The Mature Students of Northlight's Art Class

Now an anticipated tradition, the Northlight Art Center’s 12th annual adult student exhibition opened at the Sharon Historical Society’s gallery space in Sharon, Conn., on Saturday, March 11, drawing a significant turnout to see and purchase the works.

The sense of “being creative” has sustained Wallie MacMillan’s interest in the sessions at Northlight Art Center since she started as a beginner in 2018, working in black and white first with a type of charcoal pencil. She is now pleased to be one of this year’s ten exhibitors. A total of 28 works are in the students’ show, including media such as oil sticks, pastels, watercolors, and colored pencils.

“It’s fun,” MacMillan said, adding “a nice group of people.” She said that her progress is due to “Pieter’s patience,” referring to Pieter Lefferts, the art teacher and founder of Northlight.

Among the early transactions of the evening was Kathleen Kulig’s pastel “Winter Stream,” enthusiastically purchased by Sharon resident Jodi Smith.

“You’re immediately there,” Smith said. “It’s so Sharon, so this area.”

“I look forward to this event each year, delighted with the range and quality,” Sharon Historical Society’s Executive Director Christine Beer commented. She applauded that “certain kind of attitude among the student artists as they support one another.”

Beer drew a parallel between the Northlight student show and the historical society’s mission of strengthening the community.

“I bought the chicken,” said Paddy Rossbach, referring to artist Cathleen Halloran’s colorful interpretation of an alert rooster, “Mr. Marketplace.” She said that the painting is to be a gift to a friend, most likely. Cathleen Halloran is in her class at Northlight, she explained, indicating that next year, Halloran may be going to tackle a donkey as a subject.

“I absolutely love the exhibit,” said Pieter Lefferts, who leads Northlight. For the past seven years, Lefferts has offered art sessions within the Northlight space in the Fudgy’s Plaza, in Amenia, N.Y. A few of the artists admitted to frequenting Fudgy’s Ice Cream before or after their art sessions.

Drawing a distinction between an art teacher and a teaching artist, Lefferts said that he is the latter. “I teach to the individual,” he said. “I get an impression of how each student would benefit from my teaching. It can be technical or philosophical.”

Before his move to the Amenia space, Lefferts said that Northlight had been located in Sharon, at the site of the present Sharon Country Inn.

“I love it,” Lefferts said. “I love the opportunity to bring out what is in a person through art.”

“Learning to draw will set you free as an artist,” Lefferts said. “You develop a skill set that brings confidence to explore other modes of expression.”

“And I get to watch them do it,” Lefferts added, “and I serve tea.”


The Northlight exhibit will be on view at Sharon Histroical Society through May 5.

Latest News

Inspiring artistic inspiration at the Art Nest in Wassaic

Left to right: Emi Night (Lead Educator), Luna Reynolds (Intern), Jill Winsby-Fein (Education Coordinator).

Natalia Zukerman

The Wassaic Art Project offers a free, weekly drop-in art class for kids aged K-12 and their families every Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. The Art Nest, as it’s called, is a light, airy, welcoming space perched on the floor of the windy old mill building where weekly offerings in a variety of different media lead by professional artists offer children the chance for exploration and expression. Here, children of all ages and their families are invited to immerse themselves in the creative process while fostering community, igniting imaginations, and forging connections.

Emi Night began as the Lead Educator at The Art Nest in January 2024. She studied painting at Indiana University and songwriting at Goddard College in Vermont and is both a visual artist and the lead songwriter and singer in a band called Strawberry Runners.

Keep ReadingShow less
Weaving and stitching at Kent Arts Association

A detail from a fabric-crafted wall mural by Carlos Biernnay at the annual Kent Arts Association fiber arts show.

Alexander Wilburn

The Kent Arts Association, which last summer celebrated 100 years since its founding, unveiled its newest group show on Friday, May 11. Titled “Working the Angles,” the exhibition gathers the work of textile artists who have presented fiber-based quilts, landscapes, abstracts, and mural-sized illustrations. The most prominently displayed installation of fiber art takes up the majority of the association’s first floor on South Main Street.

Bridgeport-based artist Carlos Biernnay was born in Chile under the rule of the late military dictator Augusto Pinochet, but his large-scale work is imbued with fantasy instead of suffering. His mix of influences seems to include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s popular German libretto “The Magic Flute” — specifically The Queen of the Night — as well as Lewis Carol’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” The Tudor Court, tantalizing mermaids and exotic flora.

Keep ReadingShow less
Let there be Night: How light pollution harms migrating birds
Alison Robey

If last month’s solar eclipse taught me anything, it’s that we all still love seeing cool stuff in the sky. I don’t think we realize how fast astronomical wonders are fading out of sight: studies show that our night skies grow about 10% brighter every year, and the number of visible stars plummets as a result. At this rate, someone born 18 years ago to a sky with 250 visible stars would now find only 100 remaining.

Vanishing stars may feel like just a poetic tragedy, but as I crouch over yet another dead Wood Thrush on my morning commute, the consequences of light pollution feel very real. Wincing, I snap a photo of the tawny feathers splayed around his broken neck on the asphalt.

Keep ReadingShow less