Norwalk art is on the rise and The Norwalk Art Space (TNAS), the brainchild of founder Alexandra Davern Korry and Executive director Duvian Montoya, is at the heart of it. Through TNAS, Korry, who passed away in 2020, hoped to “create a space that would enhance educational opportunities for under-served students, promote under-represented local artists, and provide the public a welcoming space to enjoy art and music.” This multi-dimensional arts mecca headed by Montoya currently lives out Korry’s final wish by “offering free art and music education and mentorship… sponsoring and promoting local artists through our Resident Artist program and Korry Fellow exhibitions and providing the public an exciting venue to explore art and music, all free.” What a wonderful mission and what better place to put it into action than Oyster Town, Connecticut.
One recent initiative The Norwalk Art Space has undertaken is a group exhibition curated by Susan Hardesty and Khalaf Jerry in partnership with the SoNo Collection, an upscale shopping mall. While I’d never think to call a shopping mall beautiful, the SoNo Collection is architecturally pristine and aesthetically breathtaking. The immense glass windows of the M&T Bank Magnificent Room, where the group show is housed, tower over I-95 below offering quite the view.
I spoke with Duvian Montoya about the exhibition and TNAS, in general. Aside from running TNAS, Montoya, himself, is a “magical realist” painter and muralist. Duvian told me that after painting a mural in the SoNo Collection, the organization told him they were interested in helping out The Norwalk Art Space. This partnership then came to fruition through a yearlong partnership that culminated with the current group exhibition featuring TNAS’s Resident Artists and Korry Fellows. To provide some context, TNAS Resident Artists are emerging artists who are given free studio space and the opportunity to teach classes throughout the year to middle and high school kids. TNAS Korry Fellows are established artists who mentor Resident Artists and students. Both groups are given opportunities to exhibit work throughout the year.