By SHERIDAN CYR
Southington is the new home to the Art Studio of Connecticut, and that was made official at a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on May 3 on the corner of West Street and West Queen Street. Owner Dawn Toce hopes to contribute to and reinforce Southington’s growing artistic culture.
“We want to expand the arts in this community,” said Toce. “Southington is a nice, tight-knit community with a population of 43,000. We were drawn to this location.”
Toce comes from a business and marketing background. She explained she did some research and interviewed different artists to ultimately find many people were turning to websites like Etsy and Pinterest to sell their artwork for a fraction of what they should be worth.
“The term ‘starving artist’ exists for a reason,” Toce said. “A lot of those pieces are worth so much more than they’re listed for online.”
The new facility caters to all ages, and can seat up to 48 guests per session. They offer paint and sip nights, birthday and bachelorette parties, private sessions, family nights, team building and corporate parties, summer camp, children and senior classes and much more.
The studio itself features works of art along the walls created by their team of artists, available for purchase.
“On behalf of the Southington Chamber, we want to welcome you to the town,” said Chamber executive director Taylor Crofton. “We’ve been hearing the buzz all over town about how thrilled people are for you to open your doors.”
Toce said opening in Southington is just the start of what she hopes to accomplish with the organization.
“Our goal is to eventually open additional facilities in Connecticut,” Toce said. “We will tailor our work to the needs of the community. With Southington, we are trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, based on what the community is looking for.”
Town Councilor Dawn Miceli thanked Toce for her commitment to the community.
“You see the value in Southington. You could’ve chosen any community, and you chose ours,” she said, adding that Toce is a “class act” for visiting Southington Community Cultural Arts, the town’s nonprofit art studio, and talking to the director about the facility and its goals.
“Business begets business, and they’ll be booming down there and you’ll be booming up here because we want that kind of cultural draw to our town,” Miceli said.
The Art Studio of Connecticut is located at 1850 West Street in the rear of the building. For more information or to book painting sessions, visit www.ctartstudio.com or call (860) 426-1188.