The Day – New London woman realizes her dream with art exhibition at Groton Public Library
Groton – When Suzanne Elliot worked at the Groton Public Library years ago, managing exhibits, among other responsibilities, she always envisioned one day holding her own exhibit there.
She has now realized that dream with an exhibit called “Oil Paintings by Suzanne Elliot” in the Library’s Community Hall. The exhibition combines his love of libraries with his love of art.
“I hope this exhibit puts a smile on people’s faces and inspires them to pursue their own dreams,” said Elliot, a retired librarian who worked at the Groton Public Library for more than two decades.
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Elliot loved books, a passion nurtured by his mother and father, who always read to Elliot and his siblings. She also likes to draw since kindergarten.
When she was growing up, she went from school to the neighborhood library and one of her favorite subjects was drawing, along with ballet, dance and music. Then, after coming home and doing her homework, she would sit down and draw. She also enjoyed playing librarian with her friends, sticking payment slips to the spines of her books, and her friends would browse her collection and borrow books from her.
She started giving art to her father before he left for his job as an orthodontist and was eager to hear what his patients thought of his work.
She was headed for a career in the fine arts, but when she was 10, her father died of kidney disease at age 40. Her mother supported the family with a teaching career at Ohio State University.
Elliot eventually decided that the best career for her to support a family, if called upon, would be librarianship.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Wisconsin and later earned a master’s degree in Spanish Literature and Library Science from the University of Michigan, where she also served as a lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages. She went on to earn an Advanced Certificate in Library Administration from the University of Wisconsin.
Elliot moved to southeast Connecticut in 1974 and lived in Groton, Gales Ferry and Ledyard. She currently resides in New London and has one son, one daughter and four grandchildren.
She began working at the Groton Public Library as a part-time reference librarian in 1974 and over the years worked her way up and worked as Special Services Manager, Information Services Manager and Chief adult services.
She said she was also in charge of a major library building expansion referendum in the 1990s, which passed by one of the biggest margins in the city’s history. She’s really proud of the achievement, but said it wasn’t just her: it was the local team of residents she recruited to help garner support for the project. She loved a challenge and believed so strongly in the library and what it had to offer.
His late brother, James Elliot, a famous astronomer who had a crater on Pluto named after himloved the library and even helped it update its math, physics, astronomy and astrophysics collections.
She left the Groton Public Library in 1998 to become director of the Wethersfield Public Library. During her more than four-decade career in Connecticut public libraries, she also worked at the Otis Library in Norwich, the New London Public Library, and the Russell Library in Middletown.
She said she was so proud of the Groton Public Library and the other libraries where she worked.
“My heart and soul are there in all of my work at the Groton Public Library,” Elliot said.
While pursuing her career in libraries, she also took classes at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. Elliot, who retired in 2015, began taking impressionist painting lessons from Lois Constantine at Mystic. Elliot said Constantine is an amazing teacher and encouraged and supported her.
Elliot’s oil paintings include depictions of the New London Harbor Lighthouse, Winthrop Mill in New London, Alewife Cove, Lake Tahoe, and the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains in the Canadian province of British Columbia. .
One of her favorites is called “Nic’s Flowers” and is a painting of a beautiful flower arrangement from her late nephew’s memorial in 2019. She said her nephew Nicolas James Bureau, who died suddenly of a stroke and a heart attack, was “the kindest soul and a handsome man inside and out.
Elliot had brought some of his paintings to the library one day to show some of his friends. Two women asked her where she got the paintings and she thought, “Oh they liked them, maybe I’ve reached the point where I can exhibit.
She contacted her friend Barbara Candler, who is in charge of exhibits at the library, and gave Elliot the green light after taking a look at her work. The exhibition has been canceled twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elliot celebrated the exhibit by hosting a family reunion at her home, and relatives came from all over the country and attended her exhibit.
She encourages other budding artists to ask the library to exhibit their work. She urges people not to hesitate or be afraid to take the first step towards realizing their dreams because once they start, it will happen. She also exhibited her art at the Waterford Public Library in October.
“I think it’s so important for people to feel fulfilled and every person has talents within them,” she said. “I just say ‘go for it’ and think of different ways to do it. There’s no one way. Talk to people, see how they got started. I’m so glad I got roots in my childhood, but I think we all do.”
The exhibit at the Groton Public Library, 52 Newtown Road, is free and open to the public until Tuesday, June 27, during library hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The paintings are for sale. People who have questions or want to know more about Elliot’s works can email him at [email protected]