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HomeNewsKillingworth Town NewsKWO Virtual Art Show — Spotlight on the Killingworth Artists: Part Two

KWO Virtual Art Show — Spotlight on the Killingworth Artists: Part Two

By Kathy Brown.

The KWO collaborated with the Killingworth Library, as well as the Killingworth Historical Society, to schedule events all year long to celebrate the centennial of women’s right to vote. Nancy McCormick, the current KWO president as well as the chair of the KWO Suffragist Committee, presented the idea of an art show to the KWO. “The original plan was to have artwork from the women of Killingworth on display in various places around Killingworth,” explained Genie Dethloff. “The exhibit was moved online due to COVID-19”; the exhibit is accessible HERE.

The idea of the art show came about “to celebrate one of the many talents that women have – creating art,” explained Genie. “Many museums and galleries around the country are doing a women only show this year.” Genie’s daughter came up with curatorial statement for the show that is on the website:

“The 19th amendment ensured that women’s voices would be heard. Today we celebrate this milestone through the voices of local women, expressed in their visual art. The women’s suffrage movement could not have been successful without collective action, and so it is important now, when we cannot come together in person, to come together virtually as a community in commemoration of women’s suffrage.”
The Killingworth Women’s Organization was founded in 2003. There are, on average, between 40 and 50 women in the organization. The KWO is a community service organization of women volunteers “dedicated to helping others in Killingworth and to building a stronger sense of community,” said Genie. They raise funds during the year and have various events and committees working on a variety of interests, such as an annual scholarship, education on domestic violence, sending care packages to local service members, hosting Trunk or Treat, as well as a Holiday Gift Drive, and running Santa’s mailbox in Killingworth.

This week, we’re going to spotlight three artists, who are participating in the online art show, who work in three different mediums.

Sierra Leone – Roadside Happiness by Amanda Fornal

Amanda Fornal discovered an interest in photography at Haddam Killingworth High School while taking a class. “We developed our own film and worked in the dark room. Since then I am mostly self taught.”

Photography isn’t her only interest however. “Creating things has always interested me,” explained Amanda. “When your wall needs a painting, instead of buying one, paint one. Instead of buying a bookshelf, measure and build one. If the opportunity comes up to take a class in glassmaking, filmmaking, or some other art form that fits my schedule, I take it.”

Amanda grew up in Killingworth, and often returns to visit her parents. “Killingworth is in a unique position that allows you to live in a quaint forest, but still be driving distance from the city of New York,” said Amanda. “The dark night sky allows you to see a field of stars while listening to crickets break the evening silence.”

She likes the process of creating art. “Painting and glassblowing both can be quite meditative,” said Amanda. “Creativity is valuable in all parts of our lives. In business, in play, and in art, our creativity can add value to what we do.”

On the subject of women gaining the right to vote, Amanda said, “The idea that only 100 years ago women in the US did not have the same rights as men, often seems absurd to me. I am thankful for those who stood-up and fought for the equality that I take as a life standard. I hope that one day all women will have the opportunity to feel equal and valued.”

If you would like to see more of her work, please see her website.

Galine Sea Goddess by Renee Lavoie

Renee Lavoie is a self taught artist who has lived in Killingworth for 13 years, after moving here with her family for her son and the school system. “I have been drawing since I was a small child,” said Renee. “I started painting around the age of 20.” She explained that she started using oil paints while watching Bob Ross videos, then switched to acrylics. “Due to fast drying and my lack of patience, it is my favorite medium.”

She creates art as a form of stress relief. “I love painting,” explained Renee. “There are no rules. Anything goes. Just free your mind.”

Old but Not Retired by Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith and her husband, Charlie, have lived in Killingworth for more than 50 years. “We fell in love with the town when our real estate agent showed us some houses here,” explained Sandra. “I had never heard of the town before that time even though I had lived in CT all my life. I love everything about Killingworth . . . the people, the town, the beauty, the birds, wildlife, etc.”

Sandra describes a bit of her history, “I was very fortunate to have been born with artistic talents. My mother was a wonderful seamstress, and my father was super talented in whatever he touched. Because I was one of those children who never stopped moving from the day I was born, my mother bought me tons of paper, crayons, etc. to keep me out of the many mishaps I had gotten myself into.  Because I was such an active child , my mother put me into art lessons, piano lessons, dancing lessons, singing, acting, etc.,….anything to keep me from my many mishaps.  I have had lots of art training, but I fell in love with oils (as soon as my mother thought I was capable to not “eat it” or get too much of the oils on me!).”

On women getting the right to vote, Sandra had this to say, “It doesn’t matter how or where you vote, but VOTE!!”

All women in Killingworth (and surrounding towns) are welcome to join the KWO.

Art included here is with permission from the artists.

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