July 20, 2018

Major Preservation Project Now Underway at Lyme Art Association, Gifts Made by April 30 Matched

Removing old dilapidated shingles and rotted millwork on the west side of the Cooper-Ferry Gallery over the Studio.

In 1914, the American Impressionist painters of Old Lyme formed an association and dreamed of building their own gallery to exhibit their work. For the sum of one dollar, Ms. Florence Griswold deeded a portion of her property to the artists; where, in 1921, the Lyme Art Association (LAA) Gallery opened its doors.

Sadly, nearly a century later, this landmark gallery had the same shingles, deteriorated and literally falling off the building, and rotted woodwork coming apart.

There was simply no choice; the three Rs – repair, restoration, and renovation – had to begin.

But makeovers take money, and so the LAA’s Second Century Capital Campaign was launched to bring the historic building back to life. Generous contributions have put the Association close to the $364,000 goal, and the progress of the project has been amazing.

“Just as the original artists raised money to open the Lyme Art Association’s doors, we, too, find ourselves working to ensure that our historic landmark gallery will thrive for the next 100 years,” said Kathy Simmons, Board President of the Association. As of mid-February, generous donations have brought the Association to within $68,292 of their $364,000 goal.

First course of cedar shingles going up on the west side of Goodman Gallery.

Restoring this building is important for so many reasons. Today the LAA continues its commitment to advance the cause of representational fine art, while maintaining and preserving its historic building and galleries. It is a vibrant art center and gallery where professional and developing artists mount major exhibitions year-round – open to the public and free of charge. The Association also has a robust schedule of art classes, workshops and lectures. The landmark means a great deal to artists, those who appreciate art and, of course, the community.

“The Lyme Art Association takes immense pride in its cultural, educational and historical significance in our community,” explained Gary Parrington, LAA’s Development Director. “We are grateful for the financial support we have received already, and are excited to showcase the progress thus far made possible by our donors.”

“For those who give by April 30th, your gift will be doubled by a generous couple. Every donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000,” Parrington points out.

Carrie Walters, Capital Campaign Chair, Board Member, and the “go-to person” for the exterior restoration stated, “I’m honored to have the position because it’s a wonderful building. It’s been the source of incredible art for so many years and it just deserves to exist for many more.”

Simmons said, “The Lyme Art Association building, designed by world-renowned architect Charles Platt, is an integral part of Old Lyme’s historic district and stands as a reminder of Old Lyme’s important place in the history of American art.” She adds, “Every day, I am inspired by the thought that as we repair and restore the exterior of this grand, historic building, we honor Old Lyme’s place in the history of American art.”

We encourage our readers to visit the gallery, see the immense progress, the stellar job and quality of work, and to be part of this major preservation project. Parrington points out that generous gifts from donors today will help complete the exterior restorations.

The LAA, located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Rd., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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