Franklin Street Works Presents: “It’s gonna take a lotta love”

“It’s gonna take a lotta love” is a group exhibition that explores ideas about inclusivity, authenticity, and commonality in an age of anxiety, isolated individualism, and virtually lived experience. The show is on view from March 7 – May 24, 2015, and is curated by Liza Statton and Terri C. Smith. A free public reception will take place on Saturday, March 7th from 6:00-8:00pm with member VIP reception from 5:00-6:00pm.

The artists in “It’s gonna take a lotta love” intentionally avoid many of the sensationalist strategies used by the culture and advertising industries, Rather than critiquing these methods of slick production, elaborate fabrication, and massive scale through ironic appropriation, they make art that focuses on the aesthetic and conceptual potential of the everyday.

These artists also share a type of tragic-comic vision of contemporary culture. Humor, joy, and melancholy, among others, mix easily in their work. Such emotional credibility creates a slippage between empathy and alienation. Some artists create this slippage by making and re-making objects using seemingly inconsequential materials.

Wayne White paints witty and sometimes biting phrases on found paintings of pastoral landscapes and rustic barns. Andy Coolquitt resituates familiar materials such as vinyl records, lightbulbs, synthetic shag fabric, and books-on-tape into installations that are inspired by functions and spaces outside of the gallery. His works articulate a tension between the familiarity of our real lives and the exclusive domain of the white cube gallery. Whiting Tennis creates drawings, paintings and sculptures that pit Modernist art’s fascination with pure form against an intentionally personal mode of a hobbiest aesthetic that wrestles with ideas of concealment and containment.

Other artists such as Jon Campbell, Stephen Vitiello, and Jeremy Deller create subtle interventions using everyday language and music. Deller’s poster “Attention all DJs” takes on the form of a handwritten sign with tongue-in-cheek instructions for DJs. Jon Campbell’s “four letter word flags” brightly declare words like “Yeah,” “Home,” and “Want.” By inserting his word flags between country, state, or corporate flags in a city, Campbell prompts passerby’s to ask if the words we all use are worthy of a public format usually saved for pagentry or branding. Stephen Vitiello’s sound works in “It’s gonna take a lotta love” appropriate commercial music from well known singers. With “Dolly Ascending” Vitiello slows down Dolly Parton singing “Stairway to Heaven” to the point where it sounds like choral music. In A.L. Steiner + Robbinschild’s “C.L.U.E. Part I” video two women perform dance infused movements in backdrops of natural and built environments, connecting color, action, attitude, and environment in a straightforward way that includes the audience in their choreographed antics.

Two of the exhibiting artists, Andy Coolquitt and Jon Campbell, have been commisioned to make new works for “It’s gonna take a lotta love.” In the gallery, Coolquitt, whose assemblages reconsider the materials we unconsciously engage with, will be creating a new mixed media installation entitled “oo oo.” Australian artist Jon Campbell has been commissioned to make new works for the exhibition. His gallery contributions include a “four letter word” mural and a set list painting, which is based on a Melbourne band’s 1984 performance. Campbell extends his painting practice into the public sphere with an ambitious installation in Downtown Stamford, his first in the United States. Campbell, who is interested in representing “the overlooked and undervalued,” will design and exhibit flags and banners with the words: Hold, Home, Look, Play, Want, and Yeah. The works will be mounted on existing flagpoles in public parks, at office buildings, and on construction fences throughout Downtown.

Getting There: Franklin Street Works is located at 41 Franklin Street in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, near the UConn campus and less than one hour from New York City via Metro North. Franklin Street Works is approximately one mile (a 15 minute walk) from the Stamford train station. On street parking is available on Franklin Street (metered until 6 pm except on Sunday), and paid parking is available nearby in a lot on Franklin Street and in the Summer Street Garage (100 Summer Street), behind Target. The art space and café are open to the public on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm with extended hours on Thursdays, 12:00pm – 7:00pm. Franklin Street Works does not charge for admission during regular gallery hours.

Living History Luncheon at Danbury Museum Katy Leary and Mark Twain

On Saturday, March 28, the Danbury Museum & Historical Society will be hosting a living history lunch buffet with Herstory Theater as they present, Katy Leary & Mark Twain.

A Lifetime with Mark Twain book cover

Katy Leary, born into an Irish-American family in Elmira, New York, served as the Clemens’ maid from 1880 until Samuel Clemens’ death in 1910. The performance will be based on A Lifetime with Mark Twain, a memoir dictated by Leary and published in 1925. to Mary Lawton. Lawton was a childhood friend of Clara Clemens, Mark Twain’s daughter. She, like everyone else, was devoted to Katy Leary whose quaint sayings, philosophies, and amusing accounts were a source of delight to all who heard them.

Herstory Theater has researched and developed the character of the irrepressible and expressive Leary and welcomes you to join Katy as she takes a walk down memory lane. Clemens called Leary, a “potent influence all over the premises” and “a pole star for steadiness” with “a good store of that veiled & shimmering & half-surreptitious humor which is the best feature of the “˜American’ brand.”

Katy Leary

Katy Leary

Herstory Theater is a wonderful theater company based in Connecticut and this is their third visit to the Danbury Museum & Historical Society. The programs and performances are history-filled, educational, inspirational and always enjoyed by guests.

Admission for this special history program and buffet luncheon provided by Two Steps Downtown Grille and Ciao Catering & Events is $25.00 per person. Reservations are recommended as space is limited. Seating will begin at 11:30 a.m. and lunch begins at 12 noon. The program starts at 12:30 p.m. Please phone 203.743.5200 or email info@danburymuseum.org to reserve your seat(s).

For more information about the museum www.danburymuseum.org and for area information www.litchfieldhills.com.

About the DMHSA:
The Danbury Museum & Historical Society was formed in 1947 to acquire, preserve, exhibit and interpret the history of Danbury. Situated in downtown Danbury, the museum preserves the John and Mary Rider House (c.1785), the Dodd Hat Shop (c. 1790), two one-room schoolhouses, the Marian Anderson Studio and the Charles Ives Birthplace. Huntington Hall, a modern exhibit building houses the museum offices, archives and research library.

As We Were – Costume Exhibit at the New Canaan Historical Society

The New Canaan Historical Society located on 13 Oenoke Ridge Road in New Canaan CT has an new costume exhibit that ends in May 2015 called “As we were”. The exhibit connects two historical events, the first meeting to found the Historical Society, and the wedding of two prominent founders, Edna Hoyt Rogers and Henry Benjamin Rogers.

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Edna Hoyt Rogers was a lifelong New Canaan resident and granddaughter of the founder of Hoyt’s Nurseries. She was involved in the Congregational Church as early as 1872, where at the age of 14, she helped raise money for a new organ. During the next 58 years, she worked to maintain the simple architectural design of the Church. Edna was further interested in, “Trying to keep undesirable developments from marring the beauty of the village,” which was of great importance to her. In 1901, she helped organize New Canaan’s Centennial Celebration.

Her husband, Henry Benjamin Rogers, grew up in Darien and in young adulthood became a clerk for New Canaan’s mercantile store, Comstock & Co. In 1860, he joined the firm of Comstock, Rogers & Co., where he and Albert S. Comstock sold and manufactured clothing. Upon Comstock’s retirement in 1876, Henry continued the business under the name H.B. Rogers & Co., until it was sold and turned into a shoe factory in 1903. Also active in the Congregational Church, Henry was a deacon as well as Sunday School Superintendent for 37 years.

Edna Hoyt Rogers and Henry Benjamin Rogers were married in her parent’s house on 477 Carter Street on November 10, 1888. Edna Hoyt’s father, Edwin Hoyt, built the home in 1859 by mixing together lime, gravel, and cobble stones from his own property. He created an affordable, concrete home that stood 26 feet high and contained three stories, 18 rooms, three halls, and two bathrooms.

A year later, Edna and Henry attended the first meeting regarding the formation of the New Canaan Historical Society in August of 1889. As descendants of the town’s founders, the family joined 62 others to discuss an organization that would gather and preserve New Canaan history. The meeting took place at the Comstock-Bensen house on 46 Main Street.

The Comstock-Bensen House, built in 1841, came under the ownership of Albert Comstock in 1871. Albert was a partner in the clothing firm of Comstock & Rogers, Co, where he and Henry B. Rogers manufactured men’s clothing. His wife was a founder and early president of the New Canaan Historical Society, while Albert was one of its first directors. It was in this house that the first of many Historical Society meetings were held.

As We Were ties together two snapshots of the year 1889, when New Canaan began to create and maintain its historical narrative. The exhibit features clothing like those that would have been worn at the Historical Society’s first meeting. Edna Hoyt Rogers wedding dress, as well as other dresses that would have been worn at a 19th century wedding reception, are also on display.

This exhibit will be open until May 2015. For more area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com For information on the New Canaan Historical Society http://nchistory.org.

Take a vintage train to visit the Easter Bunny in Danbury

The Easter Bunny will once again pay a visit to the Danbury Railway Museum and you can take a ride in a vintage train through the historic railyard to visit him. This popular annual family event will take place on Saturday & Sunday, March 28 & 29, and Friday & Saturday, April 3 & 4. Museum hours are 10:00-4:00 on Friday and Saturday; noon-4:00 on Sunday.

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Trains leave every 30 minutes from 12:30 to 3:30. Admission is $10.00 (age 2 and over); each child will receive a small gift from the Bunny. Reservations are suggested and may be made by visiting the museum’s Web site at http://www.danburyrail.org.

The short train ride in a fully-restored 1953 New Haven RR Rail Diesel Car (Budd RDC), will take visitors past the fully operational turntable, over 70 vintage railroad cars and locomotives, and many unique pieces of railroad history, including a Boston & Maine steam locomotive built in 1907. The train ride will stop at the Easter Bunny’s special railroad car. The museum’s beautifully restored circa-1910 Railway Post Office (RPO) car will also be open.
Of course, the exhibits inside the restored 1903 Danbury station will be open, along with a coloring station, temporary tattoos, Thomas® play table, and the operating model train layouts. A fully-stocked gift shop will also be open.

The Danbury Railway Museum is a non-profit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, and is dedicated to the preservation of, and education about, railroad history. The museum is located in the restored 1903 Danbury Station and rail yard at 120 White Street, Danbury, CT. For further information, http://www.danburyrail.org or call the museum at 203-778-8337.

My Sky at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk has a fabulous new exhibit through Memorial Day called My Sky that is funded by NASA and created through a partnership between Boston Children’s Museum and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

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My Sky is an exhibit about the universe. But it is also about each of us, and how the sky above impacts our lives here on Earth. The sky is, after all, universal. It is something we all share. My Sky invites children and adults to explore the Sun, the Moon and the stars together in an immersive, inviting environment. Families are encouraged to “look up” not only when they visit the exhibit, but also in their everyday lives. And My Sky gives families the chance to practice science skills like observing, communicating, noticing patterns, predicting, imagining and more — science skills that are fundamental to astronomy, and skills that scientists and engineers use every day.

The sky is also a source of endless inspiration for people from all walks of life, and My Sky introduces us to a few of these people. From scientists and astronomers who work to investigate and understand the universe; to artists and sculptors who create monuments and representations of the awesome and the serene; to writers and musicians who capture, through words and melody, the feelings that arise when we gaze up at the Moon, or stare silently at the stars. The universe is inspiring. It is mind boggling. It is full of wonder. My Sky invites you to feel all of that.

For more information http://www.steppingstonesmuseum.org. For more area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Saving our Heirloom Seeds @ The Kent Historical Society

Seeds are getting ready to sprout, and the Kent Historical Society wants everyone to be ready for spring planting. In another of its continuing “Sunday Series” presentations, the Kent Historical Society, in collaboration with the Kent Garden Club, will host Ken Greene, founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, who will present the hows and whys of preserving and growing heirloom seeds. The lecture will be held Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall.

Isis Tomato Seed Pack

Like all great libraries, the Hudson Valley Seed Library is filled with stories that have become essential elements of regional culture. But this library is dedicated to one of the most important parts of our horticultural heritage: seeds. Unlike heirloom antiques, seeds are alive and always changing. Their ever-evolving nature has led to the diversity of flowers, vegetables and herbs still with us today. The Hudson Valley Seed Library is a project Greene germinated in a small town library that has now blossomed into a company and farm devoted to producing organic seed for home gardeners and farmers, and fostering a regional seed-saving community.

Greene is a tireless advocate for seed diversity, security, and sovereignty, and for the cultural stories that celebrate farms and gardens. His engaging presentation will explore new ways of keeping seed heritage alive, from restoration to preservation, and growing the heirlooms of tomorrow. He is on the board of directors for Organic Seed Alliance and has given presentations at the NOFA-NY conference, Seed Savers Exchange, Young Farmers Conference, Culinary Institute of America, Organic Seed Conference, National Heirloom Expo, Cornell and many other organizations.

Hudson Valley Seed Library also celebrates seeds through art, and annually commissions original art for a select number of unique seed packs in its catalog.
For the 2015 collection, over 400 artists applied for only 16 available commissions. Greene will display some of the contemporary art commissioned by the Seed Library along with photos of the Seed Library Farm, in addition to speaking about easy, beautiful and tasty heirloom varieties for gardeners to grow at home.

Hudson Valley Seed Library memberships and a wide variety of vegetable and flower seeds from the 2015 collection will be available for purchase following the program. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kent Historical Society.

For area information visit www.litchfieldhills.com. For more information about the Kent Historical Society www.kenthistoricalsociety.org

Spring Shows at Fairfield Theatre Company’s Stage One

The Fairfield Theatre Company located on 70 Sanford Street in Fairfield has just announced a series of concerts in their award winning intimate 225 seat theatre that is consistently noted as the best caliber of the artists.

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If you like the blues, don’t miss the show on Saturday, March 21 with Roomful of Blues. This band is a tour de force of horn-fired blues. So tight, and so right: a masterful combination of jumping, horn-heavy, hard-edged blues, and R&B. Since ’67, the group’s deeply rooted blend of swing, rock ‘n’ roll, jump, blues and soul has earned it a slew of accolades. But you really don’t need to know their history to join in the fun. If knowing they have earned five Grammy Award nominations, and seven Blues Music Awards gives them credibility for you, so be it.

PineHill

For a change of pace, on March 29 the Pine Hill Project takes center stage. Pine Hill Project is the reunion of Richard Schindell and Lucy Kaplansky with special guest Larry Campbell. Their work together in the folk revival supergroup Cry Cry Cry represents a turning point in American folk music, and in their separate careers they have helped to broaden the definition of folk.

Each writer brings their own unique view to the project; Schindell, his esoteric story telling, and Kaplansky, her unique outlook on life. Schindell’s work is hallmarked by the unlikely heroes that he depicts. Kaplansky left behind a career in clinical psychology in order to pursue songwriting, and has been a vital voice ever since.
The April 8 headliner is Lee Dewyze. There is a special VIP package that includes a Pre-Show Meet & Greet and Acoustic

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Dewyze is a cross between Cat Stevens and Paul Simon, and has certainly broken the mold of American Idol winners.
With his rough-hewn voice and laid-back Midwestern charm, DeWyze won over millions of viewers as a contestant and eventual winner of the 2010 season of American Idol. There’s an easy-going sprit on his major-label debut Live It Up — a breezy blend of rootsy pop, rock, and folk, anchored by DeWyze’s soulful, husky voice and bright-sounding acoustic guitar.

For ticket information visit http://fairfieldtheatre.org. For more event information on Fairfield County visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com