Gloria Gray Foundation








2017 Events and Programs

Our programs will be expanding this year due to a grant  from the Southbury Community Trust Fund.  We have also received  grants from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and Connecticut Community Foundation’s Pathways for Older Adults and the GLORIA GRAY FOUNDATION.

For Information, enrollment, cancellations and tickets:
call the Arts Escape office at: 203-586-1474

All registrations need to be paid for before workshop date. There are no refunds for classes not attended.

Arts Escape – 2017 Oct Nov Calendars 


Consider Giving the Gift of Creativity this Holiday Season.


Gift Certificates

Books and Bites

Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

 GOOD READS – Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share

Facilitator, Barbara McKay
Wednesday, January 17
1 pm

Please call the gallery to let us know you will be joining us.  203-586-1474

Multiple copies of the books are available at the Southbury Library

February 21 Sargent’s Women by Donna Lucey

Southbury Film Commission, Movie of the Month Club
Only the Brave
Wednesday, November 29
7 pm – 9 pm

About the Film:  “Only the Brave,” is a true life, character driven film starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connolly. Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. While most people run from danger, they run toward it — watching over lives, homes and everything people hold dear, forging a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire in Yarnell, AZ. Please see the film for discussion on your own, at your convenience. Admission is $5.

 Seating is limited, please register at:

Oil Painting Basics 

Instructor, Zufar Bikbov
Saturday, November 18 or Sunday November 19
10 am – 4 pm

This class is designed for the student that has  very little to no experience painting with oils.  Master painter, Zufar Bikbov will teach students how to use this medium, how to mix colors, layering of colors, brush strokes, color palettes and more.  This is an introduction to the art of painting with oils.  Students should bring their lunch, drinks and snacks are provided. Most supplies are included for this all day workshop.

The fee for the workshop is $150. Class size is limited to 8.

New Time and Dates available for this class – 1 seat left for Saturday
2 seats left for Sunday



Instructor, Robin McCahill
Monday, November 20
10 am – 12 noon

Needle-Felting a Portrait with a Foreground Relief

Explore the art of needle-felting with colorful and textural wool. Learn to blend and build a felted “painting” that will have a relief sculptural quality. Bring a photo to work from. Create a holiday piece that would make a lovely gift or an accent for your home. The fee for this workshop is $30.

Look At This Leaf
Drawing & Painting

Instructor, ShawnaLee Kwashnak
Monday, November 20th
1 pm – 3 pm

Wow – look at this leaf! The autumn time of year in New England never fails with its beautiful display of richly colored leaves.  No two are alike.  Pick up a leaf, or two or three and take a closer look!

In this guided class, students will create paintings of the bright colored leaves!  Students will be guided through the process of learning how to draw and create paintings worthy of their vibrant colors. Students may work in Pen & Ink, watercolors, acrylics or oils.  Brief demonstrative sketches by the instructor will highlight challenges as they arise and each participant will be guided according to his or her ability and level of accomplishment and goals.  All levels are welcome!  You are welcome to bring your own materials or use class supplies.  Spot a leaf you love? Bring it!

The fee for the 1-day workshop is $35 which includes supplies.



Instructor, May Phillips
Monday, November 27
10 am – 3 pm

Artist May Phillips will teach this 1-day workshop where students will learn to transfer their  line drawing onto rice paper using a waterproof pen.  Students will take their line drawing and paint the design with their watercolor paints on the rice paper using very little water and paint, making sure the paint  does not spread.  Following each step, students will use a hair dryer to dry their painting after each step.  When the painting is done and dry, students will learn how to apply the melted wax to their painting. Next step is to iron it between newspaper pages to melt the wax. Using the matte medium attach the rice paper to canvas by  applying  the matte medium under and over the rice paper.When it is dry varnish it.  The workshop painting will be will be “Birch Trees in the Winter.”

The workshop fee is $100 and class size is limited to 10.


Judy Handler & Mark Levesque

Guitarist, Judy Handler & Mark Levesque
Thursday, November 30
2 pm

Holiday Music for Classical Guitar & Mandolin. Enchanting instrumental renditions of traditional and contemporary holiday music. A variety of lively tunes and lyrical melodies with an international flavor.  Audiences will enjoy the charming sound of the classical guitar & mandolin as Judy & Mark play their own arrangements of beautiful holiday music from many cultures.  Judy & Mark offer interesting commentary about the origins of holiday music from the U.S., England, Ireland, Spain, France, Russia, songs of Hanukah and more. The audience will have a chance to join in at the end of the program on some rhythm instruments!

Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Seating is limited.

Get Set, Ready Drawing – Drawing Basics

Instructor, ShawnaLee Kwashnak
Mondays, November 6, 13, 20, 27
10 am – 12 noon

Learn to draw and exercise your skills! In this class, participants will be exposed to numerous methods and techniques of creating drawings and will gain a working understanding of the process.  Every class will open with a brief focused lesson that may be immediately applied to each participant’s drawings. Brief demonstrative sketches by the instructor will highlight challenges as they arise and each participant will be guided according to his or her ability and level of accomplishment.   Continuing students are welcome to pick up where they left off at while honing their skills. This time around, I will provide different still life materials for the class to draw- Items may include turkey feathers, fall leaves, class requests, etc.


Intro to Abstract Art

Previous Workshop Student Work

Instructor, Priscilla Watson
Tuesday, November 14, 21, 28
10 am – 12 noon

Students will learn how to take a direct observation drawing and create an abstract piece of art. Realism and Abstract Art share the same basic, visual structure. Line, color, movement and shape are some of their shared elements of composition. Create an personal abstract work in the media of your choice. Acrylic paint, watercolor, colored pencil and collage will be available. Subject matter will be provided. Returning students and New students are welcome.

The fee for the 3 – week workshop is $80 which includes most supplies.

Giving Thanks with Abundance

Photo does not represent workshop

Instructor, Jan Peterson
Wednesday, November 15
10 am &  6:30 pm

The cornucopia is a traditional centerpiece used on Thanksgiving in many American households.  The word cornu (horn) and copiae (plenty) translates to Horn of Plenty and is the symbol of abundance and nourishment.  In this class we will learn how to use fruits, flowers and dried materials to create a centerpiece fit for a feast.  No floral experience necessary.  Please bring gardening gloves and sharp clippers.

The fee for this workshop is $65 which includes supplies.

An Afternoon of Music from around the World

Performers, Liliya Bikbova & Kadriya Bikbova
Thursday, November 16
2 pm

Mother/Daughter duo will perform for the first time at Arts Escape with both piano and vocals of Music from Around the World, both classical and contemporary program.

Liliya is a Vocalist (lyric soprano) and teacher of piano and voice. She was born to a musical family in Russia. Luiza Shigapova, mother of Mrs Bikbova, was a professional performer and vocal instructor at  Leninogorsk Fine Arts and Music College. Liliya’s first musical award was at age 5 in Lenninogosrk, Russia. She attended Young School of Music (Leninogorsk) and received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, Leninogorsk Fine Arts and Music Pedagogical College followed by a Master’s Degree in Music Education, Kazan State University, Russia.

2004 Liliya, her husband Zufar and daughter Kaydriya relocated to the U.S. A. where she continues to teach voice and piano lessons and performs on a regular basis.

Kadriya is 17 years old and loves to sing in her free time . She was born in Russia but moved to Connecticut when she was 4. With musical grandparents and mother, Kadriya’s talent comes naturally to her. She has been a part of her school’s chamber choir for two years and sang at Carnegie Hall last November.  She was a concert  finalist in the Concert Festival International Competition. Kadriya currently sings in her church choir  every Sunday. ” I like learning new Italian arias in my free time and listening to famous opera stars, such as Maria Callas, Anna Netrebko.”



*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 Watercolor Workshop

Instructor, Betty Ann Medeiros
Thursdays, January 4, 11, 18, 25
10 am – 12 noon

This class is for students of all levels working at their own pace with the help and guidance of the instructor. Students will learn watercolor skills and techniques to create finished watercolor paintings creating dynamic compositions.  Enjoy working with others in a friendly nonjudgmental atmosphere.  All skill levels are welcome.

Techniques that will be covered are:

*painting with wet on wet technique
*using masking fluid
*creating soft and hard edges and
*painting negative space

Watercolor Workshop

Painting with Pencil

artist, Karin Rannestad

Instructor, Rita Paradis
Tuesday, January 16
10 am – 2 pm – Beginners
11 am – 3 pm – Intermediate/Advance

This is a 4-hour workshop for colored pencil with award winning artist, Rita Paradis. This is NOT an adult coloring activity.  Learn techniques in this medium that will make your drawings look like paintings. Beginners will start with value exercises and basic layering techniques that will serve as a foundation for more advanced work.
Intermediate students will develop the skills they have learned and explore color and color choices. Students will learn more tips and techniques for working with this versatile medium.
Advance Intermediate, These students have been through the first 2 sessions and will be able to work independently with guidance from the instructor.

Workshop fee for beginners and intermediate is $60 which includes most supplies. Advance Students fee is $50.

Beginner, Intermediate, Advance

Pints, Paints & Pencils img_3378
(men’s only art class)

Instructor, Priscilla Watson
Mondays, January 22, 29, February 5,12, 26
6:30 pm

Join the longest running studio art class at Arts Escape.  This workshop is designed for all levels and interests in fine art.  Exercises in design, perspective, movement, shading are all explored. Participants are encouraged to work independently and in the medium of their choice with assistance and guidance  from the instructor. Newcomers are always welcomed.
Feel free to bring your beverage of choice to get those creative juices flowing!
The fee for the 5-week workshop is $125.

Hot Topics, Cool Conversations
(Current Events)

Facilitator, Alfred Hunt
Tuesdays, January 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27
March 6, 13, 20
10:30 am – 12 noon

Engage in stimulating conversation on a variety of newsworthy topics with a group of well-informed and friendly participants.  Bring your observations and an open mind to discuss politics, popular culture, foreign affairs, and other issues in the news.  This is a round-table discussion.  Weekly topics will be emailed to participants several days prior to meeting.

The fee for the 8-week session will be $150.


Coming in January 2018

Literature Courses – Yeats & Robert Frost
Writing Workshops
Fine Art Workshops
Concert, Piano, Bass and Voice – Music of George Gershwin
iPad Art Workshop
Art of Living Project Launch
Veteran’s Coffee Hour