New Milford fine arts director Paige Miglio is the face behind city's latest mural project

Milford’s new fine arts director has already brought color and art to the city, and there’s a good chance residents have seen her work or seen the result of her efforts.

Paige Miglio started her job as the new director of the Milford Fine Arts Center last week. She’s the face behind a recently revived mural project in the city. She and former Fine Arts Director William Meddick painted the mural on the Bridge House Restaurant in Devon two years ago, and she’s the driving force behind efforts to find artists to create murals in other parts of the city.

The second mural in the project, a boating scene, was painted by Trumbull artist Sharon Leichsenring on the outside of the marina store at Milford Boat Works.

Murals, yes, but Miglio has been involved in other aspects of the fine arts world in Milford, and she said she’s thrilled to take over the job of director.

The previous executive director, Van Parker, resigned after less than a year to join his wife, who had taken a corporate management position in Virginia.

Parker had replaced longtime Executive Director William Meddick.

Miglio said she interviewed for the job after Meddick left, and so the Fine Arts Council still had her résumé on file and knew enough about her to offer her the post after Parker’s short tenure ended.

“I was excited,” Miglio said, noting that it didn’t take her long to decide she still wanted the job.

Miglio has long been an artist, one who appreciates music, theater and visual arts.

She grew up in Old Saybrook, and she got involved in theater when she was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. While at that school, she did theater work with Brown University.

The layers of art overlap in her, she said.

“I can’t draw or paint without having music on,” she said, “and I love theater and old movies.”

She grew up with classical music echoing through the house, and enjoyed going to symphonies with her family.

She started her career as a children’s book designer and studio manager, and then began illustrating books from home when she moved to Milford 17 years ago. She had young children then and wanted to work out of the house.

A Google search of her name reveals the art she created for Rick Walton’s series of bunny books, including So Many Bunnies.

About seven years ago she started spreading her wings even more where her art was concerned, trying portrait art and murals. She’s taught illustration classes, and has worked with the Arts for Learning Program, which was formerly called Young Audiences, a nonprofit organization devoted to arts and learning.

The Fine Arts Council has been going through transitions in recent years, working to solidify its mission and then rolling with the changes that came after Meddick left.

Miglio said she thinks her strengths lie in the areas of problem solving, discussing issues with the broad spectrum of artists who make up the fine arts scene, and seeing the whole picture, seeing a way for all the different forms of arts to come together.

“I think I have a full picture of what the different groups have been doing,” she said, noting that it was the different groups that came together years ago to form the Milford Fine Arts Council.

So it’s important to rediscover that original mission, Miglio said, and to allow the groups to shine individually and to shine together through perhaps shared programming.

As the new director, Miglio hopes to push the connection between the fine arts center and the downtown business association, and to increase activities that unite the schools and the center, perhaps with more summer art camps and programs.

In a prepared statement, Milford Fine Arts Council officials said they are thrilled with their new director.

“She is a professional artist who is creative and passionate about the arts,” according to a press release from the Milford Fine Arts Council. “We are very excited about her new role with MFAC.”