Ben’s Bells Project is inviting the public to a special event to raise funds for the nonprofit organization and celebrate five years of inspiring kindness in Connecticut. The 2018 Celebration of Kindness will take place Thursday, May 24, from 7 to 10 pm, at Michael’s at the Grove, 42 Vail Road in Bethel. The event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser....Read Full Article
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UPDATE (Saturday, December 9, 2017): Due to the snow storm over the region, this event is being postponed again. Newtown Yoga Center Owner Aline Marie has told The Newtown Bee she and Dave Brooker will now present the fundraiser on Saturday, December 16.
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UPDATE (Monday, October 2, 2017): The Yoga Mat Art Show has been postponed to Saturday, December 9, from 6 to 10 pm. Along with the change in date, the event will now donate all money raised from ticket sales, additional raffle ticket money, and 25 percent of all yoga mat sales from that evening to The Resiliency Center of Newtown.
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The Newtown Yoga Center, 78 South Main Street, will be hosting a Yoga Mat Art Show featuring original artwork by owner Aline Marie and local artist Dave Brooker on Friday, October 6, from 7 to 10 pm.
The studio will be transformed into an upscale art gallery displaying about 20 hand painted yoga mats for sale. Some were designed by Ms Marie or Mr Brooker, while others were done collaboratively between the two.
Prices for the artwork will range from $60 to $300, with the proceeds raised going to benefit both the Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN) and Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC) Scholarship Fund.
The event is exclusive to the first 50 people to purchase tickets, and guests are asked to arrive in black and white attire.
Tickets are $50 per person, or $90 per pair, and immediately put the guest in the raffle drawing for the two specially designed hand painted yoga mats — one of which will be benefiting RCN, while the other will benefit NCAC.
Additional raffles tickets can be purchased for $5 each.
Those who are unable to attend, but wish to support the fundraiser, can also purchase one or more of the extra $5 tickets and choose which cause they would like to submit their ticket toward.
Admission will also include wine and light refreshments by Aquarian Catering of Newtown.
An Enduring Medium
Ms Marie has been creating custom yoga mats for 13 years. It began, she said, with the idea that she wanted to be inspired every time she looked down at her mat.
“I wanted to see some imagery that symbolized what I was going through in the moment, like a visual prayer of sorts or like an intention,” Ms Marie said.
She decided to paint chakra symbols onto her mat, and quickly thereafter people began approaching her asking her where she purchased it, looking to get one, too.
Her artwork even gained attention during her teacher training at the Kripalu Center when the main director spotted her mat and said everyone should have one.
That support encouraged her to continue creating customized yoga mats. She has since painted just about 700 mats, she said.
Her designs are now all over the world and some were even sold at the esteemed Golden Door Resort & Spa in southern California for $400 a piece.
The custom mats Ms Marie makes range from simple to elaborate designs, all depending on what a person envisions.
She says some people who want a mat come to her saying they are looking to build in a certain area like patience or self-confidence. With that in mind she will paint specific symbols that represent their goals, so the person can look down at their mat for visual affirmation.
“While I’m painting I’m thinking about that person and putting their prayers and intentions into it,” Ms Marie said.
For Mr Brooker, painting yoga mats is an entirely new venture for him and his art.
This new endeavor has allowed the abstract artist to showcase his signature splatter paint designs, as well as explore and create in a very open-ended way that he enjoys.
Many people around town may recognize his artwork from last weekend’s Newtown Arts Festival at Fairfield Hills, when a sneak peak of some of his recent yoga mat designs were among the items displayed in his booth.
His work has also been featured on one of two announcement cards for a 2017 Newtown Arts Festival event he is organizing for September 30 (see full story in the September 22, 2017, issue of The Newtown Bee or visit here).
The yoga mats, no matter how beautifully elaborate the design, always remain functional and usable.
“Stomp on them, sweat on them, wash them down,” Ms Marie said. “On the sticky mats, [we use] an acrylic paint with a flexible, waterproof varnish. They last anywhere from 800 to 900 uses, before you start to see some wear and tear.”
So, not only will the painted yoga mats endure dozens of yoga sessions to come, but their inspirational impact will be sure to create a lasting impression on those who use them.