Obituary: Anne E. Solomon of Milford, owner of Artifax on River Street

Anne E. Solomon of Milford passed away peacefully after a long illness on June 14, 2013 at CT Hospice with her husband at her side.

Daughter of the late Vera and Eric Jackson, she was born Feb. 6, 1942 in Bedford, England.

Anne arrived in Washington, DC in 1967, worked and traveled across America, met her husband Stanley in San Francisco, and in 1969 they were married in Biggleswade, England. They moved into the historic 400 year old Valentine Cottage in Wheatley, Oxfordshire where Anne gave birth to her first child Aimee Rebecca in 1971. After returning to America they bought their first home in Milford, CT where Anne gave birth to her youngest child Filippa Meg in 1976.

Anne was a very accomplished, adventurous and industrious person. She traveled widely and engaged easily with the music, dance and lives of the people she met. She was also a very grounded, confident and strong individual, who had no interest in feeding an ego, and much interest in working together with others to facilitate and accomplish goals.

In Milford she involved herself with the local Arts Council and helped revive the Arts & Crafts Committee, and working together with its members, the Council and the city, was instrumental in conceiving, organizing and establishing the Milford Arts & Crafts Festival On The Green, which she managed during its first years and which continues to this day.

She later played a major role in fostering and promoting the original idea of establishing a building that would become a home for the Arts in Milford, exploring grants, working with architects, corresponding and meeting with the council, state and local leaders in business and politics. Today the Milford Arts Center at the railroad station is the culmination of that work.

After opening her shop Artifax on River Street, she worked with other shop owners to revive the Downtown Merchants Business Association (DMBA) and to focus its efforts on making downtown a place where residents could come and enjoy a pleasant shopping and eating experience. Today’s Midnight Stroll, Pirate’s Day and other shopping events supported by the DMBA are direct results of that original effort.

Anne had traveled throughout the world and had a taste for the indigenous arts and crafts of the cultures of the people she encountered. This was echoed in her own artistic endeavors and found fruition when she opened up her gallery Artifax on River Street in downtown Milford in 1999. She filled the shop with original international crafts mostly from Fair Trade partnerships with local groups throughout South America, Asia, Africa, Indonesia and the Middle East. She personally picked out every item in the shop, always on the lookout for the hand, mind and spiritual eye of the artist expressed in the object.

During Anne’s long illness she could only but wonder what would become of her small shop and its attempt to bring to Milford, and to make available and affordable, the art and mystery of international crafts to a wider audience. To her complete joy a young couple asked to take over and manage the shop, keeping the name Artifax and it’s themes in the same Milford downtown location.

Anne is survived by her husband Stanley from New York, her daughter Aimee Wyn and her husband Brant and son Daniel Harley of Derby, her daughter Filippa Solomon and her daughter Sasha Wolf of Austin, TX, her sister Pamela Roberts and her husband Bill and their daughters Beverly, Anne and Lynn of England.

Anne lived with ovarian cancer for 5 1/2 years, but not without the love, care and support of the nursing staff at the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, June 25, at 10 a.m., in St. Peter's Church, 71 River Street, Milford.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Oncology Nursing Program Fund (Chemotherapy and Infusion Nursing Staff) at Smilow Cancer Hospital, c/o Yale-New Haven Hospital, P.O. Box 1849, New Haven, CT 06508.