Five Points grew out of the Torrington Arts and Culture Commission’s 2012 initiative, Art Space Torrington, a temporary 840 square foot summer storefront gallery located in the heart of Torrington’s historic downtown district. The success of the summer initiative led to the founding of Five Points Gallery, a permanent non-profit 501(c)(3) visual arts organization dedicated to the belief that contemporary art is a vital component of human understanding.
In 2013, the new gallery, named after its location at the five-point intersection in the heart of downtown Torrington, expanded to an adjacent storefront creating a contiguous 3800 square foot space composed of three beautifully renovated galleries.
The Gallery mounts new exhibits every six weeks showcasing professional regional, national and international visual artists. Five Points Gallery has exhibited approximately 730 artists since 2012, and boasts artists’ submissions from around the globe including: Canada, China, UK, Spain, Germany, Norway, Russia, Japan, India, Denmark, France, Italy and nearly every state in the USA. The guest book is similarly impressive and there are nearly 4500 subscribers on the mailing list.
Five Points Gallery’s success has become symbolic of Torrington’s rebirth as an arts destination. The innovative curatorial stance and commitment to excellence have made the Five Points Gallery one of Connecticut’s most sought-after exhibition spaces. Art New England has lauded Five Points Gallery as” One of 4 New England Galleries Worth the Drive.”
In answer to the growing needs of art school graduates, and to encourage the cross pollination of ideas, The Launchpad, a strategic partnership with Hartford Art School, University of Hartford was formed in 2016. Emerging artists who have been severed from the umbilical connection of guidance, direction, community and art facilities found in a degree program, often face an uncertain future that, for the most part, has to be negotiated independently. Often working in their parents’ basements or garages, many promising young artists find themselves isolated without intellectual and creative stimulation. The Launchpad program offers participants access to affordable shared studio spaces above Five Points Gallery, free access to the Arts Center, a serious arts community, mentorship, exhibition and gallery management opportunities, as well as a biennial exhibition in Five Points Gallery.
The Annex is a non-juried first come first serve community pop-up gallery and has hosted over 600 artists since opening its doors in 2017. The Annex offers Launchpad artists the experience of managing a professional gallery space, adding business experience and community relations to their resumes. The Annex is available to regional artists and artisans, and provides an affordable professional space to showcase their work. The Annex hosts the annual Draw-A-Thon, juried shows, school groups and other organizations.
In June of 2020 after more than two years of negotiation, Five Points finalized the purchase of the former University of Connecticut Torrington Regional campus. Located 4 miles from downtown Torrington and two hours from New York and Boston, the property includes a 30,000 square foot building and 90 acres of land. When the campus opportunity came to Five Points’ attention in 2018 – Judith McElhone acted. “This came out of left field and it was so right to continue our mission to support artists and the community, and to give artists and community members the equipment, facilities and support they need to make their art.” Envisioned as a dynamic fulcrum for cutting edge exploration and community driven activity, Five Points is transforming the property into a world-class art center the likes of which have not been seen before in Northwest Connecticut. Connecting emerging artists with recognized established artists is a crucial part of the new center, allowing artists to share ideas and create thought provoking innovative art.
Five Points has significantly contributed to the revitalization of Torrington through the establishment of the Five Points Gallery as a premier art venue in Connecticut. Art enthusiasts are drawn to the region from all over the United States and nine countries. The Art Center is a transformative multi-year project that will further the positive impact of the arts in this area.
Supporting arts, culture and tourism is a cornerstone of Northwest Connecticut’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The Arts Center will attract young people to the region, create jobs, and strengthen Northwest Connecticut’s identity as a center for arts innovation.
“We want to create a new trans-disciplinary visual arts model for a changing world.”