Hat Madness @ New Canaan Historical Society

The history of hats is so long and has been part of our wardrobe for thousands of years. In time many designs have appeared and disappeared, only to reappear again. In the 16th century, women began to wear structured hats, similar to those that were worn by men. In the 18th century, milliners started appearing, usually, women, that created hats and bonnets but also designing overall styles. Materials of the highest quality and best hats came from the Italian city of Milan. That is where the term “milliner” comes from.

With this in mind, the New Cannan Historical Society has organized an exhibition from November 15-March 1, 2020 called Hat Madness. “Mad as a Hatter” was a term used to describe dementia experienced by men in the hat-making business. The mercury used in the production of felt, which was then used for hats, caused the problem. In the 19th century, the Danbury Hatters experienced what was then called the “Danbury Shakes.” Without labor laws to protect them, these workers struggled to keep up with production as they lost their minds.

In Hat Madness, the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society opens up its extensive clothing and textile collection to explore the history of hats, hat design and hat-making. From the simple bonnets worn in Colonial times to stunning pieces of art that were popular in the 1920s to the “Pussy Cap” of the 2017 Women’s March, this exhibition spans more than 200 years. Period garments and related accessories will also be on display.

The show is curated by Penny Havard and runs through March 1, 2020. Opening Reception Friday,

Plum Pudding Workshop in Westport!

Cooking and dining with friends and family during the Holiday Season that begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s Eve is a much loved Connecticut tradition. Many nonprofit organizations, historic house museums and nature centers host holiday art and craft festivals in addition to workshops on wreath making and ornament creation. The Westport Historical Society has taken the holiday festivities one step further by offering something perfect for food lovers and those that also love to learn about the history of food.

So, this year to get in a holiday state of mind, head to the Westport Historical Society to learn about the dessert says holidays – Plum Pudding! On December 4, 2019 from 7 pm – 9 pm join the Executive Director, Ramin Ganeshram, a trained chef, food historian and award-winning cookbook author to talk about the history of plum pudding and to make your own special mix of brandy-soaked fruit and pudding mix to take home and bake or give as a gift!

This delectably moist, dessert, heady with the flavor of brandy, is a Victorian tradition that recalls the charming holidays of yore and is sure to be a modern-day treat.

Contemporary Artists/Traditional Forms: Chinese Brushwork @ Bruce Museum

A fabulous new show is on exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich through December 28 and features the U.S. debut of 15 pieces of contemporary Chinese brushwork gifted to the Town of Greenwich as part of the 2019 U.S.-China Art and Culture Exchange. The exhibition introduces visitors to the basic tools and concepts that inform these works of art and presents these pieces in their historical and present-day contexts.

Also known as water-painting, brushwork has a long and illustrious history in China. The art form developed from the practice of calligraphy, or “Beautiful Writing,” sometime during the Han Dynasty (220-589 AD). Traditionally, brushwork was not practiced by professional artists but by amateurs colloquially known as scholar artists, who prided themselves on their mastery of calligraphy and incorporated painting into their poems. Today the legacy of the scholar artist lives on in China and in the creation of these contemporary works of art.

This exhibition highlights the connections between calligraphy and traditional brushwork by exploring the time-honored practice of water-painting by contemporary scholar artists. In the traditional calligraphic practice, artists copy the masterworks of previous generations in order to learn to create their own works. Each of the artists in the exhibition uses an established language of brushstrokes, natural images, and color washes to express their own unique point of view.

Celebrate National Indian Heritage Month @ Institute for American Indian Studies With Annawon Weeden

November is National Indian Heritage Month and many institutions nationwide join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. Each year, the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut organizes special programs that highlight the rich cultural diversity and traditions of Native American communities through hands-on activities, arts and crafts, exhibits, music, and interactive programs.

This year’s highlight of National Indian Heritage Month at the Institute for American Indian Studies will be a highly interactive program by actor, activist, dancer, and Tribal mentor, Annawon Weeden. This special program will take place at 1 p.m. on November 16. Weeden is the founder of the First Light Foundation whose mission is to highlight the importance of preserving and celebrating diversity to reinforce the identity of each individual served.

Persuasive and powerful, authentic and imaginative, the stories and performance of Annawon Weeden reveal the unexpected ways Native Americans are embedded in our cultural identity as well as in our pop culture, sometimes accurately, and sometimes erroneously. Drawing on his Mashpee Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pequot lineage, Weeden will explore the pre- European Tribal history of the People of the Dawn and share his personal experiences and insights. Through this interactive program, visitors will walk through time with Weeden and discover that Native American cultures are alive and well today, thriving and evolving across the United States. This program helps to foster a better understanding of Native American culture and traditions while dispelling some of the historical misinterpretations.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

About Annawon Weeden

Weeden is an enrolled member of his mother’s Mashpee Wampanoag tribal community. He currently works in the MPTN Cultural Resource Department as the Eastern Woodland song/dance instructor for his father’s Mashantucket Pequot Tribal community.

Growing up on the Narragansett reservation he was instructed on the traditional dances and customs of New England’s Native American Communities. As an adult, Weeden has developed a comprehensive knowledge of the vast diversity of native customs and traditions.

In October 2016, Congressman James Langevin took special notice of Weeden and decided to commemorate the life efforts of Weeden awarding him with a Congressional Honor as Culture Bearer for the entire New England Region.

Weeden’s knowledge of indigenous people and his ability to share his tribal culture is highly sought because it educational and inspiring.

A solo exhibit “Max Abadi, Painter” and a group exhibit, the “New Members Show” @ SAA

The Stamford Art Association will present two exhibitions at its Townhouse Gallery, located at 39 Franklin Street, Stamford CT, November 10 to December 12, 2019.   “Max Abadi, Painter” will include oil and acrylic paintings. Max, a SAA member and resident of Stamford, is a construction engineer who studied at the Art Student’s League in NYC. He has recently exhibited in the Market Gallery in Portmouth, NH, Rochester NY, Bruce S. Kershner Gallery at the Fairfield Public Library and Cultural Alliance in Danbury CT. “I am drawn to artists who use intense colors and fluid motion, in particular Henri Matisse and Vincent Van Gogh. I enjoy painting for myself, for the love of color and movement”.


The “New Members Show” will include multimedia work by 9 new Stamford Art Association members – Daniel Wade Barrett, Roberto Colon, Eugenie Diserio, Kathryn Fitzgerald, Gayle Gleckler, Jim Malloy, Jason Pritchard, Jackeuline Walters, and Tony Woolner. 
Established in 1971, the Stamford Art Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose members include painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers and multimedia artists. In its 48th year, our mission as an arts organization is to provide a forum where emerging and professional artists can exhibit their work to the community and compete in juried shows. We host an international exhibit yearly, the Faber Birren Color Award Show, and a High School Student Show for Fairfield County students.

The Association’s Townhouse Gallery holds eight consecutive shows each year, six of which are juried exhibits and two are solo exhibits, with prominent jurors from art schools, galleries and institutions in New York and surrounding areas, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Bruce Museum, and Museum of Modern Art. All artists, not just members, are welcome to submit their work for exhibit. Annual competitions draw submissions from local, regional, and national artists.  The SAA also curates the 3 annual “Art at the Ferguson” exhibits at the Ferguson Library. 

The Stamford Art Association is supported by grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the City of Stamford and the Kuriansky Foundation and generous donations from individual artists and friends.

Golden Paugussett Native American Veterans Honored in Native American Ceremony @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Historically, American Indians were known as warriors. It is a deep tradition that has continued to modern times. Perhaps this is why Native Americans have a long-standing record of proud military service on behalf of the United States as well as a higher rate of military service than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. Native American patriotism is inextricably connected to the land itself.

Design by Harvey Pratt/Butzer Architects and Urbanism, illustration by Skyline Ink, courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

To commemorate Native American and Alaskan American contributions, service, and sacrifices, in November of 2020, a $15 million memorial, Warriors Circle of Honor is set to open in Washington DC. The structure incorporates many items involved in Native American ceremonies. It was designed by a Marine veteran, Harvey Pratt, a member of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes and will be situated on the National Mall.

Closer to home, in Washington, Connecticut, the Institute for American Indian Studies is holding a traditional Native American ceremony that includes prayers and drumming to honor the contributions and valor of Native American and non- Native Veterans on November 10 beginning at noon.

Each year, the Institute for American Indian Studies honors local Native Americans who have served their country. This year, the ceremony will recognize Golden Hill Paugussett community members who represent past, present and future veterans. The honorees at this year’s ceremony include Chief Aurelius Piper Sr., deceased, who served during World War II; Gary Tinney, who served in Germany, England, Korea and Stateside; and the sons of Clan-mother Shoran Piper, Jeremy Cole, and Nikita Kuznetsov that are currently serving in the military.

The drumming and prayer ceremony will begin at noon and take place in the Institute’s newly restored 16th century Algonquian Village. After the ceremony, visitors are invited to a light lunch in the museum with the opportunity to explore the Institution’s vast collections. This event is free and open to the public.

Gary Tinny

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

About Veterans Day
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for the annual observance and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation and a remembrance ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The ceremony honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. armed forces.