Art has the power to warm the heart, send a message and unite the community.
Pierre Sylvain is a Haitian-born artist based in Middletown who aims to do all of these things. Some of his more recent works are part of an effort to brighten up Main Street.
“I try to capture the vibe of this city. It’s artistic and people love the music there.
I see so many people smiling, how much they love it. I said that I felt that I had done my little part, ”said Sylvain.
Sylvain is the painter behind the three panels that now adorn the former Shlien’s Furniture Company store. He is the first commissioned artist as part of a downtown business district effort to bring beauty to vacant Main Street businesses and foster a sense of community during the pandemic.
The signs capture the music, the people and the feeling of the neighborhood.
Originally from Les Cayes, Haiti has made life its muse. Her home studio is full of art in all mediums – from paintings to stained glass to mosaics.
“What’s really great about art is the fact that you never get bored,” Sylvain said.
His mosaic series spotlights great leaders from around the world, including Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman, Congressman John Lewis and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I have a daughter so I just want to tell her that this woman was a fighter,” Sylvain said.
From Martin Luther King to the great Haitian liberator Toussaint Louverture, he has created portraits of leaders and chronicled the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter and reflected on the horrors of the middle passage.
Sylvain is also the gallery director at the Charter Oak Cultural Center. He says that through his art he finds a sense of freedom and hopes that more people in Connecticut explore their own creative expression and add a little more beauty to the world we all share.
“Art has the power to make you smile, art can change your life if you give it a chance.”