Darien native featured at new recital hall, gallery
Published 1:02 am, Thursday, March 25, 2010
Musicians and artists looking for a more intimate space to show off their talents now have a new venue.
Ching-I Lee, a classical musician from White Plains, N.Y., recently opened Blueberry Music & Art House, an 850-square-foot recital hall and art gallery at 135 Mason St. in Greenwich. Currently the space features oil paintings by Katharine Draper of Norwalk.
"Lots of musicians are looking for places to hold concerts, so I think I really have a good market," said Lee, 34. "And I also love art."
Draper works in abstracts and is a member of the Silvermine Guild. She grew up Darien and spent much time sailing at the Noroton Yacht club.
"I enjoy painting water scenes and I work on location," she said.
The exhibit at Blueberry Music & Art House features her water images, which are oil painting on linen.
"I try to create as much luminosity as I can," she said, adding that the new gallery definitely fills a void in the area. "This is a wonderful showplace and there is plenty of good parking. The location is near Greenwich Avenue. It seems like an ideal business.
"Artists in this area are always looking for new places to show their works. The gallery at Blueberry Music & Art House has great potential. It's a very nice, sunny place. I am an especially prolific artist, so this spot really works for me."
Blueberry Music & Art House's inaugural event will be a benefit concert at 1 p.m. on April 18 for New Covenant House, a soup kitchen on Stamford's West Side.
"I'd like to hold more benefit concerts to give back to the community," Lee said.
Lee said she hopes to host monthly events combining an art show and benefit concert in addition to giving private lessons, holding recitals and her own performances.
"I love music very much so this gives me a place to teach and perform," Lee said.
The space can hold as many as 60 attendees.
Lee began studying classical piano at age 5 through a music program in her native Taiwan. She picked up viola at 12 and moved to the United States at 24 to study on a scholarship at the State University of New York-Purchase, where she obtained a master's degree in music.
For now, more recitals are on tap for the summer and December at Blueberry Music & Art House, which has a Baldwin upright piano, a Yamaha grand piano and a viola, Lee said.
Lee said she also is welcoming more students and performers to come in. Blueberry Music & Art House helps to address the area's lack of smaller spaces for recitals that do not need a large concert hall, said Paul Master-Karnik, executive director of the Greenwich Arts Council. "It's no fun if you bring 60 people to a place that holds 500 people."
Tickets to the benefit concert cost $30. For information, call (203) 987-6445.
Nicole Rivard contributed to this story.