In ECA Gallery

Jill Lewis & Fletcher Smith

Inspired from a post seen on Facebook about deserted amusement and theme parks, Jill Lewis and Fletcher Smith, with cameras in hand, set off for Holy Land in Waterbury, Connecticut. The works on view in this exhibit presents their interpretations. Evocative, these images potentially initiate discussions of religion, crime, the decaying landscape, or simply the visual experience. Exhibit is on view in the ECA Gallery from February 11-28, 2017.

Holy Land was originally conceived of by Attorney John Baptist Greco in 1955. Comprised of 18 acres, the park was inspired from passages selected from the Bible. It is said he was a very spiritual man and wanted to do this for the people of the community. He felt that no one, no matter what race or creed, should be separate from one another. He wanted a space for all people to be able to sit and be peaceful. An interesting concept in today’s world.

Closed in 1984, the theme park fell in to disrepair and vandalism. Although it was not open to the public, the site continued to attract attention, not necessarily positive, but certainly newsworthy.

For Lewis and Smith, it was an opportunity to explore the 18 acres in its forgotten state. Wandering through the miniature settings of Jerusalem, by the Lion’s Den, to the pinnacle where crosses stood in solitude, they both felt a sense of uneasiness.

It was apparent there had been some recent activity around the park, as fallen trees with their curled brown leaves helped to shelter the decaying miniatures. Though partially obscured and decomposing, there was an essence of loveliness that July’s golden afternoon sun bestowed upon them.