The Connecticut Art Trail is excited to announce that it has been approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This status will allow the Trail to pursue new grants, improve its online presence, and better promote the rich assets Connecticut residents and visitors can experience by visiting its 22 member museums.
The Internal Revenue Service has classified the Connecticut Art Trail as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation. This status exempts the Trail from federal income tax; enables donors to deduct contributions made to the organization; and allows the organization to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts.
“This marks an exciting new chapter for the Connecticut Art Trail,” said Carey Mack Weber, President of the Connecticut Art Trail and the Frank and Clara Meditz Executive Director at Fairfield University Art Museum. “Becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit opens the door to more funding opportunities, which will allow us to do more to encourage people to experience all that our world-class museums have to offer.”
As a nonprofit, the Connecticut Art Trail can apply for grant funds that were previously unavailable. Using this increased eligibility for funding, organizers are planning to develop a more robust and user-friendly website that will allow visitors to browse a comprehensive calendar of events at its member museums and learn more about their exhibits and programming.
“Museums have been ramping up their in-person events and programs after a lengthy period of virtual offerings, and we want to make people aware of the rich cultural opportunities on the Connecticut Art Trail,” said Cybele Maylone, Vice President of the Connecticut Art Trail and the Executive Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to explore new ways to help our museums connect with visitors.”
In addition to strengthening its digital presence, the Connecticut Art Trail will use its nonprofit status to bolster its marketing efforts. Doing so will promote more visits to its member museums, centers and galleries while also promoting our state as an arts and culture destination.
A robust arts sector serves as a significant economic driver, with benefits to the overall community and its businesses. In 2016, the Connecticut Office of the Arts concluded that nonprofit arts and cultural organizations generated $455.5 million in economic activity in Connecticut and supported more than 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
By adding to the cultural identity of a community, arts organizations make Connecticut’s towns and cities a more attractive place for both residents and visitors. They help improve property values and support the regional tax base, while also encouraging tourism and spending at other nearby businesses and attractions.
The museums on the Connecticut Art Trail also have been a major resource for schools, offering professional development opportunities for teachers and group visits to students. For example, the Bruce Museum reports that an average of 25,000 schoolchildren visit its exhibits each year on field trips. The museums also offer opportunities for enrichment and entertainment through events such as art programs, family festivals, and lectures.
“Becoming a 501(c)(3) organization isn’t just great news for our museums, but also for the communities they serve,” said Lisa Lappe, Secretary of the Connecticut Art Trail and Director of Marketing at New Britain Museum of Art. “We’re looking forward to supporting the Connecticut Art Trail sites in the coming years as they continue to add value to the economic strength of our state and its high quality of life.”
Visitors can explore the sites on the Connecticut Art Trail by purchasing the Art Trail Passport, either online or in person, to receive free admission to all 22 member museums for one year after purchase. The $35 purchase, which directly supports the Trail, unlocks more than $150 in value through museum admissions, discounts, gifts, and other benefits. Those who visit every site on the Trail are currently eligible for a grand prize giveaway for an overnight stay for two and a one-hour couples massage at the Delamar Hotel of their choice.
About the Connecticut Art Trail
The Connecticut Art Trail is a partnership of 22 world-class museums and cultural sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets to residents and visitors. It was originally established in 1995 as a collaborative highlighting Connecticut’s role in inspiring Impressionist artists in the early 20th century, but has since expanded its scope in order to encompass the diversity of the state’s collections and to reach a broader audience. The organization also runs the Art Trail Passport program, which grants access to all member museums for one year from purchase date.
The Connecticut Art Trail is celebrating the best of the autumn season by highlighting new exhibitions and seasonal events happening across its 22 museums.
The unique exhibitions at our museums include work by diverse artists and rarely seen items from museum collections. Fall is a wonderful time to get outdoors in Connecticut, and some of our museums will take the opportunity to host seasonal events on their grounds.
Visitors can take full advantage of fall attractions on the Connecticut Art Trail by purchasing the Art Trail Passport, either online or in person. The Art Trail Passport allows holders to get free admission to all 22 member museums for one year after purchase. It is available for just $35 and unlocks more than $120 in value through museum admissions, discounts, gifts, and other benefits. Through the end of the year, those who purchase the Art Trail Passport will also be eligible for a grand prize giveaway for an overnight stay for two and a one-hour couples massage at the Delamar Hotel of their choice.
“We’re inviting Connecticut residents and visitors to explore the Connecticut Art Trail to discover new museums, see stimulating art, and take full advantage of the autumn season,” said Carey Mack Weber, President of the Connecticut Art Trail and the Frank and Clara Meditz Executive Director at Fairfield University Art Museum. “We’re proud of the diverse artists and creative offerings our member museums are showcasing in their varied spaces. We hope people will be inspired to learn more about Connecticut’s artistic and cultural sites and purchase an Art Trail Passport to begin their journey around the state.”
Several museums on the Connecticut Art Trail have been showcasing works by women artists, covering themes ranging from war to labor. These exhibitions include:
- Women at War: 12 Ukrainian Artists (through Oct. 15): The Eastern Connecticut State University Art Gallery, the newest member of the Connecticut Art Trail, features works from a dozen women artists whose work reflects the conflicts in their home country of Ukraine over the past decade.
- From the Pen to the Knife (through Nov. 27): MoCA Westport displays the knifed watercolor paintings of journalist-turned-artist Marian Christy.
- Gladys Triana: A Path to Enlightenment/Beyond Exile (through Dec. 17): Visitors are invited to visit two separate Connecticut Art Trail venues to take in a unique exhibition of work by Cuban-born artist Gladys Triana. Her pieces at the Art Museum at the University of St. Joseph follow a theme of feminist represenation, while her work at the Fairfield University Art Museum explores themes of exile.
- Work It! Women Artists on Women’s Labor (through Dec. 31): This exhibition at the Mattatuck Museum looks at beauty expectations, emotional labor, and other issues women face in the workplace and at home.
- 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone (through Jan. 8, 2023): Taking up the entirety of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art’s display space for the first time since its new building opened in 2004, this exhibition recognizes work from the Aldrich’s 1971 exhibition “Twenty-Six Contemporary Women Artists” as well as pieces from a new set of artists.
- Encounters with the Collection: Celebrating Art by Women (through July 2024): The William Benton Museum of Art is delving into its collections over a period of nearly two years to feature a rotating display of paintings, sculpture, and more from women artists.
Other museums are showcasing works by young talent and people of color. These include 72nd A-One, a recurring show at the Silvermine Galleries (through Oct. 20) with art selected from young contributors nationwide; 30 Americans at the New Britain Museum of American Art, featuring the work of contemporary Black artists (through Oct. 30); and Bámigbóyè: A Master Sculptor of the Yorùbá Tradition at the Yale University Art Gallery, with a focus on wooden masks created by this renowned Nigerian sculptor (through Jan. 8).
Nature itself gets in the artistic mood this season, and the fiery colors of autumn will serve as a backdrop for unique outdoor events at some Connecticut Art Trail venues. These events include:
- Wee Faerie Village: Florence Griswold Museum’s fairy community returns this year with Twinkle Point, a series of miniature theme park attractions from 27 creative teams that will be on the museum’s grounds through Oct. 30.
- Fired Up: Glass Today: To complement its exhibition of contemporary glass art, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is hosting several glassworking programs through the end of the year, including an Oct. 15 lawn party with a mobile glassblowing studio.
- Art in the Park: Prior to the Weir Farm National Historic Park closing for the season at the end of October, it will host a series of fall programs. On Oct. 15, the sixth annual “Art in the Park” celebration invites visitors to stop by and be inspired to create their own masterpieces.
From the archives
Curious what the museums on the Connecticut Art Trail keep in their archives? Several exhibitions bring these works into the public eye, giving a glimpse at the extensive collections preserved in our state:
- Haden to Warhol (through Nov. 18): A look at printmaking techniques in pieces from the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s permanent collection, including works by Sir Francis Seymour Haden and Andy Warhol.
- Out of the Kress Vaults (through Dec. 17): A major exhibition of Renaissance paintings from the collection of Samuel Kress, this exhibition features five paintings from the National Portrait Gallery.
- Britain in the World (through Dec. 31): An archival display at the Yale Center for British Art focusing on works that illustrate the impact of immigration and travel on British art and culture
About the Connecticut Art Trail
The Connecticut Art Trail is a partnership of 22 world-class museums and cultural sites, created to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural assets to residents and visitors. It was originally established in 1995 as a collaborative highlighting Connecticut’s role in inspiring Impressionist artists in the early 20th century, but has since expanded to encompass the diversity of the state’s collections and reach a broader audience. The organization also runs the Art Passport program, which grants access to all member museums for one year from purchase date.