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CT’s Outstanding Artists & Craftspeople


Get Away for the Weekend and Discover Connecticut’s Outstanding Artists and Craftspeople

No in-depth knowledge of the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870’s, American Impressionism at the turn of the century or the history of Louis Comfort Tiffany is needed to appreciate the extraordinary legacy of Connecticut’s great artisans of the past. It is alive and well in the genius and skills of the artists and craftspeople working today throughout the state.

What better reason is there to get away for the weekend, settle into a charming bed and breakfast and enjoy a great meal or two, than to discover Connecticut’s enormously rich artistic heritage and what the talented, innovative artists of the present are doing? In some cases, like Fourteen Lincoln Street, a B&B in Niantic, guests can immerse themselves in art without even leaving the premises on such occasions as the property’s June 11 ‘Paint Out’ in which local artists spend one day creating an oil painting to be sold to benefit the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Research (call 860-739-6327 for more information).

Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Company, the world-famous jewelry and luxury goods company, was born in Killingly, Connecticut. His second son, Louis Comfort Tiffany became the most famous glass artist of his time, shaping American concepts of design and decoration well into the 20th century. His stained glass windows can be found in Brooklyn, Connecticut and Pomfret among other places. In Hartford, The Mark Twain House and Museum’s ‘Twain, Tiffany and Other Treasures: Highlights from the Collection’ (860-247-0998) features more
than 100 objects from the Tiffany period.

Here are some suggestions for art-filled weekend getaways, complete with choices of outstanding accommodations*:

  • Follow the Connecticut Art Trail
    Old Lyme, Connecticut was the home of American Impressionism at the turn of the 20th century, largely thanks to Florence Griswold, ‘keeper of the artist colony,’ who opened her home to a group of artists that would help transform the genius of the great European Impressionists – Monet, Cezanne and others – into a distinctly American perspective.

    The Florence Griswold Museum (860-434-5542), which reopens its extensively restored Florence Griswold House on July 1, is one of 14 museums on the Art Trail that feature Impressionist Art. Found throughout the state, others include the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington and several others. Each offers outstanding examples of world class art collections as well as art classes for adults and children. Visit www.arttrail.org fr more information.

    Where to Stay:

    • One way to find accommodations along the Trail is the Nutmeg Bed & Breakfast Agency, with statewide listings of more than 100 cozy, comfortable accommodations. Call 203-263-4479 or 800-727-7592 for information and reservations.
    • In the Mystic area, there are two B&B reservations agencies: B&B of Mystic Coast (860-887-7589), and All in Mystic B&B’s (860-572-0390).
  • A Center of Artistic Significance: Old Lyme, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art and the Mystic region
    As already noted, Old Lyme was a major ‘center of American artistic significance’ in the early decades of the 20th century. The Impressionist school, shepherded by Florence Griswold, helped achieve international acclaim for the area and spurred continuing interest in the visual arts. The legacy is reflected in such current institutions as the Lyme Art Association, one of the oldest art colonies in the U.S., which offers nine major exhibitions of traditional fine art for sale and offers annual shows, workshops, lectures and classes (860-434-7802), and the Mystic Arts Center, offering fine art exhibitions in five galleries, special events, workshops and classes (860-536-7601).

    In May, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield (203-438-4519) will open Velimir Chlebnikov, a major exhibition by renowned German Painter Anselm Kiefer, which will feature a group of 30 paintings housed in a steel corrugated pavilion imagined by the artist. Purchased by a U.S. collector for his Connecticut home, this is the work’s U.S. debut, and could be the only time the work is open to public viewing.

    Other area arts organizations include The Schoolhouse, in Ledyard, a craft gallery housed in an 1868 one-room schoolhouse (860-464-2865).

    Where to Stay:

    • In Old Lyme, the Old Lyme Inn: A country village inn located in a historic area, with 13 rooms (860-434- 2600).
    • Also in Old Lyme, the Bee & Thistle Inn: 11 rooms, one cottage and a restaurant, all on a riverside setting featuring a restored 1756 private home in the arts colony area (860-434-1667).
    • In Ridgefield, the Elms: A historic inn with an award-winning restaurant has been open continuously since 1799 in its original colonial house and is currently owned by Chef Brenden Walsh (203-438-2541).
    • In Brooklyn, the Friendship Valley Inn: A Historic 1795 country house with antiques, sun porch and stone walls, located along a scenic byway (860-779-9696).
    • In Woodstock, the English Neighborhood B&B: Two rooms nestled on 16 acres of peace and quiet (860-928-6959).
    • In North Stonington, Antiques & Accommodations: An 1861 Victorian home, furnished with antiques and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (860-535-1736).
  • Connecticut’s Arts and Crafts Collectives
    Whether the purpose is shopping for the perfect gift or piece of art for the home, learning a new craft, discovering new artists or simply needing an excuse to get away, Connecticut’s many arts and crafts guilds, associations and schools represent a great way to explore the latest and greatest. Virtually all offer art and crafts for sale. There are many opportunities:
    • The Brookfield Craft Center (203-775-4526), a nationally profiled school for fine craftsmanship, with a gallery, gifts and book store housed in a colonial restored mill.
    • The Farmington Valley Arts Center, in Avon (860-678-1867), with 20 artists studios, classes, workshops and the Fisher Gallery which includes fine arts and crafts from across the country.
    • Guilford Art Center (203-453-5947), a school devoted to fine arts and handcrafts, with a gallery hosting seven exhibitions annually and a shop representing over 300 artists.
    • City Lights Gallery, in Bridgeport (203-334-7748), a gallery offering a display of emerging Connecticut artists with new shows opening every seven weeks.
    • Wesleyan Potters, in Middletown (860-347-5925), a prestigious craft gallery showcasing the works of members and other artists as well as tours of pottery and weaving studios.
    • Connecticut River Artisans Cooperative, in Chester (860-526- 5575), offering one-of-a-kind works in painting, folk art, jewelry, clothing, photography, furniture and pottery.
    • Creative Arts Workshop, in New Haven (203-562-4927), a regional visual arts school offering classes, workshops and lectures as well as galleries with changing exhibitions.
    • Ridgefield Guild of Artists (203-438-8863), featuring a variety of exhibitions in a wide range of arts media, plus a gifts gallery and a menu of courses for all ages.
    • Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, in Groton (860-405-9052), located in a restored magnificent Newport style mansion, this gallery includes exhibits of works by regional, national and international artists.
    • Center for Contemporary Printmaking, in Norwalk (203-899-7999), a gallery and studio devoted exclusively to the creation and exhibition of original prints, photography and other works on paper.
    • Gallery 53, in Meriden (203-235-5347) is the oldest continuously operating art association in Connecticut, offering monthly exhibitions in fine art and crafts as well as a gift shop.
    • Augusta Curtis Cultural Center, also in Meriden (203-639-2856), a restored 100-year-old library that offers lectures, exhibits and interactive programs focused on the arts and sciences.
    • Silvermine Guild Arts Center, in New Canaan (203-966-9700) features five galleries of changing exhibitions by contemporary professional artists.
    • Fine Line Art Gallery, in Woodbury (203-266-0110), features the works of its 15 member artists working in pastels, watercolors, pottery, sculpture and oils:

    Where to Stay:

    • In Cos Cob, the Cos Cob Inn: A Federal style manor house with old world nautical charm and 14 rooms (203-661-5845).
    • In Greenwich, the Stanton House Inn: A turn of the century mansion designed by Stanford White, with 23 rooms and two suites, some with fireplaces (203-869-2110).
    • In Manchester, the Mansion Inn B&B: Once the family home of Connecticut’s most famous silk baron family, the Cheneys, offering five rooms with fireplaces (860-646-0453).
    • In New Canaan, the Roger Sherman Inn: A 1783 country inn with colonial furnishings and 17 rooms (203-966-4541).
    • In Norwalk, the Silvermine Tavern: A 1785 country inn by a waterfall, with 11 rooms, many antiques and fireplaces (203-847-4558).
    • In Woodbury, the Hummingbird Hill B&B: Intimate (only two rooms), surrounded by gardens and in the town’s historic district (203-263-3733).
    • In Chester, The Inn and Vineyard at Chester: A country inn with colonial dйcor and 44 rooms, a restaurant and tennis (860-526-9541).
    • In Ridgefield, Stonehenge Inn: An 1827 olonial style inn with 16 rooms and a pond (203-438-6511).
    • In Simsbury, the Merrywood B&B: A Gracious Colonial revival in a private setting with gardens and furnished with period antiques (860-651-1785).
    • In Wethersfield, the Chester Bulkley House B&B: Five rooms furnished with period antiques in an 1830’s Greek Revival home in the center of Old Historic Wethersfield (860-563-4236).
  • A Weekend in New Haven
    In addition to the world-famous museums of art, architecture and rare books at Yale University and other institutions, New Haven is the ideal destination for an arts-filled weekend. One opportunity to combine art with easy socializing is the city’s ArtSpot. Popular with young professionals and artists, this program of special events sponsored by the Arts Council is apt to take place anywhere – on a rooftop, in a museum, in a park – and gate crashers are welcome. Call 203-772-2788 for a schedule. Nearby, in Madison, The Sculpture Mile (860-767-2624) is a large outdoor sculpture exhibition by leading American artists that is open all year round.

    Artspace (203-772-2709) is another option in New Haven as a center for contemporary art with exhibits and events that are free and open to the public. The core programs include a lab for emerging curators, a permanent feature of the gallery which showcases works by 100 local artists, an open area that runs as a community public art space and an annual visual arts festival during October.

    Located in the historic Atticus Building in downtown New Haven, White Space Gallery (203-495-1200) is a fine art gallery featuring hand-signed, limited edition lithographs by Surrealist Masters including Dali, Chagall, Picasso and Miro, as well as a diverse collection of original art by prominent artists. The gallery offers authentic works of art at fair prices.

    On June 10, the Audubon Arts on the Edge Festival will showcase exhibitions in several neighborhood galleries, including ACES- ECA ArtLab, Creative Arts Workshop, Elm City Artists, Small Space Gallery, Studio 70 and others. In the evening, Audubon Street transforms into an outdoor dance hall. The Festival ties in with New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas (June 10-24), which features some of the world’s most innovative artists, performers, dancers and thinkers, with visual arts playing a major role. Then in October, New Haven hosts the City-Wide Open Studios, a glorious celebration of art, with hundreds of artists and art studios on display. For more information about these events, visit www.newhavencvb.org.

    Where to Stay:

    • The Inn at Oyster Point: Three rooms and suites with Old New England touches and hi-tech amenities (203-773-3334).
    • Farnam Guest House: A Georgian mansion on the former Farnam Estate in New Haven’s historic district only minutes from Yale University (203-562-7121).
    • Three Chimneys Inn: A restored 19th century luxury urban inn with 11 rooms, some with fireplaces (203-789-1201).

*The B&B’s and country inns outlined represent only a fraction of those available and are intended as examples, not recommendations.

For further information about the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants, resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay in Connecticut, please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at www.CTvisit.com. Connecticut offers visitors a multi-faceted wealth of attractions, historical, cultural and recreational activities, diverse and beautiful natural landscapes, parks, beaches and wilderness sure to fulfill any getaway need.