On Exhibit

On Display in the Atrium & Community Room

Fostering Family Hope

Join us at the Norwich Otis Library for a compelling exhibition by artist Jac Lahav, advocating for foster care. Highlighted by a striking display of blue shoes, each pair tells a story, inviting viewers to step closer to the humanity and experiences of foster children—the unseen and often overlooked members of our community. This powerful exhibit opens a window into the lives of some of our society’s most vulnerable, encouraging a deeper understanding and a call to action. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with art that not only informs but inspires change.

Lahav, an artist and licensed foster parent based in Lyme, CT, has showcased his work in notable exhibitions, including those at the Slater Memorial Art Museum in Norwich, CT, and the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, CT. His exhibition at the Lyman Allyn was recognized with a Community Partnership Award from the CT Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families, underscoring his impactful fusion of art and advocacy. Lahav’s pieces have been displayed in museums across the United States and are featured in numerous public and private collections, highlighting his broad appeal and significant contributions to contemporary art.

Permanent Displays

Art by Dan Topalis

Dan Topalis has been painting and drawing since 1976. When he lived in Philadelphia, he would draw the homeless sleeping on the benches in the park. Now living in Norwich, he has continued his passion of painting people he sees. He has always loved each person, appreciating that there is a story in every person’s face. He chooses people whose faces intrigue him. 

Dan’s work is a permanent fixture at Otis Library. There are pieces on display throughout the building. Additional pieces are featured periodically in the Community Room on the second floor, when another exhibit is not on display.  

“Children of the World” by Lavanya Shubhakar

Lavanya Shubhakar, local artist and Director of Education at Mystic Museum of Art, created a multi-panel artwork titled Children of the World for Otis Library. The panels focus on cultures of various regions/countries and feature children of all abilities and ages. Lavanya’s main goal for the project is for all viewers to find a part of themselves in the artwork. 

To view her installation, please visit the Children’s Department on the second floor of Otis Library. 

This project was made possible by the Norwich ARPA grants for arts and culture awarded to Lavanya by the Cultural Coalition in partnership with the City of Norwich.

Children’s Playroom Mural by Carolyn McNeil

Carolyn McNeil is a local artist who volunteered over 30 hours and donated the supplies to create this beautiful mural to brighten our playroom. She works as a muralist, spreading joy and art throughout the area. 

A large tree stretches from floor to ceiling. Its branches are home to little native woodland creatures. Green fields reach about half way up the wall.

Papier-Mâché Art by Pamela Spiro Wagner

Pamela Spiro Wagner is an accomplished author, poet and artist who lives with schizophrenia.  Pamela is a graduate of Brown University, and briefly attended medical school.  Through her art, poetry and writing, she tries to express the experience of mental illness and mental health.  With her twin sister, psychiatrist Dr. Carolyn Spiro, she wrote the extraordinary book Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and their Journey through Schizophrenia, which received the national NAMI Outstanding Literature Award and was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award.  The artist generously donated these pieces to Otis Library in 2009.

The Papier-Mâché Doctor wears a blue shirt of many shades in a seemingly random pattern. His light brown skin is accented with small, confetti-like pieces of color. The colors represent mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.
The Papier-Mâché child wears a peach and blue tank top. His dark brown skin is accented with small, confetti-like pieces of color. The colors represent mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.

“The View of My Town”  by Samson Tonton

Local artist Samson Tonton’s piece, “The View of My Town,” is on permanent display in the Otis Library Community Room. The piece is his interpretation of the City of Norwich. Mr. Tonton has exhibited his work at Otis Library several times over the years, always to rave reviews!  We are so grateful for this very generous donation.

Samson Tonton and then Director Bob Farwell stand next to "The View of My Town."

“Waterfall”  by Faith Satterfield

Donated in 2016, this piece is a juxtaposition of an aerial map view and standing right in front of flowing water. This harbor town is made better by the water that flows through it – water brings a place of peace and quiet, even when it roars. 

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