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WCSU senior art student curates new exhibit at Brookfield Craft Center

"Trilogy" by Ellen Schiffman

DANBURY, Conn. – Fairfield County artists Janice Mauro, Isabella Saraceni and Ellen Schiffman will show selections from their works in the exhibition “Tangible Traces,” curated by Western Connecticut State University senior art student Daisy Gesualdi. The exhibition will run from Saturday, April 2, through Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the Brookfield Craft Center, 286 Whisconier Road in Brookfield. It will be open for public viewing during gallery hours from noon to 5 p.m Tuesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. A closing reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, in the Lynn Tendler Bignell Gallery at the Brookfield Craft Center. Admission to both the exhibition and the closing reception are free and open to the public. Brookfield Craft Center adheres to the state of Connecticut Covid-19 protocols.

“Tangible Traces” is an exploration of vulnerability through time and its connection with human existence. Vulnerability can appear in multiple forms: some tangible, others conceptual. It may appear as gradual aging, decay seen in nature, or worn walls of an ancient city. In an effort to understand and heal through spirituality and art, diving into it with confidence is our resilience and strength. Each artist explores this concept through their diverse use of material and their connections to anthropology, archeology, spirituality and the natural world.

Senior art major Daisy Gesualdi
Senior art major Daisy Gesualdi, curator of “Tangible Traces”

In an ongoing partnership, Brookfield Craft Center supports WCSU’s Department of Art through instructor-led, class-curated exhibitions. This year, Gesualdi, a senior art major, was selected to curate this exhibition, which represents the culmination of her four years of studies at WCSU. A resident of Bethel, Gesualdi is pursuing her own personal art practice while cultivating her professional experiences working in galleries and museums in a variety of activities from curation to collections management. She currently works with Art and Frame in Newtown, and recently interned with the New Britain Museum of American Art. Gesualdi continues to volunteer with the WCSU art gallery, assisting the university curator in the preparation and curation of exhibitions in the Gallery at the Visual and Performing Arts Center, and will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting and a minor in Marketing.

"Covid Memorial VI" by Janice Mauro
“Covid Memorial IV” by Janice Mauro

Mauro, of Redding, is a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, the Artists Collective of Westport, and Silvermine Guild Member. She has exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York City; Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury; and the New Britain Museum of Art in New Britain. She has designed, carved and modeled various puppets for New York Broadway Productions such as Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King.” Her monument of WWII soldier Sergeant Homer Lee Wise is installed in Veterans Park in Stamford. Mauro was the studio assistant for figurative sculptor Richard McDermott Miller (1922-2004). She served in the role of Coker Master Sculptor at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. Her bronze fountain, “The Source,” is in the permanent collection on the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens. In 2019, she created the Brookgreen Medal, which is now part of the permanent collection of the British Museum in London, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

"As Above, So Below" by Isabella Saraceni
“As Above, So Below” by Isabella Saraceni

Saraceni, of Newtown, is a multimedia visual artist. A 2019 graduate of the University of Connecticut, she received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting. She has spent time studying in Florence, Italy, and has received a number of awards, including the University of Connecticut IDEA Grant. Saraceni has participated in several Connecticut galleries including the Five Points Annex Gallery in Torrington, VAIS Gallery in Storrs, and the Ely Center of Contemporary Art in New Haven. Saraceno’s current studio, located at Moss Creek Farm in Newtown, is where she gains her inspiration from the surrounding landscape, using this to guide her practice. She incorporates themes of environment, time, and physical presence; bridging the gap between herself and the natural world.

"Trilogy" by Ellen Schiffman
“Trilogy” by Ellen Schiffman

Schiffman, of Weston, is a professional working artist for more than 30 years, exhibiting work in galleries and museums nationwide. Schiffman is passionately committed to experimentation and exploration in creating her work. In addition to the richness, complexity and beauty achieved with her fiber art, Schiffman also is drawn to the historical and multi-cultural richness of fiber-making traditions. Each work reflects a fascination with texture, pattern and sculptural forms. Although fiber is often her jumping-off point, she considers herself a multimedia artist. She is an avid explorer of materials, making use of traditional art materials such as paint, ink and clay. Schiffman also turns to unexpected, often commonplace, materials in her artwork. These include cotton twill tape, items from nature, found objects, Q-tips, and more. Surprise and spontaneity characterize many of Schiffman’s pieces, where inspiration is drawn from across cultures and time, and imagery inspired by the randomness of nature and the intentionality and splendor of human creations.

To learn more about the WCSU Department of Art, visit To learn more about this exhibition or the Brookfield Craft Center, go to


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