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One of the first tourism trails in the State — The Connecticut Art Trail — is celebrating 25 years of guiding art aficionados across the state on a journey that includes 22 world-class museums and historic sites. Originally launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, encompassing 10 museums, today the Trail includes more than double that number, plus a growing range of affiliate members including galleries and art-based environments.
“When the founding museums first gathered, over two decades ago, I’m not sure that anyone imagined that this trail would not only continue to thrive but grow in reach and reputation, across the country,” shares Carey Weber, volunteer President of the Connecticut Art Trail and Executive Director of the Fairfield University Art Museum. “When considering how to celebrate 25 years of collaboration, the answer was clear — curating and opening a collaborative exhibition comprised of works from all of our member museums, hosted by a member.”
The resulting “Made in Connecticut” collaborative exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, October 15, 2020, and run through Sunday, February 7, 2021 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.
James Prosek, American artist, writer, naturalist, and current Artist-in-Residence at the Yale University Art Gallery will be the independent curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition is made possible thanks to the tremendous collaboration of the partner museums, and the generosity of our guest curator James Prosek. We are excited about building on this energy for our next 25 years,” continues Ms. Weber. “In addition to paintings, drawings, prints and other traditional works of art, this exhibition will feature a number of decorative and industrial art objects including a rubber desk, an early typewriter, a selection of historic buttons and much more.”
“The member museums and historic sites of the Connecticut Art Trail are spread statewide,” shared Mr. Prosek. “Their combined collections number over half a million objects and are filled with astonishing works. It is an honor to be working with the museums to showcase the diversity of objects that have impacted Connecticut’s rich cultural landscape over the centuries.”
The “Made in Connecticut” exhibition is the highlight of this milestone year for the Trail, which will also include educational programming and unique anniversary exhibits among individual members. This will also be the final year that the popular Connecticut Art Trail passport, which provides no-cost admission to all 22 member sites,” will be available for its original, $25.
Entrance to the Wadsworth and the “Made in Connecticut” exhibition are included with the purchase of the Passport which can be done online at ctarttrail.org or at any member location. “The proceeds of passports purchased directly at a member location results in a $25 donation directly to that museum,” concludes Ms. Weber. “Not everyone realizes that the Trail currently does not receive any state or federal funding and that we strictly operate from members dues and the sales of passports. Therefore the sales of the passports have a direct impact on the ability of the museums to promote their great work.” Docent- led tours of the Made in Connecticut exhibition will be on Sundays at 11 am from November 1, 2020 to February 7, 2020. Advanced registration is required via thewadsworth.org
In addition to celebrating our 25th anniversary with the “Made In Connecticut” exhibition, the Wadsworth will be hosting several virtual related programs. For a current listing, check thewadsworth.org.
Virtual Gallery Talk
Friday, October 16; 5pm
Artist James Prosek guides us through the landscape of the rich creative history of artists working in Connecticut on tour of the Connecticut Art Trail’s 25th anniversary exhibition, Made in Connecticut, which he curated. Free. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
An Evening with Mark Dion
Wednesday, October 21; 6pm
Artist Mark Dion draws on the early modern tradition of assembling artifacts and objects into theatrical dioramas that make statements about contemporary collecting habits, our relationship to history, and the future of the environment. In a conversation with curator Patricia Hickson, Dion discusses his artistic practices and his local New England roots. In conjunction with the exhibition Made in Connecticut. Free. Co-sponsored with the Hartford Art School. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
An Evening with James Prosek
Friday, November 6; 5pm
James Prosek is not only a prolific artist, curator, author, and naturalist, but he also charts the landscape through music. A founding member of the group Troutband, Prosek will perform a concert from the Wadsworth that you can watch virtually from your own home. Free. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
Virtual Second Saturdays for Families
Saturday, November 14
Explore the exhibition Made in Connecticut and get inspired by art objects collected from all over the state. Design an artwork that presents your unique view of The Constitution State. What artist, story, or town would you like to highlight? Free.
Second Saturdays for Families digital activity packs include art-making demonstrations, visual scavenger hunts, close looking prompts, and story time in English and Spanish. Available on the second Saturday of the month and afterwards via thewadsworth.org.
The Connecticut Art Trail Passport is officially sponsored by the Greenwich Hospitality Group – a luxury hotelier with properties that includes DELAMAR, The Goodwin, and Hotel Zero Degrees. For timely updates about the Trail visits ctarttrail.org or follow the Trail on social media.