can continue to play in their lives beyond school.”

Whittaker had the idea for the show after seeing an empty storefront on the Post Road that she thought would be a great location to showcase art. She enlisted the help of her son, Luke — a Darien graduate who studied painting and art at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“More than anything I want to give inspiration to aspiring artists in Darien,” said Luke, who will be pursuing a master’s degree of fine arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design in the fall.

Having gained experience curating an exhibition in Rhode Island last year, he helped make it happen, along with the help of Jaclyn Sammis, his former art teacher at Darien High School and the current art department chair for K-12 for the district.

“There has always been a hesitancy to pursue the arts in Darien,” Luke Whittaker said, with he himself never understanding what it might mean to have a career in art.

“This exhibition’s purpose is to showcase what is possible for young artists,” he added. “It is also a way to bring back to the community the artists who have gone off into the world to expand their practice.”

Along with Luke, returning artists and artisans who will be featured include Joe Maccarone, Stina Arstorp, Colleen Brereton, Lily Morgan, Hannah Ferguson, Eric Kanigan, Alex Hamm, Katie Lashendock, Katie Southworth, Isabel Sutherland, Michael Ziga, Danielle Williams, Ken Zheng, Kaeleigh Morrill, Jimmy Weinstock and Chelsea Hurd.

Raker said that the show is coinciding with the “Plein Air” weeks, wherein the Homestead is welcoming artists to come and paint, draw, photograph and enjoy the grounds for their work.

“Our mission is to preserve the homestead as a treasured place for public education and enjoyment,” she said. “We hope that both the artists and the public enjoy the opportunity to view art in a beautiful setting.”

Luke Whittaker said, that no matter how successful the show may or may not be, if it inspires just one young person to embrace their artistic passion it will have been worth it.

“More than anything I want to give inspiration to aspiring artists in Darien,” he said.

For more information, visit http://www.darienalumniart.com/.