September 22, 2020

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.


Florence Griswold Museum Cancels Traditional September Benefit Event, But Will Host Auction Online

The Florence Griswold Museum has cancelled their popular Benefit Auction & Dinner Dance traditionally held in September of each year but will still host the auction online.

OLD LYME — In an email to supporters of the Florence Griswold Museum, Director Becky Beaulieu has announced the cancellation of the Museum’s 38th annual Benefit Auction & Dinner Dance, which is traditionally held in September.

Describing it as “sad news,” but noting it, “probably comes as no great surprise,” Beaulieu goes on to explain that staff are however, working hard to, “reimagine our most crucial fundraiser of the year in ways that may not be traditional, but will certainly be fun, spirited, and beneficial to the Museum and its mission.”

She notes that, “… the Auction will still go on – but entirely online.” and advises everyone who would have attended the gala  — and even those who might never have been — to watch their mailboxes and the Museum website for information on “how to preview the online auction items, which you will be able to bid on September 13-26.”

Beaulieu adds, “We’ll also be sharing more ways you can toast the Museum and partner in this event’s success –even from your own living room—so stay tuned for more from us in the coming weeks!”

She concludes, ” Your support of this event and the work it makes possible has never been more needed or appreciated.”

Six Sculptures by Old Lyme Sculptor Gil Boro Featured in Stamford Downtown Outdoor Art Exhibit

Gilbert Boro’s ‘Helix Bench’ is on display in the Stamford Downtown Art Collective Exhibition.

STAMFORD, CT – Stamford Downtown is currently adorned with unique abstract art this summer as 34 sculptures, which are offered for free public viewing and enjoyment. These striking works of art line the streets and parks of the Downtown area and six sculptures by Old Lyme-based artist Gilbert Boro are featured in this major exhibit.

‘Turning Point’ is another of Boro’s six works on display in the outdoor exhibition.

Art Collective in Stamford Downtown is produced by Stamford Downtown and, apart from Boro’s works, feature sculptures on loan from five additional regional artists; Barry Gunderson, Lorann Jacobs, David Millen, Morris Norvin and Emily Teall.

The exhibition runs through August.

The organizers are offering Otocast, a free audio tour with an interactive map, sculpture photos, artist narratives, and information about many Downtown restaurants. This software application allows visitors to take a tour from home or in person. Download “Otocast” from the Apple App or Google Play Stores and choose Stamford, CT to access the tour.

All in-person visitors are requested to practice social distancing and wear a mask while enjoying this art exhibition.

Exhibition sponsors include The Cingari Family, Reckson, RXR Realty & LRC Construction, Andrew and Michael Whittingham & Families, First County Bank, NBCUniversal, One Stamford Realty, The Campus, 1937 West Main Street, True North Stamford, Highgrove, United Realty, Inc., The Palace, 95.9 The Fox, Star 99.9, WEBE 108, Stamford Advocate and

For more information on the exhibit and to view a map of the sculpture locations, visit

‘Sirocco’ certainly makes a splash in Downtown Stamford.


Pre-College Academy for HS Art Students Continues at Lyme Academy

Kimberly Monson will teach a week-long Drawing course for Pre-College students starting July 6. A few openings are still available.

OLD LYME — This summer Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is hosting a Pre-College Academy for high school students and a Middle School Academy for ages 11 -13.

High school students aged 14 to 18 with beginning to advanced level art training can enroll in an exciting series of week-long, daytime courses starting July 6 that further explore and expand their technical skill and abilities. Each week of classes costs $375.00 per student and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  All the courses will be taught by talented college faculty and aim to foster creativity, build artistic skill, and mentor personal vision in young artists.

The courses on offer include:

Instructor: Kimberly Monson
July 6-10

Illustration Essentials
Instructor: David Wenzel
July 13-17

World Building
Instructor: Jon Sideriadis
July 20-24

Oil Painting
Instructor: Michael Viera
July 27-31

Instructor: Roland Beccerra
Aug. 3 – 7

Instructor: Bruce Wallace
Aug. 10-14


Florence Griswold Museum Reopens to Public with 24-Hour Advance Tickets Only; New ‘Fresh Fields’ Exhibition on View

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum and Café Flo have reopened to the public.  Admission to the Museum is limited and by 24-hour advance online ticketing only. Check the Museum website for admission requirements and details of how to purchase tickets. Café Flo is open by reservation only.

Childe Hassam, Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme, 1904. 25 x 30 in., Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of the Vincent Dowling Family Foundation in Honor of Director Emeritus Jeffrey Andersen.

Visitors to the Museum will be greeted with a new exhibition, Fresh Fields, which is a celebration of the Museum’s most beloved landscape paintings created by Impressionist artists who visited Old Lyme. The exhibition opens July 7 and runs through Nov. 1.

The selection highlights major recent acquisitions, such as Childe Hassam’s Apple Trees in BloomOld Lyme (1904), and emphasizes ongoing research about the local landscape that informed development of the Artists’ Trail.

Paintings, drawings, archival materials, and photographs will shed light on the history and ecology of Old Lyme, which caused it to become a gathering place for artists.

The exhibition also calls upon the knowledge and viewpoints of outside experts to build an interdisciplinary understanding. In addition to the Museum’s own curators and art history scholars, contributors will include an ecologist, members of the local Native American community, and experts on women’s history and African-American history.

Fresh Fields relies on those with expertise in these areas to help create a more complete understanding of the human history, culture, and values that shaped these Impressionist landscapes.

Editor’s Note: Remember that the Museum grounds are open and in bloom now — no need to wait for the reopening of the Museum to enjoy them!


Lyme Art Association Reopens to the Public with Two New Exhibitions

‘Sea Sparkles’ in oil by Jacqueline Jones is one of the featured works in the Wind, Waves and Water: A Marine Show exhibition opening June 26 at the Lyme Art Association.

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association (LAA) welcomes the public back to the gallery today, June 26, with Wind, Waves and Water: A Marine Show. This is a juried show of LAA’s talented member artists that celebrates the unique beauty of the open water, shorelines, rivers, and all the activity and life that accompany these settings.

The juror for Wind, Waves and Water is Russell Kramer, ASMA.

John Traynor’s ‘Grazing By The Bay’ (oil) is another featured work in the LAA’s upcoming exhibition.

This year the Association welcomes back the Hudson Valley Art Association for their 87th Annual Juried Exhibition. This show always includes exceptional award winners from artists across the region.

Both shows will be on view from June 26 through Aug. 14. There will not be an opening reception.

The Lyme Art Association is located in Old Lyme, at 90 Lyme Street. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, and by appointment at other times. All visitors are requested to wear a mask.

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 a.m. 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


Ivoryton Women Playwrights Festival Now Accepting Submissions for 2021; Positions as Directors, Readers Also Open

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse has announced their Fifth Annual Ivoryton Women Playwrights Festival (IWPF.) Submissions of one-act plays by women playwrights are sought.
The IWPF provides the four writers whose work is chosen paid travel to Ivoryton and housing while there, three days of intensive workshops with a director and actors for play development and participation in a staged reading festival in February/March 2021 (actual dates to be determined).
There is also a $500 stipend.
Ten-minute plays are acceptable, and all plays must run no more than one hour.
Completed manuscripts must be submitted by email only.  Closing date for submissions is Aug. 30, 2020.
Interested playwrights should email a completed manuscript, (for musicals include a script and music file), with name and contact information.
The IWPF also seeks resumes from directors (Connecticut residents only), and those interested in being readers, both men and women.

Play submissions, resumes from directors and interested readers should be emailed to Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director at


Wyman of Old Lyme Appointed Community Music School Executive Director, “Thrilled to Come Home”

Dr. Richard Wyman, the new Executive Director of the Community Music School based in Centerbrook.

OLD LYME — Dr. Richard Wyman of Old Lyme has been appointed the new Executive Director of the Community Music School (CMS) located in Centerbrook. He took over the reins of the organization in the mid-May after serving for several years as Musical Masterworks General Director.

Wyman has a long history of involvement in both playing and conducting music professionally along with community-based music learning. He began his music studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., where he obtained his undergraduate degree in music education and then moved to the University of Illinois to pursue a masters degree in music.

Subsequently, he moved back East when he joined the US Coast Guard (CG) Band  as a baritone saxophonist in the late 1990s. Back then, Wyman also taught saxophone for a number of years at CMS but in 2004, he was appointed Assistant Director of the USCG band and opted to focus on his new position along with studying conducting at the University of Connecticut where he earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts.

In his role as USCG Band Assistant Director, Wyman led educational concerts for thousands of students.

After retiring from the SCG in 2018, Wyman first took the position with Musical Masterworks and now he has come full circle back to the CMS.  He is still continuing his music education, however, since he is currently studying arts administration at UConn.

Wyman says he is, “Thrilled to ‘come home’ to CMS,” and is looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities that the job offers. These latter involve continuing to run the school’s teaching program online and running the spring “Friends of Note” campaign, which is devoted to “COVID-19 Relief” for CMS through the summer. He points out that a gift to this $50K campaign will, “Provide payroll (for staff and instructors), mortgage payments, maintenance of our facilities, and … most importantly, support of the wonderful instruction and music-making,” by CMS faculty and students.

Asked to explain his passion for both music and music education, Wyman says, “Throughout my adult life, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with understanding music’s essential role in the living of a fulfilling life,” noting, “Whether it was through performing as saxophonist in amusement parks (which he did at both Disney World and Busch Gardens many years ago), conducting/hosting USCG Band educational performances, or witnessing the joy music brings to members of the CMS “New Horizons” Band.”

Wyman lives in Old Lyme with his clarinetist/pianist wife Erin and their three boys, the eldest of whom has just graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS). The younger two are respectively at LOLHS and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and all three, in Wyman’s words, “Study music as important parts of their educations and lives.”

Editor’s Note: Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Building 4, Centerbrook, and also 179 Flanders Rd., Ste. 3 East Lyme. For more information on CMS, call 860-767-0026 or visit the school’s website.

If you wish to donated to the “Friends of Note’ campaign, call Wyman at 860-767-0026 to discuss giving opportunities, or donate online at


Inaugural Online Exhibition at Lyme Academy Now on View, Features Artwork by Lyme School Students

“Nature Rings,” a remarkable work by Morgan Buerger, Grade 5, is on view in the “Art is … Elementary” online exhibition, hosted by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, which opens June 5.

OLD LYME — Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is launching a new online gallery with an inaugural exhibition titled “Art Is … Elementary. Selected Works by the Fine Artists of Lyme Consolidated School, Lyme.” The exhibition will be open for viewing Friday, June 5.

Lyme Academy has hosted the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools K-12 “Youth Art Show” in the Sill House Gallery for more than 30 years. This year, which would have been the 35th annual show, had to be cancelled since all schools in Connecticut were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,

This delightful work, titled,”A Mandolorian Cuteness,” by Renee Viera, Grade 4, is included in the online exhibition.

The revitalized Academy has been expanding into the online arena in recent months offering both lessons and demonstrations. “An online gallery therefore seemed the next logical step,” explains Kimberly Monson, Instructor and Programming Director at Lyme Academy, adding, “It’s a way to offer our community a means to share art.”

This cheery”Happy Frog” by Colton Schroder, Grade 1, is on show in the new exhibition.

Asked how this particular show featuring student artists from grades K-5 at Lyme Consolidated School came about, Monson says, “It felt like these kids were experiencing a lot of loss. It’s hard enough for them to be away from school, their teachers and their friends, but then to have all of the extra-curricular activities cancelled as well, that’s an awful lot to take away” Lyme Consolidated School art teacher, Jennifer Pitman adds,“The pandemic has cost us so many of our cherished traditions. I’m really glad that this is one tradition we’ve been able to uphold.”

“The Amazing Principle” by Jonah Scheckwitz, Grade 4, is an instantly-recognizable drawing of the real Lyme School Principal James Cavalieri.


Monson went on to explain, “Jen [Pitman] and I felt this was something we could give back to the kids. It’s a way to celebrate them with an exhibition, which is still hosted by Lyme Academy.”

This evocative work, titled, “A Sunset Reflection,” by Brooke Burgess, Grade 5, is featured in the upcoming show.

Pitman credits Monson with really making the show happen, noting, ““I’m really grateful for Kimberly’s support. Showing our students’ art on the Lyme Academy’s new Online Gallery is a real treat. It’s exciting for the kids to be able to see their work displayed by such a prestigious institution. And she provided a big assist by putting the exhibition together.” Monson was well-suited to serving as a catalyst for the show since, in addition to her employment at Lyme Academy, she is also a professional, working artist.

“On The Rails” by Zak Benedetto, Grade 2, utilizes wonderful colors.

Pitman concludes, “The annual Youth Art Show is a real highlight for me. I hope all of the students and their families will enjoy seeing the results of their hard work in this new way. I’m so proud of their growth as young artists.”

This wise-looking “Owl” by Mary McAdams, Grade 2, makes its debut in the Lyme Academy online show.

View the exhibition at this link.





LAA Welcomes Welcomes Public Back With Two Exhibitions, Opening June 26

‘Sea Sparkles’ in oil by Jacqueline Jones is one of the signature works of the Wind, Waves and Water exhibition opening June 26 at the Lyme Art Association.

OLD LYME — The Lyme Art Association (LAA) welcomes the public back to the gallery June 26 with Wind, Waves and Water: A Marine Show. This is a juried show of LAA’s member artists that celebrates the unique beauty of the open water, shorelines, rivers, and all the activity and life that accompany these settings. The juror for Wind, Waves and Water is Russell Kramer, ASMA.

This year the Association welcomes back the Hudson Valley Art Association for their 87th Annual Juried Exhibition. This show always includes award winners from artists across the region.

Both shows will be on view from June 26 through Aug. 14.

The LAA is located in Old Lyme, at 90 Lyme Street. Hours are 10 am – 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, and by appointment at other times. Please wear a mask.

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 Lyme Art 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


Local Museums — Including FloGris — Continue Fight for Funding, Foot Traffic with Innovative Marketing

Exterior of the Thankful Arnold House in East Haddam.

AREAWIDE — Lisa Malloy, executive director of the Thankful Arnold House as well as the Haddam Historical Society, has been an almost one-woman show ever since she started working at her small historical house over 17 years ago. However, she—as well as many other Connecticut museums—have seen the tide shift from when she first arrived: foot traffic has dwindled.

“Connecticut has a wonderful collection of museums and historic sites each with a special story to tell. We all share similar issues—fundraising, getting volunteers, programming ideas, board issues, and so on,” chuckles Malloy. “I can say that all small historical societies and museums are intensely dedicated to their sites and missions and love sharing their stories with others.”

According to the state of Connecticut’s official tourism website, Visit CT, there are over 200 museums, historical houses and galleries in Connecticut, all with something impactful to share. Paving the roads to the past, however, come at a price with many museums pushing to overcome struggles with finances, foot traffic and successful marketing in their own way.

The Fight for Foot Traffic

The Thankful Arnold House.

The Thankful Arnold House may be a small museum but its historical significance packs a punch. Located in East Haddam, Conn., the Thankful Arnold House is an 18th century historical house museum that used to belong to Joseph Arnold and his wife, Thankful Arnold.

Although Malloy had some footing in her earlier days of working for the Thankful Arnold House, things weren’t as great as they could have been. Malloy’s relationship with one of their fundraisers was a bit shaky and things needed to be improved upon within the exhibits.

“The Thankful Arnold House and Haddam Historical Society were on fairly firm ground when I started in 2002,” said Malloy. “However, our ability to share Haddam’s history, display artifacts and have exhibits was non-existent. Also, our reliance on our one big fundraiser was precarious and we did not have a website.”

Although Malloy has a variety of people who use and visit her museum throughout Connecticut, many of those are out of town guests who generally only come once on vacation or are in the area visiting.

“We try to appeal to them as a small one-on-one experience where you can learn about 19th century women and a typical middle-class family of the lower Connecticut River,” said Malloy.

Malloy explains that she understands the fight for getting people through the door and just like many other museums, turned to foot traffic during these times and hoped that funding followed close behind.

“To keep old visitors returning we have instituted a changing local history display,” said Malloy. “We have offered different types of tours such as what a 19th century wedding would have looked like, candlelit tours. We also get visitors to return using our garden and by offering different programs. In addition, we hold different talks and craft programs on-site, which draw return visitors.”

Malloy also implemented an online presence to attract a newer audience for the museum with an in-depth website, which has been called “one of the best historical society websites in the state” according to CT Museum Quest.

“We now also are active on social media and try to bridge the gap between the generations of newsletters and blogs by sending out a bi-monthly e-newsletter,” said Malloy.

After implementing these techniques, Malloy and the Haddam Historical Society found themselves with sold-out events with one of their biggest hits being their October tours of a local historical jail, when almost 600 people attended.

“Our local support has quadrupled,” Malloy said. “We also have developed a fundraising strategy where we have a large event yearly, usually social with a history twist, which has been extremely successful.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is known as the Home of American Impressionism.

Down the Connecticut River, Tammi Flynn, Marketing Director of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, had similar beginnings when she first started working for the museum in 1999 and found that exhibitions, events and attractions helped increase foot traffic.

The Florence Griswold Museum is both a historical house, which was once owned by Florence Griswold herself, who rented out her home to fellow artists that happened to stop in Old Lyme. Griswold’s house soon became a hub for the growth of American Impressionism and the artists who pursued their craft there became known as the Lyme Art Colony.

Alongside a historical house that you can tour, the museum also features an art gallery, two barns used for workspaces for aspiring artists, a garden, seasonal café and even a boardwalk along the Lieutenant River where the museum is located.

“Our exhibitions have ranged from contemporary art to schoolgirl needlepoint,” said Flynn. The historic house is always a draw for people and the grounds are extraordinary, especially since we opened the Artists’ Trail last summer.”

At the Fate of Finances

“Funding will always be the most difficult and important issue for small museums and historical societies,” said Malloy.

Although the Thankful Arnold House and Florence Griswold Museum found success in funding with their foot traffic, many that aren’t as lucky often seek out help from organizations such as the Connecticut Humanities (CTH), which can supply museums with grants and the source funding they need, plus Jason Mancini, Executive Director of Connecticut Humanities, is prepared to lend a hand.

“Since joining CTH just over two years ago, I have been rebuilding the financial foundation and strategic direction of a struggling organization,” said Mancini.

Mancini understands the financial struggles with keeping a museum afloat, as he struggled with similar problems with funding and foot traffic while he was the Director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum for 22 years up until he joined CTH in 2017.

“At the time I became director of both organizations, they were struggling financially and with overall leadership vision and direction,” said Mancini. “The Pequot Museum essentially had one significant funding source and operating the museum required about half of the budget to support the physical building, an enormous undertaking that was always a fixed or increasing cost; staff size and composition was subjected to budgetary winds.”

According to the CTH website, the organization offers a handful of different grants as well as programs to increase foot traffic and funding such as their Steps CT program, where local museums, historical societies, and other cultural organizations can learn to fine-tune their organizations’ operations to increase services to their audiences.

Museums such as the Florence Griswold Museum as well as the Thankful Arnold House have used these types of programs to help foot traffic as well. The CT Art Trail, for example, is a nationally recognized partnership among 21 Connecticut museums to promote their businesses and CT Historical Gardens, which is dedicated to showing off 15 historical gardens in Connecticut.

The Florence Griswold Museum hosts numerous community events including a concert the evening before the Midsummer Festival in its ongoing efforts to engage with the local community.

Marketing within the Community

Flynn has found while working for the Florence Griswold Museum that connecting with a community–let alone one that is already passionate for art– is a strong marketing tool.

“We are gathering places for the community. Museums are not passive places,” said Flynn. “Gone are the stodgy buildings of painting after painting with boring labels. In a museum today you might find an artist doing a sketching demonstration, an interactive monitor, a musician, a hands-on project, you name it!”

Aside from the use of frequently-changing attractions and events, the Florence Griswold museum is constantly interacting with the community since, among many other ways, they host field trips for the local schools as well as participate in the town’s Memorial Day parade.

Flynn and the board of trustees at the Florence Griswold have learned that working with a community and creating a relationship with them creates a draw that not only brings people through the door but also, in turn, helps with funding.

“Art is a big part of Old Lyme’s history and what sets it apart from other towns. The museum helps to present that story,” said Flynn. “I feel that once people visit, they are hooked and will return. We often conduct visitor surveys and time after time, people respond that it’s the experience as a whole that they enjoy and often call their time at the museum ‘magical.’”

Malloy at the Thankful Arnold House attempted this technique as well when they hosted an exhibit, which focused on local artists and historical properties around town.

“We have been told it was one of the best tours people have ever attended,” Malloy said.

Although museums and historical societies throughout Connecticut continue to have different levels of struggle to keep their doors open, it’s apparent that each one of them powers through in pursuit of a united mission: to share the past with the present and keep its story alive.

“Connecticut’s museums and historical societies are small windows into our collective past–the people, places, ideas–that have shaped our society today and will continue to shape it in the future. For Connecticut, this is our best source material about where we live and why it matters,” said Mancini.


Musical Masterworks Announces Appointment of Lawrence Thelen as Managing Director

The new Managing Director of Musical Masterworks is Larry Thelen.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks has announced the appointment of Lawrence Thelen as their new Managing Director.

Thelen is a theatre producer and writer. In 1999, he produced an off-Broadway revival of Ghosts at the Century Center for the Performing Arts. Soon after, he joined the staff of Goodspeed Musicals as their Producing Associate and Literary Manager, where he remained for seven years.

Prior to and during his time at Goodspeed, Thelen served as Artistic Director for both the Cherry County Playhouse and the Thunder Bay Theatre.

As a writer, he is the author of the book The Show Makers: Great Directors of the American Musical Theatre, as well as numerous articles and several plays, including Pie in the SkyHiggins in Harlem and Eating Rhode Island.

His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Dramatics Magazine, Show Music Magazine and The Paragon Journal.

In addition to his work with Musical Masterworks, Thelen is the CEO of Mermaid Properties, a Connecticut-based real estate investment and property management firm.

Originally from California, Thelen now resides in Haddam with his two daughters.


Ivoryton Playhouse Cancels Its 2020 Season

Ivoryton Playhouse has cancelled its 2020 season. Photo by Brian J. Wilson .

IVORYTON — (from a press release) On March 18, 2020, The Ivoryton Playhouse planned to open its doors for the start of a whole new season but the universe had other plans. The Playhouse has been closed down by the state and the virus since March 16, and waiting to hear if they may be able to produce a limited season in the summer or fall.

Heading into summer with the likelihood of producing growing slimmer every day, the Playhouse has made the difficult decision to cancel their 2020 season. If the world has changed enough for them to produce next year, then they will attempt 2020 Part 2 and hope to be able to produce everything they were prevented from producing this year – with bells on!

The Ivoryton Playhouse has been producing theatre for 90 years. The only years it went dark were during the Second World War and in 1977 when the future of the theatre hung in the balance and it was almost knocked down to make way for a drug store. But it has survived, through all of these challenges, and is confident of its return – stronger and enriched by this unprecedented experience.

All ticket holders will be contacted over the next couple of weeks. For more information, email


Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme Remain Open During Pandemic, Offering Safe Solace to All

A view across Gil Boro’s Sculpture Grounds looking towards Studio 80.

OLD LYME — Museums and galleries may be closed due to the pandemic but there is still an opportunity in Old Lyme to immerse yourself  in art by interacting with colorful sculptures in a soothing, safe outdoor environment. The four-plus acre Sculpture Grounds on Lyme Street in Old Lyme, Conn. remain open and free to the public during the Coronavirus shutdown. 

Turning Point III/12 by Gilbert Boro.

The  Sculpture Grounds are the exhibit space for nationally acclaimed sculptor Gilbert Boro, whose home and studio anchor the property along the historic Lieutenant River in Old Lyme. Boro’s exhibits are displayed on professionally-landscaped grounds that offer a refuge from everyday life to commune with both nature and art.

More than 100 sculptures of a variety of sizes and materials are spaced around the property with each location carefully considered to marry the work to its immediate surroundings.  More than three quarters of the sculptures are Boro’s own designs with the remainder created by both established and emerging sculptors from around the country. 

The Sculpture Grounds offer both respite for adults and exploratory play for children. Normally visitors are permitted to touch and climb the sculptures but during the Coronavirus health crisis that is not possible. The working studio and indoor art gallery are also closed during this period. Visitors are expected to self-regulate in accordance with the state quarantine social distancing and protective guidelines. 

‘Bowline Knot’ by Gilbert Boro.

Picnics are permitted on the stone patio that contains several café tables with umbrellas. There is no food or drink for sale; visitors are encouraged to ‘Brown bag.” Admission is always free of charge with donations accepted. 

Hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sculpture Grounds are minutes from Exit 70 off I-95 at 80-1 Lyme Street in the historic village of Old Lyme.  Parking is available toward the rear of the property or next-door in the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts parking lot.

For more information, call 86043405957 or visit or Facebook.