A Haven for Artists

A few years ago, a section of Rye’s Greenhaven neighborhood started a WhatsApp chat intended for quick communication and to lend a helping hand.

Published April 11, 2024 9:08 PM
3 min read

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A few years ago, a section of Rye’s Greenhaven neighborhood started a WhatsApp chat intended for quick communication and to lend a helping hand.

A few women on the chat soon realized they had more in common than geography. They were all working artists, and as they got to know one another, they found synergy and support in their shared creative interests. Cécile Roberfroid, Fleur Spolidor, and Anik McGrory are painters, Belkis Hull is a photographer, Sandra Doherty is a floral designer, and Anike Wariebi is an author. Those six women began a new chat, and along with a local yoga instructor Héléne Roy, they formed what has now become the Greenhaven Artists.

They joined forces with two distinct goals: to celebrate and champion female entrepreneurship and to seek opportunities to promote artists and their businesses. In December 2023, they held their first Open Studio event at their homes in Greenhaven. It was a way to bring people together to celebrate art, and as they considered next steps, they took the elements that worked and decided to build on them. The next Open Studio event will be on April 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be an expanded version of December’s event.

Since December, Cécile Roberfroid and Fleur Spolidor have been reaching out to attract artists and expand the Open Studios audience. Roberfroid and Spolidor contacted artists they know from Rye Arts Center, the Artists Guild of Mamaroneck, the National Association of Women Artists, and other organizations to find new participants. The upcoming Open Studios day features 12 guest artists in addi- tion to the core seven Greenhaven artists. The artists, 19 in total, will showcase their work in four Greenhaven homes. Each home provides space for four or five artists, with the rooms set up to be artists’ studios. Visitors can engage with the artists in a casual setting and discuss process and inspiration.

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore an array of artistic expressions, with participating artists representing various disciplines including painting, writing, floral design, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and even yoga instruction. The event will not only serve as a platform for the artists to showcase their creations, but also as a celebration of creativity and entrepreneurship within the community.

The Creative Guests who will be joining the seven Greenhaven Artists are Terry Frishman, Zahra Jlayer, Gaelle Hintzy-Marcel, Vildan Starr, Suzanne Sumien, Anne de Villemejane, Angelique Bizet, Nadine Frenette, Elissa Carroll, Monique Robidoux, Wendy Gemelle, and Marie Seguret. Throughout the day, each house will feature a live presentation that highlights an artist’s creative process.

Creative Network: Fleur Spolidor, Anike Wariebi, Anik Mcgrory, Cécile Roberfroid, Belkis Hull, and Sandra Doherty.

Many of the Greenhaven Artists have international backgrounds, a common thread that has shaped the group. Spolidor, who grew up in France and has lived in California and New York, recently had a show at the Jay Heritage Center. Roberfroid, who is French-American, trained as an art therapist and has moved through a variety of mediums, including quilting, before returning to her favorite, abstract oil painting. While they are busy pursuing their own artistic projects, they see great value in building this multicultural community and believe that by investing time into the Greenhaven Artists, they are cultivating something special that will benefit both artists and visitors.

Roberfroid is thrilled to see this growth. “I’m enjoying the fact that this is turning into a full-day event and moving beyond Greenhaven,” she said. “It was important to open it up to other artists. This offers greater exposure and gives us an opportunity to work together as a group.”

Where might the group head from here? Roberfroid mentioned plans to hold an open studio event once a year, along with additional pop-up shows. She and the other founders hope to build momentum to create lasting recognition for the group. They are establishing something new and learning along the way.

“We are thrilled to invite the community to join us for this special event,” Roberfroid said. “Our collective is deeply committed to fostering a supportive environment for female entrepreneurs in the arts, and this Open Studio event is a testament to our shared vision and dedication.”

Please join the Greenhaven Artists for their Open Studio event on April 28. For more information on the participating artists and the presentation schedule, visit greenhavenartists.com.

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