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

Colonial Revival Fashion and more at Litchfield Historical Society

The Litchfield History Museum has planned a series of March programs sure to make this month fly by. On March 5 there is a program called A New Country that will focus on immigration. Each participant will take on the identity of an immigrant to the United States and go through a series of tasks, including traveling to America, going through Ellis Island, and navigating life in your new home. The program begins at 3:30 p.m. and is suitable for children 7+ and costs $5 for members and $7 for non-members.

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At 2 p.m. on March 8, celebrate creating a national identity with the songs of Irish – Americans. “Creating a National Identity: Songs of the Irish Americans” is a lecture and music presentation which explores the fascinating history of a variety of songs that evoke strong emotional visions of Ireland, but are of American authorship. This program traces popular songs from the 1840’s through to the early Twentieth Century as a road map to the emergence of the cultural identity of Irish-Americans. Presenting songs of labor, emigration, homesickness and struggle, we recognize a people who have traveled far, achieved much and recorded their journeys in songs with fullness of feeling and tremendous faith. The musical ensemble Ask Your Father presents acoustic ballads and songs in the American folk tradition. Ask Your Father is the husband and wife team Rich & Dee Kelly and their partner Rick Spencer. This program is free for members and $5 for non-members.

The month is rounded out on March 22 at 3 pm with an interesting lecture on fashion during Connecticut’s Colonial Revival period. From costume balls to reproduction furniture Connecticut embodied the ideals of the Colonial Revival. Taking root during the Centennial celebrations of 1876, residents looked back at the colonial past and took to heart the simplified lives of their ancestors. Embodied by furniture and fashion designs, as well as social clubs and entertainments, the Colonial Revival Movement grew to extremes in Connecticut, and the New England Region. Participants will explore this period of Connecticut’s history through what it created and what inspired it with Karen DePauw, research and collections associate at the Connecticut Historical Society. This program is free for members and $5 for non-members.

To register for these events go to registration@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org. For more information on what to see and do in the Litchfield Hills visit www.litchfieldhills.com

Photographys by Hank Meirowitz at Carole Peck’s Good News Cafe

Hank Meirowitz is proud to bear the title of Portrait Photographer of the Pampered Pet. He has proven himself in group and solo shows in the area and in New York as a lover of animals, using his talent to capture the personality of his subject in his studio in New Milford equipped with animal toys, cookies, bench, backgrounds and floods. He has had no problem with their posing after adjusting themselves to his comfortable set-up. Dealing with pets, much the same as with humans, a one-to-one relationship and trust must be established and then everything works perfectly! However, you must start out with a basic love and interest in both people and animals. And they will respond once they sense your feeling.

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As time has passed, he has grown restless with being confined to a studio space and the lureof travel came on the scene. He now documents far-away lands and indigenous wildlife many people only dream of seeing. Over the last few years he has photographed Russia, Poland, Australia, India, Turkey, China, Korea, Prague, Budapest, Croatia, and ANTARCTICA and has only recently returned from a most exciting riverboat cruise to Viet Nam and Cambodia, which will be on display through March 2015 at the Good News Cafe in Woodbury, Connecticut.The architecture, the people, the faces of happy children and the ambience of each locale are what interests him the most.

The Good News Café is open from 11:30am to 10pm daily; closed Tuesdays and open from 12pm to 10pm Sundays. For more information www.Good-news-café.com

For more event information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Dust and Shadow at Sharon Historical Society

The Sharon Historical Society located on 18 Main Street in the quaint village of Sharon Connecticut in the northern Litchfield Hills has curated a new art show, Dust and Shadow: Paintings by Judy Albright.

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Dust and Shadow features pastel still life and landscape paintings by local artist Judy Albright. Albright is intrigued by the “spaces between and behind objects” and often features the shadows of objects in her work. A quote from The Odes of Horace ,”Pulvis et umbra sumus. (We are but dust and shadow.)” inspired the focus of this exhibition. The exhibition is through March 7, 2015.

Albright teaches classes in drawing and painting at the Northlight Art Center in Sharon, CT. To see more of her work or for a schedule of classes visit www.judyalbrightart.com.

The Sharon Historical Society is open Wed. – Fri. 12 noon – 4 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information visit http://sharonhist.org.

For event information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Greenwich Historical Society – Over Here and Over There: The Popular Music of WWI

On February 26, 2015, 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 1, 2015, 4:00 pm the Greenwich Historical Society is presenting a program on music during WWII. The Society is located on 39 Strickland Road in Cos Cob. The event will take place in the Vanderbilt Education Center on the grounds of the Society. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Purchase tickets at http://greenwichhistory.org or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10.

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Music played a key role in the development of popular opinion during WWI. Lyrics and sheet music art were often designed to influence public opinion As the political climate shifted from neutrality to support for the allies, so did mainstream music.

Prior to US involvement in 1917 many songs supported neutrality with more than one song invoking a mother’s love as a reason enough for a son to stay at home. After 1917, when the United States joined the conflict, patriotic themes became more popular.

Led by Stefanie Kies and Bea Crumbine, the program will juxtapose performances of period music with background information and slides. Also, performing are vocalist Dan Swartz and John Goldschmid on piano.

Discovering the “New World”: Maps & Sea Charts from the Age of Exploration

There is a time honored fascination with maps and sea charts. The new exhibition at the Bruce Museum is featuring maps to be admired… not for navigation!
This exhibition features more than thirty maps and charts dated between 1511 and the 1757. The maps — woodcuts or metal-plate engravings, many with original hand-applied color — represent Renaissance-period attempts by European ateliers to edify their clientele by revealing our “new” hemisphere and its approaches, as discoveries and claims came ashore from those daring enough to pack their sea bags and head for the unknown.

Today, we live in routine harmony, with cartography: on television and the Web; in newspapers, books and magazines. Satellite maps signify weather; detail maps illustrate locales of crucial events; GPS screens send us, often correctly, to new locales. On land, at sea, and in the air—digitized geography helps deliver goods and people everywhere, often without human intervention.

It was not always so. More than five hundred years ago, two European empires began daringly (and competitively) seeking the most efficient seaborne routes to the riches of Arabia and The Orient—Spain sailing west; Portugal sailing east. Mapmakers back home (nearly all landlubbers happy to sit by the fire) scrambled to gather the latest explorers’ reports to enable them to draw up-to-date maps, print them as separate sheets, and sell them largely to the wealthy as bound atlases—massive compendia that glorified leather-filled libraries and enriched cultural reputations.

But much of the news sent home was erroneous, owing to imperfect navigation, honest misreadings of reality, or deliberate misrepresentations. (As he wandered around the Caribbean Sea, for example, Columbus believed he had found India.) Altogether, these factors make historic “New World” maps a fascinating study in geographic and human progress—and occasional regression.

The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, Doors close 1/2 hour before closing, and the last admission is at 4:30 pm. For additional information call 203-869-0376 or visit https://brucemuseum.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Rick Shaefer Draws the Line at Housatonic Museum of Art

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents Rick Shaefer: Drawing the Line on view in the Burt Chernow Galleries, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT, from February 12 through March 27, 2015 with a reception open to the public on February 12 from 5:30-7:00 pm. The Burt Chernow Galleries are free and open seven days a week. Visit the website, www.HousatonicMuseum.org for gallery hours.

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Drawing is essential to the training of an artist. It is the most direct medium between the artist and his observations, thoughts, feelings and experiences—serving both as a record and as a revealer of truth. Drawing is both a cognitive and manual process that provides the foundation for painting, sculpture and architecture. Fairfield artist Rick Shaefer’s monumental, breath-taking drawings offer viewers an adventure in looking with his technically precise and visually poetic drawings of animals and nature.

At first glance, it is clear that Shaefer has more than a passing acquaintance with works of art across time. Of all the masters he has studied, it is Albrecht Durer that has influenced him most. In the 16th century, the natural world of animals and plants had become the focus of scientific and cultural interest as explorers returned from far-flung places carrying examples and illustrations of exotic new species. One of Durer’s best known pen drawings, Rhinoceros, 1515, demonstrates the artist’s fascination with recording the curiosities and wonders of the world. Paradoxically, Shaefer’s own African Rhinoceros, beautifully rendered in rich charcoal on vellum, comes full circle by documenting what now may be the waning days of these magnificent beasts.

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Shaefer’s trees, crowned with leaves or barren and in varying states of decay, are densely detailed and sensitively modeled through the use of tonal gradations. Majestic oaks and tangled vines allow the artist to mine the sculptural properties of a charcoal line, expressing not only what he observes but how he feels. A dramatic narrative unfolds before the eye, compelling the viewer to travel along through the light and into the shadows.

And, like the rhinoceros, these powerful and confident drawings circle around a common theme: the effects of human activity on nature. Climate change specifically could lead to the massive destruction of forests as well as the extinction of countless species. Global warming has led to the increase of forest fires as well as a proliferation of pests and diseases. Rick Shaefer: Drawing the Line looks to the rich tradition of drawing in order to explore the critical issues of our time.

For area event information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com