Support City Lights. Make a donation. Become a member.

Become a City Lights $100 Patron Member to participate in our annual campaign or to renew your membership. Patron Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases of art, jewelry, classes, framing and admission to one special Patron Member event. Donations are tax deductible.

See how your contribution benefits the community

 Abstract July by Michelle Beaulieu



The Celebration

Saturday, May 10, 2014   6-10PM

Join us as we celebrate 10 years of City Lights Gallery
at 37 Markle Court Downtown Bridgeport, CT.
10 years of exciting art exhibits, fabulous receptions, stimulating talks and demonstrations, music, dance, poetry, dramatic performances, public events, classes and outreach programs, as well as the Classic Car Show and the Bridgeport Art Trail.

Let’s celebrate together and work to insure another

10 years of City Lights!

Show your support and enjoy food, drink, and a multi-media 10 year retrospective highlighting City Lights exhibits, programs, and accomplishments.


Click for donation options for 10 year celebration.





Common Threads Opened Thursday, February 20th at 5:30 pm. 

For more information about the artists: Common Threads


Slideshow:Quilt by Mary Lee Bendolph (Gee’s Bend Quilter),Batik by Tunde Odunlade,Quilt by Mary Lee Bendolph (Gee’s Bend Quilter),Quilt by Lorretta Pettway Bennett(Gee’s Bend Quilter).

Artists from near and far will be featured in “COMMON THREADS”, an art exhibit of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American Artists whose work with is on or about fabric. Works will include original quilts from Gee’s Bend quilters Mary Lee Bendolph and Loretta Pettway Bennett, Batik quilts from Nigeria by world acclaimed artist Tunde Odunlade, paintings on silk by Connecticut artist Imna Arroyo, mixed media paintings by Kofi Ayisi from Kenya, weaving from Bridgeport/Brooklyn artist, Ruben Marroquin, originally from Venezuela, quilt samplings from Gees Bend, Alabama, paintings by Bridgeport artists Michael Dunham, Aisha Nailah and wearable art by Jahmane and Jerry Grant.

City Lights is community-based art organization/gallery located in downtown Bridgeport, whose mantra is to serve the community through art. An annual goal is to produce an exhibit in the CONVERGING PATHS SERIES, featuring artists who are from different places around the world but are somehow connected in subject matter, style, content, media, etc. One intention is to connect the far to the near, demonstrating to viewers from the local community that great things, making and experiencing beauty happens in our own neighborhoods.

In 2003, 4 generations of Gee’s Bend Quilters were on exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York. Quilts on view in “COMMON THREADS” are made in the Gee’s Bend tradition.

The Near and the Far:
There is a Bridgeport, CT family tie to Gee’s Bend, through the Pettway family. Visiting artist, Tunde Odunlade returns to Bridgeport and City Lights to exhibit and demonstrate his technique. Other artists in the exhibit live and work in Connecticut and on occasion have exhibited, worked in Bridgeport, CT.

Mary Lee Bendolph (born 1935), the seventh of seventeen children, descends from generations of accomplished Quiltmakers in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. She learned to quilt from her mother, Aolar Mosely. She worked in the fields and attended school intermittently until she was fourteen, when she began her own family. She married Rubin Bendolph in 1955 and their family grew to include eight children. She has seven living children.
Over the years, Mary Lee worked in a variety of textile-related jobs, mostly making army uniforms. Since retiring in 1992, Mary Lee Bendolph found more time to quilt. She gathers design ideas by looking at the world around her. Anything—from people’s clothes at church, to her barn, to quilts hanging on clotheslines in front yards, to how the land looks when she’s high above it in an airplane—can inspire her. For her materials, she prefers fabric cut from used clothing because it avoids wastefulness and because she appreciates the “love and spirit” in old cloth.
Mary Lee Bendolph was one of many Gee’s Benders who accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. in his march at Camden, Alabama (across the river from Gee’s Bend), in 1965.


While adding her own sense of design, Loretta Pettway Bennett carries on the Gees Bend Heritage from her mother, Quinnie. Loretta Pettway Bennett is a fifth-generation quilter from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and one of the youngest to continue handstitching quilts in the renowned Gee’s Bend style. She is the second of eight children and oldest daughter of Tom O. and Quinnie Elizabeth Pettway Jr., and was born in December 1960. Her ancestry traces back to Dinah Miller, a great-great-great grandmother, who, according to folklore and family history, was one of the first slaves to have arrived in the Bend.
Quinnie Pettway was one of the original Gee’s Bend quilters whose fame has spread worldwide through exhibitions of their work, numerous publications, newspapers articles, television coverage, radio interviews, personal appearances, ten U.S. postage stamps and a play. Loretta has over two dozen additional relatives among that initial group of quilters, establishing her as a bona fide member of what could be considered America’s quilting royalty.

Tunde Odunlade is an internationally acclaimed print and textile artist who has exhibited, taught, lectured, studied and traveled extensively within Nigeria and throughout North America and Europe. His work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum. In addition, he has performed as an actor with the Nigerian National Troop and various other theatrical organizations, and has recorded several CDs that integrate poetry and music. He lives in Ibadan, in the southwestern part of Nigeria.


This exhibit is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder.
KKB logo small

Quilting Workshop @ City Lights:

Gees Bend Quilter, Loretta Pettway Bennett,  presented a quilting workshop at City Lights on Saturday Feb. 22, 2014 from 11-4. Participants brought their sewing machines and materials.  It was a great opportunity to enjoy the exhibit, “COMMON THREADS” while participating in the quilting workshop.  




Through 2/13/14

 at City Lights Gallery, 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport CT 06604, (203)334-7748

Our annual Bridgeport exhibit was designed this year to include established, successful artists, emerging artists, students and the novice. There was range of skill and experience. The viewers made choices about what they liked and didn’t like, from raw to refined work. To get a true range of expressions about Bridgeport, and to start off the year actualizing our commitment to community and inclusion, we invited artists of all levels of experience to participate. The opportunity for new artists to be recognized in an exhibit with established artists often makes a lifelong impact.

The opening reception was held on Thursday January 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m.  Artists featured in the annual Bridgeport themed exhibit include: Tom Brenner, Michelle Beaulieu, Aaron Brenner, Angela Capinera, Allan Dudek, Mary Dwyer, Christy Gallagher, Steve Gerber, Arthur Gerstein, Mia Liptak, Julia Liptak, Sooo-z Mastropietro, Tom Mezzanotte, Michael Quirk, Larry Silver, Yolanda Vasquez Petrocelli, Lydia Viscardi, Francesca Winfield and students from Housatonic Community College, Bassick and Central High Schools.


As a new year begins, the general practice is to review the past, plan the future and then dive in to the new year… Some time to reflect and plan is customary. The Bridgeport themed exhibit is strategically scheduled for this time of year, encouraging artists and viewers to consider Bridgeport: the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly; to celebrate successes; to remember the heritage, and focus on areas of improvement.

City Lights starts off every year with ART/BPT/2014, the annual Bridgeport themed exhibit. Every year we find a variation to the general concept. This year, it’s ART/BPT/2014: BARNUM REDUX.  Perhaps the Bridgeport Icon of P.T. Barnum is an overworked theme. Artists are challenged to stretch and flex their creativity, make a statement, express a vision, propose a concept using Barnum imagery or other iconic Bridgeport imagery as metaphor and inspiration….Artists need not be from Bridgeport to participate.

Suzanne Kachmar (Gallery Director) “I am always happily surprised with what artists submit and the work I can find. Although the subtheme is BARNUM REDUX… any iconic interpretation was possible for submission”.


Recent article in the Connecticut Post:


"Behind Barnum" - Michelle Beaulieu

“Behind Barnum” – Michelle Beaulieu

"Civil Memory" by Michelle Beaulieu

“Civil Memory” – Michelle Beaulieu

Images…Tom Brenner

"Park City Supply" by Tom Brenner

“Park City Supply” – Tom Brenner

"No Entry" - Tom Brenner

“No Entry” – Tom Brenner

"Merge" - Tom Brenner

“Merge” – Tom Brenner

"Bridge Over the Pequonnock" - Tom Brenner

“Bridge Over the Pequonnock” – Tom Brenner


Images of Bridgeport, from the recent past by Larry Silver

Images of Bridgeport, from the recent past - Larry Silver

Images of Bridgeport – Larry Silver

Images of Bridgeport - Larry Silver

Images of Bridgeport – Larry Silver


Tintypes of Bridgeport Artists – Tom Mezzanotte

"Larry Silver" - Tom Mezzanotte

“James Reed” – Tom Mezzanotte

"James Reed" - Tom Mezzanotte

“Larry Silver” – Tom Mezzanotte


Support local artists, Buy local.


Also, City Lights will celebrate its 10th anniversary as a community based art gallery in our downtown location, buying art and making a contribution will enable us to survive another 10. We are happy with the way we have found our place in the community and with what we have accomplished, through classes, exhibits, public art events, artists’  sales and commissions, and our outreach programs in the schools and with social services agencies.

Highlights include: the restoration of the figure sculpture in the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Seaside Park, our arts integration program with Roosevelt school, a participant in the TURNAROUND ARTS program through the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanity, and the recent notification that we were awarded out first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is a great time of year for those willing and interested to support City Lights with a tax deductible donation, to “City Lights & Company”!


 Thank you to all who supported the 2013 BAT!

Listen to Suzanne Kachmar on WPKN, discuss the 2013 Bridgeport Art Trail:

The 5th Annual Bridgeport Art Trail was held on Veteran’s Day Weekend, Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 7-10.  It kicked off Thursday night with art receptions and exhibits throughout the downtown. Starting at the historic Arcade Mall on Main St. from 4:30-7 visitors went to the CreateHereNow store fronts including Made In Bridgeport and Paradox Ink while Bridgeport’s WPKN radio 89.5 FM played discs and sold vinyl from their vintage PKN collection. Light refreshment by Ripka’s Market was sponsored by the Downtown Services District.
Art receptions culminated at Housatonic Museum of Art on the Housatonic Community College campus.  HCC’s Museum of Art hosted an exhibit featuring the art of world renowned artist Chuck Close, who mentors students of Roosevelt school in Bridgeport. The HMA exhibit also included Roosevelt student work.   Other downtown locations included UArts at McLevy Hall, City Lights Gallery and the Read’s Ground Floor Gallery. The Bridgeport Art Trail is sponsored by Mayor Bill Finch and the city of Bridgeport, The CT Office on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Fairfield County Community Foundation and City Lights Gallery.
Visitors indulged their palette (both visual and gastronomic), with a complimentary  Happy Hour Raw Bar  courtesy of  Charles Island Agriculture at 305 Knowlton St., BBQ by the Grumpy Hogg at American Fabrics Arts Building or a Sunday Pancake Breakfast and Honey Drizzle Bar at the NEST Art Factory. Bob Halstead led the annual Art Trail bike tour.

Featured art included drawings, paintings, prints, photography, sculptures, fabric art, pottery, artisanal items for the home, jewelry and apparel.











Rick Shaefer of the NEST Art Factory


















CREDIT: © Chuck Close in association with Magnolia Editions, Oakland, courtesy Pace Gallery













In the October 23rd Connecticut Post:

 Thank you for your support of Cars and Cannoli!  While it was a bit chilly, the sun was shining!

Classic and Custom Cars and Bikes, Mandolin and Accordion Players, Trophies and a Best in Show Cash Prize, Cannoli Flavored Milk Shakes, Car Art, an Autumn Artisanal Tent, Surf Music and Go-Go Girls, Bocce Ball, Trick-or-Treaters, the WPKN 89.5 f.m. Radio Car Bob Guys broadcasted a live ‘red carpet-style’ description of the cars as they entered … all are the ingredients for an eclectic, Autumny, Italian Flavored, Classic and Custom , Car and Bike Show were there… Oh yeah… we didn’t FORGET THE CANNOLIs!  Thank you to Luigi’s and DelPrete for some great Cannolis!


Special thanks to George Dragone of Dragone Classic Autos for officiating the Car Show and our sponsor, the Downtown Special Services District.


Main Street, Bridgeport

Main Street, Bridgeport


Strolling Minstrels for Cars & Cannoli

"Cobra" by Felipe Soltero

“Cobra” by Felipe Soltero

We also had a great day for The 3rd Annual Classic & Custom Car Show! The rain held off to bring out some great cars, crafts, jewelry and live surf music. See some highlights.


Beautiful Crime Show Gallery, Magnacon7,, Foxhound, Gelifish Projectz, and A. Nailah  present:

ART OF THE STREET, Private Collection of Peter Bondi  at City Lights Gallery

Show closed October 25th 


The Art of Street Art









Graffiti Philosophy

Graffiti Philosophy










See our Marketplace!


Community Outreach

See More...



Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crab Extreme Make-Over:
Art and Science Integration Project





First Impressions Art Project at Roosevelt School

First Impressions Art Project at Roosevelt School


For Links to past shows, see Past Show Archives



A visual scavenger hunt for artists and viewers was Jan. 25-Feb. 22, 2013

Read more, see art


Thanks to the community for a successful Artful Gifts 2012-13!

Connecticut Post: ‘Artful Gifts’ gives back to the community


Call for artists image June 2013


Annual Exhibiting Artists’ Members Fee: $50 Artists members are entitled a minimum of 1 annual exhibit and receive a 70% commission rate.

To become an exhibiting member go to

SEND SUBMISSIONS  IN JPEG FORMAT, 72 DPI, (no more than 8 images)    please use “ART for submission” in subject title
Gallery Hours are W-F, 11:30-5, Sat. 12-4 p.m.

Brief artists statement and itemized list of work submitted: title, size, medium, price of work submitted. Also include artist’s contact info: name, email, phone (evening and daytime numbers), mailing address and website if available.




Learn how City Lights is dedicated to serving the community. Thank you Connecticut Post for this great article!
Best Gallery

City Lights was  voted “Best Gallery in Fairfield County” by the 2012 Fairfield Weekly’s Readers’ Poll! This is the fifth time we were voted best! Thank you everyone!

CITY LIGHTS PROGRAMS: bringing cultural arts enrichment to the community.

View highlights from the visit of Nigerian artist Tunde Odunlade to City Lights and the community and find out why we want to celebrate! Partnering with Roosevelt School, grant recipient from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities
Read more…


Converging Paths “Converging Paths” featured the work of men from Algeria, Nigeria, New York and New Haven. Read more.



WPKN City Lights interview

Listen to Suzanne Kachmar discuss “Converging Paths” on WPKN’s “State of the Arts.” 


THANK YOU TO OUR PATRONS, MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS AND EXHIBITING ARTISTS. The City Lights calendar of ongoing events is sponsored in part by the Fairfield County Community Foundation, People’s United Bank, the Connecticut Office of the Arts and UIL Holdings Corporation (UI, Southern Connecticut Gas Co., CNG, Berkshire Gas) SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS OF THE CITY LIGHTS ART ENRICHMENT PROGRAM: Elizabeth Pfriem, Pitney Bowes, Ben Ortiz and Victor Torchia, ING.


Bringing Art to Roosevelt School

Suzanne Kachmar, our program director, is in Bridgeport’s Roosevelt School once a week where City Lights’ dedicated gallery/studio space brings art and creativity to area students. Our intention is to engage students during school and after school. It takes several days to create and mount a new exhibit. The learning panels are designed so all  teachers, especially the art teacher across the hall from the gallery space, can use or visit the gallery space any time. The content presented is designed to promote art appreciation, transferable skills and increase vocabulary. We also will schedule classroom visits with visiting artists who are exhibiting in the Roosevelt school gallery space.  As we receive more funding, we can even spend more time at Roosevelt School.


Thank you Bridgeport for an incredible Art Trail 2013!  We are already beginning to plan for Veteran’s Day weekend 2014 Art Trail!

Photos to come for the 2013 event!

There were 30 city-wide arts venues and performances on Veteran’s Day Weekend, Nov. 2012. Working art studios and galleries worked together to be available to the public, free of charge. More…



The City Lights calendar of ongoing events is sponsored in part by the Fairfield County Community Foundation, People’s United Bank,the Connecticut Office of the Arts and UIL Holdings Corporation (United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas Co., CNG, Berkshire Gas), The Mayor’s Arts and Heritage Grants Award, The Bridgeport Arts and Cultural Council, The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.