Friday, March 31, 2017

Stargazing in Litchfield Hills

Western Connecticut StateUniversity will host seven Saturday evening shows and viewings of prominent planetary and stellar objects in the night sky during public nights  through May 20 at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

WCSU Observatory presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of the moon, Jupiter and prominent star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the late winter and spring months. The Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflectortelescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with additional parking available on University Boulevard.

Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event. 

·      April 8: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, Algieba, Mizar and Jupiter.

·      April 22: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Algieba, Mizar and Jupiter.

·      May 6: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, Jupiter and the M13 star cluster.

·      May 20: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Jupiter and the M13 star cluster.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Learn Art from a Pro Karen Rossi Offers classes in April and May

If you are in an artistic mood this spring, why not learn art from a pro at Rossi Studios on 27 East Main Street in Torrington. Rossi Studios is the New England workshop of narrative artist/designer Karen Rossi. Highly regarded for her original metal sculptures, she also licenses and imports her whimsical characters of hobbies and professions, known as Fanciful Flights™. A growing brand, Rossi Studios is constantly introducing many programs.

In April and May participants can study with professional artist Karen Rossi at her studio and discover the world of art, famous artists and learn new techniques from drawing and painting to building sculptures.  Saturday classes offered in April and May are geared for kids ages 7 and up and start at 10 a.m. The cost for the classes is $10. At 12 noon, Karen is offering classes for Adults (tweens and up) at the cost of $15. There is even a parent and child class offered at 2 p.m. for kids ages 3 and up at $10 per project.  There is a special Sunday class from 1:30 pm - 4 pm for Tweens and adults at $30 per class, registration for these classes are through the Education Connection or directly through Karen Rossi Studios.

The classes in April begin on April 1 where participants will learn how to adorn a small wooden chest with mosaics.  The Jan Brett: Mitten/The Gingerbread Baby/The Three Snow Bears Activity Class takes place on April 8. The most recognizable part of Jan Brett's illustrations is the way she frames her images and participants will learn how to transform their  stories by framing photos and art pieces with a custom decorated frame!

The April 15 the class Nature's Paint Brush celebrates Earth Day. Participants will learn how to create unique paintings using paint brushes made from elements of nature  such as leaves, sticks, flowers, and herbs. On April 22 the artwork of Victoria Kann is explored In Victoria Kann's Pinkalicious, readers learn the importance of balance in life. When things get a little too pink, Pinkalicious has to get more of pink's complementary color, green. Bring a little more balance to your life by painting and building a stick statue using your favorite color and it's complementary match. In anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, at the April 29 class, participants will make mini piñatas, colorful masks, and paper cut-out pennants.

There are three Saturday classes in May. On May 6 in anticipation of Mother's Day the art of Kevin Henkes will be explored. Students will learn how to sculpt paper to create their own bouquet of chrysanthemums by creating various unique paper version of the flower. These creations are a perfect gift for moms, grandmothers, or teachers! On May 13 students will start by painting a watercolor background and will then be instructed to draw line art flowers over the dried watercolors to create a beautiful simplistic effect. On May 20, students will learn how to create a paper mosaic flag using various cut paper and will learn about how to create value using paper cut outs.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Healthyville back @ Stepping Stones Museum for Children!

Children’s health matters. Not only is it a topic of vital importance for the Tri-State Area’s parents and families, but it is a critical issue for the short- and long-term health of our community as well.  As children’s early experiences help shape their lifelong habits and views on health and well-being, it is crucial to introduce and promote key health messages to them today.  Healthyville, a nationally touring exhibit created by Stepping Stones Museum for Children, delivers those important health and wellness lessons to children and families in a fun, play-based manner. This is a primary reason why Stepping Stones is excited to bring back Healthyville to Norwalk. Healthyville will be at Stepping Stones through Labor Day. 

Healthyville is a place for everybody. This bilingual (English/Spanish), interactive exhibit teaches health and wellness lessons through play-filled activities and educational messages that foster learning by doing. Designed primarily for children ages 5 – 12 and their parents, caregivers and teachers, Healthyville provides visitors with hands-on opportunities to explore health topics in ways that help them understand their bodies, the importance of making healthy choices and how to apply these concepts in everyday situations. Healthyville features engaging content about how the body works and the effects of our positive or negative health choices.

The young “residents” of Healthyville present fun facts about nutrition, fitness, safety, hygiene and the functions of the body.  Meanwhile, Stepping Stones visitors can explore how different activities affect heart rate, scan a variety of foods for nutrition facts, play sugar or salt detective and ride a bike or row a boat alongside a skeleton. Children can take a look at particle-trapping hairs and boogers inside a giant nose, learn why it’s important to cover the nose during a sneeze, brush and floss teeth inside a giant mouth, get moving on the fitness trail, balance their energy in with their energy out, choose the proper safety equipment and much, much more!

The Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located on 303 West Ave. in Norwalk.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

American Clock and Watch Museum Opens April 1

The American Clock & Watch Museum located on 100 Maple Street in Bristol will open for the 2017 season on Saturday, April 1, so circle the date on your calendar to plan a visit. 

Take a selfie with the world's largest Kit-Cat clock! Check out the clock repair demonstrations in the clock shop, take "time" to view the  2017 exhibit, "By the Bell”, and  enjoy the new novelty gallery! To celebrate the spring opening there will be free admission for all visitors.

The museum will be open seven days a week 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. from April 1st through November, and Friday through Sunday beginning December 1st through Opening Day 2018. The museum is located at 100 Maple Street, in Bristol, CT. For more information, visit the or call the museum 860-583-6070.

About The American Clock & Watch Museum

 The museum holds one of the largest collections of American clocks and watches in the world with approximately 6,000 timepieces in its collection. As visitors travel through the museum’s eight galleries, many timekeeping devices chime and strike upon the hour. Located in the historic "Federal Hill" district of Bristol, the museum boasts 10,000sq. ft. of exhibit space housed in an 1801 Federal-style home and two modern additions. It has a beautiful sundial garden that is meticulously maintained by the members of the Bristol Garden Club.

The museum is devoted to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history and science of clocks, watches, and other timekeepers of horological interest; operate a research library with historic and contemporary literature devoted to the history, development, and manufacture of timekeepers; support a publication program to acquire, prepare, edit, publish, and distribute new and reprinted documentary materials relative to clock and watchmaking and manufacture; encourage the preservation of information, objects, architecture, and historic sites related to American horology; and study and interpret the history of American horology through educational programs for both general audiences and clock enthusiasts, cooperating with other public and private agencies to make programs available to the widest possible audience.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Railroad Museum of New England Speakers Series

n addition to running a series of scenic train rides in the Litchfield Hills the Railroad Museum of New England is hosting a spring speakers series at the Crescent Gallery located in  Thomaston Town Hall on 158 Main St. in Thomaston.  Both series begin at 7 p.m. This event is free but seating is limited. To reserve tickets, email Tickets will be reserved in your name
and can be picked up at the door before 6:30.

The first lecture takes place on April 1 and the speaker is Clifford Schexnayder, author of "Builders of the Hoosac Tunnel". Builders of the Hoosac Tunnel traces the dealings between the engineers and dreamers who from 1850 to 1875 labored to drive a five mile Tunnel through the Hoosac Mountain of Massachusetts and those who struggled mightily to prevent its construction. These personages and the interactions of their lives provides the story line. Alvah Crocker, Fitchburg, paper industrialist, is the driving force behind the Tunnel scheme and the thread through the book.
The second program takes place on May 6 and the speaker is Mary Ellen Heffernan Kunz, author of "Leaving Home to Find One". Mary Ellen Heffernan Kunz wrote about Agnes McCloskey, who left Ireland for America in 1881. She traveled on the Naugatuck Railroad to Thomaston, working for Seth Thomas her first 9 years in America. She later married Daniel Heffernan and moved to Bristol.
The RMNE, located at the historic Thomaston Train Station, is a not-for-profit, all volunteer, educational and
historical organization that dates back to January 1968. The mission of the RMNE is to tell the story of the region's
rich railroad heritage through our educational exhibits and operation of the Naugatuck Railroad. The museum
concept is more than just artifacts, it's also a story of the region and the development of society around the railroad.
More information about the Railroad Museum of New England can be found at:

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shop Hop in Kent !

Ready to chase away the winter doldrums? The town of Kent in the unspoiled Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut has the answer! The Kent merchants have gotten together to organize a family fun event on March 24, 25 and 26 with something for everyone and they are calling it the Kent Shop Hop.

Visitors to Kent are invited to stop in at any of the participating shops to pick up a map of shops that offer a treasure trove of bargains, special sales, exciting promotions and special events. As you go from shop to shop be sure to enter the drawing for a fabulous gift basket worth hundreds of dollars.
Kent's varied and unusual shops and restaurants will have you remembering a gentler time when friendly, personal service and customer appreciation were the hallmarks of the shopping experience. The Shop Hop may just cure your winter blues – and have you returning quick as a bunny to this small town with big charm.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Canvas and Cast: Highlights from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection

In October 1912, the Bruce Museum hosted its first exhibition of art. At the time, the Greenwich Press noted that it was a welcome change to see “a long gallery hung with paintings from the best works of local artists.”

Since then, the Bruce Museum has not only exhibited many paintings and sculptures by local artists who were influential in establishing the American Impressionist movement, such as Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, Leonard Ochtman, and Frederick Childe Hassam, but has also acquired works that represent significant moments from the history of art.

Featuring 35 paintings and 7 sculptures from the Bruce’s growing collection, Canvas and Cast celebrates long-time favorites and many recent acquisitions representing significant moments in the history of art from the 16th through the 20th centuries. This exhibition, organized by Peter C. Sutton, The Susan E. Lynch Executive  Director, and curated by Courtney Skipton Long, Zvi Grunberg Postdoctoral Fellow 2016/17 at the Bruce Museum, examines art historical themes including sculpted and painted portraits, narrative scenes and statues, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes.

Canvas and Cast explores artists’ handling of different media – bronze, marble, oil, pastel, acrylic and collage – through examples of 16th-century Dutch portraiture, 19th-century American figural sculpture, academic style painting, and French and American landscapes from the turn of the 20th century. 

Exhibition Programs for Canvas and Cast: Highlights from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection

Thursday, March 29,  6:00-8:00 PM. Evening Lecture 
Peter C. Sutton, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director of the Bruce Museum, will provide a lecture in conjunction with the Bruce Museum’s exhibition Canvas and Cast: Highlights from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection. Advance registration on Bruce Museum Eventbrite required.
Sunday, April 2, 3:30-4:30 PM. Peppermints and Whiskey: Edward Fuller Bigelow, Paul Griswold Howes and the Formation of the Bruce Museum by Tim Walsh, Manager of Natural History Collection and Citizen Science, Bruce Museum. Walsh will discuss the 1908 bequeath of a Victorian stone mansion to the Town of Greenwich for the purpose of a museum for natural history, history, and art, and chart the historical progression of transforming a house into a museum. Guests will learn about the two men who compiled the collections and introduced our unique institution the Greenwich community. Free and open to the public. Reservations suggested on Bruce Museum Eventbrite.
Sunday, April 9, 3:30-4:30 PM. Hidden Treasures: Lessons from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection by Dr. Courtney S. Long, Zvi Grunberg Postdoctoral Fellow and Curatorial Assistant, Bruce Museum. Long will discuss lessons learned from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection by focusing on the relationships between artists and objects that help to narrate the history of art. Free and open to the public. Reservations suggested on Bruce Museum Eventbrite.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Cartoons and Political Satire @ Opening of American Museum of Tort Law

The American Museum of Tort Law created by Consumer Advocate and author, Ralph Nader is opening for the season with a special event on April 1.  Join Award-winning illustrators Matt Wuerker and Barry Blitt  &  Consumer Advocate and author Ralph Nader in a fascinating  program about cartooning and political satire on April 1 beginning at 11 a.m. 

The programs will take place at the Winsted Methodist Church located on 60 Main St. in Winsted. Advance tickets are available online.

There will be a cartoon and illustration workshop at 11 a.m.that is led by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Matt Wuerker and Hall of Fame The New Yorker magazine cartoonist/illustrator Barry Blitt. Be sure to visit the website for advance tickets at $10 in order to guarantee participation.

At 1 p.m. Blitt and Wuerker will be joined by Ralph Nader to speak on the Art of Political Satire. Blitt and Wuerker will talk about their creative processes; how they transform news into art and satire; and will show examples of their work. This session promises to be a fascinating look into the minds of two of the leading illustrators of our time.

The day is rounded out with a visit to the American Museum of Tort Law located on 654 Main St. in Winsted that will open for the season from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jones Family Farms Spring Cooking Classes explores three cultures

Jones Family Farms in Shelton Connecticut offers a multitude of activities during the growing season including pick your own fruit, hayrides, a vegetable stand, farmers market and even a vineyard where you can sip wine that is made here. One of the most popular activities here are their cooking classes.

The Early Spring Series explores three national cuisines that have undergone significant culinary transformations. Chefs in these countries have made efforts to revitalize their native food culture and to adapt their discoveries to the modern home kitchen. Purity, simplicity and freshness are emphasized and the increased use of seasonal foods is encouraged. And, that follows the philosophy at the Harvest Kitchen at Jones Family Farms! This spring they will focus on fundamental cooking methods and provide guidelines to create delicious food.
On March 25, Nordic cuisine will be featured. The New Nordic Cuisine menu will feature will feature: Open-faced Rye Bread Sandwich with Smoked Salmon, Turnips & Apple Compote, Pan-Fried Fish with Leeks, White Cabbage Salad, Creamed Kale, and Poached Pears in Black Cranberry Juice.
Peruvian food is highlighted on April 1. The New Peruvian Kitchen menu will feature: Mushroom & Sweet Potato Ceviche, Seco de Cabrito (Lamb), Asparagus a la Parilla, Ensalada Miraflores,and Frejol Colando Pudding.
Irish cooking will be the last class offered of this series on April 8. The New Irish Kitchen menu will feature: Watercress and Sorrel Soup, Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream and Cucumbers, Goat Cheese and Thyme Soufflé, Spiced Pear, and Pecan & Ginger Crumble.
Classes are held on Saturday afternoon, from 12pm to 3pm. Class size is limited to 12 students and the cost is $95 per person. Students take home their Harvest Kitchen apron and receive a copy of recipes and related educational material.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Largest Cacti and Succulent Show planned

Calling all lovers of cactus and succulents to the largest show of its kind on the East coast, the 34 annual Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale on April 1 and 2 in Waterbury at the Naugatuck Valley Community College located on 750 Chase Parkway.  Best of all the admission to this event that takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 is free - an added bonus is that the first 50 families to attend this event each day will be given a free plant!

There will be a huge and diverse selection of cacti and succulents for sale as well as a large selection of rare and hard to find books on cacti and succulents.  There will be a good selection of cacti that are hardy and good for growing outdoors in Connecticut as well as hand made garden pottery and hypertufa. To round out the fun, there will be a rare and specimen plant auction each day. 

There is also an educational aspect to this event that hosts a series of lectures on each day. On Saturday, starting at 11:30 a.m. there will be a talk on the ABCs of growing cacti; this lecture will be followed by an auction at 12:30 pm. In the afternoon, there will be another auction at 2:30 pm that is followed by the final lecture of the day at 3:30 called Growing Succulents under the light.

On Sunday, the lecture series begins at 11:30 am with a talk on Living Stones that is followed by an auction at 12:30 pm. In the afternoon there will be a lecture at 1:30 pm on succulent bromeliads  that is followed by the final lecture of the show at 2:30 pm on cold frame cacti - really!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Powerful yet Fragile: Connecticut's Waterways

The Stamford Museum and Nature Center located on 39 Scofieldtown Road in Stamford has organized an exceptional photography exhibit featuring images by members of the Women Photographers of Connecticut Collective that opens on Feb. 17 and  runs through Monday, May, 29. The opening reception of this show is on Friday, February 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bendal Mansion.

This exhibition explores the importance of water in our lives and how human activity impacts the waterways of Connecticut. It also explores how impacted waterways can be reclaimed and natural ecosystems restored.
These concepts are explored through dramatic and poignant images captured by the Women Photographers of Connecticut, a diverse group of women photographers from across the state. This exhibition is being presented at a critical moment for the community, as the National Weather Service has recently reclassified the ongoing drought in Fairfield County as severe, with ground water, wells, rivers, and streams all below normal levels.
There are two events connected with this exhibition, the first is the Farm to Table Dinner that is being held on Febraury 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. This sumptuous farm to table dining experience in the elegant setting of the Bendel Mansion, will feature the cuisine of Executive Chef Carlos Baez of The Spread in South Norwalk, Connecticut. Rave reviews from food critics and bloggers, not to mention a highly touted appearance on the Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay," have earned Carlos a devoted following among local foodies. A Connecticut Magazine Reader's Poll cited his to be the Best Apps in the state, helping The Spread to win the award for Best New Restaurant and a second-place nod for Overall Excellence.

On March 8 there will be a hands on workshop with Julie Avellino  a photographer with work that will be on display  to move participants from the idea and hobby you love to a profitable and scalable business opportunity designed by you, for you, and in support of your life goals.  On March 26, Heather Liebensohn, whose work is also on display will explain her journey from taking everyday photos to becoming a professional photographer.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

MapleFest 2017 @ Sharon Audubon March 25

Once again this year on March 25 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. the SharonAudubon Center located on 325 Cornwall Bridge Rd. in Sharon is hosting the annual Maplefest.

Visitors will enjoy on-going, guided, 45-minute tours through the Center’s sugaring operation, including a working sugarhouse and a re-creation of Native American and early colonial sugaring methods. Watch as pure sugar maple sap is collected from the trees and turned into delicious maple syrup.  Be sure to wear warm clothes and boots, as much of the tour is outdoors. 

Fresh, homemade maple baked goods and coffee will also be available for purchase during the day as part of the Maple Bake Sale. Each treat will be made with the Center’s very own maple syrup!  Fresh syrup will be available for purchase, while supplies last, as well as locally made maple candy.

Admission: $6.00 adults and $4.00 children (2 and under free)
While visiting the Center don't miss the raptor aviaries. Audubon Sharon houses various species of Birds of Prey such as hawks, owls, falcons, and an eagle that have been determined non-releasable—meaning that they would not be able to survive on their own in the wild. The birds reside in large, outdoor aviaries, which are just a short walk from our Visitor Center building.