Fairfield Business Delivers ‘Fun Escape’ With New Arts Program


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FAIRFIELD, CT – Particularly in the days of COVID-19, when many people struggle with anxiety and a general sense of stress, Studio Fairfield has adapted to provide its clients with a place to call home. comfortable away from home.

“We changed our business model and the timing was perfect,” said co-owner Priscilla Igram, who, along with her longtime friend and fellow artist Christine Orlando, turned the studio at 43 Ruane St. downtown into a space. welcoming and inviting.

After having to shut down for several months when the pandemic first hit last year, the owners of The Studio decided to try something a little different – offering memberships to adult customers as well as their regular class schedule for all ages, so members can come and go as they please and use the space.

“They came to work with their fellow potters, mostly potters,” said Igram, although some painters and illustrators also took advantage of the arrangement.

“It kind of kept us afloat and took our business to the next level,” she said.

Now known as the Independent Open Studio, the program offers members an unsupervised chance to work with the wheels and use other Studio facilities, without having to take specific courses.

Members must demonstrate knowledge of the basics of security and material use, but much can be left to their own devices with their own entry code to use during studio hours for adults, which take place late in the evening.

“We recently added two new pottery towers and we added another kiln,” said Igram, noting that customer growth may ultimately require a search for a larger space.

Of course, many participants not only want to have private time to do their creative work, but rather to enjoy the chance to be with others in the same activities.

“The Studio has really helped me over the past few years,” said member Maddie DeManche of New Canaan, “because it fosters a tremendous sense of community, which was sometimes lacking during this pandemic.”

His particular area of ​​pleasure and expertise is the work of the potter’s wheel.

“When we were able to return to the studio, it provided a fun escape,” she said.

Igram explained that she and Orlando started the business 13 years ago. Both were parents of children at Stratfield Elementary School and saw an opportunity to bring part-time arts education to area students beyond the curriculum.

Their shared interests in art – as well as their individual creative backgrounds – made starting the business an ideal choice.

“We started in someone’s basement,” said Igram, which finally opened in their current location five years ago.

Granddaughter of Esther Hepler, an artist from the Works Progress Administration who worked in Philadelphia, Igram is thrilled to share the joy of creating with her students and the community at large.

“Whenever I can, I like to sit down and create,” she said, noting that she and Orlando hope to impart the power to do it – how does it feel, how can it feel. it serve to distract the discomforts and how it is a great way to connect with others.

“People drop off whatever they have and they get to work,” she said upon arriving at the Studio. “Sometimes they need to let off steam, so they make great friends and connect with them.”

“I love what we do,” she said. “We are so grateful.”

For more information, visit www.thestudiofairfield.com.

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Kayleen C. Rice

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