Creative arts fest to call Harrybrooke its home
Lisa Arasim points to a small white shed not far from the banks of the goose pond at Harrybrooke Park, a 41-acre former estate bordering the Still River in New Milford.
"Did you know that was a peacock shed?'' she asks a late afternoon visitor.
She walks a bit farther.
"Did you know we had a third pavilion?'' she again queries as she points to a soon-to-be restored cabana next to a one-time swimming pool.
Then she leads a walk around the back of the Harrybrooke museum, the former home of Frank Harden, an industrialist philanthropist who donated the estate he named after his Irish birthplace to the town in 1965, with a $1 million trust fund invested to maintain the property.
"It's just breathtaking,'' Ms. Arasim said.
Mr. Harden and his wife, Elizabeth, lived there from 1941 until she died in 1964; he a year later.
Ms. Arasim can just picture a painter seated on the a bench, capturing the beauty on canvas. She can hear feet tapping to blue grass music. She can see Shakespearean actors on stage, just beyond the rippling waterfalls.
Indeed, Arasim sees this park as the ideal place to showcase artists of all kinds -- the more unusual, the better. Theater troupes, musicians, quilters, recycling sculptors, flower arrangers, cake decorators, woodworkers, dancers are just the few that immediately jump to her mind.
It is why she is promoting a one-day festival to make its debut next May.
The Harrybrooke Park Creative Arts Festival is scheduled May 14, 2011 -- rain date May 15 -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Friends of Harrybrooke Park are now soliciting artist who might wish to participate in what will be a free event.
The non-profit organization is also seeking business sponsors to help with building a stage, providing sound and lighting, marketing, promotional materials and other miscelleaneous expenses. Sponsorships are offered, from $500 to $5,000.
Artists who wish to secure a space, or a particular location, are encouraged to call Ms. Arasim at 860-355-1098 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I see so much untapped potential here,'' said Ms. Arasim, a community-minded mother of three young children.
Using Harrybrooke as a venue for suchas event seems like a natural for many folks.
"Mr. Harden was a visionary,'' said park caretaker Lisa Todd, who added that to experience the park's beauty, "you've got to get out of your car and look around.''
"It's going to be awesome,'' Roberts said. "You get to stroll around and get to see all kinds of different people doing different stuff.''
Ms. Arasim said she will locate artists in booths and spots all over the 41-acre landscape so visitors are forced to become explorers.
"We'll get those kids off their couches,'' she quipped.