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West Hartford Art League Exhibit Features Illustrations From Children's Books

The West Hartford Art League is hosting an exhibit featuring illustrations from children's books, in September.

The exhibit, which opens on Sept. 7, with a gallery opening from 6 to 8 p.m., features the work of five local illustrators.

Roxanne Stachelek, the executive director of the art league, said this is the third time the league has hosted an exhibit of this kind. The idea comes from her background working in magazines.

"It's something we've done that started out of my background as an art director," Stachelek said. "I worked at a couple of magazines and worked with illustrators. Illustration is an art form, just like painting. I thought it was nice to show something that families and children could relate to."

Stachelek and the art league present the work like it's any other painting that might be hung in their gallery, because to her, that's what it is.

"It's still fine art," Stachelek said. "It's just art that relates to a story. I'm all for doing art for art's sake. That's what fine art it. But I also love showing people that art can be produced for mass production and still be fine art."

The five artists that the art league has chosen to be part of this show all come from different backgrounds. There's Bob Noreika, who teaches at the art league and has been a professional artist for the last 40 years. Sandy Chase, of West Hartford, created her first children's books for her grandson. Marissa Napoletano is a recent graduate of the Hartford Art School. Julie Phillipps, of West Hartford, has a playwriting background. And Andrea Wisnewski has illustrated for newspapers and magazines around the world.

Combined, Stachelek believes the gallery will display a high level of art.

"If you look at any book, or any children's book, there are some incredible illustrators out there," Stachelek said. "I don't think they are any less of an artist. They are very renowned in their fields. It's not looked upon any differently as a fine art piece."

As part of the exhibit, four of the five illustrators will participate in a book reading and signing on Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. in the art league's Saltbox Gallery.

"It's a family friendly exhibit," Stachelek said. "They will be there with their books and the books will be for sale. It's something that children can come to with their parents and be interested in, but it will also appeal to adults because there's some sophisticated artwork there."

Stachelek hopes people will attend the illustrators event to support their work and learn more about the process.

"I think we have a great opportunity for people to come meet the artists," Stachelek said. "I hope people will come and learn more about the process of how an illustration gets made into a book and see how the whole thing gets done."

The exhibit will run through Sept. 24. The gallery is open from Thusrday through Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

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