December 4, 2020

Musical Masterworks Presents Beethoven String Quartets, Tickets on Sale Now for Video Available in January

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will play the cello in the Beethoven works being performed live in a December concert and also recorded for release to ticket-holders in January. Photo by Hak-Soo Kim.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday in December when Edward Arron, Artistic Director and cellist, along with his colleagues James Ehnes, violin;  Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; and Che-Yen Chen, viola, will perform three string quartets by Beethoven, spanning nearly 30 years of his life and demonstrating the full arc of his remarkable compositional evolution.

This performance will be filmed in mid-December and the link to the virtual concert will be made available to ticket buyers Jan. 2, 2021.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders will be able to experience Musical Masterworks in a whole new way. The group’s audio-video production team will create an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat featuring the performers’ artistry.

Edward Arron shared his thoughts about this concert, “We are honored to dedicate this performance to the great master. While under current circumstances, we are not able to reconstitute the full cycle of quartets that we had planned for last spring, we are delighted to provide this fascinating window into the extraordinary compositional mind of Beethoven.”

In 2021, Musical Masterworks will welcome back many favorite artists, including Rieko Aizawa, Todd Palmer, Jeewon Park, Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel, and Tessa Lark, featuring music from Bach to Corigliano.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs through May 2021.  To purchase a video mini-subscription ($100 each), individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at Musical Masterworks at or call 860.434.2252.


Signed Copies of Ron Breault’s ‘Voyaging with Marionette’ Now on Sale at ‘The Bowerbird’

The display stand at ‘The Bowerbird’ featuring signed copies of Old Lyme resident Ron Breault’s book, ‘Voyaging with Marionette.’

OLD LYME — Signed copies of Ron Breault’s book, Voyaging with Marionette, are now on sale at The Bowerbird in Old Lyme. Breault is a resident of Old Lyme and his book is being marketed as prt of the store’s “Local Author” series.

Visit this link to read a wonderful review of the book written when it was published by our regular book reviewer here at, Felix Kloman.

Voyaging with Marionette records the 25 years of life experiences Breault shared with his boat.

Those of you who have rescued/restored or built your own boat, fully understand the special relationship that develops — how the two of you meet when the expected/hoped for experience and goals are the main menu.

The dessert is those experiences not expected — a mostly unspoken conversation, motions and sounds as you sail along — the understanding between you of what you can do and have done together. It is also the places visited and interesting people you meet, which, in turn, bring a new dimension to your life.

This book is a collection of those stories demonstrating what can be done as one gets older, which opens doors, motivating and sustaining new and stimulating opportunities. It is also a reminder that life is a continuing, expanding experience … if one just makes the effort.


‘Deck the Walls’ Opens at Lyme Art Association

‘Filtered Light’ (oil on aluminum) by Janine-Robertson is one of the featured pieces of artwork in ‘Deck the Walls.’

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association’s annual member show and sale, Deck the Walls, featuring more than 200 works of art in all themes, sizes and mediums, opens Friday, Nov. 27. All the artwork is appropriately priced for holiday gift giving.

The show and sale continues through Jan. 7, 2021.

‘Montmartre Memories’ in oil by Sarah Stifler Lucas is one of the featured paintings in the ‘Deck the Walls’ show on view at the Lyme Art Association.

The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

The Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit


‘The Magic of Christmas’ Opens at Old Lyme’s Florence Griswold Museum

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 — Even this year the holiday season is 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. 27, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.

Twelve new works of art have been 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.

One of this year’s new palettes is ‘Florence Griswold Summer Garden’ by Jeffrey Saverine.

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. 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 exhibitions, Expanding Horizons: Celebrating 20 Years of the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection and Centennial of the Lyme Art Association Gallery.

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

The decorations in the historic rooms of the Florence Griswold House feature a new twist on the traditional décor. Imagine a fictional mantel-decorating contest in the Griswold boarding-house between the historic Lyme Art Colony artists. Inspired by their paintings, they rummage through their studios as well as old trunks in Miss Florence’s attic for festive objets d’art and holiday decorations.

Miss Florence (with the help of votes by visitors) will decide on winners and award ribbons on her birthday – Christmas Day. Watch the Museum’s social media accounts for the news.

In addition to the traditional decorations, three Fantasy Trees add bespoke sparkle in the historic house – two created by Museum staff and a third by Candice Hunsinger of Ivory & Iron in Essex.

And just for fun (and a great photo opportunity), Santa’s sleigh filled with presents will be stationed in the Rafal Landscape Center.

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. 1 through 30 on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2 p.m. Call 860-434-5542 x 118 for information and reservations.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts. Purchases can be made at the Museum or online.

When you visit the Museum during the Magic of Christmas, consider bringing a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.

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 April through December Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 4pm and January through March Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1 to 4pm. 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. Note that admission is available with 24-hour advance online ticketing only.

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


Enjoy a Free ‘Evening Under the Stars’ Tonight with Lyme-Old Lyme HS Band & Chorus; All Welcome

OLD LYME — On Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m., Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Band and Chorus host an ‘Evening Under the Stars’ concert.  This event, which is open to the community and offers free admission, will be held on the field between LOLHS and LOL Middle School.

Bring a chair or blanket.

Social distancing and masks required.

The event should last no longer than one hour.


Musical Masterworks Goes Virtual This Season, Tickets on Sale for Concert Videos

Musical Masterworks’ October performers James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks has launched its 30th Anniversary Season by offering a new way for chamber music aficionados to enjoy its concerts in the form of professionally-produced video.  Concert-goers can watch from the comfort of their homes on the screens of their choice. 

The season’s first concerts will be filmed at the end of October and the link to the virtual concert will be made available to ticket buyers Nov. 7.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Artistic Director Edward Arron explains, “We have adjusted our season in order to bring our five concert programs to our devoted concertgoers virtually, through recordings made by an award-winning team of videographers and audio technicians. While restrictions remain in place for in-person gatherings, we are thrilled that our performances can be filmed in our usual concert space.”

Musical Masterworks will begin the 2020-21 season with two all-Beethoven programs.

October will see pianist Andrew Armstrong join renowned violinist James Ehnes to perform three sonatas by Beethoven. 

In December, the month of Beethoven’s actual 250th birthday, James Ehnes, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Che-Yen Chen and Edward Arron will perform three Beethoven String Quartets.

The spring Musical Masterworks concert will welcome back a number of favorite artists, including Rieko Aizawa, Todd Palmer, Jeewon Park, Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel, and Tessa Lark, featuring musical treasures from Bach to Corigliano.

Ticket-holders will be able to experience Musical Masterworks as never before: the audio-video production team will create an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual seat on the stage.

Arron shared his thoughts about this unusual season, saying, “The experience of living through this unsettling period has reinforced my belief that the arts and live performance are essential to humanity and are an indispensable part of a healthy society.”

He adds, “It gives me great pride that our organization has committed to presenting a full season of concert programs as we celebrate the 30th season of Musical Masterworks.”

Musical Masterworks’ season runs October 2020 through May 2021.  To purchase a video ticket subscription ($150 each), a video mini-subscription ($100 each), individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at Musical Masterworks at or call 860.434.2252


Lyme Art Association Hosts Fundraising Virtual Art Auction

‘To and Fro’ by Dora Atwater Millikin is one of the works on which you can bid in the LAA’s virtual auction.

OLD LYME — Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Lyme Art Association (LAA) made the difficult decision to cancel 2020’s Palate to Palette event.

Although that wonderful in-person event is not taking place this year, the LAA is hosting a virtual art auction in its place.

Enjoy a unique chance to bid on extraordinary pieces by the talented artists of the Lyme Art Association. Bidding is now open in this online auction, which runs from Friday, Nov. 6, through Sunday, Nov.15.

‘Voluminoua’ by Janine Robertson is another work in the online auction.

There are two easy ways to participate and show your support for the historic gallery and contemporary artists you love.

1. Enjoy a online auction featuring signature works by twelve outstanding artists:

2. Purchase a “virtual ticket” (a fully deductible donation). With every purchase of a $50 ticket, you will be entered in a drawing for two tickets for the next Palate to Palette. No ticket purchase is required to participate in the auction.

Auction pieces are on display at the Lyme Art Association.

The LAA enormously appreciates the public’s ongoing support. All proceeds from this event will help keep the LAA’s doors open to everyone and showcase the work of member artists.


Death of Guy Wiggins Announced; Grandfather John Carleton Wiggins Helped Found Art Colony in Old Lyme, Father Guy C. Wiggins was Famous American Impressionist

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Guy Wiggins, a third-generation painter, scholar and diplomat has died Oct. 28, 2020, at age 100.

By Michael Astor

Guy Wiggins, a third-generation painter who traveled the world as a soldier, scholar and diplomat before devoting himself to an art career that lasted nearly half a century, has died at 100. The cause was cancer.

He was the son of a famous American Impressionist, Guy C. Wiggins and grandson of a celebrated Hudson River School painter, John Carleton Wiggins …

… When he was 10 the Great Depression hit and the family retreated to Old Lyme, where his grandfather, John Carleton Wiggins had helped establish an art colony decades earlier. His father and mother shrewdly bet that they could sell art lessons even if they couldn’t sell art and opened the Guy Wiggins Art School there in order to make ends meet. The school was successful and became a beacon for aspiring artists …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published Oct. 30 in The Day.


Lyme Street Invokes a ‘Little Whimsy’ with an Influx of ‘Fairy Doors’

The Fairy House outside Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall.

OLD LYME — Take a stroll down Lyme Street this month, look very carefully and you will see all kinds of mystical, magical Fairy Houses tucked into trees, fancifully formed against fences and lingering on lawns.

Find this fairy House is at 30 Lyme Street.

This little piece of wonderment has come about because, through Oct. 28, a variety of businesses, nonprofits, and private residences on Lyme Street has chosen to participate in the 2nd annual “Fairy Doors on Lyme Street.”

The Fairy Door at Lyme Art Association is exquisite.

There are 14 fairy doors on the grounds of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA), created by Region 18 students and LAFA alumni.

Another 16 fairy doors can be found along Lyme Street and all the fairy doors can be seen from the sidewalk.

See this masterful creation by Tammi Flynn at EF Watermelon.

LymeLine caught up with Cheryl Poirier, one of the coordinators, who explained, “Fairy Doors on Lyme Street is a way to add a little whimsy to our days, especially this year as we are all needing more smiles than ever.”

She continued, “Whether walking into Old Lyme Town Hall or on your way to one of the small businesses on Lyme Street, it’s fun to look down and see that someone used their creativity to share some fun with neighbors and friends.”

At 78 Lyme St. (see photo above), two graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design took on the fun of creating, “A village of fairy doors,” amidst the greenery of the front lawn.

This wonderful fairy dropped into Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

Olivia Denison and Alexandra Vasquez Dheming were New York City roommates working in the theater industry when COVID shut down their work.

They came to wait out the pandemic at Olivia’s parent’s home in Old Lyme pending the return of theater in New York, and now the roommates’ fairy door village contribution is a delightful, artistic endeavor for everyone who either lives on or walks down Lyme Street to enjoy.

The Old Lyme Arts District reminds all that Lyme Street is a residential street, and asks that social distancing and face masks are used as always.

Lyme Art Association Presents Evocative ‘Land and Sea’ Show Through Nov. 19

‘Meigs Point, Hammonasset’ in oil by Tom Adkins is one of the signature paintings in the ‘Land and Sea’ exhibition.

OLD LYME — This fall the Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents Land and Sea, an exhibit of outdoor scenes; landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes and backyard-scapes. Art of varied media and styles, all from LAA member artists, will be presented in the historic, sky-lit galleries through Nov. 19.

“We are grateful for the great outdoors right where we are,” said Executive Director Laurie Pavlos, continuing, “The open air that makes visiting safer and the beautiful vistas that calm our anxious hearts.”

She added, “But we miss traveling to see new scenery, climates, and topography. Land and Sea is a response to these impulses; we hope that our visitors enjoy spending time in the gallery this fall appreciating the great outdoors.”

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, Conn. in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and within the town’s Historic District. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, and by appointment.

The 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.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

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


The Movie Man: Sandler Has Done It Again in ‘Hubie Halloween’

Adam Sandler being interviewed in 2018. This screenshot was originally uploaded on YouTube ( under a CC license.

Adam Sandler has done it again.

No, he didn’t bring in a stunning performance to follow up Uncut Gems, but rather he has brought us another stupid movie that we can love: Hubie Halloween.

Ever since his movie career began in the 90s, Sandler has brought us countless flicks that have ridiculous premises, but lovable characters, who deliver humor that can be described as none other than guilty pleasure. From Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy, countless laughs have been produced from first watching these films to quoting them in front of our friends.

And like all of Sandler’s films since the 90s, they include tributes to the iconic characters and jokes from those name-making movies.

Hubie Halloween proves no different, as we see references to the O’Doyle family, Orderly Hal played by Ben Stiller, and cameos from star after star after star that he has collaborated with in the past.

Hubie Halloween follows its title character, Hubie Dubois, a zealous idiot with a heart of gold, despite being the constant object of ridicule from people he’s known his whole life in his hometown of Salem, Mass.

Although he is an idiot, Hubie happens to possess stuntman-like skills and a trusty thermos that can assist him in any situation, and it might as well have been made by Q in the 007 franchise. When trouble breaks out on Halloween night, Hubie must win the trust of his neighbors in order to solve the mysterious disappearances of townsfolk.

Hubie appears to be along the likes of one of Sandler’s earlier characters, Bobby Boucher from The Waterboy; however, this character does not match the potential when it comes to humor and lovability. It starts off slow, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as it progresses.

It does dabble in the sentimental though as it also presents cliched, but true, life lessons. 

Sandler should not be dismissed as a one-trick pony for this ridiculous movie. We must remember he has delivered repeatedly with Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, and most recently Uncut Gems (one viewer was so impressed that he personally called Sandler to share his satisfaction, and that was none other than Daniel Day-Lewis).

But why does he continue to produce his name-brand humor when he could be collecting award after award and potentially collaborate with greats like Scorsese? I can only speculate one reason: he likes to do it.

From a critic’s perspective, this movie fails at artistic achievements (though not as badly as Jack and Jill). It’s just another Adam Sandler movie, but that’s good enough for me.

This will not be added to any special lists by the American Film Institute, nor will it be included in the Criterion Collection.

No, it will just remain on Netflix to be selected whiled scrolling through the selections whenever you and your friends are simply seeking a good time.

Kevin Ganey is ‘The Movie Man.’

About the Author: Though no longer a resident of Lyme, Kevin knows he can never sever his roots to the tree of his identity. When not attending to his job in Boston, he is committed to ensuring a better grasp of current (and past) releases of cinema to his home community as he strives to leave his own mark in the same field that has always been his guide to understanding life. If you enjoy his published reviews here on, follow him on his new website at ‘The City of Cinema and read more of his unique insights into entertainment.


Lyme Academy Offers Wide Range of Fall Classes, All Welcome

OLD LYME — Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is offering an exciting selection of classes, which bridge the skills of the past with the inspiration of the future.

A full listing of all the classes and workshops on offer is given below. If you would like to obtain further information on any of the classes or workshops, visit or call 860.434.5232.


Lyme Academy alumna and now teacher works on a sculpture.

Facilitator: Kimberly Monson
Tuesdays/Thursdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Six weeks
Tuesday Instructed, Thursday Open Studio
Independent lessons are collaborative in order to best serve the student in reaching developmental goals in drawing, painting and sculpture.

Taught by: Michael Viera
Thursdays, Oct. 2 – 23
1-4 p.m.
Lessons focus on navigating pictorial composition, color selection and mixing, value, temperature and light. The class will be held on various on-site locations in Lyme and Old Lyme to experience the exceptional regional landscape.

Taught by: Rick Lacey
Mondays, Oct. 19 – Nov. 23
6-9 p.m.
In this course, instructor Rick Lacey provides a framework to plot and map the cast on the page. Special attention is paid to construction, line work and quality, and the importance of value.

Taught by: Hollis Dunlap
Tuesdays, Oct. 6 – Nov. 10
6-9 p.m.
Over the six classes, students will learn to revise the drawing by examining proportions and angles in order to get the most out of their abilities.

Taught by: Justin Wiest
Oct. 16-18
9-4 p.m.
This workshop will make the contention that: The set-up has to look like a painting before the artist begins to paint.
The methods and materials will be thoroughly discussed.

Lyme Academy alumnus and now teacher Michael Viera will be leading a class titled, ‘Afternoon Landscape,’ this fall.

Three Day Workshop with Kellie Pereira
Oct. 23, 24 and 25
9-4 p.m.
This course provides instruction on how to produce a bas-relief sculpture, a silicone mold from the sculpture produced in class and plaster casts.

Two-day workshop with Kathryn Bevier
November 7 – 8
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In this workshop, attention will be given to a more classical painting approach with encaustic exploring monochromatic and a la prima practices. Working from a simple still life or landscape imagery, Bevier will guide you through several exercises to help you hone in on a fresh and energetic composition of color.

Three-Day Workshop with Tyler Berry
April 23 to 25
9-4 p.m.
In this three-day workshop, artists will learn the fundamentals of portrait drawing. With an emphasis on structure and anatomy, Tyler will help students in understanding likeness through careful observation of proportion, skeletal landmarks, and abstract shape-design. Artists will also learn to create a sculptural quality to their portraits through in-depth analysis of the light source and how it interacts with the forms of the face.

Color Mentorship – Online Learning with West Fraser
Zoom Discussions,
Tuesdays, Oct. 6 to 27
Beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Gain familiarity with color concepts for yourself or in preparation for West’s on-site workshop “Going Beyond Theory of Color to Application” set for the Spring of 2021.

Fundamentals of Illustration with Greg Mursko
Mondays, Oct. 19 to Nov. 23
1-4 p.m.
This course introduces the basic principles being an illustrator. The majority of work created in the medium of your choice (graphite, colored pencil, acrylic paint, etc.)

Graphic Arts
Fundamentals of Imaging Software with Greg Mursko
Mondays, Oct. 19 to Nov. 23
9-12 p.m.
This class will introduce the basics of imaging software, including the user interface, working with layers, color, type, tools, filters, masks, and more.

Value in the Landscape
Online Learning with Thomas Caleb Goggans
Tuesdays, Nov. 3 to 24, at 4:30 p.m.
Caleb Goggans will demonstrate and guide a progressive exercise designed to give students the knowledge and confidence to compose compelling, well organized, and beautiful paintings.


No ‘Wee Faerie Village’ This Year, But a Virtual One Opens at Florence Griswold Museum

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme has been obliged to postpone one of its most popular events, Wee Faerie Village, due to ongoing health risks associated with large crowds amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and in accordance with guidance from the State of Connecticut.
In an inspired move, however, the Museum is today launching Virtual Faerie Village in its place. This will be available through Nov. 1, at and
After the success of the Museum’s online camp and other virtual programs, Museum staff are now offering faerie fun to be had safely at home with activities planned to capture the magic of the faerie realm for participants of all ages.
One of the highlights will be Wee TV, half-hour episodes of faerie crafts and special guests. Extra creative faerie aficionados will want to take part in the Wee Faerie Super Fan and Crafting Club. Club members receive a Folly Woods pin (only 100 available).  Register for the Club at this link.
This year’s Wee Faerie Village theme, Folly Woods – Awesome Wee Faerie Architecture has been postponed to October of 2021, when the Museum visitors will again be able to experience in person the magic of the outdoor installations of enchanting faerie houses created by artists and designers.
The Museum has expressed gratitude to the artists who have been working tirelessly on their creations for Folly Woods – Awesome Wee Faerie Architecture. They have graciously agreed to present their work next year. 

Virtual Faerie Village is generously supported by Art Bridges, the ForGood Fund at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, and the Joffray Family.


Meet a (Hula-Hooping) Moose in Cushman’s Enchanting Story of Being ‘Soaked’ publisher Olwen Logan reads ‘Soaked’ by Abi Cushman to her grandson, William Logan, who assisted significantly with this book review.

“Soaked” is quite simply an enchanting book that captivates and delights youngsters from the first page to the last.

I can say that with some authority since I ‘tested’ the book on my two-year-old grandson William and his response to it was nothing short of remarkable. He not only asks for the book by name every time he sees me but also  — or so his parents tell me — at almost every bedtime.

Moreover, he has renamed it!

And the reason he did that is because the only word in the whole book that he didn’t understand was, by coincidence, its title … ‘Soaked.’ By the way, the inside cover states the book is for, “Age 3 and up,” but William, at two, lapped it up.

When I finished reading ‘Soaked’ to him for the very first time, William desperately wanted to hear it again and, without hesitation, asked me to read the “Rain Book,” which is, in fact, a wonderfully apt title.

That is now what it will be known as henceforward in our family since we took a copy on a family vacation recently and by the end of the week, every member of the family had read the ‘Rain Book’ to William multiple times!

First-time author-illustrator Abi Cushman of Niantic, Conn. is an extraordinarily talented illustrator. (Full disclosure, I know Abi, but primarily in a professional capacity.) Although she remains remarkably unassuming about the fact she is now a published author, she should be extremely proud of that achievement — and perhaps even more so, of the beautiful book that is the root of her new-found fame.

She has created four characters, Bear, Badger, Bunny and Moose, whom you feel you’ve known your whole life … in the same way that we all know Winnie-the-Pooh. Their respective personas come through loud and clear though Cushman uses very little narrative to convey them.

Moose is far and away William’s favorite character in the story.

Well, of course he is … who couldn’t be drawn to a Hula-Hooping moose? You’ve never heard of a Hula-Hooping moose? Neither had we, but he fits so perfectly into this delightful story, you take him completely for granted as though it’s perfectly normal for a moose to have a set of hula-hoops at which he is adept at using.

The hula-hoops are, in fact, key to this simple tale, cleverly linking its various elements and locations. The story travels from sad scenes in the depressing rain through to Bear’s dry cave (where there is insufficient space for Moose to hula-hoop, but he does it anyway!) followed by the rescue of a hula-hoop from a high branch (which involves a great deal of precarious standing on shoulders) and then the jovial collapse of the tower of animals.

All the animals, who topple together after successfully retrieving the hula-hoop, surface cheerfully in a mass of water and are thoroughly “soaked.” This jolly scene leads to the idea that Bear should try hula-hooping.

Now Bear, who is the story narrator, is a pretty grumpy fellow and anxious to maintain his negative outlook on the world, regardless of what befalls him. He does not want to enjoy hula-hooping but it is abundantly clearly from the charming illustrations that Bear takes to it like (and forgive the pun!) a duck to water, urged on by the ever-present, cheery Badger (with the bumble-bee umbrella) and bounce-along Bunny.

There are a variety of morals that can be drawn from this simple story and the reader can choose which one is most age-appropriate. It could be a deeper one like the value of true friends or the strength of teamwork, or simply that you don’t have to have sun to have fun.

There are other possibilities too and another strangely wonderful thing about this book is that there are many places in the text where you can fill in the story details as you wish, making it possible to create new twists to the story with every reading

I won’t be a spoiler and divulge the surprising ending to the story.

You’ll have to buy — or borrow — the book for yourself. And I strongly recommend you do just that because this is a very special book, which I predict will stand the test of time … perhaps even lasting as long as that beloved Pooh!  The illustrations on their own justify the purchase of the book.

This may be the humble Cushman’s first book but I’m confident it certainly won’t be her last. I sincerely hope we’ll soon be hearing more about the adventures of Bear, Badger, and Bunny and not forgetting, that Hula-Hooping Moose!

Editor’s Note: Visit Abi Cushman’s website for more information about the book and details of where to purchase it.


Bidding Now Open on FloGris Museum’s Annual Benefit Auction, ‘Benefit in a Box’ Also on Sale

Purchase a ‘Benefit in a Box’ to support the Florence Griswold Museum’s ‘Annual Benefit Reimagined.’

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum’s 38th annual Benefit Auction & Dinner Dance — traditionally held in September — may have been cancelled but Museum staff have renamed the now exclusively online event as the Annual Benefit Reimagined and come up with a variety of inspired ideas to compensate for the ability to gather in person.

The first item in the online auction is this painting by Nelson H. White titled, ‘Bagno La Salute.’

The traditional Benefit Auction has a vast selection of artwork, decorative items, experiences, and travel, and bidding is now open online at this link through Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. Bids can be placed from your phone or home computer.

The Museum is also offering the opportunity to purchase a Benefit in a Box, which can be enjoyed in your own home. Describing this as, “… your very own portable party,” each box provides, “Wine, chocolate, the works” so that purchasers can “Celebrate the Museum and support its mission from a safe distance.”

Visit this link to order your Benefit in a Box(es).

All proceeds from the event will support educational programming at the Museum.

Rebekah Beaulieu, Executive Director of the Museum, comments, ” Your support of this event and the work it makes possible has never been more needed or appreciated.”

Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce Scholarship Recipient

Elizabeth Steindl (photo submitted)

OLD LYME/OLD SAYBROOK/ESSEX — Musical Masterworks of Old Lyme and Community Music School of Essex have announced the recipient of the fourth annual Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas.

Elizabeth Steindl, the 2020 recipient of the Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas, is 11-years-old and in sixth grade at Old Saybrook Middle School.

She studies violin with Martha Herrle at Community Music School, and also plays clarinet in her school band, sings in her school chorus, and is a regular participant in area music camps.  She loves animals, music, and nature.

The Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas provides the tuition for a middle school student to take 30-minute music lessons for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship is awarded annually. 

To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County. 

Community Music School (CMS) offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 37-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity while providing students with a thorough understanding of music, so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. 

Learn more at or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Launching its 30th season soon, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme. 

Learn more at or call 860.434.2252.



Lyme Art Association Presents Two Exhibitions, ‘Point of View’ & ‘Animal Kingdom’ Both Featuring Works by Elected Artists

“Majestic’ in oil by Kim Muller-Thym is one of the signature works in the ‘Point of View’ 99th Annual Elected Artists Exhibition.

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents two shows through Oct. 1:  Point of View: the 99th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Animal Kingdom.

The Elected Artists of the LAA are an elite group of professional artists, primarily from New England. Their work is predominantly representational, but encompasses a variety of styles, subjects and mediums.

This year is the 99th year that the show has been held in the current LAA gallery, but in fact, LAA artists held their exhibitions for many years prior in the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.

‘Two to Tango’ (56″ x 38″) by Brian Keith Stephens is one of the signature paintings in the ‘Animal Kingdom’ show.

Another popular show, Animal Kingdom, will be hung in the Goodman Gallery concurrent with Point of View. Animal Kingdom presents works about furry, scaly, feathered, and finned creatures. Lyme Art Association member artists’ subjects range from ferocious to graceful to adorable.

Lyme Art Association Executive Director Laurie Pavlos comments, “It’s been wonderful to welcome the public back into the gallery after being closed. The annual Elected Artist show is always very impressive, and the subject matter of Animal Kingdom is popular with children and adults alike. We hope that many visitors come and enjoy these remarkable shows. It’s easy to socially distance and our visitors have reported feeling comfortable and safe.”

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, Conn. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, and by appointment.

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


Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds Invites Public to View ‘2020 Summer Sculpture Showcase’ in Person or Virtually

OLD LYME — Nationally- and internationally-acclaimed sculptor Gilbert Boro is currently hosting the 6th annual Summer Sculpture Showcase in his Sculpture Grounds at 80-1 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

The Showcase features selected sculptural works by more than 80 artists, which have been woven into the permanent outdoor display of around 100 works by Boro, who owns Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds and lives in the residence located on the beautifully-landscaped 4.5 acre property.

The Sculpture Grounds, which gently roll down to the Lieutenant River, feature a variety of gardens and courtyards offering an en plein air art experience allowing visitors to enjoy large-scale contemporary sculpture in a unique setting. Members of the public are welcome to visit in person and there is no charge for admission.

Although Boro’s studio and indoor facilities, which are also located on the property, are currently closed to the public, visitors can still enjoy the Sculpture Grounds between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily while practicing safe social distancing measures. 

Visitors to the Sculpture Grounds have always been encouraged to touch and engage with the artwork, but at this time, it is requested that they refrain from physical contact with the sculptures and continue to practice infection reduction strategies as outlined by the Center for Disease Control.

Boro stresses, “The health and safety of our staff, artists, visitors, and community is our overriding concern.”

Alternatively the Summer Sculpture Showcase is accessible virtually through the end of October. Download the Otocast app for a  free audio tour of the Showcase with an interactive map, sculpture photos, and artist narratives. This software application allows visitors to take a tour from home or in person. Download the app from the Apple App or Google Play Stores and choose Old Lyme, CT to access the tour.

Asked to comment on how the 6th annual Summer Sculpture Showcase is being received, a delighted Boro says, “We are so pleased with the success of the Showcase. Despite this unprecedented day and age, we have had an abundance of positive feedback on the exhibition from our visitors, as well as our subscribers. In turn, we would like to express our thanks to our wonderful artists for making this happen.”

All of the sculptures on display are for sale and Boro explains, “The proceeds from our sculpture sales go directly to supporting the upkeep of the Sculpture Grounds, which enables us to keep the Grounds not only open but also with free admission to the public.”

For pricing inquiries or further information about the Sculpture Grounds, contact


All In-Person Musical Masterworks Performances Cancelled, Tickets for Videos of Concerts Now on Sale

OLD LYME — 8/21 UPDATE: Musical Masterworks (MM) informed us this week that the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme has now determined in-person concerts will not be permitted for the foreseeable future.

The MM concerts will still be held in the church as planned but now without an audience.  All concerts will be recorded as originally planned and everyone will be able to enjoy the performances by purchasing video tickets to watch the concerts from the comfort of their own home.  

Visit this link to review the digital brochure for the 2020-21 season and purchase tickets to view individual concerts, a mini-series of the concerts or all the concerts.

Musical Masterworks has announced its program for the 2020-21 season. In a press release from Artistic Director Edward Arron, he says, “The board and staff have resolved to present our usual five programs this coming concert season, with just a few modifications to our normal way of doing things as we attempt to navigate this time of uneasiness about large gatherings.”

Arron continues, “We will hold only one performance per concert weekend, each taking place on a Saturday at 3 p.m.”

The concerts will be held:

Oct. 24, 2020
Dec. 19, 2020
Feb. 13, 2021
March 13, 2021
May 1, 2021

The 2020-21 season will begin with two all-Beethoven programs. In October, pianist Andrew Armstrong will join violinist James Ehnes to perform three sonatas by Beethoven; and on Saturday, Dec. 19 – three days after Beethoven’s actual 250th birthday – James Ehnes, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Che-Yen Chen and Arron will join forces to perform three monumental Beethoven String Quartets.

In the spring, popular MM artists, including Rieko Aizawa, Todd Palmer, Jeewon Park, Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel, and Tessa Lark, will present musical treasures from Bach to Corigliano, and in Arron’s words, “everything else we could fit in between.”

In a change from normal procedures, however, all five programs will be filmed and recorded by a Grammy-winning team for online viewing and made available two weeks after the concert. The links to access each concert video will be made available for home viewing to any ticket holder who is unable or uncomfortable attending a live performance, as well as to those who attend in person.

In-person tickets for all concerts are already sold out as a result of social distance capacity restrictions at the church, but tickets for videos of the performances are now on sale. 



Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the USPS (Excluding Old Lyme P.O.) — Stop Messing With My Mail

To the Editor:

To Whom it Should Concern at the USPS

Please stop messing with my mail!

Let me remind you: Title 39 of the U.S. Code states that the Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.

Unfortunately, your recent “transformative” initiative has had “unintended” consequences that impacted overall service levels.

Is it possible that these consequences, “unintended” or not; have resulted in an unacceptable degradation of the Postal Service, — which is also relied upon by many Americans for prescription refills, pension checks, and, we thought mail-in absentee ballots in November?

You have already warned many states that those transformative misadventures will likely make USPS compliance with state-mandated deadlines impossible to meet.

This may be another moment in history where “failure is not an option”. God help us if that is not also your goal.

Note that I am not suggesting that this is a local issue at USPO/Old Lyme.


Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.