September 21, 2017

New Exhibition Devoted to Environmentally-Conscious Artists on View at Florence Griswold Museum

Fidelia Bridges, Wild Roses Among Rye, 1874. Watercolor and gouache over pencil on paper, 13 1/2 x 9 in. Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, 2002.1.13

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., presents a major exhibition entitled Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art, on view June 3 through Sept. 17, 2017. Drawn extensively from the Museum’s collection, as well as many public and private lenders, the 101 works in the exhibition survey the history of environmentally-conscious artists in the United States from the dawn of the 19th century through the mid-20th century.

Flora/Fauna begins with early-American artists such as the Peale family, John James Audubon and their contemporaries, then examines the naturalist impulse in works by the Hudson River School, American Pre-Raphaelites, and American Impressionist artists before featuring select 20th-century artist-naturalists such as Roger Tory Peterson, creator of widely-used bird guides.

Works in the exhibition reveal how artistic production corresponded with social developments in American history, from an early concern with establishing a national identity distinct from Europe; to reflecting Americans’ shifting philosophies on evolution and the human relationship to the environment; to the growth of the conservation movement in the United States.

The Artist-Naturalist in Early America

The birth of natural history in America coincided with the founding of the country. Such artists as Mark Catesby, William Bartram, the Peale family, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon participated in the American Enlightenment by pioneering many of the country’s firsts—the first natural history publications, institutions, and environmental experiments. Scientists quickly realized that they needed the assistance of artist-naturalists to give visual form to their discoveries and disseminate that knowledge through books, botanic gardens, lectures, and museum displays.

During this age of Enlightenment, many political leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, looked to natural history to help forge the identity of the new nation. Not surprisingly, the country’s first scientific center developed in and around its first capital. Philadelphia attracted the brightest intellectual, scientific, and artistic minds that formed a network of new professionals. Works in this section by the Bartram, the Barton, and the Peale families reveal that the forging of an American natural history was often a ‘family affair’ facilitated by personal relationships.

Titian Ramsay Peale’s, Monarch Butterfly [No. 16], 1817 (American Philosophical Society Library) a work from an entomological sketchbook, demonstrates how artists participated in the discovery, documentation, and collection of natural specimens. The sketch shows the monarch at different stages of life. Beneath the illustration, he wrote his scientific observation: “Went into the Chrysalis state on the 4th of September­—and became perfect on the 13th of the same month.”

Nature’s Nation: The Hudson River School

Building on the documentary and aesthetic achievements of the artist-naturalists before them, the Hudson River School painters sought to capture what was unique about the American land—its vast, untouched wilderness. The group who has become known as the Hudson River School first took up this task around the mid-19th century. Based in and around New York City, they traveled to such areas as the Hudson River Valley of New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire to experience expansive American scenery firsthand.

Their resulting paintings symbolically linked the natural landscape to concepts of nationalism and environmentalism, equating the American landscape with American identity. For Hudson River School painters, pictorializing nature in the United States became a mode of social and environmental criticism that reflected scientific and ecological questions of the time, and laid the roots for the American conservation movement as well as the national park system.

Beginning with Thomas Cole’s allegorical admonitions about man’s intrusion on nature, others such as Asher B. Durand and Frederic Church evolved to value realism over metaphor, reflecting their firsthand observations of American scenery in highly detailed paintings both modest and vast—finding beauty in nature’s growth and decay.

Martin Johnson Heade, Jungle Orchids and Hummingbirds, 1872. Oil on canvas, 18 1/4 x 23 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Christian A. Zabriskie and Francis P. Garvan, B.A. 1897, M.A. (Hon.) 1922, Funds

Martin Johnson Heade can be called a quintessential artist-naturalist. His inventive combination of elements of scientific illustration (in his exactness of representation), his dramatic use of still life elements (birds and flowers), and his evocative placement of them in their natural environment gave his works a power not seen before in American painting. These traits are exemplified in Jungle Orchids and Hummingbirds, 1872 (Yale University Art Gallery).

Truth to Nature: American Pre-Raphaelites & Beyond

Many of the Hudson River School artists were aware of the writings of the English artist and critic John Ruskin, one of the most significant voices in the 19th century art world. Ruskin’s works spanned a variety of topics from art, architecture, and natural history (including geology, botany, and ornithology) to religion, myth, and politics. His most influential and widely read text, Modern Painters (1843), emphasized the connections between art, nature, and society, and advocated for artists to uphold a “truth to nature” in their work.

Ruskin’s pledge to a morally and socially committed art led him to reject the artifice of “decorative” art in favor of an art with an authentic source, such as nature itself. His followers in the United States, the American Pre-Raphaelites, produced landscape, still life, and studies that utilized a meticulousness of detail gleaned from their close study of nature en plein air.

Prior to his involvement in the arts, Ruskin had contemplated becoming a geologist. In the 19th century, geology was considered a gentlemanly endeavors that many artists, including the Hudson River School and the American Pre-Raphaelites, pursued. As works in this section show, careful studies exposing evidence of the artist’s process were as highly valued as finished works. In additional to geology, botany became an enormously popular genteel hobby, and developed into a status symbol.

These pursuits enabled the success of nature illustrators like Fidelia Bridges, who brought these topics to mass-marketed periodicals and, thus, into thousands of American homes.  A rare portfolio of Bridges’ work in the collection of the Florence Griswold Museum has been newly conserved and will be on view for the public for the first time. Ruskin and his American followers employed a scrupulous observation of nature from life in order to convey the ‘truths’ of their subjects’ identities, as seen in Bridges’s Thistle in a Field, 1875 (Florence Griswold Museum).

Impressionism & The Naturalist Impulse in Connecticut

While the “naturalist impulse” most often yielded a work of art that appeared naturalistic, or true to nature in a scientific sense, this exhibition allows for an expanded definition to include works that may be deemed “impressions” of nature. Like artists of previous generations in Europe, the American Impressionists found art colonies in the suburbs and countryside to be restorative retreats, where they could immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded colleagues.

Around 1900, the natural landscape of Old Lyme perfectly fulfilled that need for artists. Not coincidentally, many artists who frequented art colonies, like Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, and Harry Hoffman, were also practicing naturalists, to varying degrees.

Drawer 1B, containing bird eggs collected by William L. Metcalf in Giverny and Grez-sur-Loing from Metcalf’s Naturalist Collection Chest, ca. 1885–1925. Mahogany wood drawer, 18 x 13 3/4 in. Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of Mrs. Henriette A. Metcalf

The consummate artist-naturalist of the Lyme Art Colony was Willard Metcalf. On view in Flora/Fauna is the cabinet housing his collection of specimens. One drawer contains thirty-eight glass-mounted moths, many with furry bodies and wings still displaying their original deep gold, bright yellow, or rosy pink pigments. A second drawer reveals thirty-two pink cigarette boxes containing the tiny eggs of such birds as the English Sparrow and the creamy blue eggs of a Redstart.

Metcalf translated his love of the natural world to his artwork. He painted Kalmia (Florence Griswold Museum) in 1905, the first summer he stayed at Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse with the keen observations of one very much attuned to their environment. In Kalmia, Metcalf captures the smooth, blue Lieutenant River reflecting the calm sky, while fluffy white and pink blossoms and green grasses appear to breathe in the spring air.

The exhibition concludes with the artist-naturalist tradition that persisted into the 20th century and still thrives today in the Connecticut River Valley. Roger Tory Peterson, who inspired the environmental movement with his activities as a naturalist, educator, and artist, purchased 70 acres of property in Old Lyme in 1954. Peterson published the first modern field guide, A Field Guide to the Birds; giving field marks of all species found in eastern North America in 1934 and developed the Peterson Identification System so that amateurs and professionals could identify species visually for close observation without hunting them.

Drawer 1B, containing bird eggs collected by William L. Metcalf in Giverny and Grez-sur-Loing from Metcalf’s Naturalist Collection Chest, ca. 1885–1925. Mahogany wood drawer, 18 x 13 3/4 in. Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of Mrs. Henriette A. Metcalf

Satin Bowerbird, (Private Collection), created for reproduction in his 1964 bookThe World of Birds, is a simplified scene illustrating two birds interacting in their environment. These guides helped to popularize the pastime of bird watching and cultivate a national interest in wildlife.

Continued Awareness

When members of the Lyme Art Colony made nature the focus of their practice, they were drawing on an American tradition that began 100 years earlier with some of the country’s first artist-naturalists and explorers. Today, issues of climate change, land conservation, and preservation of endangered species and habitats have acquired new urgency in the 21st century, making the chronicling of America’s natural history through art more relevant than ever.

The Florence Griswold Museum remains dedicated to the pursuits of the artist-naturalist by fostering the understanding of American art with an emphasis on the art, history, and landscape of Connecticut.

Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue authored by the exhibition’s curator, Jennifer Stettler Parsons, Ph.D., with additional essays by Ellery Foutch, Ph.D. (Middlebury College), and Amy Kurtz Lansing (Florence Griswold Museum). Copies of the catalogue are available from the Museum’s website (www.florencegriswoldmuseum.org) or at the Museum’s Shop.

For related programming see FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

The exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, Bank of America, the Rudolph and John Dirks Fund of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, the Nika P. Thayer Exhibition and Publication Fund, and the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Additional support has been generously provided by a group of individual donors that are helping to advance the Museum’s mission through special exhibitions.

Editor’s Note: The recipient of a Trip Advisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence, the Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, the Museum features a gallery for changing art exhibitions, education and landscape centers, a restored artist’s studio, 13 acres along the Lieutenant River, and extensive gardens. Its seasonal Café Flo was recognized as “best hidden gem” and “best outdoor dining” by Connecticut Magazine. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. 

Visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

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‘Million Dollar Quartet’ Opens Wednesday at Ivoryton Playhouse

Emily Mattheson as Dyanne, Jamie Pittle on drums and John Rochette as Elvis in rehearsal for ‘Million Dollar Quartet.’ Photograph by George Pierce.

IVORYTON — What would happen if rock-n’-roll legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash all got together for one night only to give one of the most epic jam sessions the world has ever known? That’s what happens in Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony-winning musical that brings to life this legendary session that occurred on Dec. 4, 1956 at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn.

Million Dollar Quartet opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 31, and runs through June 25, 2017. 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.

Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

The jam session consisted largely of snippets of gospel songs that the four artists had all grown up singing. The recordings show Elvis, the most nationally and internationally famous of the four at the time, to be the focal point of what was a casual, spur-of-the-moment gathering of four artists who would each go on to contribute greatly to the seismic shift in popular music in the late 1950s.

John Rochette who plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming musical at Ivoryton Playhouse.

During the session, Phillips called a local newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the following day, an article about the session appeared in the Press-Scimitar under the headline “Million Dollar Quartet”.

The jukebox Million Dollar Quartet written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring an eclectic score of rock, gospel, R&B and country hits including; “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

The Broadway production premiered at the Nederlander Theatre on April 11, 2010, with a cast featuring Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley, Lance Guest as Johnny Cash, Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Britton Lyons as Carl Perkins and Hunter Foster as Sam Phillips.  The musical transferred to New World Stages in July 2011 and closed on June 24, 2012. A US national tour and International productions followed.

The musical was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Levi Kreis won the award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis.

This production is directed by Sherry Lutken, who was last here in 2015 with Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story; Eric Anthony is Musical Director; Set Design is by Martin Scott Marchitto and Lighting by Marcus Abbott. Costume Design is by Rebecca Welles

The Ivoryton Playhouse production stars: Luke Darnell* as Carl Perkins, Joe Callahan* as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jeremy Sevelovitz* as Johnny Cash, John Rochette* as Elvis Presley, Ben Hope* as Sam Phillips, Jamie Pittle as Fluke, Emily Mattheson as Dyanne and Kroy Presley as Jay Perkins.

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 Street in Ivoryton.

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Community Music School Offers New Music Therapy Group Classes


Community Music School is offering new music therapy programs this summer.  In addition to one-on-one music therapist sessions, CMS is debuting three new group classes beginning in June led by board certified music therapist, Amy Hemenway.

Music Therapy Group Class for Young Children with Autism begins June 28 at 10am for ages 2-5. This group will consist of 6, 30-minute group sessions to target various skills including communication, joint attention, gross/fine motor skills, socialization and other sensory-related needs. The final 15 minutes of each session will be reserved for parent/guardian feedback and questions with the therapist.

Music Therapy Social Skills Group for Adolescents & Young Adults with Autism begins June 28 at 5:30pm for ages 13-22.  This group will consist of 6, 45-minute group sessions for individuals ages 13-21 that have high-functioning autism.  The final 15 minutes of each session will be reserved for parent/guardian feedback and questions with the therapist.  Group endeavors will involve lyrical analysis, songwriting and improvisation activities designed to promote self-expression, creative/musical expression, communication of thoughts/ideas, group collaboration and peer support.

Music Therapy Drum Circles are scheduled for July 14 and August 11 at 7pm.  This family-oriented event will promote socialization and creative/musical expression.  Individuals of all ages and abilities may participate.  Not restricted to music therapy students!

Amy Hemenway is a board-certified music therapist who enjoys providing clinical services to children, adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum.  She also has experience in working with individuals with a variety of cognitive, psychological and motor impairments.  She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Marywood University, Scranton, PA in 1998 and recently received her Master of Arts in Music Therapy degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Terre Haute, IN.

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

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 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 www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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‘Black and White’ on View at Cooley Gallery Through July 2

‘Passion fruit’ by Christian Peltenburg Brechneff is featured in the new ‘Black and White’ exhibition opening May 27 at The Cooley Gallery.

There are those days when you think, “Wouldn’t it be nice if things were just a little simpler?”  Black and White, an exhibition and sale of drawings, paintings and photographs in, you guessed it, black and white opens at The Cooley Gallery May 27 to July 2, with an opening reception on May 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.  The Cooley Gallery has had over 30 years of representing the works of artists who were all about color, intensity, form and interplay but just thought it would look this exhibition a little differently and go back to basics. Real basics.

Black and White is a group show of historic and contemporary paintings, drawings and photographs all in black and white.

When thinking about black and white it’s easy to go to contrasts: positive and negative, yin and yang, darkness and light. You could argue that the quality of each color’s existence is greatly benefited by the existence of its opposite. You could talk about those opposites attracting or repelling. Whatever your interpretation of the relationship between black and white in an artwork you can’t argue the clarity and simplicity of the pair.  Yes, there are shades of gray which are often integral to a “black and white” composition, but, for this exhibition The Cooley Gallery is making it as plain as “black and white.”

Black and White will include both historic and contemporary works of art. The intimacy and delicacy of drawings are often overlooked by today’s collectors. They are a great way to really get familiar with an artist’s style and sensibility. Drawings and etchings by listed artists from the past can be a great addition to any collection. They are affordable and imminently engaging,” says Jeff Cooley, owner of The Cooley Gallery.  “We have quite a selection in this show of works on paper that reveal artist’s sensibilities in a way oils just can’t.”

Among the historic works there will be drawings by Charles Harold Davis (1856-1933). In his day, Davis was considered among America’s greatest painters. He was the founder of the Mystic Art Association and lived in nearby Noank.  Platt Hubbard (1889-1946) was an artist from Old Lyme who among other things did a series of etchings of trees. Far from “wooden” Platt’s etchings call out the individuality of each of his subjects. Works by the “Father of American Impressionism”, J. Alden Weir (1852-1919) include interiors and portraits in this exhibition. Thomas Nason (1885-1971) was known as the “Poet Engraver of New England”. The etcher and print maker gained wide recognition with his illustrations in “The Wood-Pile: By Robert Frost” a book of poetry by the famous American poet. Nason’s prints embody the moody changes in atmosphere and somber introspection inspired by the New England hills and fields that surrounded him.

Works by contemporary artists will also be included in this exhibition. Well-known photographer Peter Harron who lives and works in Essex has traveled around the world photographing poetic landscapes in black and white.  Miniature landscapes in charcoal by Donna Levinstone will hang alongside paintings by Hartford artist Zbigniew Grzyb. In the award-winning movie, “Like Notes of Music,” Christian Brechneff’s life and art comes to the screen. There are scenes in the film when Christian is free-hand drawing voluptuous flowers in India ink from a glass tube or pipette.  Employing a glass tube to deliver the line on the paper seems an unnecessarily difficult added challenge but Christian’s facility with the medium and the expressiveness he gains illustrate the delicacy and boldness of black defining form. The seemingly random sweeps of black over white by Michael St. Germain belie the discipline they require.

“Black and White” opens May 27th at The Cooley Gallery, 25 Lyme Street in Old Lyme and runs through July 2nd.  Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 12 – 5 and Sunday 12 – 4.  For more information, www.cooleygallery.com or 860-434-8807.  There will be a gallery reception on Saturday, May 27th from 5-7 p.m. The public is welcome.

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. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 12 to 5pm. Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Please call (860) 434-8807 or visit www.cooleygallery.com for additional information. The Cooley Gallery is located at 25 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

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Community Music School Opens Summer Registration for Arts, Music Programs & ‘Broadway Bound’

Broadway Bound with the Community Music School.

Community Music School (CMS) is currently enrolling for summer arts programs for students of all ages, including Broadway Bound, a two-week summer musical theater experience for ages 8 to 15. This very popular program, now in its 17th season, will produce “The Addams Family” and “The Lion King.”

At the School’s Centerbrook location, private lessons, group classes and ensembles are available including Tutti Flutie Flute Ensemble with Cheryl Six; Beginning Group Piano with Tom Briggs; CMS Drum Village with Marty Wirt; Introduction to Music Technology with Tom Briggs; Jazz for the Beginning Student with Tom Briggs; Drums & Percussion Workshop with Tom Briggs; the Science of Sound with Christine Coyle; and Summer Kindermusik Drop-in Classes with Martha Herrle.

Community Music School’s eight-week summer session of private lessons runs from June 26 through Aug. 18 and registrations are accepted throughout the summer. Summer lessons can be scheduled around family vacations at your convenience, and a four-pack of lessons is offered at reduced rate.  For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org/summer or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 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 www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Cappella Cantorum Cofounder Barry Asch Announces His Retirement June 30 After 48 Years as Director, Conductor

Barry Asch, who has announced his retirement June 30, 2017, after 48 years as director and conductor of Cappella Cantorum.

Cofounder, music director and conductor of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch, has announced his retirement from the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, effective June 30, 2017. Asch has conducted the MasterWorks Chorus for 48 years and his tenure has included over 70 Major Choral Works.

Cappella Cantorum’s Mission Statement states the “primary purpose” of the community chorus is, “… to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and for enrichment of its singers and audience.”  Asch initiated the SummerSings in 1987 and will conduct his final performance Monday, June 19, 2017, at 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook, when Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass will be sung accompanied by Deborah Lyon.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work.  The soloists will be as follows: soprano-Danielle Howard, mezzo soprano-Rachel Abrams, tenor-David Finley and baritone-Christopher Grundy. The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

Scores will be available and a $10 fee covers the cost of the event. The church is air-conditioned and handicapped accessible.

For more information call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

The Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus was started by Asch in 1977.  The 2017 Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus Season includes five concerts in various locations throughout the shoreline and features “Music From Around the World”

Conductor Asch started the Annual Messiah Sing or Listen at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. The Ninth season is scheduled for Sun. Dec. 17.

Cappella Cantorum’s European Concert Tours started in 1981, with Asch directing.

A highlight of Cappella Cantorum, was singing five concerts in Carnegie Hall, New York, with Mid-America Productions.  Asch contacted Mid-America Productions, which resulted in this participation opportunity.

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Kuslan Presents ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ Program Today, Followed by Performance at ‘the Kate’ in HD by The Met

James Kuslan.

Opera devotee and popular lecturer on operatic topics, James Kuslan, will present an informative program on Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook on Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. This event is sponsored by the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera and the Acton Public Library.

Kuslan is a graduate of Yale University’s School of Drama and has been a voice scout in the United States for the German classical recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Der Rosenkavalier” is set in Vienna of the past, and regarded as Strauss’s most popular and grandest opera concerns a wise woman of the world who is involved with a much younger lover. It combines comedy, fantasy, and drama. This program is free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible.

The Met in HD at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center features a simulcast of “Der Rosenkavalier” starring Renee Fleming, on May 13, starting at 12:30 p.m.

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CT Camera Club Hosts Exhibit in Old Lyme Town Hall

‘The Beauty of Burano’ by N.B. Logan is one of the featured photos in the CT Camera Club’s exhibition currently on view at Old Lyme Town Hall.

There will be a photography exhibit by the Connecticut Valley Camera Club from May 1 to June 29, at the Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.  A total of 30 photos are on display with an opening reception on Saturday, May 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. which is free and open to the public.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club, founded in 2001, has a prime directive of encouraging, accommodating, and implementing multiple photographic experiences for our members. Photographers of all levels are welcome. With the overall intent of improving our skills, members share information about techniques and equipment, as well as provide mutual support in evaluation of each other’s images.

The club meets on the first Monday of each month at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. Visitors are welcome. To learn more about the club visit their website and Facebook page

 

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DeMeo, Korsmeyer Honored in Zahn Gallery Art Exhibition at Shoreline Medical Center

The w inning artists of the Zahn Gallery’s current exhibition gather for a photo after presentation of their awards. The Old Lyme artists honored are Kathleen DeMeo (back row, first from right) and Renni Ridegway-Korsmeyer (back row, second from left.)

Two artists from Old Lyme have received major awards in the Valentine H. Zahn Gallery’s Local Vision II exhibition.  Kathleen DeMeo took top honors winning ‘Best in Show’ with ‘Water’s Edge’ while Renni Ridgeway-Korsmeyer won a Juror’s Choice award for ‘Ephemeral.’

The exhibition opened March 23 and highlights the work of 38 local artists from 22 Connecticut cities and towns. It remains on display until May 20. The Gallery is located at the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center, 250 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook.

Other  winners are:
First Place: Maryanne Rupp (seated, center)of Killingworth for Day’s End.
Second Place: Judy Perry (back row, first from left) of Old Saybrook for Breakthrough.
Third Place: Diane Brown (seated, right) of Pawcatuck for Going Steady.
Juror’s Choice: Diane Aldi DePaola (seated, left) of Old Saybrook for Where the River Meets The Sound.
Juror’s Choice: Nile Barrett (back row, third from left) of Westbrook for Storm Fence, Hammonasset.

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Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus Gives Next Concert, June 11

Music Director/Conductor and co-founder of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus will give their next concert Sunday, June 11, 3 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church. 56 Great Hammock Rd. Old Saybrook, CT.

Music includes: Wade in the Water, Psalm 84, Brothers Sing On. Hallelujah-Cohen, Spiritual and Broadway. $40.00 Registration, including Music at rehearsal.

Contact Barry Asch at (860) 388-2871 for more information.

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Chanticleer, “An Orchestra of Voices” Concludes Essex Winter Series’ 40th Anniversary Season

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, perform April 2 in Old Saybrook to conclude Esex Winter Series 40th anniversary season.

Essex Winter Series’ 40th anniversary season concludes with Chanticleer, “an orchestra of voices,” performing on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

One of the world’s most renowned vocal ensembles, Chanticleer is an all-male chorus that performed as part of the Series in 2015 to a near sold-out audience, despite snowstorm conditions. This year, they present “My Secret Heart,” a program that invokes images of love across time and space.

In addition to Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, the program highlights two special Chanticleer commissions. They are a brand new work from the pen of Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, and five evocative and heart-wrenching poems from “Love Songs” of Augusta Read Thomas, featured in the Grammy-award winning CD “The Colors of Love.”

Individual tickets are $35 or $5 for full-time students. 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 the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Handweavers’ Guild of CT Presents “Weavers’ Haven” in New Haven; Demo Day, April 8

“Weavers’ Haven,” the Juried 2017 Biennial Show of the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut opened April 1, at the River Street Gallery at Fairhaven Furniture, 72 Blatchley Avenue in New Haven, CT. Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.

The show offers a creative, colorful and masterful wonderland of original handwoven works of all kinds from the practical to the artistic created by handweavers from across the state.  Works by a number of local handweavers are featured in the show.  Admission is free.

The opening reception and awards ceremony were held Saturday, April 1.  Demonstration Day will take place on Saturday, April 8, from 11 to 3 p.m. The show will be open through April 28.

Founded in 1948, the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut invites handweavers, spinners and other fiber artists from all levels of experience to exchange ideas and share knowledge, to encourage and educate, to stimulate creativity and to challenge their abilities in fiber art techniques.

Hand spinners demonstrate their craft.

For more information about the show, visit the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut website or contact Barbara Smith at 860.608.9708 or smith.assoc1@gmail.com

About the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut: The Guild meets five times a year on the third Saturday of the month, bimonthly from September through May. All meetings are held at the Congregational Church of South Glastonbury, located at the intersection of Main & High Streets in South Glastonbury, CT. For more information, visit the Handweavers’ Guild of Connecticut website

About River Street Gallery at Fairhaven Furniture: In 2003, Fairhaven Furniture renovated a former workspace in our building into an expansive, loft-like showroom… and a gallery was born. River Street Gallery showcases fine art and craft by regional artists in combination with high-quality, artisan-made furniture in a warm and welcoming environment.  For more information, visit their website.

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Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeffrey Andersen to Step Down After Successor is Chosen

Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, will step down from the position he has held for more than 40 years when a successor has been selected.

After over 40 years of service to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., Director Jeff Andersen is planning to step down after a new director is appointed. Ted Hamilton, President of the Board of Trustees, announced that a comprehensive national search will be undertaken in the months ahead, overseen by a committee of trustees and coordinated with an executive search firm.

“Jeff Andersen has guided the growth of this museum with equal measures of vision and attention to detail,” Hamilton said. “He sees things clearly and stays focused on long-term goals.  Jeff charted a course for the Florence Griswold Museum to become a singular American art institution based on its history as an artist colony.  He inspired our trustees, staff, and volunteers to dedicate themselves toward this mission. Under his leadership, the Museum has become known for its compelling exhibitions and innovative educational programs.”

A fifth-generation native of Northern California, Andersen began his career at the Museum after completing his M.A. in Museum Studies from Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, N.Y. During his tenure, the Florence Griswold Museum evolved from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with 20 staff members, 225 dedicated volunteers, nearly 80,000 visitors annually, and over 3,000 members.  Early on, Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of the Museum’s annual operating budget of $2.6 million.

Working closely with teams of trustees and professional colleagues, Andersen led a transformative, decades-long campaign to reacquire the original Florence Griswold property with the goal of creating a new kind of American museum based on the site’s history as the creative center of the Lyme Art Colony.  Reunifying the historic estate, much of which had been sold during the 1930s, took seven different real estate transactions, culminating in 2016 with the purchase of the last private parcel of the original estate.

Supported by capital campaigns that raised over $20 million collectively, the Museum implemented master plans to reconstruct historic gardens, relocate the William Chadwick artist studio, build education and landscape centers, and open the Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery, an award-winning modern exhibition, collection, and archives facility designed by Centerbrook Architects.  In 2006, the Museum completed the restoration of the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1818) as a circa 1910 boardinghouse of the artists’ colony.  Located along the banks of the Lieutenant River, the Museum’s 13-acre historic site now forms an essential part of a visitor experience that integrates art, history, and nature.

As part of his duties, Andersen has organized exhibitions for the Museum and written extensively about American artists in Connecticut. For a museum of its size, the Florence Griswold Museum has been active in publishing scholarly books and catalogues to accompany many of its exhibitions.  Beginning in 1983, Andersen established a close relationship with The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company on behalf of the Florence Griswold Museum, assisting the company in assembling a major collection of 190 paintings and sculptures by American artists associated with Connecticut.

In 2001, Hartford Steam Boiler donated the entire collection to the Museum, where it serves as a centerpiece of ambitious collection, exhibition, and education programs revolving around diverse expressions of American art from the eighteenth century to the present day.  Works from this collection by such artists as Ralph Earl, Frederic Church, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and others have been lent to over forty museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The National Gallery, London.

Over the years, Andersen has been a leader in the cultural community, serving on numerous non-profit boards, such as Connecticut Humanities and the New England Museum Association, and working as a peer accreditation reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. In 2004, he received the Public Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  In 2016, Andersen was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Museum Association (NEMA).  “Throughout his career, Jeff has been an inspirational leader at the Florence Griswold Museum, on the NEMA board, and through all of his community service,” said NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger.

“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this Museum,” Andersen reflected.  “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers, and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the Museum flourish in the years ahead.”

Andersen, who lives in Quaker Hill, Connecticut, is looking forward to spending more time with his family in California and traveling with his wife, the artist Maureen McCabe, who was a longtime professor at Connecticut College. Andersen intends to stay active in the art world and in the community at large.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal and a “must see” by the Boston Globe.  Its seasonal Café Flo was just recognized as “best hidden gem” and “best outdoor dining” by Connecticut Magazine. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut.   Visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

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Final Week to View Lyme Academy College Student Work at Old Lyme Town Hall

The vestibule of Old Lyme Town Hall’s Meeting Room is one of several places that artwork by students from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is on display in the town hall.

The Town of Old Lyme is currently hosting an exhibition through the end of March featuring works from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts students. The exhibition showcases recent works from Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) students, freshmen to seniors, in all disciplines, including Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture.

A new picture hanging system was installed at the town hall in late spring, when an inaugural exhibit featured pieces created by students in classes at the Lymes’ Senior Center. Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder explains “Art is such an important part of our Old Lyme community. We installed the new system for the express purpose of displaying art from organizations in our community.”

The art work by Lyme Academy students currently on view in Old Lyme Town Hall incorporates a variety of styles and media.

Asked his reaction to the opportunity for Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts students to participate in the exhibition at the town hall, Campus Dean Todd Jokl, told LymeLine, “The College is thrilled to be a part of this exhibition in the Old Lyme Town Hall. We are honored the town partnered with us to showcase some of our remarkable student artists’ work.”

“We hope the exhibition of our BFA students’ work symbolizes the important connection the College has with this community and how excited we are to be collaborating with so many institutions in the area. As we all know, this town and region offer a remarkable network of support and interest in the arts and culture. We cherish our role as being an active member of the community.”

The public is welcome to participate in College openings, lectures, workshops, and various community and undergraduate programs.

Lyme Academy College, as part of the University of New Haven, is the only Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design institution in the State of Connecticut. Lyme Academy College has played an integral part in the town’s culture since 1976. The College has grown in numbers, ranking and prestige from a small community art school to a national presence.

The student exhibit can be viewed during regular town hall hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Lyme Academy College Donates Historic Document Collection to Lyme Art Association

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler at work.

Yesterday, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts made a formal presentation of a collection of historic documents and original exhibition catalogs to the Lyme Art Association at the the Association’s historic building on Lyme Street. The event took place immediately prior to the opening of the Lyme Art Association’s A Show in Four Acts exhibition.

This remarkable collection was part of the estate of Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913-2006), who not only founded the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, but was also previously president and a long-time member of the Lyme Art Association. The Archives Committee of Lyme Academy College has spent several years assembling and preparing this gift of history to the Lyme Art Association.

The collection being donated includes a comprehensive collection of Lyme Art Association exhibition catalogs including a 1909 8th annual exhibition pamphlet listing the artists Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf and also, a 1921 20th annual exhibition booklet, which was the inaugural exhibit in the new Charles A. Platt designed gallery. In addition, there are catalogs of the spring watercolor exhibits, which began in 1925, along with the autumn exhibitions, beginning in 1933.

Many letters and documents related to Elisabeth Gordon Chandler’s time as Lyme Art Association president from 1975-1978 and tell of her productive time during a transformative era in the Association’s history. Important documents relate to the ‘Goodman Presentation Case’ of 1928, a collection of 35 small artworks by early Lyme Art Association members. An original copy of Charles A. Platt’s “General Specifications for the Art Gallery” of July 1920 is included with this collection, which gives a detailed outline of the plans for the gallery.

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (originally named Lyme Academy of Fine Arts) was founded by members of the Lyme Art Association in 1976 during the time Chandler was President. The school was based on preserving the time-honored traditions and disciplines of training in the fine arts.  Founded as an Academy, it became an accredited College in 1996, and in 2014 became a College of the University of New Haven (UNH), when UNH acquired the College.

Lyme Art Association dates back to 1902, when a group of tonalist painters, led by the New York artist Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916), were asked to hold a two-day exhibition in August at Old Lyme’s Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. The artwork exhibited consisted entirely of landscapes depicting the local countryside, painted while they boarded at the home of Florence Griswold (1850-1937). It is believed that Lyme Art Association is the nation’s oldest continuously exhibiting art group in the country.

A nationally recognized portrait sculptor, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, was a regular exhibitor at the Lyme Art Association, and she became vice-president in 1974 and, president in 1975. With a goal of obtaining tax-exempt status for the association, and continuing the teaching and traditions of representational art, she set to work to create an art school in the basement of the gallery building.

The ceremony commemorating the transfer of historic archives will take place at Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme St. Old Lyme, CT at 1:30 p.m., just prior to the opening of the exhibition A Show in Four Acts at LAA.

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Lyme Art Association’s ‘Exhibition in Four Acts’ Now on View

Alan James, Essex Steam Train Sketch, watercolor (Industrious America)

Four new exhibitions, each with a different theme, will be on view in the Lyme Art Association (LAA)’s beautiful historic galleries from March 17 through April 28.  A Contemporary Look, Holding Still, Industrious America, and LAA Faculty run concurrently.  An opening reception for all four exhibitions will be held on Sunday, March 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Exhibition in Four Acts is one of the most dynamic and exciting exhibitions that the LAA , bringing together four distinct types of representational art.  Industrious America showcases the work of talented artist members who set out to celebrate American industry and the man-made landscape.  A Contemporary Look is an exhibition of abstracted, yet still representational work.

Jerry Caron, By Way of Bejing, oil (Holding Still)

Holding Still features still life works in all mediums …

Hollis Dunlap, A Day at Ashlawn Farm, oil (LAA Faculty)

and LAA Faculty features work by our outstanding and talented studio instructors. Each exhibition is shown in one of the four skylit galleries in our historic building.

Spring Burst, mixed media (Contemporary Look)

“A visit to the Lyme Art Association to see the Exhibition in Four Acts feels like visiting four different galleries.  There is a variety and a shift in mood as you move from one gallery to the next,” states gallery manager, Jocelyn Zallinger.  “This show also allows a visitor to focus on each genre in a way that is not possible in other exhibitions.”

The opening reception for all four exhibitions is free to the public, and will be held on Sunday, March 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the gallery, located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn.

The Lyme Art Association 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 Association 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 Sunday12 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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The Kate Welcomes Spring With Unique Performances, Exciting Partnerships

Spring is here at the Kate … and summer is just around the corner!

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is welcoming Spring in many ways.  As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, the Kate’s performances are intended to brighten your mood.

With a Doors Tribute Band on March 24, and Mary Poppins – the Broadway Musical from March 31 to April 2, through to the simulcast National Theatre Live performance of Obsession featuring Jude Law on June 8,  the Kate hopes to make your Spring shine.  And there are some surprises in store when you find out who is coming for the CPTV series at the Kate in June.

The tent that resides over the patio area of the Kate will be up in early May, heralding in warmer days and soulful nights of great music and events.  Become a member today and come to an evening of networking with area friends and businesses at the Membership Reception on the Kate’s namesake, Katharine Hepburn’s birthday, May 12.

Then get ready for special events under the tent as the summer season approaches along with the Kate’s largest fundraiser, the Summer Gala, which is held in August and honors a special guest award recipient.

“This is going to be an amazing season filled with performers people know and love, as well as performers that will surprise and excite our audiences,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director of the Kate, adding, “The Kate is coming into its own and we look forward to more people being a part of it all.”

For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call the Kate Box Office at 860-510-0453.

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Lyme Art Association Hosts Art Supply Expo, April 8

Photo by Ricardo Viana.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) at 90 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Conn., is presenting the first annual Art Supply Expo on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Art Supply Expo is an opportunity for artists to meet premier art supply vendors, learn about new techniques and materials, see demonstrations, and enjoy discounts and special offers. This event is free and open to the public.

The Art Supply Expo is the brainchild of the LAA’s Education and Activities Committee, who felt that the region’s numerous active art associations and artists could benefit from finding high quality vendors under one roof demonstrating and selling their wares. Companies such as Rosemary Brushes from England and Michael Harding Paints signed on enthusiastically, knowing that online sales, while convenient, are not the best tool for demonstrating their unique and high quality materials and supplies.

Vendors who will be participating also include Gamblin, Chelsea Classical Studio, Wholesale Frame Company, Vasari, Jerry’s Artarama, and New Wave Palettes.

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

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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Community Music School Announces Pacheco-O’Donnell as Greenleaf Music Award Winner

Santiago Pacheco-O’Donnell

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen guitarist, vocalist, and pianist as the recipient of the Spring 2017 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.

This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation.

The award is for a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook and Santiago has chosen to study guitar with CMS’s guitar instructor, John Birt.

An Honor Freshman of Xavier High School, Santiago received his first guitar from his grandmother when he finished first grade, and he’s been playing unstoppably since then. He has attended CMS since 2012, as a guitar student of John Birt for the last four years.

He also studies piano and voice with Greta Moorhead and recently joined the Jazz Ensemble with Tom Briggs. His favorite band is The Beatles.

Outside of CMS, he has played in musicals at St John School in Old Saybrook, performing as a solo singer in last year’s performance. Aside from music, he enjoys soccer, basketball, and archery. Santiago is also an avid photographer and has received many awards at the Chester Fair.

Last summer he volunteered in the children’s section of the Essex Public Library and has been a big supporter of the Valley Shore YMCA’s Community Garden which provides vegetables for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 

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Leif Nilsson to Donate Half Cost of Purchased Artwork to Lyme Land Conservation Trust Thru May 21

CAT# 3406 Hamburg Cove Oil 24 x 54 inches Leif Nilsson Summer 2016 ©

Acclaimed artist Leif Nilsson is donating half of the price of any painting in his Spring Street Studio in Chester to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust from now through May 21, 2017.

The most convenient way to proceed is to first view his work on the artist’s website and then either visit the studio or contact them by phone at (860) 526-2077 to arrange your purchase.

To be eligible for a tax deduction on 50 percent of the purchase price, payment must be made in two parts. You need to provide the Nilsson Studio with either a check payable to the Lyme Land Trust or your credit card information we can use to charge your account for half the price. The other half will be handled by Nilsson Studio.

The Spring Street Studio & Gallery is located at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412.

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