February 19, 2017

Essex Winter Series Presents Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band Today

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

ESSEX — Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Tourism Signage on Rte. 9 and I-95

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

Local lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

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Festival of Women’s Plays Opens 2017 Season at Ivoryton Playhouse, March 3 & 4

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse announces the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwrights Initiative –  Four One Acts by Four Fabulous Women Playwrights. Two evenings of staged readings will take place on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.,  there will be two readings presented. 

Guenevere by Susan Cinoman. Teenagers, Guenevere and Arthur, are best friends–a fierce competitor, she always bests him in sword fights. What will be the outcome when confronted with Excalibur in the stone?

Apple Season by Ellen Lewis. To make arrangements for her father’s funeral, Lissie returns to the family farm she and her brother fled 26 years before. Billy, a neighbor and school friend, comes by with an offer to buy the farm. As memories, needs, and passions are stirred, we learn what happened to the siblings as children, and of Lissie’s startling price for the farm.

Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m., there will be a further two readings presented.

Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie. Two daughters are thrown into a tizzy when they discover Lily, their 60-plus-year-old mother, has decided to spice up life by tending her back yard garden – “au naturel”!

Intake by Margo Lasher. An arrogant young psychiatrist meets an 80-year-old woman for what he assumes will be a routine examination. During the course of their relationship, he comes to realize how little he knows, and as she reveals her deep love and understanding of her two aging dogs, both doctor and patient learn about life, love, and hope.

Before the performance on Saturday at 5 p.m., the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion with the playwrights, moderated by Shellen Lubin, followed by refreshments before the 7 p.m. readings.  If you would like to attend the pre-reading discussion, you must register by Feb. 26, at this link.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3, or Saturday, March 4, readings – each starts at 7 p.m. – call 860.767.7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members.

A special two-day pass (tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30) is being offered.  Call the box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your two-day pass.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative, contact Laura Copland, Director of New Play Development, at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org.

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Enjoy New Works, Special Pricing at ‘4 The Love of Art’ on Lyme Street Today

‘Lieutenant River Haze’ (44″ x 32″) by Sandy Garvin will be featured in ‘4 The Love of Art’ on Friday and Saturday at 10 and 25 Lyme Street..

4 The Love of Art is a two-day open house collaboration of four art galleries on Lyme Street this Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to  7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

Garvin Studio, Judy Friday Gallery and Paynter Fine Art, which are all in the Village Shoppes building at 10 Lyme Street, and Cooley Gallery at 25 Lyme Street invite you to drop in and view some beautiful new work.

Paynter Fine Art is also featuring mixed media artist Moya Aiken in a solo show titled, “On-Line,” in a Saturday night reception, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Cooley Gallery is showcasing their exciting new acquisitions and both Garvin and Friday Galleries will have special pricing for this weekend on select pieces along with fresh new work.

For more information, visit:
www.sandygarvinfineart.com
www.cooleygallery.com
www.judyfriday.com
www.facebook.com/paynterfineart/

For questions, call 860-391-3088

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Musical Masterworks Hosts Two Concerts This Weekend Featuring Pre-concert Talks

Soprano Hyunah Yu

In February, Musical Masterworks will shine a light on the relationship between Schumann and Brahms, as the elegant soprano Hyunah Yu returns to sing Schumann’s transporting song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben.

Also, as part of a new Musical Masterworks venture, join Edward Arron one hour before the February concerts for an in-depth pre-concert talk about the lives and compositions of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

The February performances are Saturday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, an acoustically rich and beautiful venue for chamber music.

To purchase tickets ($35 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Old Lyme Author Jen Petty Hilger Launches Her First Book, “Thisbe, Queen of Adventure”

This Saturday, Feb. 4, Lyme Public Library will be celebrating Take Your Child to the Library Day. Join the fun between 12 and 2 p.m. when local author and Old Lyme resident Jen Petty Hilger will be signing copies of her first published picture book, Thisbe, Queen of Adventure.

We spent a little time with Jen Petty Hilger to find out why she wrote her first book about chickens. She explained, “Last spring I decided I’d lived long enough without chickens. Always wanted them … not really great on Park Avenue in New York City, but now the time was right.”

She continued, “We took all six kids and picked out six chickens … Thisbe, Henrietta, Georgie, Molly, Charlotte and Europa. All girls.” adding that the brood comprised, “Two Buff Orpingtons. Two silver- laced Wyandottes and two Cuckoo Morans.”

Checking on the chicks.

Hilger says emphatically, “It was love at first sight. They were three-days-old and lived inside in a box for nine weeks, adding, “When they were old enough we built a beautiful coop but they still came in for visits and I started thinking about how fast they were growing up and how much fun they had roaming around.”


Then, just like that, she says,”One day the whole story of their sweet little childhoods popped into my head and I wrote Thisbe.”


“Who is Thisbe?” we asked, and Hilger patiently explained, “Thisbe is an egg who dreams of adventure. She is the Queen of Adventure. As she grows, her mama takes her on little adventures about the yard. She is delighted by her world. The flowers and bugs and other birds. She is awestruck by the wonders of her surroundings.”

Is this ‘the Queen of Adventure’?

What happened next?  Hilger says she started on the illustrations (see below) and then put together a dummy of her children’s story.”

And how did she come to be a published author?  “Well …” Hilger says with a broad smile, “After months of back and forth with the publishers, we had a mock-up … and then the book!”

To add a personal note here, Jen Petty Mann (as she was then) wrote book reviews for us for years.  She was an extraordinarily talented writer from that side of the book cover, if you’ll forgive the expression, so it comes as no surprise to us that she’s now gone inside and written her own book.  We just can’t wait to get our hands on a copy … and review it ourselves!

Many congratulations, Jen!

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Community Music School Hosts Open House

The Community Music School’s Jazz Ensemble gives regular concerts throughout the local area.

Community Music School (CMS), located in the Spencer’s Corner professional complex at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook, welcomes the general public to visit during Open House Week Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, guitar, jazz and string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik, and more.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 15-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30-year-tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The School’s programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

‘Sentinels’ is one of the signature paintings of the 25th Annual Associated Artist Show on view at the Lyme Art Association.

The 25th Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale of landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture by Associate Artist members is currently on view in the Association’s front galleries, and runs through March 10.  Pulled and Pressed, which showcases hand-pulled prints by LAA members of all levels and members of Stonington Printmakers Society as invited guests, is on display in the Goodman gallery, and also runs through March 10.

“The Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” states Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager.

The juror of selection and prizes is Patricia Shippee of Old Lyme. Shippee is an accredited senior member of the American Society of Appraisers.  Her expertise has been acquired through her corporate business experience, her studies in art history, and as a collector, gallery owner, curator.

“The Pulled and Pressed show in the Goodman Gallery celebrates the beauty of original contemporary representational hand-made prints.” Juror Helen Cantrell, an Old Lyme resident, is a painter and printmaker, an artist member of Boston Printmakers, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, and the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan.

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Letter From Paris: Extraordinary ‘Shchukin Collection’ Currently on View in Paris Attracts Massive Crowds

Nicole Prévost Logan

It is the first time ever that the masterpieces of the Russian art collector Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin have traveled abroad as a collection.  Until now only separate works have been seen in the West.  In the 1979 “Paris-Moscow” major retrospective at the Pompidou Center – a huge exhibition from Soviet state museums –  there was no mention anywhere of the origin of the art works.

It was not until  2010 at the “Matisse Malevich” exhibit held at the Hermitage Amsterdam that the French canvasses were identified as follows: “Origin: Museum of Modern  Western Art, formerly from the collection of Sergei Shchukin.”  So, it is a first to see more than half of the entire collection in Paris today.  Almost unnecessary to say that the astronomical insurance cost covering such important objects could only be afforded by Bernard Arnault, the 14th richest man in the world and CEO of LVMC (Louis Vuitton and Moët and Chandon).*

The Fondation Louis Art Museum in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris where the Shchukin exhibition is currently on display.

The thrill of seeing for the first time works from well-known artists – Monet, Derain, Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and others – explains why the exhibit is attracting such huge crowds, happy to be in familiar territory.  The well-organized flow of people meanders through the Frank Gehry’s whimsical structure of glass panels seemingly billowing in the wind.  At each of the four levels, one catches spectacular vistas of the Eiffel Tower and Paris with its cluster of skyscrapers in the Defense business district or the vast wooded expanse of the Bois de Boulogne.

The wealthy textile merchant Shchukin was – with his friend and rival Ivan Morozov – the most illustrious Russian art collector at the turn of the 20th century.  He went into exile in France after the 1917 revolution and died there in 1936.  His collection was nationalized  and later divided between the Pushkin museum of Fine Art in Moscow and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and then vanished into Siberian storage.  During the Cold War, the works were returned to Moscow, but remained in boxes.  By the 1960s, they gradually reappeared.

Shchukin was an avid and methodical collector.  Following the example of his older brothers (in a family of 10), he started collecting in the 1880s.  He acquired  paintings from the leading art merchants in Paris, such as Ambroise Vollard, Durand Rueil or the Swiss  Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.  He had an exceptional ability to detect talent.  For instance, by including the constructivist Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1905, he revealed how well he understood the importance of Cezanne (26 paintings) as the spiritual father of modern art.

The organizers of the exhibit reproduced the way the canvasses were hung in Shchukin’s Moscow residence in a touhe touche fashion, that is touching each other all the way to the ceiling.

‘Pink Studio’ by Henri Matisse, 1911.

He had a special relationship with Henri Matisse and became his sponsor, commissioning  many of his 57 paintings, among them La Danse, the largest (8’6″x 12’10”) and most beautiful version of which is today on view at the Hermitage.  The painting had caused a scandal at the Salon d’Automne of 1910.  The Desserte dominates one of the rooms at the Vuitton exhibit with its decorative floral shapes and fruits scattered on a rich red background of a table dropping vertically and merging with the wall. 

‘Peasants picking apples’ by Natalian Goncharova, 1911.

His acquisition of Picasso’s works (54 canvasses) is particularly interesting.  At first  he was repelled by them, particularly by the cubist period.  Stephane Guegan, French art critic and curator at Orsay, wrote, “Shchukin compared the analytic cubism of Picasso to buckets of crushed glass.”  But gradually, he grew to appreciate the brutal forms,  such as Femme tenant an eventail (woman holding a fan) 1907.  He shared with Gertrude Stein the attraction for the preparatory studies to the seminal Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 .

‘Woman with a fan’ by Pablo Picasso, 1908.

Shchukin was eager to show his works and educate the public.  He turned his residence into a museum that was open several days a week.  Among the visitors were the members of the Russian avant garde. They were  stunned by what they saw.  In less than 10 years not only the talented young Russian artists assimilated Western  art but were able to grow from it and create suprematism, neo-primitivism, cubo-futurism, etc. 

The Vuitton exhibit offers a sampling of the works by the extraordinary generation of Russian artists on the eve of World War I : Casimir Malevich, Larionov, Tatlin, Klioune, Rodchenko and the acclaimed female artists: Goncharova, Popova, Rozanova, Exter, Popova, or Udaltsova. 

Shchukin heirs did not try to receive financial compensation for the art taken away by the Soviet government.   All they wanted was to restore their grandfather’s memory,  the recognition for his genius and avoid breaking up the collection among different owners. 

One century later they may have fulfilled their wish. 

Editor’s Notes:
i)   This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

ii) *See Nicole Logan’s previous article published  on ValleyNewsNow.com, Jan. 22, 2016.
iii) ‘Icons of Modern Art – The Shchukin Collection’ is on display at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which is housed in a Frank Gehry building in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, France through Feb. 20, 2017.

Nicole LoganAbout the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Cappella Cantorum Late Registration/Rehearsal Tonight for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Medley, ‘Les Mis,’ & Choral Showcase

Tomorrow, Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., Cappella Cantorum will hold a non-auditioned, late registration/rehearsal for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and a Choral Showcase including: For the Beauty of the Earth-Rutter; Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and Come to the Music, Lift Thine Eyes.  (This Choral Showcase has replaced Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.)

Rehearsals will generally be held at 7:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Soloists will be chosen from the chorus.

The concert will be held on Sunday, March 26, in John Winthrop Middle School.

Registration is $40. Prices for individual pieces are Les Miserables, arr. Lojeski: $4,  Phantom of the Opera. arr. Lojeski: $4. Pay at rehearsal or www.CappellaCantorum.org  

For further information, call Barry at 860-388-2871.

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Essex Winter Series Opens 40th Season Sunday with Musical ‘Tour de Force’

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

Season Includes Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Garrison Keillor, Chanticleer

Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Holiday Pop-Up Art Gallery Opens on Lyme St. Through Dec. 31

A ‘Holiday Pop-Up Art Gallery’ hosted by Paynter Fine Art will be held Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 16 Lyme St., Old Lyme, through Dec. 31, 2016.

Five percent of all sales will benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

For more information, visit paynterfineart@gmail.com

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Women Playwright’s Initiative Taking Shape at Ivoryton Playhouse, Director Submissions Now Sought

In February 2016, Laura Copland, Director of Play Development, and Jacqui Hubbard, Executive/Artistic Director of The Ivoryton Playhouse, began talks about creating a safe environment for women playwrights to workshop their plays with professional actors and directors. The Ivoryton Playhouse is excited to announce the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwright’s Initiative. The workshopping festival runs from Feb. 26 to March 4, 2017. Staged readings of the winning scripts will take place on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, 2017 at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

A call for one act plays went out on the League of Professional Theatre Women’s website and was picked up across the country. By the submission deadline of Sept. 15, the Initiative received 183 scripts. The scripts hailed from all over the United States and Canada, even Israel.

For Ms. Copland, who read all of the plays, this experience has been humbling and inspiring. “All these women!  All these women expressing in dialogue and conflict, their passion, intelligence, yearning, anger, hurt, love, and humor. Women are a force! It has been my honor to read their work.”

The time constraints of one week rehearsal and two nights of staged readings permitted no more than two hour-long plays, and two shorter plays. After wrenching deliberation, thirteen plays were under consideration. Many fascinating plays with potential had to be eliminated. The small committee included Ms. Copland, Ms. Hubbard, Susan McCann, Box Office Manager at The Ivoryton Playhouse, Margaret McGlone Jennings, director, teacher and actor and Brooks Appelbaum, director and theatre critic.

Four terrific plays were selected. The committee is proud of the choices and looks forward to working with the playwrights, cast, and directors in what we hope will be a successful inaugural season of the Ivoryton Playhouse’s Women Playwright’s Initiative.

The Playhouse is now seeking submissions from local directors. The deadline for resume submissions is Nov. 30, 2016. Submit to Laura Copland at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Calls for local actors will be in January, 2017.)

For more information about the Women’s Playwright Initiative, contact Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director, The Ivoryton Playhouse, at 860-767-9502 or jhubbard@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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Lyme Art Association’s ‘Deck The Walls’ Exhibition on View Through Jan. 6, 2017

'Early Morning Light' by Pamela Reese is one of the signature paintings of the 'Deck the Walls' exhibition that opens Friday at the Lyme Art Association.

‘Early Morning Light’ by Pamela Reese is one of the signature paintings of the ‘Deck the Walls’ exhibition that opens Friday at the Lyme Art Association.

The Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) annual festive art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, is open this afternoon from 12 to 5 p.m.

More than 200 original works of art by member artists are on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. All subjects and mediums are featured.

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The building is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Cooley Gallery Hosts ‘All Paintings Great and Small’ Through Holiday Season

This painting, 'Storytime', is the signature image of the 'All Paintings Great and Small' exhibition, which opens tonight at The Cooley Gallery.

This painting, ‘Storytime’, is the signature image of the ‘All Paintings Great and Small’ exhibition, which opens tonight at The Cooley Gallery.

The Cooley Gallery hosts an opening reception for the annual holiday exhibition All Paintings Great and Small this evening from 5 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition features historic and contemporary works of art 12″ in size or smaller and for many in the area, this annual exhibition and opening celebration, which features 30 artists for its 30th year, has become an undisputed kick-off to the holiday season. Artists from around the country, with a concentration of works by artists in Connecticut, participate in this annual show.

For this year’s exhibition, the gallery is featuring select works by 30 contemporary artists. Each artist has been given “a wall” for their work. Gallery owner Jeff Cooley notes, “This show will be 30 little exhibitions within the holiday exhibition of select small works of art — these will be in addition to the upstairs gallery hung with historic small paintings. This slightly modified approach will offer an immediate overview of an artist’s work and may make this wonderfully large show a little bit easier to navigate.”

As in years past, All Paintings Great and Small offers a wide variety of subjects and media carefully chosen by the staff at the gallery.  Three of the four galleries at 25 Lyme Street are hung “salon-style” with multiples by each artist hung from floor to ceiling and a wealth of varied artwork. Prices range from the low hundreds on up giving collectors at all levels a chance to acquire some truly wonderful original works of art.

In addition to the holiday show the gallery will feature recent acquisitions and paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As in years past, All Paintings Great and Small offers a wide range of subjects and media carefully chosen by the staff at the gallery. Cooley notes, “We are a small operation. Everyone gets involved in everything here but especially with this exhibition: discovering artists and choosing their favorites. Lorre Broom, our gallery manager, orchestrates the logistics and artists. Nancy Pinney our website guru and an artist in her own right, makes sure the images are perfect and gets it all posted in time for people to get a start on their holiday shopping.”

The galleries at 25 Lyme Street are hung “salon-style” with multiples from floor to ceiling, and a wealth of varied artwork. Prices range from the low hundreds on up giving collectors at all levels a chance to acquire some truly wonderful original works of art.  The other exhibition in the back gallery features recent acquisitions, paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The show runs through Jan. 7, 2017.

Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists.

Visitors are welcome and encouraged Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays 12 to 4 p.m. or online anytime at www.cooleygallery.com

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View “4th Dimension” Exhibition of Jan Dilenschneider’s Exceptional, Evolving Work at Lyme Academy

Jan Dillensheider (right) discusses her work with writer Nicole Prevost Logan

Jan Dilenshneider (right) discusses her work with writer and art critic Nicole Prevost Logan

This is the final week to view artist Jan Dilenschneider’s stunning exhibition titled, “4th Dimension,”which comprises 30 of her recent works on view in the Sill House Gallery at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven.  The not-to-be-missed exhibit will run through the end of the day on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Dilenschneider gave a fascinating talk Oct. 27 to a large audience of artists and art-lovers.  An engaging public speaker, she was both amusing and articulate, and her audience was clearly captivated by her remarks.  

Explaining that the title of her exhibition speaks to her wish to invoke the participation of viewers into her paintings, Dilenschneider expressed her hope that the “4th Dimension” will, “keep you guessing,” thus creating a desire to look longer at her paintings and therefore experience a more intense emotional reaction to them.  

She mentioned the Leonardo da Vinci technique of sfumato that she uses in which a fine shading is meant to produce a soft transition — in her words, “the mystery of the shadows,” — between colors and tones.  Dilenschneider described the overall effect of the technique as  creating an image that is, “misty in the distance.”

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A view of Dilenschneider’s “Impressionist Room” within the Sill House gallery.

Dilenschneider talked first to her audience in what she dubbed the “Impressionist Room” in the Sill House Gallery before moving into the second room where more of her abstract pieces are hung, including a vertical triptych.  She describes herself as, “An Expressionist who like Impressionism,” saying, “One cannot exist without the other.”

Some of her main themes were — to quote Confucius — that “there is nothing that does not have beauty in it.” She expands on that philosophy saying what everything you see around you is, in reality, “a work of art from which one can pull out the aesthetic.”  She notes there are four main themes to her work, “Color, relationship, design and gesture,” adding, “Color is the joy … gesture is the passion.”

Jan Dilenschneider stands in front of a dyptych - a pair - of her paintings in the Sill House Gallery.

Jan Dilenschneider stands in front of two of her paintings in the Sill House Gallery.

Dilenschneider often does paintings in pairs … or more, noting, “If you find a motif you like, paint it and paint it and paint it again …”  She is also captivated by color, saying, “I work on color … the theory of color … what is known as, ‘simultaneous contrast,'” adding, “If you get [the right] two [colors] together, they sing,” or to put it another way, she likes the colors to “vibrate” together by the juxtaposition of strong, clear or complimentary color schemes.

Dilenschneider’s vibrant landscape paintings, inspired by a passionate confluence of impressionist and expressionist styles, speak to the Old Lyme landscape that gave birth to American Impressionism. This idyllic setting is as appealing to artists today as it was when viewed over a century ago by Barbizon School painter Henry Ward Ranger, who called it a “landscape waiting to be painted.”

Lyme Academy College Campus Dean Todd Jokl chats with the artist.

Lyme Academy College Campus Dean Todd Jokl chats with the artist during the Opening Reception.

Emerging from a family of artists, Dilenschneider has painted all her life.  Yet, she never had a desire to exhibit or sell her work until the spring of 2013, when a friend insisted on buying two paintings.

Soon afterward her studio doors opened to the world. She was offered a solo show at the prestigious Galerie Pierre-Alain Challier in Paris’ historic Le Marais district, which started a remarkable chain of events: Three additional annual solo gallery shows in Paris followed by a solo museum show at the Bellarmine Museum in Fairfield, Conn. that broke attendance records.

Recently, she exhibited at the Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais and the European Art Fair – Monaco (EAF-Monaco), which opened on July 19th at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte-Carlo. In addition to her participation in the Art Paris Art Fair and EAF Monaco, Dilenschneider will also be among the artists who will be part of a trip to Toledo, Spain, this fall under the auspices of the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Mass.

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Paintings on display in Dilenschneider’s “Abstract Room.”

Dilenschneider’s training includes studying at the North Shore Art League in Chicago, the National Academy of Design in New York and the Silvermine Art Center in Connecticut.  She has a BS in Fine Arts Education from Ohio State University.

Since she started exhibiting her work three years ago, Dilenschneider has sold more than 50 of her paintings, and developed a unique style of expressionistic painting.  Her inspiration comes from the ever-changing landscape around her Connecticut home on Long Island Sound. Living by the sea, she is inspired by shore grasses bending in the breeze, blue skies reflected in the cool water and extraordinary trees silhouetted against green lawns.

Vice President of development Fritz Jellinghaus with the artist.

Lyme Academy College Vice President of Development Fritz Jellinghaus, who conceived the idea of the exhibition, stands with the artist.  Both are members of the Connecticut Arts Council.

Philanthropic work is also an essential part of Dilenschneider’s life. She is a member of the board of the Connecticut Arts Council and is also a board member of Family Centers, Inc. in Greenwich, Conn. and Catholic Charities. She has been honored with the Helen Gratz Rockefeller Award for Outstanding Volunteerism and the Family Champion Award from the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies. She has also been honored by the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport for her artwork and her service.

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Visitors to the exhibit view Dilenschneider’s work in both galleries of the Sill House.

Dilenschneider established the Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts, which is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas that oversees the Fulbright Scholars program and helps rescue artists from countries in turmoil. The program she created with IIE recently relocated a Syrian artist and her family to New Jersey, where the Syrian is now a professor at Montclair State University and has applied for political asylum.

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World Premiere of Old Lyme Native Emily Zemba’s Play on Stage in Chicago Through Dec. 4

Playwright Emily Zemba

Playwright Emily Zemba

A play written by Emily Zemba, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2006, opened Saturday in its world premiere at Chicago’s Den Theatre, where First Floor Theater is the resident theater company.

Zemba’s “Deer and the Lovers” is a bold new farce about being lost in love, lost in the woods, and forging a new path when life veers off track. Qiana and Peter take a romantic weekend getaway to New Hampshire only to find that a deer has crashed through the window and died. Things really go off the rails when Peter’s brash sister, Marnie, and her daft husband, Felix, show up unannounced. The dead deer, a mysterious animal control officer, and nightfall in the forest expose the harsh truths of each lover’s life.

First Floor Theater’s 2016-17 season features comedies from three women playwrights, with Zemba’s play having the opening spot from Nov. 5 through Dec. 4. First Floor Artistic Director, Hutch Pimentel comments, “I am so thrilled to have this astonishing collection of new plays by women in our fifth season. All of these stories of personal revolution are pulse-pounding, brutally honest and unbelievably funny. They are a testament to how we find humor, hope, and rebirth even in our darkest moments.”

Zemba, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 and completed her MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 2015.

Proud parents, Catherine Frank and Kurt Zemba of Old Lyme, were on hand in Chicago to celebrate opening night with their daughter.

Congratulations, Emily!

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See CT Premier of ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical’ at Ivoryton

Michael Marotta and Kim Rachelle Harris in 'Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,' which opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Michael Marotta as the Doctor and Kim Rachelle Harris as the title role in ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,’ which opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

IVORYTON – Based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, American’s favorite girl singer comes to life on stage in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Tenderly is not a typical “juke-box musical.” It offers a fresh, remarkably personal, and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend. With her signature songs woven in and out, we learn both the story of her successes on film, radio, and TV, as well as the struggles in her personal life.

“I’d call myself a sweet singer with a big band sensibility,” Rosemary once wrote. She  came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit “Come On-a My House”, which was followed by other pop numbers such as “Mambo Italiano”, “Tenderly”, “Half as Much”, “Hey There” and “This Ole House.”

Clooney’s career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her “White Christmas” co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. She continued recording until her death in 2002.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

This production was developed and premiered by The Human Race Theatre Company and produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Michael Marotta* will be revisiting the role of the Doctor that he helped develop and Kim Rachelle Harris* will be making her debut as Rosemary Clooney. The production is directed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Dan Brandl, set design by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Rebecca Welles.

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 13. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.

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Kate’s Kid’s Camp Presents “Toys!”

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center — ‘The Kate’ — and Community Music School are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, “Kate’s Camp for Kids,” to present a winter program and show entitled “Toys!”  This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for six weekly sessions on Wednesday evenings from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children in grades K-5 incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 15-year member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s camp theme will be “Toys!”  Students will be acting out the personalities of their favorite toys, all the while discovering that “Christmas dreams, large or small, can come true, for one and all.” Featuring five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog, the program culminates in a lively performance for friends and family.

Tuition for this camp is $125 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

For additional information and to register, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at visitwww.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Artist Jan Dilenschneider Featured in Exhibition at Lyme Academy

"Trees with broken color" by Jan Dilenschneider

“Trees with broken color” by Jan Dilenschneider is a signature painting from the exhibition opening today at the Sill House Gallery in Old Lyme.

Artist Jan Dilenschneider, just back to the U.S. from acclaimed exhibitions in Paris and Monaco, will exhibit upwards of 20 recent works in a major exhibition in the Sill House galleries on the Old Lyme campus of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven.

The exhibition, “The 4th Dimension,” will open on Friday, Oct. 7, with a reception with the artist from 5 to 7 p.m. and is part of Lyme Academy College’s Center for Arts Programming fall events. The exhibition, in the 1817 federal-style Sill House, will be on view through Nov. 12. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

“We at Lyme Academy College are very proud to be exhibiting Jan’s exquisite paintings,” said Todd Jokl, campus dean. “Her sensitivity to the lushness, the colors and movements, of the landscape at a certain moment both reminds us of those great painters who first memorialized the Old Lyme area and also looks beyond the moment she captures so imaginatively to the timeless qualities of light and color.”

A classic work by Jan Dilenschneider.

A classic work by Jan Dilenschneider.

In Paris and Monaco, Dilenschneider’s landscape paintings met with critical acclaim. She was the only living American artist who had her work displayed at the recent European Art Fair – Monaco. Marguerite d’Aprile, director of the Center for Arts Programming at Lyme Academy College, noted, “We are quite honored and pleased to host an artist with such an extensive international exhibition record. Ms. Dilenschneider’s paintings, in both subject and color, breathe life into her landscape canvases.”

In an ideal marriage of art and place, Dilenschneider’s vibrant landscape paintings, inspired by a passionate confluence of impressionist and expressionist styles, speak precisely to the Old Lyme landscape that gave birth to American Impressionism.

This idyllic setting is as appealing to artists today as it was when viewed over a century ago by Barbizon School painter Henry Ward Ranger, who called it a “landscape waiting to be painted.” The landscape of Long Island Sound outside her studio windows in Darien, Conn., has provided a similar inspiration for Dilenschneider’s work.

Dilenschneider will also be giving a gallery talk at the exhibition site on Thursday, Oct. 27 (reception 6 p.m. to 7 pm; lecture at 7 p.m.).  The talk is open to the public ($15 per person) and seating is limited. Reservations must be made by contacting Kristen Brady at 860 434 3571 ext. 121kbrady@lymefs.newhaven.edu.

The exhibition and gallery talk are highlights of the fall schedule of the Center for Arts Programming. For more information about the fall schedule of classes, lectures, film screenings and special exhibitions, visit http://www.lymeacademy.edu/index.php/community-engagement.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is a college of the University of New Haven.  Its mission is to educate aspiring artists through a rigorous studio curriculum rooted in figurative and representational art.  The college offers a comprehensive liberal arts education essential for advanced critical and creative thought.  For more information, visit: http://lymeacademy.edu/

 

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