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Main Street's Escape to the Arts Not Just for Children

Escape to the Arts opened a new show in its gallery at 293 Main St. this week with large and small pieces, called "Big or Small: Creativity Comes in All Sizes. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Escape to the Arts is attracting people downtown, but many more visitors would be welcome, said Tara Tomaselli and Bill McNamara of Escape.

"We're putting up great shows. What does it take to get people to walk through the doors," asked McNamara, who heads teen programs at Escape. While looking at the art gallery, he said, "To me, this is one of the better uses we've done in the building."

One gallery visitor Wednesday was Tracy Van Buskirk, who lives in Newtown, but works at Webster Bank, across White Street from Escape. Van Buskirk was walking back to work with two co-workers when they stopped in to see the show.

"I remember it when it used to be Feinson's," said her friend Diane Mink, who grew up in Ridgefield, lives in New Milford and works with Van Buskirk at Webster's Bank in Danbury. Her husband is from Danbury. "I was aware of Escape. It's a great thing for kids."

Escape to the Arts offers pre-K classes during the days for parents and children, as well as youth programs for children 6-10 years old and after school programs for teenagers. It offers evening classes for teenagers and adults.

The gallery has run five shows since opening in May 2012. It has shown 47 artists from 11 towns, said Tara Tomaselli, art director.

Van Buskirk is showing two linoleum block prints in the current Escape art show.

"It's a great introductory print exercise for children," Van Buskirk said about linoleum block printing. "When I'm walking down the sidewalk I love to look in and see the kids making pots or see whatever they're doing."

The current exhibit at Escape runs through Jan. 18. Escape is hosting an evening of the arts on Dec. 20, and it is hosting face painting and hat making from 4 to 6 p.m. on First Night. Winter Session Art Classes start Jan. 7 and run through Feb. 24. For information, click here.

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