Third annual ArtsFest strikes a chord
Creativity was flowing in many forms Saturday at the third annual Silvermine Arts Center ArtsFest.
Around 400 people stopped by to witness demonstrations by Silvermine teachers, who shared their varying expertise in different methods and mediums. Kids completed a range of crafts, fine food was had by all, and -- culminating the afternoon -- a pair of unique musical groups joined forced to share rhythms from around the world in a program called "A Tale of Two Nations."
"It's a free community event," said Robin Axness, marketing director for Silvermine, aimed at giving the community a taste of all that Silvermine has to offer -- instruction from skilled teachers in a wide variety of art mediums, exhibitions of fine art, and even several outreach programs the center runs.
"It's really to show the diversity of this place," said Executive Director Leslee Asch. "We started it two years ago to highlight the Sculpture Walk." she said.
This year, two special guest groups added to the magic with their unique musical contributions. "A Tale of Two Nations" -- a national tour that came to Connecticut for this one-day event -- featured a Brazilian maracatu band called Estrela Brilhante, or Bright Star, which was originally formed more than 100 years ago. With them was a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based group of international rhythm specialists called Nation Beat, which has recorded music with the maracatu band and helped bring them to the United States for their first tour.
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"We've been working on this for a year and a half to get this to happen," Asch said.
Scott Kettner, musical director and drummer for Nation Beat, was the key organizer.
"It's a huge accomplishment," he said. "I've been studying their music and culture for the past 13 years."
In 2005, he said, they recorded a CD together in Brazil. Now the groups will be appearing in several places throughout the U.S. following Saturday's shows, including New Mexico, Miami and Los Angeles.
Along with the music, young and old alike were thrilled to be part of the ArtsFest itself.
"It's amazing," said Christian Setterlund of Wilton. "We're excited to be a part of it."
"So far, it's wonderful," said Tony DiFabbio, who traveled from New Fairfield. "It's really, really beautiful and we're looking forward to hearing the drumming and eating more."
Young Isabel Kronin of Wilton was among those who made use of some of the craft activities, which included painting, drawing and, in her case, making a felted wool necklace.
"It's a good way to burn off some creative energy," she said.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.