April 11, 2021

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Names Noted Painter Jordan Sokol as Artistic Director 

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has named noted painter Jordan Sokol (right) as its Artistic Director and Deane Keller Chair. His wife, Amaya Gurpide, an acclaimed artist, will also join the Academy’s faculty as the Director of Drawing.

OLD LYME: The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has hired noted painter Jordan Sokol to be its Artistic Director and Deane Keller Chair. Sokol, who currently resides in the New York area, will be moving to the Lyme/Old Lyme area with his wife, Amaya Gurpide, herself an acclaimed artist, who will be joining the faculty as the Academy’s Director of Drawing.

In doing so, the two are part of a tradition of husband and wife teams at Lyme Academy that dates back to its founding when Elizabeth Gordon  Chandler launched the school with her husband and teaching partner Laci de Gerenday.  

“We received dozens of serious applicants from around the world for this role,” said new board chair Michael Thomas Duffy, who was part of the Artistic Director search committee.

Duffy continued, “The applicants included artists and teachers from Australia, Italy and throughout the US, and we then interviewed five finalists. The committee was unanimous in selecting Jordan and thrilled that Amaya would also bring her talents to Lyme Academy. This sets the tone for what is to come.” 

Sokol and Gurpide expect to assume their new responsibilities on Feb. 1, 2021 and will immediately begin planning the Academy’s programming for the summer and fall, anticipating a lifting of the COVID  restrictions that have hobbled in-person instruction globally since the onset of the pandemic.

The exact timing of their arrival depends in part on their ability to find a place to live, which is proving challenging  given the overheated housing market in Connecticut.  

The two were introduced to the Academy’s Board of Trustees and local supporters at a virtual Zoom  event hosted by Duffy. The online gathering featured celebrated artist T. Allen Lawson, who studied at Lyme Academy in the 1980s.

Lawson led a wide-ranging conversation with Sokol and Gurpide on art and painting that touched on their influences (Wyeth, Valasquez) and their vision for the future.

The Academy intends to matriculate a selective class of no more than 20 full-time students in the fall of 2021.

Sokol commented, “I’ve been teaching for the last 14 years at both the Florence Academy and now at the  New York Academy. I am looking forward to bringing all that I know to my position as Artistic  Director of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. It is humbling to me to be following in the footsteps of the superb artists, who led and taught at the Academy in the past, including Deane Keller.” 

Founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon  Chandler, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in historic Old Lyme, Conn., which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in Southeastern Connecticut for more than 100 years. The Lyme Academy upholds the standard of a Classic Fine Arts education offering a variety of programs under the guidance of master  artists, who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching. The Academy has been providing students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual  expression for nearly 50 years. 

Lyme Academy of Fine Art is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme Conn. For more information about Lyme Academy’s past, present and future, visit their website or call 860.434.5232.

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