To the Editor:

At this year’s Paint The People I did something I had not done in previous years. I took time to walk around and soak it all in; stop and smell the roses, as they say.

What I saw was a New Milford community experiencing pure joy.

The sun was shining, a breeze was in the air, people young and old were unabashedly participating in paint activities, laughing and smiling and, yes, getting messy.

Eyes were not glued to smartphones. Instead, fFamilies and friends were playing together, interacting with one another, enjoying the variety of food, the music or people watching … like I was.

That moment I wanted to bottle, like in a time capsule.

With Paint The People, Village Center for the Arts has created something unique for our community. Like “Field of Dreams,” we said “build it and they will come.”

Well, come they did. It was the place to be that Saturday. I could not have been more proud to serve.

The fourth annual Paint The People was a success in every sense of the word. On behalf of Village Center for the Arts, I want to thank the generous community of New Milford for helping us raise more than $22,000 - topping previous years - to support the programs and services of VCA and make available scholarships that allow us to fulfill our motto of “Art for everyone.”

Paint The People was possible because of a dedicated group of volunteers too large to list but without whom it simply would not happen.

The heavy-lifting was primarily the work of the PTP Committee, capably led by Lauren Jelenffy.

The team included Sharon Kaufman, executive director of VCA; Jayson Roberts, the VCA founder; event coordinators Roberta Baker, Jenna Mancini, Deb Sowerby, Vickie Foy, Corey Woodin and Coty Schappert; Ava Berlin, graphic design; Sara Brazer, four-time volunteer coordinator with Ariel Wickers; and Dianne Collentine, secretary.

A badge of honor goes out to the incredible activity captains who ran the actual activities throughout this 10-hour event.

Thanks to Bob Brophy for coordinating the music, and to our musicians, Tim Sheehan, Austin Gold, Mike Latini, the Original Milk Bottle, Blue Martini Revue and Songhorse.

Special thanks to Mike Sowerby, to Mario Cardenas for sound, to Deb Sowerby for Paint Along, Joe DiGuiseppi for designing and drawing all of the mural walls used for the event and for Cartoon Along, and my co-master of ceremonies, Matt Epstein.

Special thanks to our visiting artists for sharing their talent: Beckman Marino, steam punk jeweler and sculptor; Meghan Perrone, oil and acrylic painter; Bette Anne Wygant, oil and multi-media painter; Katie Gardner, potter; and Kayla Ek, illustrator and painter.

Big thanks to Union Savings Bank for being the presenting sponsor a fourth consecutive year.

Also, thanks to our Van Gogh level (event) sponsors: Berkshire Broadcasting, Fat City Screen Printing & Embroidery and All Season Party & Tent Rentals.

Many thanks to our Monet level (activity) sponsors: Danbury Square Box; Wetmore’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM; NeJaime’s Wine & Spirits and New Milford Spirit Shoppe; JC Merritt, Inc.; J & J Printing; the board of VCA; and Little Birds Music School of New Milford.

Thank you to our Warhol level sponsors: Gronbach Law Offices, New Milford Commission on the Arts and YardApes.

Further, thanks to our terrific food vendors, to our advertisers, to Jackson Camp (Trapplejacks) DJ for our Nightfall Dance Tent, to Brio for donating food during setup; to Home Depot for donating supplies; the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce’ to the town of New Milford; and to John Pettibone School.

The fifth annual Paint The People will take place June 11, 2016.

Kevin Bielmeier

Board chairman

Village Center

for the Arts

New Milford