Litchfield Art Festival comes to North Canaan

The Litchfield Art Festival will take place at Lawrence Field in North Canaan Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The festival features painting, sculpture, mixed media, digital art, graphics, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, glass, leather, fiber/paper art, woodworks, metal, and jewelry by artists from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

The Tasty Empanada food truck from Watertown will offer culinary options, and Homegrown Café will serve drinks and desserts from their stand under the pavilion. There will be a raffle as well. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Litchfield Art Festival, now branded as (LAF), their goal is to become the best outdoor juried fine art show in the region.

LAF is organized by The Voice of Art (TVOA), a nonprofit visual art organization founded in 2017 whose mission is “to integrate arts and cultural community-building activities for residents of the Litchfield community.”

Director/Artist-in-Residence Hannah Jung founded The Voice of Art in 2017. Born in South Korea, Jung came to the U.S. for graduate study after obtaining her BFA in Painting from Seoul National University in 2000.

Jung has been an exhibiting artist in Connecticut and has taught at Housatonic Community College, Albertus Magnus College, as well as public and private schools. Her work has been exhibited at the Promenade Gallery at the Bushnell (Hartford), the Korean Embassy (Washington D.C.), Vision Gallery (NYC), and The White Gallery (Lakeville).

She explained the organization’s growth and movement, “After two years of operating The Voice of Art Gallery & Studio in Cheshire, we moved to Litchfield in 2020 to be more closely connected to a community with a deep appreciation of the fine arts and artists.”

During the pandemic, TVOA started their annual outdoor fine art show to reach a wider and more diverse audience.

“The festival was not really planned until we realized that the pandemic would not go away. I needed to be connected to the community. I’ve been in the U.S. for 20 years, but never thought about doing a festival until that moment. In a way, the pandemic gave us a great opportunity, and it’s been quite successful. I’ve been able to get to know many professional artists from other states. There are many recurring artists, and we keep growing,” Jung said.

“By managing a gallery, I learned that you have to understand both sides, the artists and the community. You have to understand what the community enjoys and why they should support the arts. This kind of event really connects with the community,” she added.

When asked about the decision to hold the festival in Canaan this year, Jung said, “Canaan is great because Route 44 and 7 connect providing easy access to everybody. We have 100 artists and patrons coming from far away. We’ve been impressed by the great support from the Town of North Canaan. First Selectman Brian Ohler has been actively supportive of our needs as well as many business owners.”

Looking toward the future, TVOA is seeking to establish a permanent home in the Tri-State region. Their five-year plan is to secure a property where they can continue to grow through indoor and outdoor art shows as well as studio programs specifically tailored to the residents of this region.

“Through our programs such as art festivals, therapeutic art, workshops, master class series, artist residency programs, and summer camps, TVOA will offer entertaining, educational, and self-healing art experiences. Local arts are critical to everyone’s mental and spiritual well-being,” Jung said.

In addition, The Voice of Art offers classes, workshops, and health-related studio art programs for seniors during the day. TVOA is hoping their programs can serve as a second act for seniors.

“Canaan provides what we need, so we’re very happy to be here,” Jung said.

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