Residents of Eastern Connecticut Invited to Talk With US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Tonight

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo is giving a virtual talk at Connecticut College on September 14 to discuss her memoir, Crazy Brave.  Connecticut College is hosting Harjo as part of a partnership with “One Book: One Region,” a program that was formed to bring together communities in eastern Connecticut to discuss literature.  Jefferson Singer, dean of the college, said the partnership was an effort to create ties between the college and the local community.  Laurie Wolfley, a professor of English at UConn, and a member of the committee responsible for choosing the book, said that Harjo’s memoir was a timely

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Peter Anton Opens Show of Outsized ‘Confectionary Sculpture’ at Lyman Allyn

NEW LONDON — For sculptor Peter Anton, food is a portal to celebratory memories and a kind of “sensory snapshot” that connects us to emotions ranging from happiness to obsession.  “We use sweets to celebrate and we also use them for comfort when we’re depressed and we reward ourselves with sweets,” said Anton, who creates giant renditions of ice cream cones, cakes and confections. “As an artist, I love color and textures and you can’t top a colorful dessert.” In “Sweet Dreams: Confectionery Sculpture,” at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Anton will show 35 of his outsized, hyperrealistic works, including

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Arelt Brings ‘Consistent Vision’ to Nautilus Architects’ Contemporary Designs

WATERFORD & DEEP RIVER — Architect Chris Arelt stood barefoot on the polished concrete floors of his client’s house and pointed to the tiny square lights that were set flush with the living room ceiling.  “These tiny LED fixtures with no trim are hugely important,” he said. “They add up to a big expense, like $160,000. It’s always more than people bargained for, but it’s so important. If you start putting big six-inch diameter pot lights into these things, it just blows the whole design.”  Arelt, the principal and owner of Nautilus Architects in Lyme and Southport, stressed the importance

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Director Sam Quigley Talks Lyman Allyn, Accreditation

NEW LONDON — The Lyman Allyn Art Museum will reopen at half capacity on June 30 and offer free admission to visitors until Labor Day.  “We thought people might need a little extra incentive to come into a public space. We all recognized that we’re all a little nervous and we wanted to let people know that we’re doing everything we can to make it safe and healthful,” said Sam Quigley, director of the museum, by telephone on Wednesday. “We wanted to eliminate any hurdles so that people could come in and really just take advantage of what we are,

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New London Artist Kat Murphy Lights Up Downtown

NEW LONDON — Thursday was too windy for artist Kat Murphy to place her “pop-up shop” sandwich board out on the sidewalk, but for the last month that’s what she’s done when she’s in her studio. “Just having the sign out, I’ve had people say they say they see it and they drove over,” said Murphy, of opening her combination gallery and workspace at 94 Golden Street in New London to the public.  With its tall windows, Murphy’s studio is a presence on the street and in the neighborhood — and people are noticing.  “I have a timer on the

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“Ambitious” Show of Pre-Raphaelite Rebellion opens at Yale Center for British Art

An ambitious exhibition, “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement,” opened Thursday at Yale Center for British Art. The show encompasses three generations of artists over the course of fifty years with drawings, paintings and objets d’art on loan from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. The presentation is elegant and is divided into four parts: The First Industrial Nation; The Pre-Raphaelite Avant-Garde; Secular Ministry; and Utopias for a New Century. In the mid-19th century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, kickstarted with philosophical support from eminent critic

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Wang Mansheng Roots Art in Shanxi and the Hudson in Connecticut College Show

NEW LONDON — Water flows through Wang Mansheng’s traditional Chinese landscapes, and his contemporary depictions of the Hudson River Valley where he has lived for more than 20 years, linking two continents. “Me and my wife spent time just looking for waterfalls [in the Adirondacks], so I used simple Chinese ink on handmade paper, something where I feel the relationship between the rock and the water. They’re so different. The water is so smooth and flexible. The rock is so rough and strong. So I play with the texture and the light and when the rock is wet, you have

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Lyme-Old Lyme Senior Wins Best in Show at Scholastic Art Awards Competition

OLD LYME — Before she started drawing, she didn’t know how to express herself, said Sarah Conley, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School and the winner of a Gold Key and Best-in-Show award at Connecticut’s Scholastic Art Awards Competition this winter. “I have always had trouble articulating myself and it’s so much easier for me to express myself through my work. I’m able to make a much more profound statement than I ever could with my words,” said Conley. Prior to attending Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Conley said she never thought she could make art, though she loved it

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Studies for Lost Mural Possess “Enormous Power and Beauty” at Yale Show

Reckoning with “The Incident”: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural at Yale University Art Gallery, is an exhibition without its subject centerpiece. In lieu of the painting, Yale presents an assemblage of preparatory works and related paintings and prints – studies possessing enormous power and beauty — around a black and white photographic re-creation of the mural. Some of the pieces are owned by Yale, and many are in the collection of the Grinnell College Museum of Art. The son of immigrants from British Guiana, John Woodrow Wilson was born in Massachusetts in 1922. Through his father’s subscription to

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Niantic’s Peter Carlson on Life and Lighting Design

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LYME — For years, interior designer Peter Carlson searched for unembellished lighting that would complement his clients’ spaces. “I was always looking for lights, especially very simple lighting, not an ‘event,’ just something simple that did the job and looked attractive,” he said. “I had a hard time finding anything so I thought if I’m having this problem, then other people must be having it as well.” One of his odd jobs was driving socialite and cabaret performer Edie Bouvier Beale from Newark to the Reno Sweeney in Greenwich Village. He also worked at Studio 54, a job he said

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Nearly 60 Artists at Chester Gallery’s Annual Postcard Exhibition

CHESTER — Art, big or small, can transport the viewer into other places and other worlds. That’s the power of the Chester Gallery’s Postcard Exhibition show, which is packed with paintings, collages, photographs and drawings — each the size of a postcard or smaller. “We loved the idea of doing art the size of a postcard and it’s not a juried show so anyone who wants to enter can,” said Sosse Baker, who owns the building and ran the gallery for many years with her husband, Jack Baker who died three years ago. Baker now rents the space to Nancy

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EF Watermelon Celebrates 40 Years

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Jewelry, geodes, objets d’art are specialties of EF Watermelon, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend. Jim Elliott and Richard Freeman are the “E” and “F” of EF Watermelon. They met in graduate school, but after Jim discovered gemstones, the two began traveling the world to look for interesting stones and materials.  The duo became enamored with tourmalines, especially the striking watermelon variety, which can range in color from white to green to pink. And, inspired by the 1970’s ad that began with, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen,” the name EF Watermelon was born.  Spouses Cathy Elliott and

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Ivoryton Designer CAIT SHEA Opens Boutique and Coffee Bar, Talks “Slow Fashion”

ESSEX — Ivoryton designer Cait Shea, says she prioritizes ethical consumer practices, and styles designed to last, in an era of retail fashion meant to sell fast and wear out soon. “It’s all about going back to basics and focusing on the quality,” Cait Shea Clark said. “Trends are constantly moving, but a classic white linen shirt will never go out of style.” After about eighteen months at a previous location in Chester, on October 12 Clark opened CAIT SHEA + Sprouted Coffee Bar at 104 Main Street in Ivoryton. Clark’s family has lived in Ivoryton since she was 12.

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After a Dozen Years in Storage, Connecticut College Opens Nut Museum Exhibition

NEW LONDON — Elizabeth Tashjian, a visual and performance artist who curated and ran the Nut Museum in Old Lyme, is finding her place as an outsider in the art world. Examples of her paintings and drawings, performances, interviews and nut collection will be exhibited in “Revisiting the Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian” at the Cummings Arts Center and Shain Library from October 21 to December 6. The show is curated by Christopher Steiner, Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, with assistance from students in the “Bad Art: Looking Beyond the Canon,” a class that’s

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Turner Show Opens at Mystic … “as good an overview … as can be imagined.”

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At just under a hundred works — ninety-two watercolors and four oils — the William Turner show now at the Mystic Seaport Museum is as good an overview of the artist’s career in the medium as can be imagined. And what an overview it is of one of the greatest and most inventive watercolorists curated by the Tate’s Manton Senior Curator of British Art 1790-1850, David Blayney Brown. Turner intended to secure his legacy by leaving a hundred oils to the National Gallery, but in 1856 the Chancery Court decided that was an insufficient bequest to Great Britain, and the

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I-Park Kicks off Seventh Art Biennale in East Haddam

EAST HADDAM — At night, animals, birds, flowers, and even mushroom spores become active, moving about, making sounds and leaving traces, mostly unbeknownst to humans.  Participants in artist Moira Williams’ sound walk called “Fissures, Holes, Limbs: breathing dislocated scales,” were invited Sunday to shift from “daylight to moonlight” and experience night sounds and images she had recorded onsite at I-Park, an international artist-in-residence program founded in 2001.  Williams, a New-York-City-based artist, is one of nine artists in I-Park’s seventh Site-Responsive Art Biennale who spent three weeks on the program’s 450-acre campus “creating ephemeral artworks that respond to the property’s natural

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After Workshops in Old Lyme, Artist-Instructor Jesus Villarreal Reflects

When artist Jesus Emmanuel Villarreal teaches painting, he doesn’t just talk about it, he paints right alongside his students so they can see what he’s working on.  “I think that’s the best way to learn … I don’t believe in those teachers who just tell you and they don’t show you anything,” said Villarreal, a realist painter who taught four one-week painting classes sponsored by Florence Academy of Art, on the campus of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, in August. Villarreal, who spoke with CT Examiner by phone, said he likes to start his classes by showing students images of

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Chad Floyd, Centerbrook Architects, on Metaphor, Public, and Place

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ESSEX — There were two choices for Chad Floyd as he designed the Thompson Exhibition Building in Mystic — the literal or the metaphorical. “The basic idea was to respond to Mystic Seaport’s desire to have a building that would symbolize the institution,” said Floyd, a principal and founding member of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, in a conversation at his office on Friday. 14,000-square foot structure opened in September 2016 and has remained a topic of conversation in the region ever since. “You could approach it in two general directions — what had been tried before by architects, which was

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Artemisia in Old Lyme Offers Fabric, Inspiration, Design

OLD LYME — Whether for gathering inspiration, buying pillows and antiques or going for an entire home redesign, Artemisia has something to offer those who appreciate textiles, craftsmanship and home design.  In a building located behind the Cooley Gallery at 23 Lyme St., the store has retail space in the front, lined with pillows, fabrics, art and furniture, and a studio workroom in the back where co-owner Rosemarie Padovano sews and designs.  “I started the company in 2013 and this is the first time I’m doing retail — I opened the shop one year ago,” said Padovano Tuesday at her

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Fragile Earth at the Florence Griswold Museum Immerses Visitors in Art and Conservation

Rather than viewing the art, I felt immersed in it. Alarmingly large insects, somehow beautiful in their geometric arrangement, covered the walls. Every piece of furniture displayed not a flower or ornament under a glass bell jar, but an intricate scene with every part played by an insect. Cicadas, beetles, moths, dragon flies, butterflies, nearly every insect I’d ever swatted away, somehow made to look enticing as they led you through the entirety of the first floor of the Griswold house at the Florence Griswold Museum. “Jennifer wrote this fictional narrative about the artists in the house. She wants you

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Local Artists Reflect on the Florence Griswold Lawn, Site of New Artist Trail in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — For artists and art lovers, the lawn, the gardens, the light, and the views at the Florence Griswold Museum are iconic, hallowed by the footsteps and brushstrokes of the Old Lyme art colony and the many painters who have followed and continue to flock to the site.  On Monday, the museum will reveal a new vision for the 12-acre property, including a new artists’ trail, that will be dedicated to Robert F. Schumann, a trustee and patron of the museum for nearly two decades. The Robert F. Schumann Foundation awarded the museum a $1 million grant in

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Off to New York and the 2019 Whitney Biennial

NEW YORK — The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial is about the “now” of art and reflects the new in architecture through its Renzo Piano structure and the ever-changing nature of New York City. But it’s also a reminder of the “then,” the many artists and biennials that came before, the museum’s previous home in the Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, and the move to Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district of lower Manhattan.  As a contemporary art lover, and sometimes hater, I consider the Biennial a rite of passage every two years, taking me forward

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Whale Bone Cove: VI

I had no idea what was involved in all of it, planting it, caring for it, even just keeping it alive. I knew deer ate yew bushes, cedar trees, prickly holly and, in rough winters, even really prickly roses, but it never occurred to me that they ate tulips or lilacs or the buds off the hundreds of day lilies I would plant along the road, just as they were about to flower.

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Whale Bone Cove: Part V

I suppose I had wanted a garden for some time. But gardening wasn't a childhood obsession like my yearning for a house. I mean, there is an old black and white photograph of me, age six, planting pansies in our garden with my mother. I love the look and especially the smells of gardens. But it wasn’t until I put in my first garden, in the Peace Corps, in Tanzania in the late 1960s, that I developed any real for passion for gardening itself.

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Whale Bone Cove: Part IV

I had always wanted a house of my own. The grandchild of an architect -- dead long before I was born -- I had always thought I wanted to be an architect as well. All the time I drew houses. Houses down the road. Houses my parents' friends lived in. Houses I saw in books or traveling. Houses I made up. Many were houses I thought I wanted to own. They became, for a time anyway, my house, the house I would live in… until I saw something I liked better.

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Whale Bone Cove III

In what looked to have been the smaller front parlor, the fireplace had been bricked up, a toilet put in where the hearth had been, and a bathtub installed against the end wall. But we found it charming, or I did certainly with its old windows and mantels, splendid random-width oak floorboards. I even thought the old gnarly radiators were charming.

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Whalebone Cove – Part II

At the bottom of the hill we turned onto Ferry Road, and then as we came around a corner and over a rise, Whalebone Cove opened out in front of us. Mostly it was frozen, but there were still open channels crowded with busy, flapping ducks, numbers of geese landing, seagulls and a pair of swans, heads held high, gliding among them.

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Whalebone Cove

“Go away. You're early,” said George. “Go have a look around and come back around sunset.” He shut the door. Not a very auspicious beginning, I thought. But I said to Christian, “let me at least show you where we are,” and we headed back the way we'd come, and onto the road that leads up the east side of the river.

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