The has been in town for more than 60 years, doing a fine job of "bringing artists and community together". Local artists from surrounding areas flock to this association, hoping to refine their craft and become inspired by other artists. The group held a at Town Hall Feb.25, where members described how the MAA is more than just the average non-profit.
"It's a lot different than just creating [art] on your own," says Betty Rousseau, a water color artist and long time member of the MAA. "You find out about other art and other artists."
"It provided stimulus for me," says Victoria Dubiel, a photographer who joined the MAA four years ago. "I love having a chance to say things through photography. I like having an outlet to express myself."
"It's a nice collaboration of artists," says Helena Deary, a painter and social worker. Even though Deary enjoys painting in her hometown of West Hartford, she joined the MAA to get in on it's community atmosphere.
"I find painting to be solitary sometimes," says Deary. "To take classes with a group of people is fun."
The classes offered by the association is a big attractor for many members. Elaine McMahon is an international award-winning artist from Manchester, and a member of the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. Though she instructs her own classes, McMahon still finds she has a lot to learn.
"I needed to learn different aspects of art," says McMahon, who incorporates pastels and watercolors into her pressed flower pieces. "I needed to know how to use those things."
But for others, it's not just about the classes and the community, but also the opportunities.
"The art association allows artists to get their art up on the walls," says MAA president Christiane O'Brien. "If you're an individual artist and you don't know how to get your art up, you come to us."
A perfect example is Jaya Thiruvan, an artist from South Windsor who came to the MAA to get a kickstart in the art world.
"Basically I'm a budding artist," says Thiruvan. "I don't have a lot of background in art, but this is giving me a lot of exposure."
New member E. E. Eidman of Enfield joined for the same reason.
"I thought that it might be a good group to belong to and get a little more exposure," says Eidman. "The more you can put your work out there the better off everybody is, and the more people get to see art."
"You have more showing opportunities if you belong to an organization than if you try to do it on your own," agrees Kimberly Caruso-Poley, a four-year member of the association from Enfield.
A non-profit group, the MAA raises money each year for it's scholarship program, which has sent the most recent recipients to the University of Hartford. The association hosts art instruction classes, craft fairs, and even theatre productions.
Art will be up on the walls of the Town Hall until March 14. The annual outdoor show will be held on June 5 at Center Memorial Park.