August 2, 2021

Lyme Art Association Celebrates 100th Anniversary with Lyme Street ‘Paint-Out’, Tea Day, ‘Centennial Frolic’; Saturday

‘Tea Day’ by Edward Volkert, 1930, and printed courtesy of the family of Edward Volkert, hints at the festivities to be held on the Lyme Art Association’s ‘Centennial Day,’ Aug. 7.

OLD LYME — In 1921, after years of discussion, planning, and fundraising, the early members of the Lyme Art Association (LAA) achieved their goal: a purpose-built gallery to display their art. This year, the LAA will be marking that milestone with special exhibitions, events, and activities.

Centennial Day, Aug. 7, 2021 is 100 years (plus one day) from the opening day of the first exhibit in the Lyme Art Association Gallery. The impetus for the incorporation of Lyme Art Association back in 1914 was to plan and build a gallery perfect for the display of the works of the Lyme Impressionists, who formed the Lyme Art Colony.

The Lyme Art Association on Lyme Street is celebrating the centennial of its founding with three related events being held throughout the day on Saturday, Aug. 7, culminating in a 1920s-themed fundraising “Frolic’ from 5 to 7 p.m.

The opening of the gallery seven years later on Aug. 6, 1921, represented the culmination of years of planning, fundraising, delays, more fundraising, and construction.

The gallery’s opening was celebrated enthusiastically by the community, praised by national journals, and of course, was the pride and joy of the artists themselves and Miss Florence Griswold, who served as the first gallery manager.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the Lyme Art Association is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the construction of the LAA gallery and the start of a continuous connection with the Old Lyme and Lyme communities with three related events:

  • Wet Paint on Lyme Street will place member artists throughout the Old Lyme village at their easels painting en plein air, thus evoking the early artists with whose presence the community was quite familiar. The artists will work at varying times during the day and then sell their paintings on the LAA lawn at 4:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity to see many LAA artists painting in their own styles.

Tea Day is a family-friendly event being held from 1 to 4 p.m., which will harken back to the LAA’s early fundraisers of tea parties held on the front lawn for the townspeople and artists. Beverages and baked goods will be sold while crafts, games, and other fun activities will be offered. Costumed historical interpreters will be on hand to share stories of the artists, who founded the LAA along with planning and building the gallery. Join today’s LAA for a contemporary take on an event from years gone by.

Lyme Art Colony Annual Frolic, 1928

  • The Centennial Frolic will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. with a 1920s-themed fundraiser (1920s attire encouraged!) for the  Second Century Skylight Project. This event will celebrate the next 100 years of the LAA’s historic gallery in the spirit of their founders.The artists of the Lyme Art Colony marked the end of every summer with a “Frolic,” which often included elaborate costuming (see photo above.)This event is open to donors to the Skylight Project (visit this page on the LAA website or call 860- 434-7802 to donate) and will include beverages and appetizers. Help save the skylights and “frolic” like the LAA founders!

A Century of Inspiration, the Lyme Art Association’s summer exhibition will explore the connections between the current Association’s artists and the original Lyme Art Colony artists.

The best work of LAA members, inspired by some of the same landscapes and subject matter that early Lyme artists painted, will be hung along with pieces by the founding artists. Displays exploring the founding, growth, and changes in the LAA will be presented, taking visitors all the way through the century that saw so much change in both the Association and the world at large.

This work titled, ‘Return of the Laurel,’ (oil) is one of the featured paintings in the new exhibit at the LAA.

Lyme Art Association Executive Director Laurie Pavlos explained, “Artists who visited Old Lyme in the early 1900s found its beauty and rural atmosphere an antidote to some of the more unpleasant changes that industrialization and urbanization were causing. They also found a wonderful camaraderie and encouragement in each other as well as their patron and landlady, Florence Griswold.”

Pavlos continued, “In many respects, as much as things have changed, they have stayed the same. Miss Florence is gone, but many Lyme Art Association artists are still inspired by the same combination of local beauty, camaraderie and encouragement, which are important aspects of our mission, along with the extensive educational opportunities we offer.”

For more information about the Skylight Campaign and/or the Frolic, visit lymeartassociation.org.

The Century of Inspiration exhibit runs from July 30 through Sept. 16. The LAA gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and also by appointment.

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