December 18, 2018

Archives for April 2015

Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce Open Space Acquisition in Haddam Neck

haddamNeckMapRaulBrownFINAL031815_v2HADDAM NECK — In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased 50 acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the Connecticut River to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the property’s historic use as a quarry.

The Middlesex Land Trust now owns the preserve and is planning to develop a trail system for the public to enjoy for hiking, passive recreation and education. The tract lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acres Connecticut Yankee property.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on the now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

A 2011 study of the history and archeology of the area describes the Brainerds as “a family of entrepreneurs in the forefront of early industry and commerce in the Connecticut River Valley” and recommends the quarry site as “an ideal candidate for use as an outdoor classroom for studies in local history, geology, mining, early American industry, the Industrial Revolution in Connecticut and other related topics for grammar school, high school and college students.”

This significant property along the Connecticut River is now owned and managed by the Middlesex Land Trust, a regional not-for-profit volunteer land conservation organization that, since 1987, has been dedicated to the preservation of open space in northern Middlesex County.

The purchase was initiated by, and made possible through grant funding from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, a state-local compact that protects the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A dedication ceremony for the new Brainerd Quarry Preserve and the opening of the preserve to the public is anticipated for the summer of 2015.

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A Letter from Paris: Munich Museum Celebrates Tragically Truncated Careers of Two German Artists

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prevost Logan

PARIS, FRANCE — The promise of two young men to become among the most important German artists of the 20th century was cut short when Franz Marc (1880-1916) and August Macke (1887-1914) were both killed on the front at the outset of World War I.

Animals in a Landscape by Franz Marc, 1914.

Animals in a Landscape by Franz Marc, 1914.

The Lenbachhaus museum of Munich, built at the turn of the (20th) century when Munich was the capital of German art, will hold an exhibit in May entitled. “Two Friends.”  It shows how Marc and Macke met in 1910, discovered their mutual works with enthusiasm and struck a friendship, which was to last until their death.

The eve of the “Great War” was a time of artistic explosion, not limited to the Impressionists, Cézanne and other great French masters. All of Europe, including the Russian giants like Malevich, or Tatlin, was set ablaze and the German schools of painting played an important role in the cross-pollinization of the art movements.

In 1905 Ernest Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) founded Die Brucke (the bridge) in Dresden. The human figures he painted are very distinctive with an angular and depraved look. The Nazis called him “degenerate.”  Die Brucke was part of a larger German Expressionist movement based at the Sturm gallery in Berlin and characterized by the rejection of any form of academism, the acerbic satire of the bourgeois decadence, and the crude, almost perverted, representation of the bohemian life the artists led in their studios.

In 1909, Wassily Kandisky (1866-1944) wanted to distance himself from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKVM — the Munich New Artist’s Association) painters and settled in Murnau, a small village on the edge of Bavarian Alps with a group of artists including his companion Gabriele Munter and Alexej Jawlensky. For Marc and Macke, it was a pivotal moment to meet them there.

Zoological Gardens by August Marc, 1912.

Zoological Gardens by August Macke, 1912.

Even before knowing each other, Marc and Macke had shared a love for painting animals, particularly cats. Both were fascinated by the artistic developments taking place in France. In 1907, and again in 1908 Macke was in Paris and visited the galleries of Bernheim-Jeune, Ambroise Vollard and Durand Rueil, to see Pissaro, Monet, Dégas, Renoir and Seurat. Marc travelled several times to France from 1903 onwards, spending long hours at the Louvre, where he was particularly attracted to Van Gogh’s paintings.

August Macke’s city scenes showed silhouettes of slim and elegant women, admiring the latest fashion at shop windows and a sophisticated urban population sitting at cafes or strolling leisurely in a park. Macke looked for harmony in humans and in nature. His colors were vibrant and the atmosphere serene in sharp contrast with the violent, even depressive paintings of the Expressionists like Otto Dix, George Grosz or Max Beckman.

Blue black fox by Franz Marc.

Blue black fox by Franz Marc.

Before being an artist, Marc had thought of becoming a theologian. In 1909, he left Munich for the wilderness of Bavarian Alps to paint animals and eventually moved closer to Murnau. He sought the essence and the purity of animal through a theosophical view of the cosmos. Instead of being naturalistic, his representation of deers or tigers was increasingly stylized. The young wild horses seemed to bask in their freedom. In 1911 Wassily Kandisky and Marc created Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group, named after the themes of horses and cavaliers found in their paintings.

At a time when the abstraction was like a tidal wave – Picasso and Braque in France, Paul Klee in Switzerland, or Mikhail Larionov in Russia – it is not surprising that Marc and Macke were drawn to these new forms. Robert Delaunay and Italian Futurist Gino Severini became their inspiration.

But sadly this was to be a brief adventure, since both artists were killed prematurely in the war.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Old Saybrook HS NHS Hosts Food Drive Today for Shoreline Soup Kitchen

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook High School’s National Honor Society hopes to involve the town in their fundraiser for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen by encouraging Old Saybrook residents to leave a bag filled with non perishable foods at the end of their driveways on the morning of Saturday, April 11.

Students will be picking up the donations from 8 am to 9 am. All are also encouraged to drop off any additional donations at the left entrance of Old Saybrook High School any time between  8am and 10am.

Suggested items include canned tuna, jam/jelly, canned vegetables, canned foods, pasta, rice, cereal, and other canned foods.

All donations are much appreciated- be sure to try and support this wonderful cause!

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Pettipaug Yacht Club Schedules Work Party Today to Repair Club Access Road

The exterior of the Yacht Club.

Pettipaug Yacht Club clubhouse on the Connecticut River

ESSEX — Pettipaug Yacht Club Rea Commodore Kathryn Allen is hosting another Work Party for members of the Pettipaug Yacht Club in Essex this coming Saturday.
She notes that although a very productive Work Party was held last Saturday, “There is still plenty to do this coming Saturday and I hope you will consider joining us for whatever amount of time you can volunteer between 8 and 12.,” stressing that any volunteer time will be greatly appreciated.
A pothole needing repair on the road to Pettipaug Yacht Club

A pothole needing repair on the road to Pettipaug Yacht Club

She continues, “The projects list includes adding more stone to the driveway, so we will need some volunteers with shovels and rakes.  Also we will be moving boats off the deck, putting grills in the yard, cleaning some boats, cleaning the commodore’s room, and general trimming of bushes ( if any one would like to bring clippers please do) just to start the list, so there really are jobs of all sizes and shapes for whatever skill you have.”
Explaining that, “Saturday will be a great opportunity to not only help our club, but meet new members and enjoy catching up with each other after a long winter,” she adds,  “Again, any time you have please stop by as all these projects are on-going and we appreciate any time you can give us.”
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Students Support Meals on Wheels, ‘Blizzard Bag’ Drive a Great Success

OLD SAYBROOK – ‘Meals on Wheels’ in the Nine-Town Estuary region are provided to seniors along the Shoreline exclusively by The Estuary Council of Seniors and delivered by dedicated volunteers. Their volunteers brave all kinds of weather, from extreme heat to thunderstorms to snow.  They go out of their way to ensure that the nearly 200 clients have meals and a friendly visit each weekday.  However, there are days when weather conditions make it impossible to deliver meals and provide that all important personal visit.

An essential part of the Meals on Wheels program is to make certain homebound seniors have food in the case of emergency when delivery is not possible. The emergency meal is a day’s worth of shelf-stable food items, which is provided at no charge to clients. Each time meal delivery is canceled, the emergency meal is replenished.

This year, Old Saybrook students held the first annual “Blizzard Bag Drive”, collecting non-perishable food items for the emergency “Blizzard Bag” food for Meals on Wheels clients. These Blizzard Bags replaced the former pre-packaged emergency meals.  Each Blizzard Bag was decorated by local students and included a personal item for the recipient.

A meals on Wheels spokesperson commented, “The students did an outstanding job reaching out to our community and local businesses to generate incredible support of our homebound neighbors. Thank you to everyone who helped us with this first annual “Blizzard Bag” drive.”

If you, or anyone you know age 60 years old or better, need Meals on Wheels, call Carol Adanti at 860-388-1611, x217 for details.

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‘Closer Look at Birds’ on Show at Maple and Main Through April 30

'Spring Please' by Claudia van Nes

‘Spring Please’ by Claudia van Nes

CHESTER — Natural Influences: A Closer Look at Birds is on show in the Stone Galleryin the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main, One Maple Street. through April 30.  Bird, nest, feather and birdhouse paintings and sculptures by the gallery artists will be on display.

The show offers the opportunity to experience the natural world and the deep transformative experiences that humans can have in nature expressed in the drawings, paintings and sculptures of the gallery artists.

The Spring Exhibition of all new paintings by 37 artists is also on display in the Main, Joslow and Small Works Galleries.

The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit www.mapleandmain gallery.com, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmain@att.net. for more information and to purchase art not in the gallery.

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‘New Artists & Artwork’ on Show at Artisans’ Harbor Through May 30

Artwork by Mary Green LaForge.

Artwork by Mary Green LaForge.

OLD SAYBROOK — Artisans’ Harbor at 188 Main St., Old Saybrook announce their ‘Welcome Spring New Artists & Artwork Show’ which will be on view from April 15 to May 30.

The Gallery is showing paintings and artwork by 42 award winning and nationally recognized artists while also showcasing three new artists this spring.

Award- winning artists include acrylic painter Linda McCarthy, watercolorist and instructor Mary Green LaForge, photographer Sharon Monroe, and jewelry designer Leslee Kachadoorian, will all be all showing their newest collections.

In addition to new artists Artisans Harbor is excited to exhibit the new arrivals of artworks of our veteran artists, which depict beautiful sea and landscapes, river and pasture scenes, florals, wildlife, rendered in oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor. A collection of hand thrown pottery, jewelry, stained glass, framed photography, handpainted stools, and tables offer the art enthusiast and home decorator a variety of original and very affordable creations to choose from.

For information on artist display space, art classes for adults, teens, and children, Harbor Nights painting pARTies, and events, visit www.artisansharbor.com or email artisansharbor@att.net or call: 860-388-9070.

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VRHS Students Travel to Paris, Transport to JFK Paid by Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund

Ready for take-off: Valley Regional HS language students gather for a photo at the school immediately prior to departure.

Ready for take-off: Valley Regional HS language students gather for a photo at the school immediately prior to their departure across ‘The Pond.’

REGION 4 — The Valley Regional High School (VRHS) World Language Department organized a week-long trip to Paris over the 2015 spring break.

A $1,300 grant from the Christopher Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County provided for the group’s transportation to John F. Kennedy airport in New York City for their flight to Paris. These funds were, as in years past, generated by the Run For Chris 5K, held annually in Essex in Belfoure’s memory.

"Embark on your journey and only look forward. Not too fast but not too slow. It is the ones that remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We as human-beings need to dream again once more.”   These words were written by Chris Belfoure to his friend Valerie Tinker.

“Embark on your journey and only look forward. Not too fast but not too slow. It is the ones that remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We as human-beings need to dream again once more.”  These words were written by Chris Belfoure, pictured above, to his friend Valerie Tinker.

Belfoure was just 24 when he tragically died in July 2011. Yet his passions – his belief in the global community, his dedication to teaching and the environment – will be shared through the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC).

A graduate of VRHS and West Virginia University, Belfoure spoke fluent Mandarin and was pursuing a career as a corporate trainer in Shanghai. He is remembered as a charming, intelligent, ambitious man with a zest for life and adventure.

Belfoure believed knowledge to be a bridge between cultures and a key in developing innovative approaches to education and customer service. He loved to talk and knew that overcoming the barriers of language provided people an opportunity to learn about one another, to share hopes and dreams, and that just by talking, one could encourage people to see themselves as members of a global community.

Belfoure’s mother and stepfather, Robin and George Chapin, established the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation in January 2012. This designated Fund supports Middlesex County-Lower County public schools and public library programs focused on integrating multicultural experiences, learning foreign languages, and environmental programs into the curricula.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.12.48 AMThe Chapins and a host of family friends launched the Fund with the first annual Run for Chris – Run for Education on Saturday, June 23, 2012, in Essex; the proceeds were donated to the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund.

This year’s event will be held June 27.  There will also be a 2- mile walk, 1-mile run for ages 7-14, and a kids’ Fun Run. Registration is open at ARatRace.com

Robin Chapin says, “Keeping Chris’ dreams alive is so important to us. Chris was passionate about life, and I want to share his passion and determination with others, so they can grow and enhance their lives. He was always smiling and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.” She continues, “The Fund allows us to provide opportunities for schools and libraries to fund their foreign language programs and global education programs. Giving back to the community was a part of who Chris was. This all helps to keep his memory alive.”

Editor’s Note: Information about and the photograph of Christopher Belfoure and the fund named after him have been taken from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County website.

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‘First Mondays:  Get Plugged in’ Course for Seniors Being Held at Saybrook Library

Join Acton Public Library for First Mondays: Get Plugged In from 1 to 2 p.m. starting May 4.  The library is offering beginner’s workshops on computer literacy.
Spring topics will include email and internet security as well as Facebook (June  1).

These free sessions are targeted primarily at seniors, but all are welcome.

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Essex Land Trust Hosts ‘Hike of the Month’ Today at Heron Pond

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust hosts its April Hike of the Month tomorrow, Saturday, April 4 at Heron Pond Preserve, Heron Pond Road, off Rte. 154.  Meet at 9 a.m. to join the hike, which will be led by Karen Carlone.

With two lively watercourses flowing down separate valleys with a ridge in between, Heron Pond is a stream-follower’s delight. The 30-acre preserve’s easy-walking terrain is crisscrossed by four trails reaching from high ground and rocky outcroppings to sandy streambeds. Trails can be wet, and stream crossings are unimproved.

Heron Pond, once the homestead of John Clark Pratt and later, his son, Ralph, was acquired through the private development of surrounding property and opened in 2007. Traces of old roadbeds and stonewalls hint at the land’s early uses, which included logging and the pasturing of farm animals.

The new-growth forest canopy has kept undergrowth to a minimum, giving Heron Pond an open feel. A prominent grove of evergreens and birch surround the pond, which is on private property. Larger maple, beech and oak trees appear on higher ground among the eroded rock ledges.

Also, keep a look for ferns and mountain laurel—and don’t be surprised to see Barred Owls throughout the year.

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Brett Elliott Appointed New Executive Director at ‘The Kate’

Brett Elliott

Brett Elliott

OLD SAYBROOK — The Board of Directors of the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (“The Kate”) has announced the appointment of Brett Elliott as Executive Director.

Elliott served as ‘The Kate’s’ Interim Director since founding Executive Director Chuck Still announced his departure in December.

Sonny Whelen, President of the Board of Trustees, stated, “We couldn’t be happier having Brett join us as our next Executive Director. In his position as interim director, Brett has shown us that he has all of the skills and leadership qualities to bring the Kate forward as we continue to expand our role in the community. This is a very exciting time for all of us”.

Starting in 2012, Elliott spent two years in Chicago where he received his MFA in Arts Leadership from DePaul University, a joint program with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elliott produced several projects for Chicago Shakespeare including the world premiere of “Since I Suppose”, a technology driven, live interactive performance developed by Australia’s one step at a time like this. Elliott also spent a brief period in the finance and operations department at Broadway in Chicago.

Elliott is no stranger to Eastern Connecticut or the Kate. He worked at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center from 2009-2012. He then found his way to ‘The Kate’ through lighting and production work.

Holding a BA in Theater from Saginaw Valley State University, Elliott is a proud product of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, an organization, which gave him his start.

“After six years, there is no doubt about the quality, quantity, and variety of entertainment at ‘The Kate’; it truly is a cultural gem on the shoreline,” Elliott stated. “I am very proud to not only be back at ‘The Kate,’ but to lead this organization at such a vibrant and exciting time. I look forward to getting to know those in the community, as well as the thousands of patrons that come to the Kate each year,” Elliott concluded.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ is a non-profit performing arts organization located in the historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ‘The Kate’ has been renovated with public funds from the town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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Community Music School Presents New Horizons Band in Concert, April 23 & 26

The New Horizons band of the Community Music School gather for a photo.

The New Horizons band of the Community Music School gather for a photo.

The New Horizons Band of Community Music School (CMS) is performing two concerts on April 23 and April 26. The band will present a joint concert with Groton New Horizons at the Groton Senior Center, 102 Newtown Rd. in Groton at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Both bands will perform separately, and then collaborate on several pieces in a variety of styles.

The CMS New Horizons Band will also play on Sunday, April 26at 3 p.m. at the Acton Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

The band is a beginning adult band of 17 members, many of whom had never played an instrument before joining, and is part of a national network. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band will perform marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen. Hurley has provided guidance to the musicians who have started the Groton chapter.

Both concerts are free and open to the public. Readers are invited to come and meet Hurley and the members of the band to find out more about the program. Prospective new members are invited to attend a rehearsal any time. The band rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 a.m. to noon at the Community Music School, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook. No previous experience necessary.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026 for program information.

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Miller Testifies in Support of a Bill to Increase Education Grant for Haddam

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

HADDAM — State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) testified this week in support of legislation that he is co-sponsoring that would increase the education grant for Haddam up to the 50 percent  level under the state’s Education Cost Sharing formula (ECS).

Miller testified before the legislature’s Appropriations Committee on SB 816, “An Act Establishing A Minimum Level Of Funding Under The Education Cost Sharing Grant Formula.”  Miller was joined by Haddam First Selectwoman Melissa Schlag and Region 17 Haddam-Killingworth Superintendent, Dr. Harry Thiery.

Miller pointed out that of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities, more than 40 of them are overfunded under the ECS formula, while 19, including Haddam, are underfunded below the 50 percent ECS funding level. He added that introducing a bill that would fully fund Haddam would be futile, because similar requests have died in committee in the past.

“This bill, however, would bring the 19 lowest, including Haddam, that are all funded less than 50 percent, at least up to the halfway point,”  Miller commented. “It is not a long term solution, but it is a step in the right direction. We should fund the overfunded municipalities at the full funding level, and no more.”

First Selectwoman Schlag, speaking in support of the bill, told committee members the proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, saying, “If we can’t fix the regressive property tax system in Connecticut, let’s at least fix the ECS system making it fair for all municipalities, large and small.”

Miller noted that the bill has bi-partisan support, which he believes gives the measure a better chance of passage as it continues along the legislative process.

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Calling all Chester Poets, Submit up to Three Poems for ‘Chester Voices’ by April 23

CHESTER — For five years, the Chester Public Library has presented a reading by Chester poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. This year, “Chester Voices” will be on Monday evening, May 4, at the Chester Meeting House.

The featured poets each year have been published Chester poets as well as a few Chester Elementary sixth graders who worked with Chester poet Pamela Nomura.

This year, the library is taking a slightly new direction. Besides several published Chester poets who will read their work on May 4, everyone from Chester of any age is asked to submit a poem to the library’s contest by April 23. The submissions will be read by several judges, who will then select several to be read at the May 4 “Chester Voices” evening.

The guidelines for writing the poems are:

In keeping with the “Chester Voices” theme, all poets must be Chester residents

Poets of all ages are encouraged to submit no more than three poems each

All poems must be original to the poet

All poets must be willing to read their poem aloud to the audience at the “Chester Voices” evening, May 4

All submissions should not contain language unsuited to an audience that will include children

All submissions must be labeled with the name of the poet and age group into which the poet falls:  up to 12 years old, 13-18, or 19 +.  Unlabeled submissions will not be accepted

Decisions of the judges are final

The poems must be emailed to Library@chesterct.org or delivered to the Chester Public Library by Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. The library phone number is 526-0018 if you have questions.

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‘New Deal’ Art Exhibition on View at CT River Museum Through June 22

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, opens April 2. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

During the depths of the Great Depression, the federal government created work relief programs to put unemployed Americans back to work. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided all types of jobs – including opportunities for out-of-work artists. The Federal Art Project (1935 – 1943) paid artists to paint murals and easel art, sculpt, and teach art classes. Their art was always located in a public place such as a school, library, or government building so that all Americans had access to it for inspiration and enjoyment.

The subject matter for much of this artwork is known as the “American Scene” – showcasing regional history, landscapes, and people. The Connecticut River Museum’s new exhibit has selected artwork that represents artists from the Connecticut River Valley, or that depicts views of regional or maritime traditions of the Connecticut River and coastline.

“These paintings offer us a glimpse at Connecticut from 60 years ago,” says Museum Curator Amy Trout. “We think of that time as being dark and depressing, but these paintings show us a vibrant time and place.”

The exhibit contains 20 works of art ranging from pastels, etchings, watercolors, and oils. There are also examples of bas relief work from Essex sculptor Henry Kreis who designed the state’s Tercentenary medal and coin in 1935 under the Civil Works Authority (CWA) funding. The paintings come from area museums such as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Portland Historical Society, among others.

Even though these paintings were originally intended for public viewing, many have found their way into museum storerooms and are rarely seen. “It’s important to get them out on display and remind people of the wonderful legacy that was left to us. It gives us a chance to talk about Connecticut during the 1930s and appreciate the art that gives us greater insight into that period,” says Trout. The artists are also relatively unknown. Many continued in the field of art after the Depression, but few achieved great fame. “They needed to make a living, so many became commercial artists, illustrators, or teachers.”

The exhibition will open Thursday, April 2, with a preview reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring a short lecture by curator Amy Trout.  The exhibition runs through June 22.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org

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Panel Discussion Tonight Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Landmark Woman’s Rights Decision

Civil rights pioneer Estelle Griswold stands outside the offices of Planned Parenthood in New haven, Conn.

Civil rights activist and feminist  Estelle Griswold stands outside the offices of Planned Parenthood in New Haven, Conn.

The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) has announced it will host a panel presentation and discussion ‘Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut.’ The event will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday evening, April 2, Westbrook Library (Lower Level), 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, CT 06498.

Guest panelists include Connecticut State Representative Kelly Luxenberg and Susan Yolen, VP for Public Policy and Advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. This event is free and open to the public.

In 1965, Estelle Griswold of Executive Director of Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut and Yale Physician and Professor Dr. Buxton challenged the State’s interference in a woman’s right to access birth control, and by extension a woman’s right to privacy over her own body. Upon opening a clinic in New Haven, they were both promptly arrested and appealed to the Supreme Court. Winning a 7-2 victory, they established case law that would ensure women this basic human right across the United States.

Fifty years later, the SLDW shines a light on Griswold and Buxton, and remembers the rights we take for granted today were often hard won, but are inalienable.

The SLDW (http://www.sldw.org) is a chapter of the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women (CFDW), which is a chapter of the National Federation of Democratic Women. The SLDW continues to seek membership from women who live in Essex, Chester and Deep River as well as Old Lyme, Lyme, Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook,  Meetings are held monthly from September through May.

The SLDW is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in the Valley-Shore area. Women in the local district are encouraged to join the SLDW and participate in the organization’s valuable work in the community. Members can be involved in any capacity, whether it is 30 minutes a month, or 30 minutes a year. As a part of the SLDW educational charter, members will be notified of important pending state and national legislation.

For more information, email sldworg@gmail.com or contact Kathleen Skoczen at 860-669-7034 or Belinda Jones at860-399-1147. Visit the SLDW website at http://www.sldw.org.

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A Letter From Paris: A Look At Little (But Oh, So Powerful) Luxembourg

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

PARIS — Although Luxembourg is a minuscule country, with only 476,000 inhabitants, it is one of the world banking powerhouses occupying second place with 2.4 trillion euros under its management. It is one of the founding members of the European Union (EU) and has been an active participant at every step of its construction.  How did this happen?

The capital occupies a spectacular site on a rocky ridge overlooking the precipitous ravines of the Petrusse and Alzette rivers. From the Roman streets (Cardo and Decumanus) intersecting in the Marchė aux Poissons (fish market) to the all-glass museum of contemporary art designed by I. M. Pei, a visitor to Luxembourg can admire many periods of architecture including the ducal palace built in a rare 15th century Spanish-Moorish style.

Luxembourg's Ville Haute has a stunning location

Luxembourg’s Ville Haute has a stunning location.

After centuries of domination by neighbors, including France, the Netherlands and Belgium, the 1839 Treaty of London granted the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg both its independence and definitive borders. Grand Duke Henri is the incumbent ruler of the reigning Nassau-Weilbourg dynasty .

The vocation of Luxembourg was at first to be an impregnable fortress. In 963, Count Sigefroi chose the rock of Bock to build a fort. When, in 1684, Napoleon laid siege to the town, he turned to his renowned military architect Vauban to expand the fortifications, which are still visible today, with ramparts, towers, tunnels, bastions and casemates (military blockhouses), all dug out of the cliffs.

Luxembourg has also enjoyed another vocation — to be chosen sometimes as the ruler of Europe.  In 1308, Count Henry VII was elected King of Germany by the Prince Electors and soon afterward crowned as head of the German Holy Roman Empire.  Since December 2014, the EU President –  its highest executive – is Jean Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has been closely associated with the process of unification of Europe. Robert Schuman, born of a French father and a Luxembourg mother, was among the founding fathers of Europe.  In 1947, the BENELUX convention, which created a customs union, was signed between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.   In 1950, Schuman and Jean Monet from France created the ECSC  (European Coal and Steel Community). In 1957, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium signed the Treaty of Rome, creating the EEC (European Economic Community).

The 1985 “Schengen Space”  agreement, abolishing borders within Europe, took its name from a small Luxembourg village. The ‘quartier européeen’ has sprung up as a small Manhattan on the Kirchberg plateau with the sky scrapers of the European institutions like the European Investment Bank, the European Court of Justice, and most of the 150 international banks emblematic of modern Luxembourg.

In the 19th century, the discovery of iron ore brought Luxembourg into the industrial age. On the eve of World War I, it was the sixth producer of steel in the world.  But, with the decline of steel metallurgy after the 1970s, Luxembourg had to reinvent itself and turned toward financial activities, which today constitute more than 30 percent of the country’s GDP.  In 2001 the “Clearstream” scandal raised the suspicion of tax evasion.

Currently the trend is toward increasing transparency in the banking business. In early March of this year, during  an official visit to Luxembourg by French president Hollande, “tax optimization” was discussed. It was decided that, by 2017, the exchange of information will become automatic between the two countries.

The policy of Brussels, led by Juncker, is to launch a program of “quantitative easing” or QE (similar to the one carried by the Federal Reserve in the US), of 3,000 billion into the European economy. Countries are now scrambling to qualify for the bail-out funds by presenting their most innovative projects.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter.  She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries.  She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe.  Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents.  Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises in April

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young on the nest.

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young in the nest.

HADDAM — Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is here …

The Osprey is a large bird of prey (raptor) with a wingspan up to 6’ that eats fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the fish hawk. Connecticut Ospreys migrate south in late August through late September to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes, sometimes as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age, at least three-years-old, are returning north now to start a new nest or to re-establish and re-build a nest they may have used in previous years.

Ospreys nest along the edges of the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve near the mouth of the river in Old Lyme and on several other nesting platforms on the river, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the navigational day markers that indicate the river channel. It is also hoped there will be Ospreys nesting on the new Osprey platform placed on the 101-year-old East Haddam Swing Bridge.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat. RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the American Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. It will be possible to view two of these nests from RiverQuest and very possibly, see one or more of the local resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on the cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are about 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There will be complimentary coffee and tea and a limited supply of binoculars on loan for the cruise.

To learn more about these informative cruises and/or reserve your spot with the easy on-line booking system, visit ctriverquest.com or phone 860-662-0577.

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