Cesar Alvarez Commissioned for “Traffic Graphic” Project

Cesar Alvarez Commissioned for “Traffic Graphic” Project

Congratulations to Cesar Alvarez, our August featured artist, on his recent commission from the Norwalk Arts Commission, to paint an electric box outside of the Wall Street Theater, as part of their public art initiative.

REPOST from The Hour — Cesar and Milena Alvarez stood on opposite sides of a traffic box in an alley beside the Wall Street Theater on Thursday. Painting within the lines of figures sketched the day prior, the husband and wife were meticulously putting the finishing touches on a large-scale representation of one of Cesar Alvarez’s works.

The scale of the project is larger than most of Alvarez’s work, but the quick-drying acrylic paint he was using allowed for speedy work. Though he had moved to Connecticut from his native Colombia in 1999, this was the first public artwork he’d been asked to do in his new home.

“I’ve never done this kind of thing in this country. But in my country I’ve done many things,” Cesar Alvarez said. “And they want to do more here.”

The work of Alvarez is part of an initiative to beautify the Wall Street neighborhood, championed both by Marc Alan (a member of the Wall Street Neighborhood Association and the Arts Commission) and Rene Soto, at whose eponymous gallery Alvarez’s work is displayed.

The traffic box near the theater is the first in what Alan hopes will be a series on the street, following the model of the Norwalk Public Library and the St. Philip Artists’ Guild, each of which did similar beautification of traffic boxes near their buildings.

“It was a multistep process. I put together an assortment of local artists and reviewed their work. The theme was always music and the arts. We wanted to reflect the multicultural diversity of Norwalk,” Alan said. 

There are two more traffic boxes that Alan hopes to have painted sometime in early 2019, though artists need to be found and the right approvals need to be secured.

The theme of the box near the theater is, fittingly, music and art.

For it, Alvarez is enlarging two works inspired by nieces of his, one a ballerina, and the other a singer, that are part of a larger series of paintings called “Playfulness & Tenderness.’

“The playfulness comes from the children. And the tenderness, we wanted to involve these things you do for love and passion,” Milena Alvarez explained.

The idea behind the series is depicting children in environments where technology is not present, in situations that remind Alvarez of his own childhood.

“We want to call the attention of the people to try to give education to the children to do something creative,” Cesar Alvarez said.

MAD Lab Art Space Opens in Wall Street District

MAD Lab Art Space Opens in Wall Street District

Congratulations to Weverson Ponte, who brought Strength Showcase to the gallery in September; on this HUGE win for the Norwalk artist community, which will enable us to collaborate on the creation of a vibrant art and music scene in the Wall Street area!

REPOST from The Hour — The vacant front of a commercial building on Leonard Street will soon reopen as a potential hub for Wall Street’s artistic community. The Mad Lab will be a communal workspace for artists located at 22 Leonard Street, in the front half of the Front Page Upholstery building in an industrial stretch of downtown, next to Sono Studios and across the street from Factory Underground.

It’s the invention of Weverson Ponte, an architect, artist and Zumba instructor who, in the past two years, has organized gallery exhibitions, staged an art installation at a soon-to-be demolished home, and raised thousands of dollars toward various charities.

“The whole point is we’re trying to establish an artist community in the area that really promotes artistry and uniqueness,” Ponte said, “where artists can be empowered and have a collaborative space.”

Ponte came across the space by chance. “I was driving around Norwalk, looking for a garage I could rent where I could paint for myself,” Ponte said.

When he first passed by 22 Leonard St., he was intrigued. He called the property owner, developer Jason Milligan, who responded enthusiastically to Ponte’s vision.

“The Wall Street area, especially back in Isaac Square, is a budding art and music scene,” said Milligan.

Ponte designed the space himself and build out began roughly a month ago. Based on Ponte’s rendering, there will be couches, desks and a kitchen space. Ponte referred to it as a “fantasy factory.”

“The way we’re setting it up, it’ll be a shared studio space. Artists can rent out a desk, can run their brand and artist business out of there,” Ponte said. “It also becomes a space where they’re collaborating with each other. Multiple minds work better than one.

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