An artistic celebration

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From left, Jenna McLaughlan, Erin McLaughlan, artist and Holy Cross High School Student, Anne McLaughlan and Ben McLaughlan attend the Naugatuck Historical Society’s art show Saturday. -CONTRIBUTED
From left, Jenna McLaughlan, Erin McLaughlan, artist and Holy Cross High School Student, Anne McLaughlan and Ben McLaughlan attend the Naugatuck Historical Society’s art show Saturday. -CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Patrons of the arts got a special treat last Saturday as the Naugatuck Historical Society flung open its doors to a display of work from about 40 local artists at its third annual Celebration of Art.

“Art is part of making a stronger community,” said Wendy Murphy, president of the Historical Society.

The event raised money for the Historical Society, which offers educational programs to local schools, hosts programs at its museum on Water Street, and offers walking tours of Naugatuck’s history. The historical society works with many different civic groups for diverse programming.

“When you support the Historical Society, you’re actually supporting everybody,” Murphy said.

The society is working with high school students to build an online museum and hosts lectures on topics from Italian cooking to PT Barnum.

“We’re able to support all these different programs that reach all aspects of the community,” Murphy said.

Patrons paid $10 for the evening, which featured a variety art and live music by Acoustic Fish, The Woodwind Ensemble, Tom Crucianni and Hap Hazard. The musicians performed free of charge. Some artists donated their work for a silent auction, while others gave 10 percent the price for works they sold.

“The event was extremely successful,” Murphy said.

About 110 people attended, surpassing Murphy’s goal of 100.

The art show has come a long way since it began with two artists three years ago. Local artist Luis Duby and Rosanne Shey, an art teacher at Holy Cross High School and Naugatuck Valley Community College, showcased their work at the first show, but decided it needed to grow.

Duby has been active collecting artists through the press, art teachers and word of mouth.

“I just find it very exciting,” Duby said. “The public, I think, is dying for it.”

He said the art show is like a society of friends, with the family getting larger every year.