The use of bookplates, small decorative labels pasted inside the front cover of a book, is almost as old as printing itself. They were used to record ownership, and in past centuries when books were not widely available, to reassure the owner that a treasured borrowed book would be returned. Since the fifteenth century, artists and their patrons have given serious attention to this miniature art form. Selections from the collection of Miss Nathaly Newton, the Librarian at Russell Library from 1926-1963 will be on exhibit in the display case in the lobby.
Antoinette Scala Miro was the daughter of Italian immigrants; she grew up in Bridgeport and worked in various factories during World War II. She married Edward, a vegetable grower, they raised their children and she worked the vegetable stand, where she enjoyed getting to know her many regular customers. She enjoyed traveling and made several visits to her parent’s hometown in Italy. Late in life she took up painting in acrylics and oils. Her room at the nursing home was a gallery of her colorful work, mostly of nature. One of her paintings, of a sliced peach on a plate, was featured on a section cover of The Hartford Courant in October, 2009. Antoinette Miro passed away in June 2010 at the age of eighty-eight.
Work from the Community Partners in Action (CPA) Prison Arts Program will be displayed Russell Library beginning September 18. This exhibition features the paintings and drawings of five artists who were all formerly incarcerated in Connecticut’s prisons. Community Partners in Action is proud to continue to work with inmates upon their release and equally proud to note the continued artistic endeavors and accomplishments of inmates no longer working directly with the Prison Arts Program.
Earning a living, supporting one’s self, supporting a family and leading a satisfying and productive life can be difficult for the most prepared of us. Imagine having a prison record. It is often seemingly impossible. Yet here are individuals living, working, doing their best and making art at the same time.