Mark Twain Library holds 47th annual art show

The historic Mark Twain Library in Redding will play host to the 47th Annual Mark Twain Library Art Show from Dec. 6-15, transforming itself into a fine art gallery.

“Redding is a community that is rich in artistic talent with a history of attracting artists,” said Lisa Goldstein, communications specialist for the library. “The Art Show began as an opportunity to display pieces by these talented community members and as an opportunity to raise money for the library. It quickly became a community event to welcome the holiday season.”

Redding continues to channel the creative genius of Samuel Clemens. Part of his legacy may be the fact that Redding has become a magnet for all types of artists to live and flourish in their chosen practice.

“When you take this magnificent building, where Mark Twain chose to leave some of his most prized possessions, his very own books, and you fill that with so many inspired works from watercolor, oil and pastel to metal, ceramic and wood, it becomes this magical gallery for everyone in this vibrant community to relish,” said Angie Kane, one of the event’s co-chairs.

Originally held in 1972, the show has quickly evolved from a small, intimate event to a major one that became and continues to be an essential source of funding for the library as artists donate a portion of the sale of their works to benefit the library.

“In just a few years, it attracted artists and collectors from Redding and surrounding areas and we were displaying over 200 works of art,” Goldstein said. “The event is a juried show which elevates the quality of work we receive. It still operates that way today. This is due to the strong commitment of hundreds of volunteers over the years.”

The Mark Twain Library Art Show allows professional artists and weekend artists alike to enter. It offers opportunities to see works by artists of all types from sculpture to watercolors, from prints to oils.

“Last year’s entries included a retired dentist’s painting hanging side by side with that of an artist whose work hangs in major galleries and private homes all over the country,” Goldstein said. “The show also offers an opportunity for buyers to meet the artists and for visitors to learn more about the pieces while mingling with the artists. It attracts artists from all over the Northeast.”

The show accepts submissions of two-dimensional works in such media as oil, watercolor and pastel and three-dimensional work in metal, wood, ceramic, etc.

“We do not include photographs or digital submissions,” Goldstein said. “This is a juried art show, which means each artist entrant can submit two pieces of work, which are then judged by a juror.”

This year’s juror is Connecticut’s own contemporary realist painter Del-Bourree Bach. Bach, who lives in Mystic, is renowned for his striking depictions of man and nature.

“The library’s Art Show makes art accessible to all,” said Pam Reese, one of the volunteers responsible for submissions and the hanging of the show. “Many do not regularly visit galleries or museums. But for one week a year, the library becomes a place for people to view fine art in a relaxed and comprehensible setting. It is also an opportunity to purchase fine art, as some of our prominent artists offer their work at prices lower than their galleries to encourage sales to benefit the library.”

Robert Mars, who has been involved in the show for years, and has had the opportunity and good fortune to exhibit work not only across the United States, but also internationally, is proud to have his work hanging at the historic site.

“I can truly say that the show I most look forward to is the Mark Twain Library Art Show,” Mars said. “From the exceptional standard of artwork displayed to the variety of techniques and styles, the show is fantastic. The wide pool of talent ensures a dynamic show featuring traditional landscapes, still life paintings, collage, modern works, sculpture and mixed media.”

In addition to the work on display, there’s a silent auction that features donated artwork to be held at the Preview Reception on Friday, Dec. 6, the evening before the show officially opens. The Mark Twain Library receives 100 percent of the purchase price for each auction item sold and those proceeds go to support the operations of the library.

“As an association library, we are partially funded by the town of Redding,” Goldstein said. “As a result, the library must raise funds to cover the cost of over 40 percent of the operating expenses annually.”

“In addition to this event and the 10-day Art Show, there will be two creative workshops where local ceramics instructor Erin Singleton will teach registrants to make clay holiday ornaments,” Goldstein said.

Anyone can register for those craft-making events. The exhibition culminates with a free closing reception on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15, when some buyers will have the opportunity to meet the creators of the pieces they purchased.

“This year, we will have more than 100 artists in the show, some who are internationally recognized,” Goldstein said. “There will be more than 170 pieces hanging on display as well as dozens more in portfolios. We are expecting an additional 40-50 pieces for the silent auction.”

The artwork is on sale during library business hours, which is open later than usual during the show. Visit for more information.