Karen Beck Fink loves everything Ridgefield. Moving here from Manhattan, she fell in love with the town the moment she arrived 8 years ago. A talented painter, Karen is active in Ridgefield’s art scene and is a member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists. Her work can currently be seen in The Guild’s annual Art Walk. We were thrilled to sit down with Karen as she shared her passion for art and painting, and her “love affair with Ridgefield”.
When did you come to Ridgefield?
My husband and I moved to Ridgefield about 8 years ago. We lived in Manhattan for many years and we were very happy there. But, at some point, we decided that we wanted a change and we started looking for other places to live. It took us 2 years of research and traveling to different places for us to find Ridgefield. In fact, when we began our search, we didn’t know about the town. My daughter knew a young lady who lived here and she invited us to come visit. From the moment we stepped into town, my husband and I fell in love. We saw ourselves living here and we instantly knew we would call Ridgefield home.
What sparked your immediate attraction to Ridgefield?
During our first tour of the town, we toured the art galleries and museums and several fabulous attractions, such as The Ridgefield Playhouse, and even the shops on Main Street. We also were taken to Founder’s Hall, the lovely senior center in town that offers so many great programs and classes. By the end of our tour, I was very excited and impressed to see how active and vibrant the arts and cultural community was in town. And, also the physical beauty of Ridgefield, especially its Main Street, is just incredible. So, after our trip around town, my husband and I walked to the Cass Gilbert Fountain and we just turned to each other and said “this is it!”. After all of the many towns that we visited, we both knew that Ridgefield would be a great fit for us.
Now that you have been here for 8 years, what do you love about living in Ridgefield?
Well, everything! I just love everything about this town. I love how accessible everything is. My husband and I live within walking distance to Main Street, The Playhouse, The Prospector, and many restaurants in town. I love when I can walk into town and say hello to all of my favorite people. I have become friends with several of the shop owners on Main Street and my husband and I really enjoy shopping here at our local stores instead of some big mall. There really is a diverse range of shops and specialty stores in town and there always seems to be something new on display. And my husband is quite involved in the Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club, which is wonderful for fitness – and for its great socializing. This town offers many opportunities for recreation and wellness.
But, above all, I truly love the community in Ridgefield. Everyone is extremely warm and friendly. It took us no time to find friends when we first moved here and I have met people from all walks of life. Ridgefield is a very diverse community that welcomes everyone and supports everyone.
How did you get involved with the Ridgefield Guild of Artists?
Throughout my life, I have always been around art. In my career, I was a curator and designer for architects and developers, selecting art and creating galleries for buildings. But, I have also been painting professionally for about 25 years.
The Guild is just a wonderful organization. Everyone is so friendly and, when I first moved to Ridgefield, they welcomed me right away. The Guild is truly open to everyone, from beginners to established artists. Their exhibits throughout the year are incredible. They put on these fantastic juried shows in which they invite an expert artist, curator, or gallery owner to curate an exhibit with chosen work from regional artists. Also, The Guild runs the Festive Home show each December, which is a gorgeous holiday showcase of both interior design and artwork. In addition to their excellent exhibits, The Guild holds many fantastic classes and workshops for artists of all ages. I have been taking art classes my whole life. but I have learned more from the classes that I have taken at The Guild than from any of the classes that I attended in New York.
Do you participate in any of The Guild’s shows?
Yes. I like to submit my work as well as help out in any capacity whenever The Guild is putting on a show. Right now, my work is a part of The Guild’s annual Art Walk. This is a great exhibit that places art in shops and other businesses on Main Street – bringing art to the streets! My work can currently be seen at Addessi Jewelers.
What else do you like to do in Ridgefield?
I really enjoy visiting Keeler Tavern and exploring their fantastic exhibits as well as attending the special events that they hold throughout the year. My husband and I like to check out the performances at The Playhouse and see the latest movies at The Prospector. Also, we also enjoy eating out in Ridgefield and we frequent Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar once a week. We have become great friends with the owners and we like to support them. The food is fantastic! There are many great restaurants in Ridgefield and we have never been disappointed.
Do you have any advice for first time visitors to town?
This is a hard one for me because there are so many things to do. Well, of course, I would say to check out one of the fabulous art galleries in town, most notably The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. I would suggest attending a performance, whether the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, a show at The Playhouse., or one of our wonderful local theaters. Also, I would tell them to walk and enjoy our historic Main Street. Our Main Street in Ridgefield is so classically New England and it features so much beautiful architecture. Be sure to also bring you dog if you plan on exploring town. Ridgefield is a very dog-friendly town and the shops along Main Street always have water and special treats outside their doors for dogs to enjoy. And for a charming small town experience, I would suggest stopping by Deborah Ann’s for some candy or ice cream.
For more information about The Ridgefield Guild of Artists and their upcoming exhibits, please visit The Guild’s website.
Learn more about Things to Do in Ridgefield.
I have a love affair with Ridgefield.