Arts for the People

Decades strong, the Valley Arts Council showcases paintings, sculptures and photos from local artists

The E Street Gallery on Elizabeth Street, Derby. Photo courtesy of the Valley Arts Council.

If you're from the Valley, there's a chance you'll know some of the artists whose works are displayed at the E Street Gallery. The small storefront space on Elizabeth Street is a showcase for paintings, photographs, and sculptures by local members of the Valley Arts Council (VAC).

"We want to bring the arts to the people and the people to the arts," says President Rich DiCarlo.

The gallery, which is run by council volunteers, first opened eight years ago in a space next to its current location. The display and promotion of local art is part of the council's broad mission to connect Valley residents to the arts.

Founded in the 1970s and in its current inception since 2000, the Valley Arts Council comprises about 200 members from local communities. In addition to staging shows at the E Street Gallery, the VAC enlists members to teach classes at the gallery and at local schools, libraries, and senior centers.

"A community is defined by its arts," says DiCarlo. "We have a stake in the community."

The E Street Gallery is in the process of revamping with a new sign and updates to the interior, DiCarlo says. The gallery is a cooperative, so members who display their art are also expected to donate their time as volunteers.

The Valley Arts Council raises funds through membership dues and individual donations, in addition to receiving support through its participation in The Great Give® and from the Valley Community Foundation.

In the Fall of 2016, the gallery is planning autumn-themed events and will hold its annual night gallery. A call for artists is open for the night gallery event, which runs from October 11 through November 5.

Beginning in November, the E Street Gallery will display work from military veterans who have been using art as therapy.

To learn more about the Valley Arts Council and support its mission, visit its profile on®.

Did you know?

Art therapy is an effective treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment. Discover more at

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.