By SHERIDAN CYR
The town of Southington will soon be dotted in vibrant colors when 40 uniquely beautiful apples, hand painted by locals, line the streets.
Last Wednesday, artists and local businesses sponsoring the Apples & Arts program gathered at the Southington Community Cultural Arts facility to pair up and get the ball rolling on painting the apples in time to be shown off during the Apple Harvest Festival parade.
“It is so great to see something that I’ve been thinking about for several years finally come together,” said SoCCA executive director Mary DeCroce. “I’m excited that Southington is doing one of these iconic sculpture projects, especially knowing that this is the Apple Harvest Festival’s 50th anniversary.”
At the event, 58 artists sat behind tables with their apple designs laid out for sponsors to see. By the end of the night, 40 drawings were paired up with a sponsor. The apples themselves are made using a fiberglass-polyester resin mix strong enough to withstand normal wear and tear. There are 20 whole apples (38 inches high, 28 inches across) and 20 apple cores (28 inches high, 20 inches across at the top and 10 inches across at its middle).
Four local nonprofit organizations are to benefit from the money raised in the Apples & Arts program: Bread for Life, United Way of Southington, Southington Community Services and SoCCA.
“All of these organizations have partnered together in this program,” said United Way director Jack Eisenmann. “With the funds raised, the United Way will be able to support our community financially and provide assistance. There may be a project that we can dedicate it towards, or we can continue to help our agencies and act on the commitment we make to our community.”
BFL director Donna Ayer said that the project is a true community effort, and she said that BFL was happy to be included. “We are so honored to have been chosen as a recipient,” she said, “and it’s just so exciting to see this dream of Mary’s come to fruition.”
Artists were given the steering wheel and were able to create their own designs for the apples. Southington resident, Mike Berlinski, used inspirations from Southington’s parcels of farm land and orchards to create a beautiful rendition of his own.
“I grew up in Southington, and everyone kind of knows that apples are a big part of the town,” said the artist. “I wanted to do something that celebrates the town, nature and the arts.”
A couple seats down, artist Arlene Fernandez, played on the Apple Harvest Festival’s 50th anniversary and crafted a textured golden apple.
“I was tossing around ideas, and knew I wanted something that would pop,” said Fernandez. “Then I had this idea to showcase the golden anniversary of the festival.”
After the apples are shown off at the annual AHF gala and in the parade, they will be placed around town starting October 1 through spring of 2019. Locals will be able to pick up a map that will lead them throughout the town to see the apple creations. After that, sponsors will have the opportunity to buy their apple. Those remaining will be auctioned off at the Calvanese Ball.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.