AMERICAN MURAL PROJECT PRESENTS THE LARGEST INDOOR COLLABORATIVE ARTWORK IN THE WORLD; EXHIBIT OPENS IN WINSTED, CT, ON JUNE 18

The American Mural Project (AMP), home of the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world, today announced the opening of the new exhibition with regular hours beginning Saturday, June 18, 2022. The massive three-dimensional mural—measuring 120 feet long and five stories high—reveals a visual narrative of Americans at work and celebrates the various professions that have shaped American culture over the past century. Founded by artist Ellen Griesedieck in 2001, AMP’s highly-anticipated debut follows 22 years of research and design, mural assembly and installation, and renovation to the historic mill building in downtown Winsted.

Incorporating artistic contributions from thousands of children across the country, the mural features a vivid compilation of three-dimensional sculptural vignettes portraying Americans at work—from heart surgeons to steel workers, firefighters to farmers, school teachers to fabricators of a 747 aircraft, and more. Constructed with unconventional materials including honeycomb aluminum panels, blown glass, clay, reclaimed wood, native indigo, and spackle, the mural offers an optical journey and sensory adventure through the past 100 years of work in America.

A veteran artist, photographer, and designer, Ellen Griesedieck first conceived of the mural in 1999, with a vision to create a giant collaborative artwork that celebrates American ingenuity, productivity, and commitment to work. Depicting real men and women Griesedieck documented in her travels across the country, the extensive project was driven by her mission to empower and challenge others, especially children—not only by educating them on the varying types of work happening around them but by involving them in the mural’s creation.

“It is pretty wonderful to think that this idea, two decades in the making, has come full circle. I have logged a lot of time painting large panels in my studio. Maybe more memorable are the weeks I have spent working on projects with thousands of kids and adults across the country. This is not one artist’s idea but the work of many in collaboration,” notes Ellen Griesedieck, artist and founder of the American Mural Project. “None of this could have happened without help from the same American workers I am honoring in the mural. They created it with me, they shared every tool and innovative idea. The mural is standing thanks to an unprecedented collaboration with kids, teachers, donors, and professional tradespeople.”

Through partnerships with schools, other nonprofits, and professionals in a wide range of fields—including NASA, Boeing, Habitat for Humanity, and HealthCorps—AMP has engaged more than 15,000 students and adults across the country in creating pieces of the mural. AMP has led projects with children from preschool to high school on artwork addressing health, fitness, conservation, energy alternatives, space exploration, and more. Children who have participated in the mural’s creation have blown glass, sculpted clay, danced in paint, learned the indigo-dyeing process, and made relief sculptures in wet spackle. AMP’s multi-state art collaborations are ongoing and intend to provide more children the opportunity to discover and explore interests and abilities in themselves, as well as possibilities in the world, that they may not have imagined before.

“The aspects that the American Mural Project celebrates—innovation, discovery, and ingenuity—match the exact spirit that the workforce here in Connecticut has delivered for many decades, which is why it is so appropriate that this exhibition is on display in our state,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “Viewing this collaborative mural is an incredible educational and artistic experience, and I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to check it out.”

In 2006, AMP purchased two vacant mill buildings and three surrounding acres on Whiting Street in Winsted, Connecticut, adjacent to a beehive of artists and artisans in the Whiting Mill complex, in close proximity to Winsted’s downtown area.

Extensive cleanup of AMP’s property in 2008 was made possible through a Federal Brownfields grant, allowing for the first two phases of renovation to occur. The State of Connecticut awarded a $1 Million challenge grant for the first phase of construction on the mural building, which included raising the roof thirty feet to allow for the installation of the nearly five-story mural, and enabled the building to open to the public on the first level and education programs to begin on-site. The final phase of construction, projected in the forthcoming years, involves the renovation of the second mill building for use as an education and visitor center, the addition of an atrium connecting the two buildings, and the development of the three surrounding acres of grounds for outdoor use.

“Downtown Winsted is well on its way to achieving a true renaissance, and one of the crown jewels of that renaissance is the opening of the American Mural Project. AMP represents a key cultural and artistic addition to the state as a whole, and Winsted is incredibly fortunate to be the host community for this amazing attraction. The mural itself is a stunning sight to behold, and I hope that residents and visitors alike will make it a priority to enjoy this wonder in our own backyard,” says Joshua Steele Kelly, town manager and CEO of the Town of Winchester, Connecticut.

Beyond the mural exhibit, education programs are AMP’s primary focus and include on- and off-site programs for schools, teacher professional development workshops, after-school enrichment sessions, summer programs, as well as an apprentice-style internship program for high school and college students.

“The American Mural Project represents the creative hope and aspirations of many communities. It serves as a beacon of the world we all want to live in someday,” notes Bill Strickland, founder and executive chairman, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, and partner on AMP’s Pennsylvania collaborative project.

AMP is located at 90 Whiting Street in Winsted, Connecticut, and is open Friday and Saturday, 10am–5pm, and Sunday, 12–5pm, year-round. Additional Thursday hours are planned. Check AMP’s website for current hours. $12 adults, $10 seniors and veterans, $5 students, and free for children ages 5 and younger. $25 unlimited access pass, for use during open hours in 2022. Tickets and passes can be purchased at americanmuralproject.org or in person. To view AMP’s extensive video library, click HERE.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Ellen Griesedieck is the founder and creator of the American Mural Project (AMP). She began her art career designing logos for professional athletes and photographing for a variety of national print publications, including Sports Illustrated, People, Road and Track, Ladies Home Journal, World Tennis, and Golf. In addition, she covered major sports events, including NFL Football, Wimbledon, PGA Golf and Masters, and the final five Mohammed Ali fights. Ellen’s paintings have been exhibited in New York, Connecticut, and Paris. She has been commissioned to do paintings for The New York Times, Times Mirror Magazines, and CBS Television, as well as for Miller Brewing Co., General Motors, and New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Ellen designed the original Newman’s Own labels and serves as a consultant for the company’s ongoing label designs.

Founded in 2001 by artist Ellen Griesedieck, the American Mural Project (AMP) is a nonprofit organization focused on honoring work in America. AMP is home to the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world—a three-dimensional mural 120-feet long and five stories high. The mural pays tribute to the American worker and highlights the varying types of work that have shaped the country over the last century. Its mission is to inspire, to educate, to invite collaboration, and to reveal to people of all ages the many contributions they can make to American culture. Programming is currently offered for schools and teachers, after-school partnerships, summer enrichment sessions, and an apprentice-style internship program.

Lead funding for the American Mural Project has been provided by the Newman’s Own Foundation, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, and the Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Recent additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature, the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, and Northwest Community Bank.

New Exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking Sept. 18- Nov. 13

The new exhibition, featuring artist Jack Boul, at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP) opens on Sunday, September 18 at 2 pm, and is on view through Sunday, November 13, 2011. This exhibition is a northeast premiere, for an accomplished artist and educator whose idyllic landscapes and scenes of everyday life at home and abroad are well known in the Washington DC area.

On view are over 150 works representing subject matter that has concerned and inspired this artist for decades. His signature cows and dancers appear throughout the Grace Ross Shanley Gallery at CCP, sometimes as printmaker’s monotypes, again as painter’s oils on board, and yet again as sculptor’s bronzes.

At the heart of the exhibition are Jack Boul’s monotypes, depicting dancers and cityscapes, cows and graineries, guitarists, musicians, and wait staff. “For this artist, there is no perceived hierarchy in his studio, where his two etching presses are a few feet away from his easel, always at the ready”, writes Anthony Kirk, curator of the exhibition. At CCP, Artistic Director and Master Printer Anthony Kirk helped the artist translate a number of his monotypes into photopolymer intaglio plates. Several recent editions made from these plates are included in the exhibition.

Jack Boul was born in Brooklyn, in 1927, the son of a Russian émigré father and a Romanian mother. Boul first studied art at the American Artist’s School, and then he studied at the Cornish School of Art, on the GI Bill. He moved to Washington DC, and continued his art studies at American University, where he eventually joined the art faculty, and was a distinguished professor for 15 years. In 1984, Boul was a founding faculty member of the new Washington Studio School, where he taught painting, drawing and monotype for ten years before retiring in 1994, to devote his full time to printmaking and painting. His first museum exhibition was held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, in 1994. The Corcoran Gallery of Art held a career retrospective for the artist, in 2000. The National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art own impressions of his monotypes.

Exhibition-related Events

The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP) is conducting a writing competition, based on the “soulful” works of Jack Boul, in collaboration with Ina Chadwick’s MouseMuse Productions, an arts partnering company located in Westport, CT. Entry deadline for the competition, named “Déjà Vu”, is September 23, 2011 at 5 pm. The winning works will be read by professional actors at a CCP festive awards ceremony and reception, on Sunday, November 13, 2011, at 4 pm. For more information, visit http://www.contemprints.org/writers.

Reception

The public is invited to the opening reception for the new exhibition, Jack Boul: Intimate Scale: Paintings, Sculptures, Monotypes Sunday, September 18, from 2 – 5 pm, at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking. Rumor has it that Jack Boul and his son, David, may be in attendance. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

The Center for Contemporary Printmaking

Normal hours are Monday through Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 12 to 5 pm. The gallery is located at 299 West Ave., in Mathews Park, Norwalk, CT., 203-899-7999, http://www.contemprints.org. Admission is free, and the gallery is handicapped accessible.

Harwinton Antiques and Design Weekend Sept. 3 and 4

Summer is fleeting and so is your opportunity to score those great antique, vintage and decorative items at the Harwinton Antiques & Design Weekend.

This coming Labor Day Weekend, September 3rd & 4th, marks the second and final show of the 2011 Harwinton Antique& Design Weekend season. So, spend your holiday weekend treasure hunting at the charming Harwinton Fairgrounds, located in beautiful Litchfield Hills.

Shop from country’s leading style makers. Over 200 renowned vendors, in tented and indoor booths, will offer the unique design essentials that simply can’t be found at the mall. Whether you’re beginning a decorating project or looking for those perfect finishing touches, you’ll find great design inspiration as well as the very finest in antiques. Bring your friends and family, enjoy the great food and savor one of the last and best shopping experiences of the season.

The Harwinton Antiques & Design Weekend will be held September 3-4, on the Harwinton Fairgrounds- 150 Locust Rd, Harwinton, CT. Show hours will be Saturday 8 am – 5 pm and Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. Admission will be $10.00 with Saturday’s admission good for both days. For more information visit www. harwintonantiquesweekend.com.

New Canaan Nature Center Art Exhibit The Little Things by Melissa Kircher

A exhibit of original paintings and photography by Melissa Kircher will be on display at the New Canaan Nature Center through June 14. The exhibit, entitled “The Little Things,” is a series of floral and nature inspired photographs that combine elements of color, light, and texture, both man-made and natural. Kiircher says “I find the often overlooked aspects of nature appealing, taking joy in spotting a hidden flower, leaf, or an unusual scene. These works are about discovering the beauty in little things.”

The photographs have all been processed with different fine art elements to create unique and truly original works of art. Melissa Kircher attended Gordon College in Massachusetts where she studied drawing, printmaking, graphic design, and sculpture. She earned a BFA in Visual Arts with a concentration in sculpture. Melissa is currently a self employed artist in the fields of painting, photography, photo-processing, graphic design and freelance writing. Her home and studio is in Norwalk, Connecticut and her work has been displayed in various Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York City locations. Melissa’s artwork can be seen on her web-site: http://www.melissakircher.com.

For more information please call 966-9577. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the artwork will benefit the New Canaan Nature Center

The New Canaan Nature Center is an environmental education center and sanctuary dedicated to helping people of all ages better understand, appreciate and care for the world of nature. The Nature Center’s grounds, which include a Birds of Prey exhibit and gardens, are open from dawn to dusk daily. The Visitor’s Center and Discovery Room are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Feast Of Colorful Quilts Awaits In Norwalk, Connecticut

Those who love the homespun beauty of quilts have a feast in store, as seven local arts and cultural institutions join in a unique collaboration to form the Norwalk Quilt Trail, a series of exhibits from May through mid-November in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The Quilt Trail spotlights 100 quilts made and collected in Norwalk. Together, the colorful quilts tell the story of the life and the changing fortunes of this area, from the early 1800s to the maritime era in the mid-1850s to 1900s machine age to the present.

The settings for the exhibits also represent many eras, from the Rowayton Historical Society’s Pinkney House (c. 1820) to the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, which opened in 2000. The full list includes the Norwalk Historical Society, the Norwalk Museum, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, and the SoNo Switch Tower Museum. Related exhibits will be presented at City Hall and local libraries. Each exhibit has a story to tell.

A VARIETY OF THEMES

A Common Thread: Family History Told through Quilting at the Rowayton Historical Society illustrates how quilts chronicled family life, telling stories of family love, loss and community in embroidered, patchwork and appliqué quilts, including a signature quilt from one of Norwalk’s oldest families, the Raymonds. The influences introduced during the boom years of Norwalk’s oystering and shipping trade can be seen in a nineteenth century red and white Hawaiian quilt. Two nineteenth century ribbon quilts made from hatbands, ribbons and clothing tags manufactured in the factories of Norwalk represent the changes wrought by the machine age, while yo-yo quilts from the 1930’s show the mood during the period after World War I. (May 15-November 11 http://www.rowaytonhistoricalsociety.org or 203-831-0136).

The Norwalk Historical Society will show Collected & Cherished: Quilts made and collected in Norwalk featuring quilts made from 1850 to 1950, including log cabin designs in silk, baskets-and-wreath designs in cotton. Of special interest from Norwalk’s early seafaring days is the Mariner’s Compass quilt designed by a sea captain, Charles Selleck, and pieced by his wife Samantha in 1860. Six of the Society’s own rare quilts have been restored, thanks to a grant from the Coby Foundation and Gail Wall. (May 14-October 10. http://www.norwalkhistoricalsociety.org or 203.846.0525)

The Craze of Crazy Quilts, a display of a style popular in the latter 19th century, is on view in the Music Room of the 1864 Lockwood-Mathews House (May 14-October 16; http://www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com or 203-838-9799), while Against the Elements: Keeping Warm at the Lighthouse at the Sheffield Lighthouse displays vintage quilts from private collections along with three quilts that are permanently on display in bedrooms in the 10-room 1868 lighthouse to show what life was like for the families of 19th century light keepers. (weekends May 28-June 26, daily June 27-September 5; http://www.seaport.org or 203-838-9444).

The charming Quilts Made by Norwalk Children from the 1970s to Today will be on display at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children (June 30-October 10; 203-899-0606 or steppingstonesmuseum.org) while Trains, Planes and Automobiles, featuring quilts with transportation themes showing the impact of transportation technology on American life will be at the SoNo Switch Tower Museum. The museum is housed in the original Signal Station 44, built in 1896 (May 14-October 30; http://www.westctnrhs.org or 203- 246.6958.

More information on the exhibits can be found at http://www.norwalkquilttrail.org. For information about other nearby events a free color guide to attractions, lodging and dining in Fairfield County, contact the Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, http://www.visitwesternct.com.