By SHERIDAN ROY
One of Southington’s “small town heroes” will be returning to town—renowned sculptor Dale Zarrella will present a lecture at Southington Community Cultural Arts Wednesday, April 24 from 7 to 9 p.m.
A native of Southington, Zarrella has sculpted works of art for the Vatican and many celebrities around the world. He now lives in Hawaii, but returns to town to visit friends and family and share the gifts and knowledge he has been given.
His work has been featured prominently throughout the world. He created the statue of Saint Damien of Molokai for the Damien and Marianne of Molokai Heritage Center in Waikiki. A second copy of the statue was later presented to Pope Benedict XVI in commemoration of Father Damien’s canonization.
Zarella’s finely detailed works of art have made impressions around the world, but one of his early works of art, created when he was just 18, was the crucifix for St. Dominic Catholic Church in town.
“My hope is to leave the message with everybody that having creativity somewhere in our lives is so important,” said Zarrella. “We can all do it in some way shape or form.”
The artist will also discuss what it means to “find your gift and purpose, no matter what your gift is.”
This will be Zarella’s third time visiting SoCCA, and executive director Mary DeCroce said the event is “standing room only” for the return of the home-town hero. The artist said these visits home to connect with individuals is one of the ways he gives back to the community.
“That creativity is so important to have and use, and it’s important to appreciate and subject oneself to art,” said Zarrella. “The younger generation I think is not subjected to art as much today, and they are missing out on something wonderful.”
He shared a recent experience in which he was working on a sculptor, and a man walking by had stopped to watch.
“I asked him about himself and he said he was a fighter pilot in the navy, and had been working at Southwest Airlines for the last several years, but he works with wood in his spare time,” said Zarrella. “We talked about the importance of creativity, even if you use the other side of your brain in your career your whole life.”
At the presentation, “Living Through the Eyes of an Artist,” Zarrella will share stories about his artistic life in a one hour visual presentation followed by questions and answers with the audience. He will also be offering a sample series of unframed prints available for acquisitions with all proceeds to benefit SoCCA.
“He is a very inspiring speaker,” said DeCroce. “Guests who attend will be able to meet a very successful, and humble, artist and learn from his inspirations and experiences.”
Pre-registrations are going fast. To pre-register seats, call SoCCA at (860) 276-1581. Tickets are $15 per person at the door the day of the event. SoCCA is located at 93 Main St.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObservers.com.