For its first art exhibit of 2018, the David M. Hunt Library located on 63 Main Street in Falls Village will present Forced Perspective by Berkshire artist Michelle Iglesias. This selection of her vivid large-scale photorealistic paintings takes the viewer from macro to micro, from a stampede of elephants to a close-up of a ladybug. Forced Perspective will be on display through February 17. This event is free and open to the public. For more information call the library at 860-824-7424 or visit huntlibrary.org. The artist’s work can be seen at miglesiasart.com.

Michelle Iglesias is a self-taught artist who first took to painting for its therapeutic values after being diagnosed with cancer. Her passion and perseverance has led her to become a nationally recognized award-winning artist, art instructor, and the successful business owner of Berkshire Paint and Sip. She continues to encourage and foster creativity in her students and others inspired by her art.

Ms. Iglesias’ paintings are influenced by family connections, nature, and travel. Consisting of the tumultuous dimensions that nature offers, portraits with personalities, and engaging exotic landscape compositions, her canvases invite viewer involvement and have been described as insightful, symbolic, and clarifying. She conveys the vision of nature’s grandeur to produce artwork that is expressive, of the highest quality, and will grab the viewer’s interest and attention. Her painting Queen Angelfish is a perfect example of this.

A Berkshire-area native, Michelle Iglesias was born in 1972 in Blandford, MA and currently resides in Dalton, MA. She entered into the art scene in 2002 when she opened Piece of My Art Gallery and Frame Shop in Westfield, MA. Two years after opening the gallery she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31 which led her to pick up her own paint brush for the first time, discovering the therapeutic value of creating art. Since then she has been showing her work regularly in group and solo exhibitions and her work is included in a variety of private collections.

Birds of Winter Workshop for Kids @ Wilton Historical Society

American robins, the state bird of Connecticut, have not yet returned from warmer climes, but other species are in our area, surviving the snow and cold. On Saturday, January 20 from 11:00 – 12:30 at the Wilton Historical Society, a Birds of Winter Workshop for Kids will be presented.

Educator Lola Chen will be discussing what birds are in the area for the winter, information that is gathered by the National Audubon Society at its annual Christmas Bird Count. She will share the history of the Audubon Society, while the kids work on a useful project – making a bird feeder with grapevine and suet for our feathered friends. The children will help make their own snack.

Suggested for ages 6 – 12. Wilton Historical Society Members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257.

Did You Know?

“Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running Citizen Science project in the world. Started in 1899 as a way of encouraging people to count birds instead of shoot them, the CBC takes place each year from mid-December to early January when thousands of volunteer birders contribute to the long-term study of early winter bird populations across North America. Count captains in each local area coordinate volunteers for their respective “count circles,” and count birds (both number of species and number of individuals) throughout a 24-hour period.

CBC participants range from expert ornithologists to beginning birders, following established protocols to ensure consistent data collection. The data from each count circle is tabulated and submitted to the National Audubon Society, to be used by scientists in a wide variety of studies.” – National Audubon Society

The 2017-2018 Christmas Bird Count in Connecticut ran from December 16 – January 1. Audubon Greenwich counted birds in the Greenwich to Stamford area, while in Westport, the Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Sanctuary participated.

Special Workshop @ Stamford Museum and Nature Center Jan. 20

On Saturday, January 20 from 10 am – 12 noon and 1 pm to 3 pm the Stamford Museum and Nature Center is hosting a special workshop with the artist behind our holiday exhibit Gerberich’s Gadgets: Best of Springs, Sprockets & Pulleys!

This workshop provides a unique opportunity for your budding artist to work directly with professional sculptor, Stephen Gerberich. Participants (children must be 8 years old or older) will sculpt mini-masterpieces from a smorgasbord of parts painstakingly culled from dumpsters, thrift shops, and dollar stores during Gerberich’s nationwide travels. Handmade sculptures will be assembled using hot glue “welding.”

The highlight of this event is that children and adults can re-compose these objects into original works, while acquiring a new appreciation for the creative reuse of ordinary objects.

Registration closes on Thursday, January 18, toregister, call 203.977.6521. The cost of this program is members: $40, 1 adult and 1 child, $20 each additional person; Non-members: $55, 1 adult and 1 child, $25 each additional person. These prices includes gate admission.

About the Exhibit
Remember those crazy contraptions that would spin, rock, and play music – and they were made from tag sale treasures and overlooked common objects?

Yes, the ingenious inventions of sculptor – and SM&NC favorite – Steve Gerberich returns to the Stamford Museum Galleries for a totally re-imagined Holiday Exhibition.

Gerberich has gathered his most outstanding and outlandish large-scale kinetic sculptures and installations for a showing of the “Best of Springs, Sprockets & Pulleys.” Working with old machine parts, kitchen utensils, furniture scraps, lighting fixtures, medical supplies, toys, and carnival figurines, Gerberich mixes the aesthetics of contemporary sculpture with the scientific principles of simple mechanical motion.

“Kent Back Then,” a look at Kent in the Mid-20th Century As Lived by its Citizens

The award-winning curator of the Kent Historical Society (as well as the Sharon Historical Society), Marge Smith will take a nostalgic look at Kent life in the mid-20th century, including farming, the village, moving to Kent, and the role that three private schools have played in the town’s life.

“Kent Back Then” will be presented by the Kent Historical Society, as part of its Sunday Series lectures in the Kent Town Hall Sunday, January 21, at 2 p.m.

The depth and breadth of Ms. Smith’s knowledge of Kent is the backbone of the Kent Historical Society, and in this interactive discussion with the audience, she will link the past with today using a series of images and old advertisements from Kent’s iconic local newspaper – The Kent Good Times Dispatch, known fondly as The GTD. In its heyday, The GTD had its finger firmly on the pulse of the town, with reporters submitting stories from every corner of town. So, search your memory banks and plan to join us for a fun afternoon.

This Sunday Series lecture inaugurates the theme for the Historical Society’s 2018 events, “Our Town: A Sense of Community in the Mid-20th Century.” One goal for the year will be to celebrate the memories of those who lived through the dramatic changes that took place in Kent before and after World War II.

The Kent Historical Society sponsors the Sunday Series in March, May, July, September, and November. Free admission for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.

For more information please call 860.927.4587 or visit http://www.kenthistoricalsociety.org.

“Kent Back Then,” a Kent Historical Society Sunday Series presentation, January 21, 2018 at 2 p.m. Kent Town Hall, 41 Kent Green Blvd., Kent. An interactive discussion by Marge Smith, curator of the Kent Historical Society and the Sharon Historical Society. Free to members; $5 suggested donation for non-members; see http://www.kenthistoricalsociety.org

Westport Country Playhouse Hosts Martin Luther King Day Celebration on Sun., Jan. 14

The 12th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction for “Stamped from the Beginning,” about the history of racist ideas in America, will be on Sunday, January 14, at 3 p.m., at Westport Country Playhouse. Kendi’s address is titled “How to be an Anti-Racist.”
Musical performances will be by Chris Coogan and the Good News Gospel Choir, and Weston High School Jazz Ensemble. Students from the Regional Center for the Arts will present a dance piece.

Free-of-charge and open to the public, the celebration is co-sponsored by The Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, and the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council. Seating is unreserved. Complimentary refreshments will be served in the Playhouse lobby after the presentation.

Keynote speaker Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of African American History at American University, focusing on racist and anti-racist ideas and movements. He is a frequent public speaker about the findings of his New York Times bestseller, “Stamped from the Beginning,” and how they can fit into the national conversation surrounding movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and social justice.

According to Kendi, he embarked on the research for his book under the assumption that the major producers of racist ideas were hateful and ignorant, and that borne from racist ideas were racist policies like slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. But as Kendi dug deeper, he said he soon discovered that political, economic, and cultural self-interest are behind the creation of racist policies and these policies in turn create the racist ideas that rationalize the deep inequities in everything from wealth to health.

“Stamped from the Beginning” was also named a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. The book was featured on many Best Books of 2016 lists. Kendi is also the author of the award-winning book, “The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972.”

Kendi’s address will be followed by a moderated audience Q&A and an author signing. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

The Westport/Weston Family YMCA will provide childcare and activities in the Lucille Lortel White Barn, Sheffer Studio, adjacent to the theater.

For more information, call the Westport Country Playhouse box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529. Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. westportplayhouse.org.

Railroad Museum hosts reception for 1926 Seth Thomas Clock

The Railroad Museum of New England (RMNE) recently acquired a 1926 Seth Thomas Register No. 2 clock and is hosting a reception to celebrate the “homecoming” at the Thomaston Railroad Station on Saturday, January 13th, from 3:30pm-5:30pm. The public is invited.

The Number 2 Regulator is an historic clock that was produced in Thomaston for 90 years, starting from before the Civil War. What makes it meaningful to the Museum is that this type of clock was the standard for railroad stations throughout America. A countless number of Seth Thomas clocks were built and shipped from the Thomaston Station to the rest of the country and the world.

This acquisition will help the Museum to educate visitors about the importance of trains, standard time, and clocks to the history of our society and economy. The Museum had been searching for this type of clock when John Springer, a volunteer and retired Amtrak locomotive engineer, found one while on a fishing trip in Montana last August.

Springer was visiting the family of a recently deceased friend, Ron Losee, M.D., when he discovered that Dr. Losee had possessed a Seth Thomas Register Number 2 clock that was built in Thomaston in 1926. The family generously donated the clock to the museum “In memory of Ron Losee, M.D. friend of John Springer.” The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol assisted the RMNE and arranged for a volunteer, Mel Brown, to clean and tune up the mechanism. Patrick Hunt of Collinsville Restoration refinished the mahogany woodwork back to its original sheen. The clock is now mounted on the west wall of the Thomaston Station.

The RMNE is a not-for-profit, all volunteer, educational and historical organization that dates back to January 1968. The mission of the RMNE is to tell the story of the region’s rich railroad heritage through its educational exhibits and operation of the Naugatuck Railroad. The museum concept is more than artifacts. It is also a story of the region and the development of society around the railroad.

The museum is located at the landmark Thomaston Station, on 242 East Main Street in Thomaston, Connecticut. The RMNE owns and operates the Naugatuck Railroad. For scheduled trains, birthday parties, and corporate events, contact the RMNE to find out how the Thomaston Station and the Naugatuck Railroad can offer you a unique experience. More information about the Railroad Museum of New England can be found at: www.rmne.org.

Maritime Aquarium “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises”

The Aquarium’s 2017-18 season of “Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises”  operates on many weekends through March 31, 2018.

These invigorating 2½-hour outings seek out some of the harbor seals and gray seals that migrate down into Long Island Sound from northern waters – such as off Cape Cod and the Gulf of Maine – which serve as their summer breeding and pupping areas. During the Aquarium cruises, seals often can be seen near the Norwalk islands resting on rocks and shoals exposed at low tide. Aquarium educators will point out these federally protected marine mammals and talk about their natural histories.

These cruises also give birders unique “on-the-water” access to see and photograph visiting winter waterfowl, such as buffleheads, mergansers, Brant geese and long-tailed ducks.

“Although we’ve been displaying seals for nearly 30 years now – and explaining to guests that seals are out there in the Sound during the winter – it’s still a revelation for participants to actually see them during our cruises,” said Dave Sigworth, the Aquarium’s associate director of communications. “It is these exciting first-hand experiences that really emphasize that Long Island Sound is an important habitat to protect.”

Dates and departure times of the cruises vary by low tide. Most cruises occur on weekends, although outings also are planned during the Christmas-break week Dec. 27-29. For the full schedule, go to www.maritimeaquarium.org.