2004 Fall Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com The wooded hills of Northwest Connecticut have long attracted both artists and art collectors, providing rich rewards for art-loving visitors. A prime fall art tour with six stops covers the countryside between two classic New England towns, Ridgefield and Washington, with Mother Nature adding her palette of red and gold overhead to enhance the beauty of the trip. Two prize sites await in Ridgefield, a town known for its magnificent Main Street of stately homes canopied by towering trees. Among the mansions on Main is the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, reopened this summer after an addition that doubled its exhibition space. The museum, a major showplace for emerging artists was founded in 1964 by Larry Aldrich the late fashion designer and passionate collector. The construction of the striking new 25,000-square-foot gallery behind the original museum, a 1783 Colonial home, provides spacious and flexible galleries to accommodate a wide range of changing contemporary art exhibits as well as space for classes and programs. Exciting work on display September 19 to January 5 will include Bottle: Contemporary Art and Vernacular Tradition, including work by 25 artists featuring bottles; and Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis, a show of recent animations, drawings and a site-specific installation by a Pakistani-born artist. Three smaller projects include a whimsical new outdoor sculpture installation, Jonathan Seliger: Politeness Counts, featuring bronze paper bags. The mood is far more traditional at Weir Farm National Historic Site in the Branchville section of Ridgefield. One of only two Historic Sites devoted to art, it preserves the landscape of gentle rolling hills and rocky pastures and pond that was inspiring subject matter for an important American Impressionist painter, J. Alden Weir, as well his visiting artist friends, who included Childe Hassam and John Twachtman. Today's painters can usually be found at work on the grounds, where all are welcome to explore their own artistic potential by painting, sketching and photographing. The property connects with the hiking trails of the adjacent 110-acre Weir Preserve maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Guided Park Service tours take in Weir's studio with a ceiling painted blue with gold starfish, and his easels and equipment almost as he might have left them, as well as the studio of sculptor Mahonri Young, the husband of Weirs daughter, Dorothy, who took over the farm after her fathers death. Stonewalls walking tours are offered on Sunday mornings. Changing art displays at the Visitor Center often show the work done by participants in Weirs Artist in Residence program. J. Alden Weir is one of the many well-known painters whose work can be seen at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, where the main art gallery is devoted to artists who have lived or worked in Connecticut. The impressive list includes work by Alexander Calder, Yves Tanguy, Milton Avery, Maurice Prendergast, William Glackens, George Inness, and John Trumbull. The building itself, a former Masonic Temple, is of interest for the curving modern addition by Cesar Pelli circling a garden. The Silo is New Milford usually displays art but this fall the gallery is occupied from August 28 to October 27 with a special exhibit, Skitch Henderson: A Man and His Music, developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs, posters, recordings and other artifacts follow Henderson?s role in the center of almost every phase of American popular music. This is the first time that portions of his personal collections have been shown to the public. His career, particularly his role as Music Director of the NBC Radio and Television Network from 1952 to 1966, gives perspective on America?s move into the media age. Henderson and his wife, Ruth are the proprietors of Hunt Hill Farm, which includes the Silo. The recreated studio of another well known Connecticut artist and author, Eric Sloane, can be seen at the Sloane-Stanley Museum in Kent. Barns and covered bridges were among the subjects he wrote about and sketched in his 38 published books. The studio is a warm room reflecting Sloane?s interest in history and folk art. The museum gallery shows some of his paintings as well as his remarkable collection of Early American tools. The last stop on the tour is Washington, where the village green is resplendent in autumn hues. The Washington Art Association, founded in 1952, began with exhibits by famous artists with local connections such as Alexander Calder and Yves Tanguy. Their scope has expanded to show talented artists from across the country in shows that change monthly. Drawings of Ed Koren and Sculpture by Hugh Towney will be featured from September 4 to 26, landscapes by Paula Stark and paintings by Robin Whitney Fairclough and Michael Everett are scheduled October 2 to 24. For additional information on art exhibits and other autumn activities and to receive a free guide to the region, including lodging and maps, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, 800-663-1273, or check the Internet at www.northwestct.com.