December 10, 2019

Enjoy ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Flo Gris Museum in Old Lyme Through New Year

There are now four palette trees to hold the more than 200 hand-painted palettes on display in this year’s ‘Magic of Christmas.’

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something special to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. – after all, Miss Florence was born on Christmas Day, 1850. The Museum will be decked out in its holiday finery for the Magic of Christmas celebration from Nov. 29, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020.

This year marks the 200th painted palette to be added to Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. Since 2004 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon – so many that now four trees are needed to hold the works of art. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago. The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals.

This palette by Kenney Mencher of Palo Alto, Calf., is one of the 2019 additions to the Palette Trees.

Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises! The palettes are displayed on four trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community—An Exhibition by Matthew Leifheit.

To commemorate the milestone of the 200th palette, the Museum published Miss Florence’s Artist Trees: Celebrating a Tradition of Painted Palettes, which showcases each of the works of art on its own page.

In the historic rooms of the Florence Griswold House, the special installation by artist Jennifer Angus, Silver Wings and Golden Scales, has been held over by popular demand. Visitors to the House will be able to delight in this dream-like scenario of Miss Florence’s home transformed into the site of an insect-themed masquerade party through Jan. 12, 2020.

Angus evokes the bohemian spirit of the Lyme Art Colony through her artistic compositions of preserved exotic insects, including textile-inspired wallcoverings, an elegant cape for Miss Florence, and whimsical vignettes. Through her art, Angus brings to visitors not only the beauty of insects, but their critical importance to our ecology as well. Upstairs, two artists, Betsy Barry and Carol Maynard have created Fantasy Trees, designed to delight and inspire.

All ages can enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum.

Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup. Teas are held Dec. 3 through 28 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 5pm and Saturdays from 12 to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on a 12-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. On Saturdays between November 30 through January 5, admission is only $5 when visitors bring in a non-perishable donation for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website at www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2pm
Book Event
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about the publication Miss Florence’s Artist Trees: Celebrating a Tradition of Painted Palettes, which was published this October to commemorate the milestone of the 200th palette added to Miss Florence’s Artists Trees this year. Please reserve your space in advance, $25 includes book. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sundays, Dec. 1 through Jan. 5, 1-4pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can experience the joy of making a hand-made card or ornament during the weekly drop-in creative programs. Fun for all ages. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Dec. 1-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

Dec. 3 through 28
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. $40. Reservations required, please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Elsa and Anna are always popular performers at the Museum.

Saturday, Dec. 7
Elsa and Anna perform at the Museum
Visitors can enjoy holiday crafting between visits from the beloved sisters. Shows at noon, 1pm, and 2pm. This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 7pm
Art•Bar Happy Hour
Combine creativity and cocktails! Enjoy an evening of Christmastime crafting. All materials provided. Get friends together or come make new ones! For adults 21+. $25. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2pm
Gallery Talk
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about Miss Florence’s Artist Trees in the Gallery. This event is free with Museum admission.

Sunday, Dec. 29 from 1 to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party
Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Enjoy a piece of birthday cake while making an assortment of fun craft projects. Fun (and free!) balloon sculptures by April’s Balloon Creations. This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

Faith Leitner will play her harp Sunday, Dec. 29, in the Florence Griswold Museum to celebrate “An Ode to the New Year.”

Sunday, Dec. 29, from 1 to 4pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner
The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the one her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year! This program is included with Museum admission, and visitors 12 and under are always free.

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