A year ago Sharon was suffering. Big time. The recession had hit the locals with a long winter, the food store was still closed, and we were a hurting town. The pharmacy tried to serve with a little more help, selling more food items and just trying to be a "center" for us all to still go to and call ours. The restaurant was open but the chef was gone, and the owner was trying to run a shop from Danbury with no chef, and it was indeed, sad.... A town volunteer group was working behind the scenes, trying to get a grip on what could possibly be done, either by them or anyone, to give us that "shot in the arm" we so needed. The Choi's had committed and started repairs on the old market, but we all knew how big a chore they had facing them, and they were doing it all themselves, so it was not the answer we needed right then. The Bodhi Tree had opened on small scale back in December, and they were giving us hope. But we needed more. Insert Pieter Lefferts.
Pieter had been a resident for a number of years, residing on Calkinstown in the old George Drumn house, for those of you who didn't arrive in the last twenty-five years. His wife Claudia is in charge of The Scoville Library in Salisbury, and Pieter has just been perfecting his art paintings as well as giving art classes elsewhere.(Litchfield I believe) Whatever, Pieter made a step which I believe was the first major turning point for Sharon last year. He decided to open an art studio in the old video store on Calkinstown, just walking distance from his home. That committal, though I knew it would not be something that we all would use, was what we as a town needed. Someone to say "hey, I believe in Sharon, and I am going to open here." He could have chose Millerton, or Salisbury but he chose Sharon. For many of us, that was what we needed. Someone willing to stick their neck out and go for it. In perhaps Sharon's darkest moment business-wise, Pieter stepped up.
A year later, after many art classes, for ages from kids to seniors, from experienced to first-timers, Northlight Studios celebrates today with a first-year celebration at the Sharon Historical Society. On hand to greet at the door was Pieter, (of course) and inside were lots of visitors and towns-folks. Exhibited were works from children, and from a number of adults as well. I caught up with one exhibitor, Judy Albright of Sharon, who was chatting with visitors Linda and Reverend Terry Ryan of Sharon. The art exhibit is on display till June 6th. If opportunity presents itself, stop by and take a peak. I bet you'll be glad you did! And if a little artist just might be hidden away inside of you, drop in an see Pieter, and see what classes he is offering, or may have coming up in the future.
Congratulations to Pieter, to his studio, and to his students. Much success to ALL of you!