My father also decided that New Britain needed an art school. The headline from an article in the Sunday Hartford Courant reads: “Grandson of late Hawaiian ruler to be first director of institution which will teach students to paint along original lines.”
The article goes on: “A humble old red barn will soon become the home of New Britain 's first art school. Gone is the quiet that for years has haunted the old building as it stood, silent and ignored, at 30 Cedar Street . Today it echoes the sounds of busy workmen who are reconditioning it for the new and important role it is to play in the city's life. Within it's walls strange changes are taking place. Familiar stalls and stables are being torn away. Partitions are being removed. Rats and mice and cats, tenants of yesterday, have fled in terror before all this confusion. A big studio is being fashioned – a studio in which many future artists of New Britain will receive their first training.” This new institution was known as The Art League of New Britain or, more simply, The Studio.
Supporters of The Art League included Arthur Kimball, Judge Hungerford, William F. Brooks, Mrs. Stanley Hart, Miss Fanny Brown, Wesley Parker, Lawrence Edwardson, Miss Minna Richter, and Earle K. Bishop. Also Grace Vibberts and Margaret Cooper who donated paintings which were raffled off to raise seven hundred dollars for the art school. My father brought in Thomas Craven and William Zorach to lecture and Spencer Nichols and Herbert Meyer to teach art.
Sandy Low and his colleague, Walter Korder, painted dozens of murals at the Art League, beginning in 1937 with a series he called “The Connecticut Murals.” Among them, Walter and Sandy painted a 30-foot piece that was displayed at the New Britain Savings and Loan Association in 1957. As I understand it, the artists charged $5 a square foot. The murals were put up in restaurants, hotels and office buildings.
The Studio transformed the social life of New Britain by bringing together in moments of camaraderie, probably for the first time, artists and people from all walks of life - businessmen, storeowners, lawyers, doctors - all kinds of folks that would normally not have anything to do with artists. The Studio's motto, meticulously painted, presumably by my father, hung prominently over a workbench that also served as an impromptu bar during parties. It read: “welcome all both great and small.” And that's how it was.