The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that Newtown resident Tracy Van Buskirk is the chosen winner for the 2012 Newtown Arts Festival art contest for her “Life in Newtown” themed entry entitled Ram Pasture. Van Buskirk wanted to capture the town’s serenity and pleasure. With her block print of Ram Pasture, she captured this tranquil mood and more! Her Asian-style rendition of this early burg landmark with its soft pastels reminds viewers of many beautiful days walking or playing by the pasture’s pond or feeding the ducks.
The Newtown Arts Festival Artwork Selection Committee received many creative entries, several from area artists as well as Newtown students. All posters will be displayed, many that received other honorary awards in the contest, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at The Flagpole Radio Café pre-show Reception in the Alexandria Room of the Edmond Town Hall. The Flagpole Radio Café ticket holders and Newtown Arts Festival art contest contributors and their families and friends are invited to view the artwork and help kick off the festival. For those wishing to attend The Flagpole Radio Café show, this month featuring guest artist Livingston Taylor, tickets are available at www.flagpoleproductions.org .
Van Buskirk says that she was drawn to art at a very young age. Although deciding not to major in art at college, instead pursuing a degree in East Asian studies at Oberlin, she always found time for this avocation during her busy work and family schedule. In 1999, Van Buskirk, who was making clay jewelry, arranged for the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild to create Bottles of Hope for breast cancer survivor Diane Gregoire. Now, Bottles of Hope is a national organization that distributes beautifully decorated bottles to cancer patients. For the past five years, she and her husband, Peter, have been advisors for the Venture Crew, a year-round outdoor co-educational program. It builds skills and self-esteem, for youths from ages 14 to 21 with such activities as snowshoeing, camping, hiking, rock climbing, caving, and canoeing. The Van Buskirks, long-time residents of Newtown, have two children, Elisa, 24 and Dana, 22.
When deciding entries for the Newtown Arts Festival’s contest, Van Buskirk considered that linoleum block designs, which she has been making for the past several years, would reproduce well on t-shirts and posters. She drove around in her car, camera in hand, for ideas. When she saw Ram Pasture, she knew this was the perfect scene to depict Newtown. “I’m very excited to have my artwork on the first—we hope of many—annual Newtown Arts Festival posters and t-shirts,” she says. “I love the arts, and am pleased that Newtown is going to have this special event.” Van Buskirk is also receiving a $500.00 prize for her artwork.
The Newtown Arts Festival, to be held September 15 to 16, 2012, at Fairfield Hills, rain or shine, will be celebrating all the arts from poetry to dance. Workshops, live music, arts and crafts, farmers market, children’s activities and more will be crammed into these two days. More information can be found at www.newtownartscommission.org.