July 29, 2014

Magic of Midsummer Successfully Celebrated Again in Old Lyme

Photo courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.  Hard at work, but with a smile, at the Florence Griswold's En Plein Air Market!

Photo courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.   Hard at work, but with a smile, at the Florence Griswold’s En Plein Air Market!

They (well, my mother does anyway) say, “The sun shines on the righteous …”  One must therefore assume that the residents of Old Lyme are exceptionally righteous because their Midsummer Festival fell beautifully between damp weather on Friday afternoon before the art openings and concerts began, rain Saturday afternoon just towards the end of the day portion of the Festival and storms Saturday night after the spectacular fireworks.

The weather simply could not have been more cooperative — except, I suppose, if we’d had sun from start to finish!

Lyme_Gdn_Club_at_LAA

The Lyme Garden Club’s stand is always a popular spot in front of the Lyme Art Association.

In a nutshell, the Festival embraced a triumvirate that has been celebrated for many a long year here in Old Lyme — art, music and food.  But this is no ordinary celebration — we do it with a certain style and a touch of panache!  To that point, there is even a Parading Paws dog contest at the Florence Griswold Museum hosted by the Vista organization, which is full to capacity each year.

Everyone loves a parade?

Photo courtesy of the Florence Griswold Museum.  Everyone loves a parade?

Every year it is a little bit different.  Things move around sometimes — for example, the en plein air  “fence artists” were down at Center School this year.

The music was served with a new twist in the form of an after-concert party at the Bee and Thistle on Friday night, jazz at the Old Lyme Inn and a youth band called, School House Rock at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

And the food  … ah, the food.  Well, that too was simply splendid!

They wee tapping their feet and swinging their hips under the Old Lyme Inn's band tent.

Feet were tapping and hips were swinging under the Old Lyme Inn’s band tent, while a delicious spread of food was prepared on outdoor grills

The Florence Griwold’s Market en Plein Air aroused the senses — especially the taste buds — as always,  but where to next?  Lobster rolls at Lyme Academy College or grilled food at the Old Lyme Inn or what about a Maui-Wowi smoothie?

Maui-Wowi drew a continuous crowd.

Maui-Wowi drew a continuous crowd.

There were crafts to do, games to play, books to buy, flowers to admire and art of every description to view — and even, sometimes, buy!  Old Lyme more than lived up to its reputation as the place “Where Art Lives,” and the thousands of visitors who came by on Saturday would likely agree.

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Music at the Lighthouse Tonight in Stonington Hosted by Holt

Schumann&Pittsinger

Patricia Schumann and David Pittsinger

Salt Marsh Opera presents Music at the Lighthouse tonight at 6 p.m. at the Old Lighthouse Museum, 7 Water St., Stonington Borough, Conn. Fishers’ Island Sound creates the perfect backdrop for an evening of operatic favorites including music by Mozart, Puccini and Verdi hosted by executive director, Simon Holt, who is the Director of Music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.   The professional singers, who will be performing this evening, are baritone David Pittsinger, a regular at the Metropolitan Opera, and soprano Patricia Schuman, currently at Glimmerglass Opera.

The event will also debut “The Battle of Stonington.”  Composed by Berklee College of Music senior Joe Holt (who performs at Hard Rock Café in Boston and The Bitter End in New York), with lyrics by Stonington author Meredith Brown, the song is a rousing 200th anniversary tribute to the Borough’s intrepid 1814 defense against the British.

This is an open-air concert by the sea on the lawn of the lighthouse museum. Famlies are welcome to bring their blankets and lawn chairs. The rain location is the Walker Building at Dodson’s Boatyard (194 Water St.) Parking is at the Town Dock.

Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door with children under 12 free.  Call 888-788-4188 for reservations or visit www.saltmarshopera.org

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Adam Kolker Quartet Plays In Old Lyme Tonight with Bassist Fitzgerald of Lyme

Joe Fitzgerald

Joe Fitzgerald

There is a very special concert this evening, Thursday, July 24, at The Side Door – the jazz club at the Old Lyme Inn — when Joe Fitzgerald of Lyme and New York City is playing with the Adam Kolker Quartet, which features renowned jazz guitarist John Abercrombie.

Saxophonist and bass clarinetist Adam Kolker has long been recognized as an important part of both the NYC and international music world as a robust improviser, composer and band leader.  He has several critically acclaimed recordings under his name including “Flag Day” featuring Abercrombie and the late, great Paul Motian.

John Abercrombie is a long time ECM recording artist and a true legend in the world of jazz guitar and modern composition.  Fitzgerald on bass and Anthony Pinciotti on drums — two veterans of long standing in the NYC jazz scene — complete the band.

This is a rare opportunity to hear this exceptional band.

The band takes the floor at 8 p.m. and plays through 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 at the door or in advance at www.thesidedoorjazz.com or by phone at 860-434-0886.

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Last Day to Enjoy Florence Griswold Museum’s Free Week for NL County Residents

The Florence Griswold Museum's Gallery Garden will be in full bloom during "Free Week."

The Florence Griswold Museum’s Gallery Garden will be in full bloom during “Free Week.”

Thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, all residents of New London County receive free admission to the Florence Griswold Museum from Tuesday, July 15, through Sunday, July 20.

The Museum’s riverfront landscape is situated on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, just 20 minutes from New London. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where a generation of Impressionist artists lived, the Museum features an exhibition gallery, education and landscape centers, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The current exhibitions celebrate the artistry and skill of traditional folk art. Art of the Everyman: American Folk Art from the Fenimore Art Museum features both rare objects related to notable people or events and anonymous objects of beauty. Thistles and Crowns: Painted Chests of the Connecticut Shore traces the stories of these chests from their inspiration, to their fabrication, and ultimately to their lives in local homes.

Visitors can tour the historic Florence Griswold House, restored to its appearance as the boardinghouse for the Lyme Art Colony, stroll through Miss Florence’s historic gardens, and relax along the banks of the Lieutenant River.
 Can You Find Me cards in the gallery and a scavenger hunt in the historic house make the trip both fun and educational for families.

On Sunday, July 20, visitors of any age who want to try their hand at painting are given everything they need to paint down by the river or in Miss Florence’s garden. Their masterpiece makes a perfect souvenir for the day. In conjunction with the current exhibitions, visitors can also make folk art-inspired craft projects. There is no charge for any activity.

“Over the past six years, over 4,000 people from all over New London county have enjoyed these Free Weeks,” notes David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “For many it is their first visit and they are delighted by what they find here. For those who already love the Museum, it’s a great opportunity to see what’s new – for free!” He adds, “Our visitors appreciate this opportunity and we are grateful for the support of The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.”

New London County residents must show proof of residency to receive free admission. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95.

For additional information, contact the Museum at 860-434-5542or www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

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Old Lyme Singer/Songwriter Connie Howard Performs This Weekend

Connie Cihocki chats in the studio with Don DeCesare.

Connie Cihocki Howard chats in the studio with Don DeCesare.

After a decade of writing songs for country artists and performing in Nashville, Tenn., Old Lyme native Connie Cihocki Howard has returned to the shoreline and will be performing local shows this weekend.  Both shows will include another Connecticut native, Matt Bednarksky, who is currently pursuing a record deal in Nashville.  The two have collaborated on a few songs which they will perform together, in addition to each playing other original songs.

Connie won the Nashville Songwriter’s Association Grand Prize a few years ago with her song “Feel,” which has been recorded by various singers including Jive Record’s recording artist Nikki Clearly.

After graduating from Stanford with a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science, Howard spent the next year playing the piano and singing at a popular restaurant in Aix-en-Provence, France, where she began to dabble in songwriting.  She returned to the U.S. to work in investment banking in Manhattan, and recorded her first album of original songs.

Connie Cihocki performs at WLIS radio station.

Connie Cihocki Howard performs at WLIS radio station.

During that time, Howard played numerous Off-Broadway shows and original music at cabarets and songwriter nights in the city.  A trip to visit her sister in Nashville hooked her on the songwriting community there, and eventually she moved to Music City to pursue writing, teaching piano and performing.

“I am so glad to discover how much great live music there in going on here, much more than when I was growing up,” she said in her recent interview on WLIS/WMRD with Don DeCesare, host of “Best of the Shore.”  That interview can be heard on the station’s website at www.wliswmrd.net at ‘On Demand’ where it will be available for the next two weeks.

This weekend, you can hear Howard perform on Sunday, July 6, at Perks & Corks in Westerly, R.I., from 8 to 11 p.m. and at The Black Sheep in Niantic on Monday, July 7, from 7 to 10 p.m.

For more information, visit www.conniehowardmusic.com

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Atwood Johnson Honored with Community Service Award at Northfield Mount Hermon Reunion

2014 NMH Reunion weekend

Photo by Glenn Minshall/Northfield Mount Hermon School.

Diana Atwood Johnson, Class of 1964, of Old Lyme (pictured center, above), received the Community Service Award at her 50th Reunion at Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) School earlier this month, which recognizes an alumna/us who has been of service to a particular community in either a volunteer or a professional roles, thus acknowledging the value an NMH education places on service to others throughout one’s life.

Atwood Johnson says that she will always remember how compassionate and encouraging the faculty and administration, staff, and housemothers were to a homesick girl at boarding school.  Northfield taught her to add and subtract, wash dishes and make beds.  She attributes her success as an innkeeper and restaurateur to both her education and her senior year dummy working in Dr. and Mrs. Meany’s house.

Recalling that she was not a very good athlete at the school, Atwood Johnson notes, however, that Mrs. Robertson and Ms. Morrow encouraged her to excel—and, in the process, fulfill her sports requirement—as chairman of the Northfield Athletic Association.

Continuing to show her leadership skills, Atwood Johnson helped to found the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and has served on its board since 1980.  She was its chair from 1996 to 2003.  Her involvement with the academy and the Town of Old Lyme gave her the skills she needed to open the Old Lyme Inn, a focal point in town.

She has served as chair of Old Lyme’s Open Space Commission and the state’s Open Space Matching Grant Program. She also joined the board at the Trust for Public Land in 2010.  She is chair of the Connecticut Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board, and served for 10 years on the board of the Connecticut chapter of the Nature Conservancy.  She is also a member of the Connecticut Land Conservation Coalition, Old Lyme Conservation Trust, Connecticut Audubon, National Audubon, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

From 1986 to 1992, she served as president of the Connecticut River Museum.  Atwood Johnson also served on the board of the Bank of Southern Connecticut and was a founding director of the Maritime Bank and Trust Company in Essex, Conn., from 1989 to 1999, and later served as its vice chairman.  She served on the Advisory Board of Webster Bank when it acquired Maritime Bank.

Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school for students in grades 9–12 and postgraduates, with a mission to provide an exceptional, multidimensional education for the “head, heart, and hand.”

Located in the hills of western Massachusetts, NMH balances academic excellence and a challenging college-preparatory curriculum with opportunities in athletics, the arts, international studies, and service work. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions and discover new ones.  They are empowered by expert faculty and staff to act with humanity and purpose and to understand their potential—in the NMH community, in college, and in the world.  The international alumni population numbers more than 30,000.

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The Road to Lymestock: All-Day Youth Concert at Ashlawn Farm

Zach Lockwood

Zach Lockwood

The MusicNow Foundation is sponsoring a youth concert at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme today, Sunday, June 29, from 12 to 6 p.m.  Headlining the rain-or-shine event is Old Lyme’s Zach Lockwood, pictured left, who now pursues his music career in Nashville, Tenn.

Other performers include Kala Farnham, PJ Tautkus, The Modern Riffs, Braiden Sunshine and Laura Spineti, Meredith Kegley, Anna Thompson and many more of the best young artists on the shoreline.

There will also be games, crafts, door prizes and more.  Picnics will be available from Bliss Gourmet BBQ.  Bring your own blankets.

Partners supporting the event include the Old Lyme PGN Library, Ashlawn Farm and Bliss Gourmet BBQ.

Sponsors include Mightingale’s Acoustic cafe, Gramma’s Attic/WCNI Radio, Imagine Gifts of Mystic, Gramma’s Attic Live, local revue/Metrocast Cable Network and captain’s Pizza.

The MusicNow Foundation, Inc., is dedicated to live music to engage, enrich and educate young artists nurturing creative and artistic development.

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‘Bird’s Eye View’ Photo Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy College

A Great Egret photographer by Diana Atwood Johnson in Orlando, Fla.

A Great Egret photographer by Diana Atwood Johnson in Orlando, Fla.

An exhibition featuring more than 50 photos by the former Board Chair of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Diana Atwood Johnson is on view in the Sill House Gallery at Lyme Academy College in Old Lyme through Aug. 30.

Atwood Johnson is an accomplished nature photographer, conservationist, and amateur naturalist with a particular love for birds and wildlife.  Since her retirement from 25 years as an innkeeper and restaurateur, Atwood Johnson has spent an increasing amount of time practicing to improve her eye and learn the ever-changing world of digital photography.

After a round-the-clock career in the hospitality industry, she has been able to return to her love of the outdoors, which she learned on fishing expeditions and long walks down the dirt roads of western New York State with her father.

Atwood Johnson is also the publisher of the lavishly-illustrated book, “Swallow Tales,” a pictorial of the hundreds of thousands of swallows that gather over the lower Connecticut River in the early fall.  Copies of the book will be on sale at the Opening Reception, which Atwood Johnson will be attending in person.

The famous, "Swallow Tide," above the Connecticut River, photographed by Atwood Johnson.

The famous, “Swallow Tide,” above the Connecticut River, photographed by Atwood Johnson.

The exhibition will comprise a combination of photographs featuring the natural world both locally and further afield.  The North Gallery of Sill House will feature, “Swallow Tales,” made up entirely of images of birds from Lyme and Old Lyme. The South Gallery will be used to display ‘Large Bird Portraits’ on canvas, mostly from Florida and Connecticut.  The hallway adjoining the gallery will feature small Hummingbird portraits from Atwood Johnson’s birding travels to Namibia, Trinidad, Belize and Cuba.  Finally, the lobby will be used to exhibit photographs from Atwood Johnson’s recent trip to Namibia.

Atwood Johnson served on the board of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts from 1980 and was its Chair from 1996-2003 and 2011-2013.  She was named 2011 Old Lyme Citizen of the Year for her advocacy work on behalf of the arts and the environment.  She is currently the Chair of the Old Lyme Open Space Commission and the State of Connecticut Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Review Board and also serves on the board of The Trust for Public Land.

All photographs will be for sale with proceeds benefitting Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.  There will be both framed photographs and works on canvas ranging in size from 9” x 6” to 40” x 36”. It will also be possible to view the Selected Student Work exhibition on display in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery during the Opening Reception.  This exhibition comprises the best work selected by faculty and created by students in all four years of the College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program.  The BFA program has majors in drawing, painting, sculpture and illustration.  Most works in that exhibition are also for sale.

The Opening Reception is free and open to the public.  Both exhibitions will be on view through Aug. 30, 2014.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice.  The College offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture (full- and part-time study); Certificates in Painting and Sculpture; a Post-Baccalaureate program; Continuing Education for adults; and a Pre-College program for students aged 15-18.

The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the National Association of the Schools of Art and Design, and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.  The College is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371. For more information about the College, call 860-434-5232 or visit www.lymeacademy.edu.

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Interested in Animation or Things That Fold, Pop-Up or Move? Tracey Art Center has a Course for You

pirate walk cycle

Learn beginning animation skills through illustration with Kelsey Ross, illustrator and 2012 graduate of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

This class at the Tracey Art Center in Old Saybrook will introduce and teach students at all levels to styles of animation and techniques while providing an overview of animation as a science and an art form used in film.  The history of animation will be explored in addition to exposing students to well-known film animators and their works.

The class is suitable for children aged 10 to 14 years.  The next session is July 7 – 10 and the following one is July 14 – 17.  Both sessions run from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

Are you interested in things that fold, pop up and move in unique ways?

Ross is also teaching a course in interactive bookmaking skills with Kelsey Ross.  This class will introduce and teach students at all levels to create the folds, cutouts and fastening techniques necessary to create moving books.

This class is suitable for children aged 8 to 12 years.  The first session is July 7 – 10, the following one is July 14 – 17 and the third is July 21-24 .  All three sessions run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

The Tracy Art Center is located at 247 Main Street in Old Saybrook, Conn.

For more information and registration please call The Tracy Art Center at 860-388-2761 or tracy.art.center@gmail.com

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Explore ‘Art in Nature’ This Weekend

Art_in_Nature_WeekendAn ‘Art in Nature Weekend’ is being held at the Lymes’ Senior Center starting Friday  evening at 5 p.m. and running through Sunday at 2 p.m.  A “Blooming Art Exhibit, Silent Auction and Sale” continues through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  A Family Trail Hike starts at 9:30 a.m. from the Center and a family Landscape Painting Class with Florence Griswold Art Educator Julie Garvin Riggs takes place at 10 and 11 a.m.  Lunch is being prepared by the Lions Club. and at 1 p.m. Paul Spitzer presents ‘Learning From Osprey.’

On Sunday, the art exhibition continues from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Another Family Trail Hike starts at 9:30 a.m. from the Center and there is a live bird presentation at 10:30 a.m.  Again, lunch is being prepared by the Lions Club and at 1 p.m., there will be a floral design demonstration.  The Silent Auction ends at 2p.m. when winners can pick up their prizes.

Click here to see enlarged version of poster above with more information.

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Hadlyme Hall Hosts Big Band Sound of ‘String of Pearls’, June 25

'String of Pearls' band

String of Pearls Orchestra

Join a fun evening on Wednesday, June 25, at 7 p.m.when  the “String of Pearls” orchestra performs their big band sound at the Hadlyme Public Hall.

This is a free event, but donations for the band are greatly appreciated.

Bring you own food, beverages, etc.

The Hall is located at 1 Day Hill Rd. in Hadlyme on the corner of Ferry Rd. and Day Hill.

For more information, check out the Hall website at www.hadlymehall.com

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Last Call for Seats to Tanglewood, July 20

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell

Only three seats remain for the Tanglewood Trip on Sunday July 20, sponsored by The Friends of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony.

Joshua Bell, noted violinist, will be performing Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra. Rouse’s Rapture is the opening piece and Beethoven’s incomparable Symphony No. 5 closes the concert.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director, Andris Nelsons conducts.

The trip costs $110 and includes a ticket in the shed, round trip bus fare with gratuity, a lecture on the way up by David Brensilver, and wine and cheese on the way home.  The bus leaves the New London Shopping Center at the fence below Town Fair Tire Center at 10 am sharp.  It arrives at Tanglewood around 12:30 p.m. to give you two hours to picnic on the beautiful grounds or to purchase lunch. The concert starts at 2:30 pm.
Bus returns directly after the concert; anticipated arrival back is between 7 and 8 p.m.
To reserve seats, call the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Office at 860-443-2876.
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Old Lyme’s Luanne Rice Receives Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Luanne Rice with Governor Dannel Malloy after presentation of her award.

Luanne Rice with Governor Dannel Malloy after presentation of her award.

On the heels of the paperback release of  The Lemon Orchard, Old Lyme resident and bestselling author Luanne Rice has been honored with a prestigious award from the state of Connecticut for excellence and lifetime achievement as a literary artist.

Rice received the 2014 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award in the Literary Arts category during a ceremony in New Haven on June 14.  The event, hosted in conjunction with the opening of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, also recognize Connecticut-born actor Christopher Plummer and visual artist Tim Prentice.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my home state for such a prominent award, and I am humbled to stand alongside two other great artists,” said Rice, whose 31 bestselling novels have been translated into 24 languages.

The Governor’s Award has been handed out by the state’s Governor’s office annually since 1978.  More than 140 artists, organizations and patrons have been noted for their dedication and service to the arts in the state, including Helen Frankenthaler, Arthur Miller and Gene Wilder.

Luanne Rice sits with fellow award winner, Christopher Plummer.

Luanne Rice sits with fellow award winner, Christopher Plummer.

Rice’s dedication to the arts goes back to childhood.  Her first published poem appeared in the Hartford Courant when she was just 11-years old, and her first short story was published in American Girl Magazine when she was 15. Her debut novel, “Angels All Over Town,” was published in 1985.

In 2002, Connecticut College awarded Rice an honorary degree and invited her to donate her papers to the college’s Special Collections Library.  She has also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn.

Several of Rice’s novels have been made into television adaptations, including “Crazy in Love” for TNT, “Blue Moon” for CBS, “Follow the Stars Home” and “Silver Bells” for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, and “Beach Girls” for a summer 2005 mini-series on Lifetime.

Rice’s work has also been featured at Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, California and in several off-Broadway theatre productions.

Rice recently released her latest bestselling novel, The Lemon Orchard, in paperback.  The story, detailing the unexpected love story of two people from different worlds, has received rave reviews.  Rice will be discussing and signing copies of her book on Saturday, July 26, at 11 a.m. at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts during this year’s Midsummer Festival.

Editor’s Note: Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of 31 novels that have been translated into 24 languages.  The author of The Lemon Orchard, Little Night, The Silver Boat and Beach Girls, Rice’s books often center on love, family, nature and the sea.  Rice is an avid naturalist and bird-watcher and is involved with Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic.  Born in New Britain, Connecticut, Rice divides her time between New York City and shoreline Connecticut.  Follow her at www.luannerice.com, on Twitter @LuanneRice and at facebook.com/luannericebooks.

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Marine Art Exhibition on Display at Lyme Art Association

'Breezy Afternoon', (oil on linen, 22" x 28") by Neal Hughes is the signature painting of the exhibition opening at the LAA tonight.

‘Breezy Afternoon’, (oil on linen, 22″ x 28″) by Neal Hughes is the signature painting of the exhibition opening at the LAA tonight.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy the LAA’s summer exhibition of work by the country’s premier maritime artists, American Waters, on view in the LAA’s sky-lit galleries from June 6 through July 27.  The exhibition will feature work by the American Society of Marine Artists as invited guests, alongside exciting marine work by LAA artists.

Russ Kramer, an internationally recognized marine painter, will jury the exhibition.  Kramer notes, “What better place for an exhibition of marine-inspired art than the Lyme Art Association … a true landmark in our region’s artistic history whose proximity to the Lieutenant and Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound has inspired artists for a century. These new works in the exhibition American Waters are by many of the finest practitioners of marine art working today. To think the same subjects continue to inspire us a hundred years later is testament to this area’s enduring allure.”

Executive Director Joseph Newman states, “American Waters continues an LAA tradition of exhibiting the very best of fine contemporary American marine painting. We are grateful to the members of the American Society of Marine Artists, who are joining us as invited guests, and we would especially like to thank our premier media sponsor, The Day, and our presenting sponsor, the restaurant, Fresh Salt, along with juror Russ Kramer, for making this exhibition happen.”

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, Conn., in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within a national historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member of the LAA, call (860) 434-7802.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Men’s Chorus Concert Today

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus will present a concert on Sunday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd. Old Saybrook.

The concert, in air conditioned comfort, features selections from Irving Berlin and Oklahoma, A Patriotic Salute, Just a Closer Walk and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

Tickets are $15 at CappellaCantorum.org or 860-526- 1038 or at the door.  Children 12 and under are free.

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Passion At The Bee: Big Book Getaway Summer Series Kicks Off With Romance, Erotica Novelists, Today

Bestselling Authors L. Marie Adeline, Charles Dubow and Lauren Willig to discuss their work with Moderator, Nick Hahn, at the historic Bee & Thistle Inn

Summer is right around the corner, and with warm weather comes fun and relaxing days spent at the beach … but, no beach day is complete without a good book.  And, warmer weather isn’t the only thing to look forward to this summer: The Big Book Getaway Blockbuster Summer Reading Series opens on June 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic Bee and Thistle Inn in Old Lyme, CT.

The new summer series will feature themed events from June through September, sponsored by The Day.  The first event, titled ‘Passion at the Bee,’ will feature bestselling authors Lauren Willig, Charles Dubow, and L. Marie Adeline, moderated by Nick Hahn.  The beautiful Bee & Thistle Inn provides the perfect setting, and will serve a full luncheon and dessert for all attendees, prepared by Chef Kristofer Rowe.

Lauren Willig.

Lauren Willig.

An expert at keeping her readers riveted, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig uses elements of mystery and romance to immerse readers from around the world in her stories.  With translations into more than a dozen languages, Willig’s books have received the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

Her works have also been selected for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction.  Willig is the author of the “Pink Carnation” series, based in Napoleonic times, and her latest work, “That Summer,” will be released on June 3.

Charles Dubow’s life experiences have taken him to many different places, and now he finds himself making a strong debut in the literary world with “Indiscretion,” a moving and multifaceted tale. Before his move into literature, Dubow was Founding Editor at Forbes.com and later became an editor at Businessweek.com.

“Indiscretion” is an irresistibly sexy and sleek story of love, lust, and betrayal retold through the eyes of a close confidant and observer.   This remarkable debut is an exciting, textured novel that smartly explores the boundaries of marriage, friendship, and fidelity, and reminds us that sometimes perspective is everything.  “Indiscretion” is a summer read that is impossible to put down, and you are unlikely to forget.  Intriguing, seductive, alluring—this is a book to take to the beach and devour before sunset.

Lisa Gabriele

Lisa Gabriele

The S.E.C.R.E.T. erotica trilogy is published in more than 30 countries, and is a bestseller in many of them.  They’re written by L. Marie Adeline, a pseudonym for Lisa Gabriele, who has also written Tempting Faith DiNapoli and the Almost Archer Sisters, both bestsellers.  She also writes and produces for television and radio, and was the show runner on the Gemini and Screen award-winning CBC reality program, Dragons’ Den.

Her essays and articles have appeared in several anthologies and in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, the Washington Post, Salon, Nerve, Glamour, Flare, Elle and Chatelaine.  She was the original Dear Diary columnist for Vice Magazine. Adeline’s articles on feminism and erotica have been read widely; her most recent piece on the relationship between the two subjects is “Is Feminism Un-erotic?” for XO Jane and for Salon.com.

Nick Hahn.

Nick Hahn.

Nick Hahn’s writing career started during his days as a student at the University of Notre Dame.  He later became President and CEO of Cotton Inc., and eventually went on to form Hahn International, LTD, an agribusiness consulting group primarily focused on third world countries.  Hahn has spent 14 years living abroad working amongst indigenous people from Africa to Latin America, writing down observations of social and political unrest in travel journals.

Hahn’s 14 years abroad inspired his first novel, “Under the Skin.”  In addition to writing his novel, Hahn also writes and narrates audiobooks.  Nick Hahn previously appeared at the Big Book Getaway at Mohegan Sun in February 2014 on the International Thrillers panel.  Hahn also moderated the Avon Romance panel at the same event.

Tickets to “Passion at The Bee” are $55 each, which includes a full luncheon, dessert, author presentations and book signing session.  Visit www.thebigbookclub.org for more information or to purchase tickets.

Tickets are also available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/684004 .

The June 7 event will be the first of four events to be held this summer and fall.  The Day Publishing Company is the title sponsor for the series; The Day is an award-winning multi-media company and daily newspaper that covers a 20 town region in eastern Connecticut.  LymLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com are also media partners.

The historic Bee and Thistle Innis an important stop within Old Lyme, Connecticut’s art colony, arguably one of the most famous Impressionist-oriented art communities in America.   While retaining the integrity of the historic landmark built in 1756, the transformed Bee and Thistle Inn provides a link to the past while nurturing artists of the present.  Innkeepers Linnea and David Rufo are building an inspirational environment which serves as a gathering place for artists and authors to collaborate, display and sell their work.  Visit the Inn’s website at www.beeandthistleinn.com.

The official bookseller for the event is Bank Square Books of Mystic.  Locally owned and independently operated, Bank Square Books has been a staple of the downtown Mystic community for 25 years.

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Lyme Academy College Hosts ArtsBall in Bloom Tonight

Guests danced the night away at last year's ArtsBall.

Guests danced the night away at last year’s ArtsBall.

A few tickets remain for the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts signature fundraiser, which is being held this Saturday, June 7, at the College. Contact Ann de Selding at 860.434.3571 ext. 117 oradeselding@lymeacademy.edu to reserve your tickets today.

This year’s annual gala is titled, “ArtsBall in Bloom: A Night in the Garden of Art,” and all proceeds raised will fund student scholarships. The co-chairs of this year’s event are Dini Mallory and Allison McCall.

artball_in_bloom_logoUnder lavishly decorated tents, guests will experience a tantalizing cross-pollination of gardens and art, both ancient and modern, with an exciting auction, cocktails, dinner, and dancing into the night.  The décor for ArtsBall in Bloom: A Night in the Garden of Art promises to delight guests with its highly artistic and one-of-a-kind “garden” of sight and sound, thanks to the inventive expertise of master landscape designer, Louis Raymond of Renaissance Gardening.

The gala begins at 5:30 p.m. in the cocktail tent with a full open bar, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and diverse silent auctions featuring high-quality art, vacation opportunities, event tickets, vintage collectibles, and more.  Diane Kaslow is the guru behind the auctions and this year she has incorporated a new feature, which is the opportunity to bid online for select auction items in advance of the event — bidding is open now at www.BiddingOwl.com.  Also, bidding during the event has been extended to 9 p.m.

A live auction featuring a week in Miss Lena’s Cottage in the Bahamas, a year’s membership to the exclusive Hermitage resort on Haystack Mountain in Vermont and a fabulous, hand knotted Afghan rug will be held during the evening.

Guests enthusiastically applaud auction winners at last year's ArtsBall.

Guests enthusiastically applaud auction winners at last year’s ArtsBall.

Patricia Spratt of Patricia Spratt for the Home is again organizing the popular feature, “A Community Paints,” in which members of the community take a standard size canvas from the College and create a piece of artwork in the ArtsBall theme.  These pieces are sold in a separate silent auction and always draw a flurry of bids.

Known for inventive, farm-fresh cuisine, Jonathan Rapp’s River Tavern of Chester will be serving a delicious dinner.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s event include Outthink; Venü Magazine; Essex Savings Bank andEssex Financial Services, Inc.; Middlesex Hospital/Shoreline Medical Center; Sennheiser Electronic Corporation; Essex Meadows Lifecare Retirement Community, Ironwood Capital, Mohegan Sun, Patricia Spratt for the Home, Seaside Wine & Spirits, Centerbrook Architects, and Smith Insurance, Inc.

The College greatly appreciates their generosity and that of numerous additional sponsors and patrons who have donated in-kind goods or services, auction items or financial contributions.  Contact the College’s Vice-President of Development Fritz Jellinghaus at 860.434.3571 ext. 125 to discuss additional sponsorship opportunities.

Founded in 1976 and accredited for the BFA degree in 1996, the College has not had a long history to build its endowment and therefore looks to the community for support, especially with regard to its scholarship funds.  More than 90 percent of the College’s degree-seeking students receive financial assistance and this need is the driving force behind the College’s annual ArtsBall.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the tradition of fine art in southeastern Connecticut begun by the Lyme Art Colony at the start of the twentieth century.  The fully- accredited College provides students with a solid foundation in figurative and representational fine art while preparing them for a lifetime of creative practice in the contemporary world.

The College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in drawing, illustration, painting, and sculpture and Post-Baccalaureate and three-year Certificate programs.  The small student body allows for a more personal education and an intimate artistic community.

The ArtsBall in Bloom: A Night in the Garden of Art fundraising gala for students of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, will take place on Saturday, June 7, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on the College campus at 84 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, Conn.  Tickets for the full evening are $150 per person. A range of additional ticket options is also available.  One hundred percent of the net proceeds benefit student scholarships.

 Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice.  The College offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture (full- and part-time study); Certificates in Painting and Sculpture, a Post-Baccalaureate program; Continuing Education for adults; and a Pre-College Program for students aged 15-18.  The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the National Association of the Schools of Art and Design, and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.  The College is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371.

For more information about the College, call 860-434-5232 or visit www.lymeacademy.edu.

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Local Artists Cantrell, Christiano, Friday Featured in Rowayton Art Show This Weekend

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Local artists Helen Cantrell, Catherine Christiano, and Judy Friday will be featured from June 5 – 8, in the 52nd Annual Art Show, hosted by the Community Cooperative Nursery School (CCNS), in Rowayton, Conn.  The featured artists will be present at the opening reception this evening, June 5, from 7 to 10 p.m.  Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be offered, admission is $40 and valet parking is available.

This show, which includes work by an additional 70 artists, is a great opportunity to view numerous works in a wide range of styles and price points.  Many of the paintings can be viewed on the show’s website www.ccnsartshow.org. Forty percent of your art purchases are tax deductible.

Additional show hours are Friday, June 6, 6 – 10 p.m., June 7, from 2 – 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 8, from 12 – 4 p.m. with admission of $15.  On Saturday, June 7 from 3 – 4 p.m., Helen Cantrell will be demonstrating her palette knife painting technique, and on Sunday, June 8, from 2 – 3 p.m., Judy Friday will be demonstrating her painting technique using etching ink on paper.

"Summer People" by Helen Cantrell.

“Summer People” by Helen Cantrell.

Helen Cantrell is a painter and printmaker from Old Lyme.  Born in Chicago, Illinois, she moved to New York City in 1968, after majoring in painting at the Washington University School of Fine Arts in St. Louis, and has lived along the Northeast coast for the past 40 years.  Cantrell was inspired early on by a Horizon magazine article on Richard Diebenkorn and the Bay Area figurative painters.  She retired from working as a typesetter in NYC about 15 years ago to pursue painting and printmaking full-time.

Cantrell has intensively studied and worked with printmaking techniques at workshops in Connecticut, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and at Crown Point Press in San Francisco.  She is an elected artist member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists, exhibits extensively in the Northeast, and recently co-founded gallery19 in Essex with Judy Friday.

"Precursors" by Catherine Christiano.

“Precursors” by Catherine Christiano.

Catherine Christiano is a representational artist from Old Lyme, who works primarily with painting and drawing media.  Her unlikely path to studio art began with a bachelor’s in engineering and an MBA in finance followed by some years of work combined with part-time study in drawing and painting at the National Academy of Design’s School of Fine Arts in New York.

A move to Connecticut prompted her to fully focus on her artwork and additional study at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, where she completed a BFA in 2001.  Christiano’s artwork often focuses on subjects that are close to her own life and environment.  She exhibits in the Northeast, is included in numerous private collections, and has been published in several journals. Christiano also designed the seal for the Town of Old Lyme.

Judy Friday was born in Columbus, Ohio, and lived there until she graduated from Ohio State University in 1980 with a degree in Business Administration.  Having worked off and on in artistic and decorative painting for several years, she began to study art seriously when she and her husband moved to Lyme in 1985.  Friday studied at Lyme Academy of College of Fine Arts from 1987 to 1993.

Her primary focus recently has been on landscapes, particularly bodies of water with an interest in the haze and light that bounce off the water.  She finds inspiration in the Connecticut River and the Long Island Sound.  Recurring subjects also include Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.  Friday exhibits in Ohio and the Northeast and recently co-founded gallery19 in Essex with Helen Cantrell.

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Bee & Thistle Offers an Open ‘Art Night’ This Evening with Author B.A. Shapiro, Then Sit-Down Dinner

shell_outsideDelight the senses from palette to palate!  The Second Annual ‘Bee Inspired’ Art Night will be held this evening, Thursday, May 15, at the Bee and Thistle Inn.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour The Bee’s dining and guest rooms and beautiful grounds to meet the artists whose work fills the Inn’s spaces both inside and out.

Acclaimed author, B.A. Shapiro, will be on hand to greet fans and sign her New York Times bestselling novel, The Art Forger, a literary thriller about Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist that spans three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors.

B.A. Shapiro

B.A. Shapiro

Creative cocktails and bar specials will be offered throughout the evening.  A “pop-up” boutique featuring work by local artisans will include items for purchase.

Admission is free for this part of the event.

At 8 p.m. an exclusive sit-down dinner with Ms. Shapiro, featured artists and celebrity guests will be presented by Chef Kristofer Rowe, showcasing his imaginative “art on a plate” accompanied by wine.

This intimate gathering is the place to “see and ‘Bee’ seen!”  Tickets are required for this part of the evening only and are $75 each, all inclusive.  Advance reservations are still available by calling the Inn at 860-434-1667.  Seating is limited, so prompt reservations are advised.

Sculpture by Gil Boro.

Sculpture by Gil Boro

‘The Bee’ serves as a ‘springboard’ for local artists to gain exposure, featuring work by Brian Keith Stephens, Chamomile Hixon, Thomas Caleb Goggans, Elizabeth Weiss, Jacques Pepin, and Pola Esther.

Striking outdoor art installations by Gil Boro, Michael McLaughlin and Chandler Davis also dot the picturesque grounds surrounding the Inn.

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Old Lyme Town Band Returns to “The Kate,” Thursday, May 8

The 40-piece Old Lyme Town Band, under the direction of John LaDone, will perform its most ambitious concert yet at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook, on Thursday, May 8,  at 7 p.m.

Billed by “The Kate” as, “Our favorite of that genre,” the band will perform  “Crown Him with Many Crowns”;  “Lincoln”; “Orpheus in the Underworld”; Selections from “Chicago,”  and “Music from “The Incredibles.”

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children and are available online or at the door.

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