September 21, 2018

Follow the ‘Vision Box’ Trail This Summer!


Through the balance of the summer, the public can follow the trail of Vision Boxes installed at four sites throughout Old Lyme. The boxes are up for three months — at the end of the project, the boxes will be auctioned. Resulting funds will be contributed to programs that bring urban youth to visit wilderness parks or refuges in the local area and give them the opportunity to draw in the field.

Working in collaboration with non-profit land trusts, the Open Space Commission, individual stewards and local artists, Ana Flores designed the Vision Box project.

Flores is the first Schumann Foundation Visiting Artist at the University of New Haven’s Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. She is an award-winning “ecological artist” probing the relationships between the human and natural history in different geographies. One of her goals as an artist is to encourage the public’s awareness of their local landscapes, deepening their connections to place because if we don’t care about something we will not help protect it.

This spring she has been teaching Environmental Art, introducing students to ecological artists and having them create projects that involve ecology, community engagement, and activism. She has also been exploring the unique environment of Old Lyme in preparation for a public art project. The Old Lyme landscape, with its conjunction of river, marshes, fields, and forests served as the inspiration for the American Impressionist movement in the early 20th century. For over three decades, well known painters traveled here to document the estuary landscape with its particular quality of light.

Flores believes there is a connection between the sustained gaze of these artists and the extraordinary efforts in conservation in the area. She says, “The artists gave the land value for its irreplaceable natural beauty and since the mid 1960’s Old Lyme citizens have been working hard to preserve some of the habitat that lured artists here. The Vision Box project reminds us that we cannot take for granted open space, mature trees, or a clean river – they exist only because of visionary stewardship and in the case of Old Lyme, inspiration from artists’ vision.”

There will be an Opening Reception for the Vision Box project Thursday, July 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, 84 Lyme Street, in Old Lyme.  All are welcome.

The Vision Boxes can be found at these locations:

  1. Ferry Landing Park:
    Walk to end of boardwalk, box on viewing platform.
  2. Watch Rock Preserve:
    Entrance at end of Joel Road, take Yellow trail 0.4 mile, box faces West over water.
  3. Lyme Art Association:
    Box faces stream, located near back parking area.
  4. Champlain North:
    Turn on Wyckford Road, go to end. Open space trails are not private. Take Red trail, bear right, 0.4 mile to Barbizon Oak and box.

The project is made possible with support and funding from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven.

Special thanks for their support of the project are given  to:

  • Patricia Shippee,
  • Deborah Quinn-Munson,
  • Sara Drought Nabel,
  • Rosamund Christison

Partners include:

  • Old Lyme Open Space Commission
  • Old Lyme Land Trust
  • CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental

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