Henna at the festival: Beyond face painting


Stratford henna artist Ameira Hernandez and her team join us on the green this weekend. We could not be more thrilled.

Body painting is art without a doubt, and henna, in particular, is both artful and historical.

The Ancient Art of Henna

Henna is a plant which grows in the tropical climates of Africa, northern Australia, and southern Asia. Its leaves contain a pigment called lawsone which combines with proteins to cause staining. Because of this staining quality, Henna has been used throughout the ages to dye hair and create body art designs.

Henna or "mendhi" design by Stratford artist.
Henna or “mendhi” design by Stratford artist, Ameira Hernandez

The art of henna (called mehndi in Hindi & Urdu) has been practiced for over  5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. According to silknstone.com, there is some documentation that it is over 9000 years old.

Because henna has natural cooling properties, people of the desert, for centuries, have been using henna to cool down their bodies.

Historically, henna was a popular adornment for both the rich but also poor, who could not afford jewelry. Traditionally, henna decoration is used for special occasions, particularly for brides on their wedding day.

Since the 1990s, henna, which is a temporary stain, has become popular at fairs and festivals as a beautiful, artful alternative to face painting.

Come visit the henna tent for beautiful adornment this Sunday at Artists & Artisans in Paradise. August, 28, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See you there!


Looks familiar, hmmm…


Back again is one of our most POPULAR artisans this year, Stratford woodworker Greg Corvino. The owner of Birdseye Birdhouses, his tent always attracts the attention of our festival goers.

More new 2016 birdhouses were posted on his FB site recently and we couldn’t but notice a resemblance!

What do you think?

Greg Corvino Birdhouses
Greg Corvino

Be sure to stop by and see + buy a piece of Greg’s beautiful handiwork at the show.

Performance Schedule 2016


We are thrilled to have our line-up of live music performers and poets in place! Take a look at our performance and poetry schedule.

Artists & Artisans in Paradise
Paradise Green, Sunday, August 28, 2016

Antoinette Brim - Poet
Antoinette Brim – Poet

Performance Schedule 2016

11:30 a.m.
– Elizabeth G. Howard – Demand Poetry
12 p.m. – Shanna T. Melton – Poetic Soul Arts & author of “Unraveling My Thoughts
12:30 – Antoinette Brim – author of the forthcoming “These Women You Gave Me” and two other collections.
Alpaca Gnomes
The Alpaca Gnomes
1:45 – Joyce Acebo-Raguskus – CT poet and activist
2 p.m. The Uncommon Night Crawlers
2:45 – Iyaba Ibo Mandingo – Poet, painter, national grand-slam winner
3:15 – Keith Roland – Photographer and poet
3:45 – Mick Theebs – Poet, artist, Milford poet laureate

We are now 501(c)3, non-profit status


From the desk of Seemingly Boring, Yet Very Important

Coastal Arts Guild of CT Nonprofit status
On March 14th, 2016 our board received our official, federally recognized, nonprofit status!

This was big news for us. We are a fairly small group of people running this joint. That is a LOT of paperwork.

We’ve been working on this as a project for longer than Artists & Artisans in Paradise has been around!

Why our 501(c)3 status benefits you.

The guild has the mission to promote the arts and artists in our community. We are better able to do that with a budget that is supported both by our community and by private foundations.

With a nonprofit status,

1) an organization’s net revenue (after expenses) is generally not subject to tax

2) contributions to the organization are eligible for the charitable deduction; and

3) the organization is eligible for grants.

Join the Guild Now

Tips for Filing for a 501(c)3

It does take a village. Here are a few tips we would give to anyone trying to achieve their own nonprofit status:

  1. Get a reader. Ask someone who has filed 501(c)3 paperwork before (and succeeded) to look over the docs for you before you send them off.
  2. Form a Committee. Have several people who know the organization and its history and mission well help with revising and writing the documents. We had excellent help from Debbie Gilbert Taylor, who was the original founder of the Stratford Arts Guild.
  3. One Cook in the Kitchen. In order to keep the documents organized and timelines on track, one person should be responsible for copying, printing, mailing and ensuring paperwork gets filed according to rules.
  4. An accountant is handy. Over the course of trying to file paperwork, we discovered some interesting financial history about our organization, prior to the current board having hold of the reins. It was extremely good investment to have an accountant assist us.
  5. Don’t give up. If the work you are doing truly qualifies you to be tax exempt, that’s a boon for all involved. The tediousness of filing and fact check is important, as it will open your organization up to more resources in the future.

Call for Food Trucks & Vendors | August 28, 2016


The Coastal Arts Guild of CT is please to announce its call for food trucks and vendors for our 4th annual outdoor arts show and festival, the 2016 Artists & Artisans in Paradise show and festival.

Sunday, August 28, 2016
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We accept a limited number of vendors. Festival committee ensures there is a wide variety of options.

Cost to reserve your space is $100. Generators are not provided.

Please note:

  • ALL food vendors must have a temporary food permit from the Town of Stratford in order to sell on the green premises the day of the show.
  • The Festival director must approve all items on your menu.
  • Setup must be completed by 10 a.m.


Call for Live Music – Artists & Artisans in Paradise 2016

Alpaca Gnomes Perform

Call for Live Music 2016

The Coastal Arts Guild of CT is happy to announce a call for live music for the 4th Annual “Artists & Artisans in Paradise,” Sunday, August 28, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We are searching for CT-based bands/groups who play fun, upbeat, lively music for our family-friendly event.

Please send us a letter of interest and submit links to live music samples, social media links, band bios/photos and website information to our festival coordinator.


Coastal Arts Guild of CT, based in StratfordThe Coastal Arts Guild of CT, based in Stratford, is a regional organization welcoming artists, organizational and business partners to join us.

We represent you: painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, artisans, writers and patrons who support each other in their work and who love to collaborate on community-oriented arts projects.

Featured Artist Amy Oestreicher on Art and Healing

Artist Amy Oestreicher: Singing Tree
Singing Tree

Amy Oestreicher is a mixed media artist who lives in Westport, CT.

Amy Oestreicher is a 28-year-old artist, musician, teacher, actress  composer, dancer, writer,yogi, foodie, and general lover of life.

Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others.

Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and dozens of solo art shows.  Continue reading

Summer 2015 Art Show Date Announced!

Robin Gilmore Artists Artisans Paradise Made in Bridgeport
Artist & designer Robin Gilmore of Made In Bridgeport sold her work at the 2014 Artists & Artisans in Paradise

The organizers of the third annual Artists & Artisans in Paradise are happy to announce the date of the 2015 show:

August 30, 2015
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Paradise Green, Stratford

Personal invitations have been sent to last year’s artists & artisans for early registration.

Our third annual event is expected to be even bigger again this year.

Live music, poetry, food, family entertainment… it’s a great day at Paradise Green. Last year’s event saw 1,000 visitors.

To grab early registration prices, click here.