Center for New Media showcases the Arts this weekend
Published 1:00 am, Thursday, July 9, 2009
BETHEL — The downtown Opera House will be the setting for a varied evening of the arts Saturday.
“This space lends itself to all kinds of arts and that’s what we’re showcasing, everything we can do here,” Montague said Monday.
Snow and Montague renovated the 2,200-square-foot loft with 15-foot ceilings and 9-foot windows in the Opera House on Greenwood Avenue.
The building was built in 1848 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“With the rich history of this building we wanted to open it back up to the public,” Snow said.
The second floor has an eclectic history. P.T. Barnum had a silent movie theater there, Snow said, and it also housed a vaudeville stage and a roller-skating rink, as well as serving for a time as the Bethel High School gym.
The first floor was once a hat factory, and later it was a billiard hall that Mark Twain frequented, Snow discovered during his research.
More recently, the second floor housed a photography studio.
The Center for New Media and the Arts offers video production services, a sound stage, photo restoration, film and media transfer and duplication services, Web services and a gallery.
In addition, it has workshops, including filmmaking, acting, guitar, digital music making, and audio recording; poetry and literature readings; acoustic music jams; film screenings; and dance recitals.
The space also can be rented for rehearsals and private and public events.
It is now filled with the work of 85-year-old Farris, who exhibited in the space about 30 years ago.
Saturday evening’s offerings will begin with him talking about his paintings, collage, New Yorker cartoons and sculpture.
Farris began selling cartoons to The New Yorker and other publications in the 1950s. He exhibited his paintings at the Ward Eggleston Galleries in New York in 1967, although he concentrated on cartoons for the next two decades.
About 15 years ago he returned to painting, which was described in numerous reviews as imaginative, ingenious, masterful, and displaying wit and social commentary.
This spring his work was included in a carton exhibit at Morgan Library and Museum in New York.
An interview Farris did for the “Dr. V on Call” TV show will be Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on Charter Channel 21 cable.
Comcast Channel 23 will air it Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Thursday at 1 p.m.
Cablevision Channel 77 will air it Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The Center for New Media and the Arts will play host to a reception for Farris at the gallery July 26 from 3 to 5 p.m.
If you go WHAT: Evening of the arts, including: n A talk by Bethel artist Joseph Farris, whose work will be displayed. n A short play by John Patrick Shanley performed by Danbury’s Normal Theater. n Readings by poets Doris Henderson, David Albano and Rebecca Dobson. n A short film by Stephen Snow. n An interactive improvisional dance. n Music performed by Michael James, Chris Brown and friends. WHEN: Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Center for New Media and the Arts, the Opera House, 186 Greenwood Ave., Bethel. COST: Free. Donations welcome.