Four new shows @ Mattatuck Museum

The Mattatuck Museum located on 144 West Main St. in Waterbury has announced the opening of four new shows on March 26 including: Luminous Garden, the art of Beth Galston, Black and White, photos from the collection of Kevin McNamara and Craig Nowak, sculptures by Federico Uribe and a show tracing the rivalry of the Yankees and Red Sox in Connecticut. The fist three exhibits run through July 16, the Yankee- Red Sox exhibit runs through December 3. The opening receptions for all the shows is March 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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Black and White displays images from the collection of Kevin McNamara and Craig Nowak. It features photographs by masters of 20th and 21st century American photography including John Dugdale, Sally Mann, and Jock Sturges among others. Like many contemporary photographers, the artists in this exhibition make imaginative use of the camera’s power to document reality. Their pictures pose questions about identity, self-representation, history and truth.

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Sculptor and conceptual artist Beth Galston creates site-based installations that are informed by many sources, including science, architecture, engineering, and nature. The immersive environment of Luminous Garden (Aerial) is an ephemeral light piece made of tiny yellow LEDs set in cast resin acorn caps. It is captivating because of it’s delicate beauty.

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QUEDAMOS EN PAZ #3 reflects the work of Colombian-born, Miami-based artist Federico Uribe who trained as a painter, but in 1996 he abandoned paint brushes to make art with the objects of everyday life. In the At Peace series he creates sculptures from ammunition, his work informed both by his homeland Colombia, where violence is part of daily life, and the epidemic of gun crime in the United States where he has lived for 15 years.

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Like most sports rivalries, picking a side in the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry is almost entirely geographic – and Connecticut is at the epicenter, more or less being split in two. Guest curated by sports lover Neil Scherer, this exhibition had its inception in the 2004 American League Champion Series. This was the infamous year that the Yankees won the first three games, leading everyone to believe the Yankees would sweep, only to leave America stunned as the Red Sox rebounded to win the remaining four games and their first World Series title in 86 years. Scherer was at the deciding seventh game. The exhibition tells this and other exciting stories about each team. This exhibition runs through December 3, 2017.

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Stargazing in Litchfield Hills

Western Connecticut State University will host seven Saturday evening shows and viewings of prominent planetary and stellar objects in the night sky during public nights from Feb. 25 through May 20 at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

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WCSU Observatory presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of the moon, Jupiter and prominent star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the late winter and spring months. The Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with additional parking available on University Boulevard.
Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event.

• March 25: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the M44 star cluster and the double stars Algieba and Mizar.

• April 8: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, Algieba, Mizar and Jupiter.

• April 22: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Algieba, Mizar and Jupiter.

• May 6: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, Jupiter and the M13 star cluster.

• May 20: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Jupiter and the M13 star cluster.

Love Art Lounge @ Franklin Street Artworks through May 7

“Love Action Art Lounge” is a group exhibition at that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity. Through installations inspired by underground music clubs, written scores that instruct audiences, performed celebratory rituals, and videos that simultaneously world-build and critique existing sociopolitical systems, “Love Action Art Lounge” becomes its own hang out space that reflects the people-positive, aspirational, and, at times transgressive, attributes of its artists and collectives. Love Action Art Lounge will be on display through May 7 at Franklin Street Artworks 41 Franklin St. in Stamford. Gallery Hours are Tues. – Sun. 12 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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Curated by Franklin Street Works’ Creative Director, Terri C Smith, the exhibition will be on view from January 28 – May 7, 2017. Exhibiting Artists: Chloë Bass, Katie Cercone, Go!PushPops, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Riley Hooker, House of Ladosha, Carmelle Safdie, Christopher Udemezue, and Laura Weyl.

The exhibition will also include a commissioned event with Bruce High Quality Foundation University on March 25th as well as educational programming throughout the exhibition. “Love Action Art Lounge” is supported by a generous two-year grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and with support from Connecticut Office of the Arts.

The social as it’s explored in ‘Love Action Art Lounge,’ looks at a variety of approaches to and tactics for encouraging social connection in art, including aspirational world-building, critique of oppressive systems, participatory ritual, and poetic instructions to prompt interpersonal exchanges. “Love Action Art Lounge” will feature three videos created by House of Ladosha along with two works by individual members commissioned for the show — a takeaway poster by Riley Hooker and a photograph by Christopher Udemezue.

There will also be two videos on view made individually by Go!PushPops members Katie Cercone and Elisa Garcia de la Huerta. As part of the exhibition programming, Go! Push Pops has organized a hip hop yoga CHAKRA workshop for youth of Stamford in collaboration with UNDAKOVA, which will culminate in a live-action performance as a kinetic sculpture embodying the rainbow of chakras and the celestial serpent of consciousness.

Two projects in “Love Action Art Lounge” – one by Chloë Bass and one by Carmelle Safdie — encourage visitors to connect socially through real, fictitious, and/or hybrid situations that include prompts and immersive design. Carmelle Safdie’s “Nightlife Design” project navigates from architectural proposals to pop music, imagining idealized spaces for collective audio-visual engagement.

This ongoing project was inspired by the artist’s reflection on her communal creative experience as a musician and a desire to establish a utopian space for such social expressivity. In her 2016 music video, “Discovery of The Shape,” she uses interior design — created as part of an artist residency at a New York City bar — as the stage for a fabricated party where her friends perform various roles in a nightclub scene. At Franklin Street Works, the video is installed amidst sculptural lounge furniture, and its original dance track activates a full-scale prototype for a light-up dance floor. Additional components include drawings that sequence through the patterning of dance floor lights and a new series of phosphorescent paintings that translate these sequences into a gridded system.

“Love Action Art Lounge” will also include a score-based, interactive installation by Chloë Bass, which includes a test kitchen installation that directly interfaces with the daily workings of Franklin Street Works’ café. The project is one of several Bass has created to connect people via performance scores and food. “The project,” says Bass, “is designed to question intimacy in one-on-one relationships. The kitchen will serve as a gathering and decompression space in contrast to the more ‘party’ aspects of the exhibition.” The project includes text prompts printed on café cups, napkins, and plastic cutlery that encourage interconnection, safe place making, and solidarity via phrases such as, “We make sense of things by being together,” and “We need each other more than ever.” For the exhibition, Café goers will pick up their printed cups in the gallery as part of making their order at the café.

While all of the exhibiting artists in “Love Action Art Lounge” approach the social from distinct and varied perspectives, they, arguably, share what Yates McKee, the author of Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition, describes, when writing about Occupy Wall Street, as “…a horizontal pedagogical space in which viewers themselves might be prompted to imagine and perhaps eventually enact their own sense of social transformation.” While this exhibition has a celebratory and social tone, it is not escapist in its intentions. In keeping with Chloë Bass’s statement, “When I make art, it’s not a balm or a distraction. It’s an invitation to come closer,” “Love Action Art Lounge” explores how ecstatic actions and supportive, accepting prompts can set the stage for personal expression and, through a caring social space, spark interest in learning about each other and expanding our common ground.

Cartooning and Political Satire @ American Museum of Tort Law’s Seasonal Opening

The American Museum of Tort Law created by Consumer Advocate and author, Ralph Nader is opening for the season with a special event on April 1. Join Award-winning illustrators Matt Wuerker and Barry Blitt & Consumer Advocate and author Ralph Nader in a fascinating program about cartooning and political satire on April 1 beginning at 11 a.m. The programs will take place at the Winsted Methodist Church located on 60 Main St. in Winsted. Advance tickets are available online.

There will be a cartoon and illustration workshop at 11 a.m.that is led by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Matt Wuerker and Hall of Fame The New Yorker magazine cartoonist/illustrator Barry Blitt. Be sure to visit the website for advance tickets at $10 in order to guarantee participation.

At 1 p.m. Blitt and Wuerker will be joined by Ralph Nader to speak on the Art of Political Satire. Blitt and Wuerker will talk about their creative processes; how they transform news into art and satire; and will show examples of their work. This session promises to be a fascinating look into the minds of two of the leading illustrators of our time.

The day is rounded out with a visit to the American Museum of Tort Law located on 654 Main St. in Winsted that will open for the season from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Shop Hop to chase away winter blues in Kent

Ready to chase away the winter doldrums? The town of Kent in the unspoiled Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut has the answer! The Kent merchants have gotten together to organize a family fun event on March 24, 25 and 26 with something for everyone and they are calling it the Kent Shop Hop.

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Visitors to Kent are invited to stop in at any of the participating shops to pick up a map of shops that offer a treasure trove of bargains, special sales, exciting promotions and special events. As you go from shop to shop be sure to enter the drawing for a fabulous gift basket worth hundreds of dollars.
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ent’s varied and unusual shops and restaurants will have you remembering a gentler time when friendly, personal service and customer appreciation were the hallmarks of the shopping experience. The Shop Hop may just cure your winter blues – and have you returning quick as a bunny to this small town with big charm.
For more information visit www.kentct.com. To sign up for a monthly newsletter on Litchfield Hills or Fairfield County www.litchfieldhills.com

Spring Party on the Slopes @ Ski Sundown!

Calling all mogul skiers and snowboarders to Ski Sundown in New Hartford to take unlimited bump runs on Gunbarrel until those quads burn and bust! People can peal in and out of the event as often as they like. The fun starts on Saturday, March 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This event will be held on the “Gunbarrel” and is free with lift tickets and passes.

The judges will be tossing out prizes throughout the event for awesome style, air and speed! Bumpers will also be given drawing tickets during segments of the event; drawing for prizes will take place at 3:00pm for some sweet swag (must be present to win): Thule racks, goggles, helmets, outerwear, ski shop gift cards, and more!

To add to the fun, Ski Sundown is hosting an Outdoor BBQ; plus there will be Adult Beverages (age 21+) and general Spring Skiing shenanigans!

The skiing conditions at Ski Sundown are amazingly good The event is a great spectator sport, and celebrates the spring skiing and snowboarding season, characterized by longer, warmer days, sunny skies, soft snow, kick-back barbeques on the deck, and losing some layers! In this land of steady habits, it’s fun to cut loose a little and enjoy some March Radness and Madness! Expect some costumes, and the appearance of Gumby vs. The Easter Bunny as they go head to head in the bumps!

For people who need to brush up on their bump skiing skills or just want to learn how to tackle the bumps, we are offering Mogul Clinics three times on Saturday, March 18 and three times on Sunday, March 19 for $48. http://skisundown.com/Lessons-Packages/Lessons-Packages/Group-Lessons-Packages/Adult-Junior-Group-Lessons

For a free monthly newsletter on things to do and see and travel tips on Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County visit www.litchfieldhills.com

Family Maple Sugar PJ Party @ New Canaan Nature Center

The New Canaan Nature Center‘s Syrup Saturday festival returns on Saturday, March 18 from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. This annual event celebrates the New England tradition of maple syrup making and includes a pancake brunch with different varieties of syrup, including the Nature Center’s own.

To celebrate the bounty of the 2017 syrup season, we’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup and an array of tasty toppings (fruit, chocolate chips, and more!) in the Visitor Center. All are welcome and encouraged to dress in their PJS!

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How does it work? Freezing temperatures create suction that draws water in through a tree’s roots, and warm periods create pressure which causes the sap to flow out through a tap hole where it’s collected in buckets. This sap, a combination of water, salt and sugar, serves as the tree’s food and is the sole ingredient of pure maple syrup.

During Syrup Saturday, visitors will get a chance to observe the entire process from tree tapping to boiling into syrup at the “sugar shack”. Educators will also demonstrate historic methods of maple syruping.

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Local maple syrup and maple baked goods will be for sale. Guests can test their taste buds on real vs. fake syrup and learn what the different grades mean.

A highlight of this event is the Family Lumberjack Challenge! ry your hand at wood heaving (how far can you throw a log of firewood?), before tackling our firewood stacking competition. Does your family have what it takes to complete our entire log rolling obstacle course? Join us to find out! This event is primarily held outdoors and activities will be ongoing throughout the day.

Members: $10/per person / Non-Members: $15/ per person. To sign up for a monthly newsletter on Litchfield Hills or Fairfield County www.litchfieldhills.com or www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com