2ND ANNUAL LITCHFIELD HILLS CREATIVE FESTIVAL

The NWCT Arts Council is hosting the second annual Litchfield Hills Creative Festival on Saturday, August 20 in Downtown Torrington. The festival will include artist vendors at Franklin Plaza, an evening beer garden to support the Arts Council, a block party on Main Street, live music, open artist studios and workshops, and many other public activities for all ages hosted by participating organizations and venues. All events will be presented for free to the public.

This year’s Litchfield Hills Creative Festival is sponsored by Housatonic Heritage, Torrington Savings Bank, Northwest Community Bank, Thomaston Savings Bank, Matthews Group, Torrington Downtown Partners, Eversource, WSHU Radio, WAPJ Radio, the Republican American, and O&G Industries.

A variety of local artists and artisans will hold booths at Franklin Plaza with original works of art, clothing, jewelry, books, and more, for sale from 11 am to 4 pm.

At 2 pm, The Warner Theatre will hold a performance of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”, performed by the teens of the Warner Theatre’s Summer Arts Program, sponsored by Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, and the AKC Fund. The performance is free and open to the public and will be shown in the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre.

The Warner Theatre will also host the first-ever Warner Block Party, at 5 pm on Main Street in downtown Torrington. The Main Stage will be emceed by national performing artist, Lucinda Rowe, co-owner of the Red Room Sound Studio. The setlist will begin with performances by Lee Totten, Frank Viele, and Audio Jane, and end with a headlining performance by Jason Ingriselli & the Miles North Band. The Block Party is sponsored by Red Room Sound Studio, Building Healthier Communities Fund, and the AKC Fund.

Participating artists will open their studios to the public from 2 to 6 pm. Buskers organized by Rock Yer Block will be playing at various locations downtown throughout the day. Other events include an open yoga class with Sanctuary Power Yoga, an art opening featuring work by Sophia DeJesus-Sabella at Howard’s Bookstore, an old-fashioned candy-making workshop at the Nutmeg Fudge Company, as well as events with Five Points Gallery, the Nutmeg Ballet, Artroom Atelier, Culture 4 a Cause, Our Culture is Beautiful, Trinity Church, and KidsPlay Children’s Museum. From 6 pm to 10 pm, street performers including stilt walkers and fire spinners will be performing.

For full details about the Litchfield Hills Creative Festival, visit artsnwct.org/litchfield-hills-creative-festival

An Ecology Walk Along the Shepaug River With the Institute for American Indian Studies

A summer walk along the Shepaug River that runs through Washington is a rewarding experience, especially when guided by IAIS Educator and Ecologist, Susan Scherf on Saturday, July 9 at 10 a.m. The cost of this program hosted by the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for children, and $5 for members. This hike is perfect for nature lovers and will have them looking at the natural world in a new and exciting way.

Fun on the Shepaug

The Shepaug River whose Native American name means “rocky waters” has a long history of habitation. Native Americans have lived overlooking this river for thousands of years. Many stone tools and items such as bone needles and punches, wooden spear shafts, tool handles, and much more have been found in archeological excavations along the banks of the Shepaug.

Rivers are considered the lifeline of ecosystems around the world. On this guided walk participants will learn that Native peoples traditionally recognized that all beings are interconnected. An important life lesson of this walk is to realize that we can learn about our environment by observing wildlife, plants, trees, and flowers. Summer is one of the best times to observe wildlife along the Shepaug from watching a great blue heron hunt to listening to frogs croaking, and feeling the exoskeleton of a crayfish. Walking along this babbling river Susan will discuss animal adaptations and explain what to look and listen for when trying to identify different species in the Eastern Woodland environment.

Participants should wear sturdy hiking or walking shoes, and be prepared to walk about a mile along the river with frequent stops along the way. Participants are encouraged to bring water and extra shoes or sandals to change into down by the river. Space on this hike is limited and pre-registration is required. To reserve your space visit http://www.iaismuseum.org to reserve a space through Eventbrite. If you have questions, call 860-868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org.

Lacrosse – More Than Just A Game New Exhibition @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Lacrosse was originally played by eastern Native Americans and Canada’s First People. The Institute for American Indian Studies located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut has just opened a fascinating special exhibition, “More Than a Game: The Story of Lacrosse,” that will be on view at the Institute through August 2022.

This well-researched exhibition touches on a variety of subjects, many of which are unexpected in light of the game many of us know today. Some of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition relate to the spiritual importance of lacrosse and how it connects to creation stories, the way they settle differences, and its continued social and communal significance.

This exhibition also explores the appropriation of lacrosse by Euro-Americans and Canadians. In the 1860’s Dr. George Beers of Canada wrote the first standardized rulebook for lacrosse in an attempt to “civilize” the game. By the 1890s, Native American communities were banned from participating in national competitions. This part of the exhibition includes documentation in the form of newspaper clippings and images that depict the history of lacrosse in popular culture and how it was interpreted.

More Than a Game also highlights how traditional lacrosse sticks evolved in North America. Several lacrosse sticks on display showcase the three major styles of Native American lacrosse and demonstrate the different regional interpretations of the game.

This exhibit touches on the relationship between lacrosse and Native communities today. It delves into the saga of the Iroquois Nationals, the only Native American athletic team
permitted to compete in international competitions. Don’t miss the exhibition’s video that shows Native Americans making wooden sticks in the traditional way and relating why it is important to the future of their culture. This exhibit can be summed up by a quote by Rex Lyons, Onondaga, “Lacrosse is part of the story of our creation, of our identity, of who we are. So when we play the game, we always say that there’s a simultaneous game going on in the Sky World and our ancestors are playing with us.”

The Institute for American Indian Studies is open Wednesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children 3-12, $10 for seniors, and members are free.

About 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 the 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.

Learn How to Make Traditional Native American Bark Basket Workshop At Institute for American Indian Studies

Native Americans have created baskets for centuries. In fact, archeologists believe that basket-making is one of the oldest known crafts in the world. If you have always wanted to learn how to create a bark basket of your own, join this in-person workshop conducted by Jennifer Lee of Pequot and Narragansett ancestry on Sunday, June 5 at the Institute of American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut. This four-hour workshop begins at 11 a.m. and has a break for lunch.

Join artist and educator Jennifer of Lee, Narragansett descent

About Native American Baskets

Baskets have been an integral part of Native American material culture for centuries. Native American baskets range from very simple to very elaborate. Often the art of basket making was passed down from generation to generation among Native American Indian mothers to their daughters. It is a skill that takes the place of pride among many Indigenous people today.

Bark baskets made by Eastern Woodland Indians were used for cooking, gathering berries, hauling water, storing food, as cradleboards, and even for burying the dead. Most often baskets were made from pine, ash, or birch bark that was harvested in the spring when the bark was most pliable. The bark was then folded into the desired shape and sewn with spruce root and rimmed with arrowwood or other natural materials.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (4 ½H x 7W x 3D)

About the Workshop

Jennifer Lee is an 18th-century re-enactor and material culture presenter. Bark basket making is one of the programs that she offers. “I want my programs to dispel old stereotypes and increase awareness of present-day Native Americans,” says Lee.

Participants in this workshop will learn about the lore and tradition of basket making from Lee while creating their very own bark basket. A highlight is learning about how baskets were used in everyday life and their role in Native American communities today. Lee will guide participants through the process of creating a bark basket using white pine bark, spruce root, and willow. During the scheduled lunch break (please bring your own snack and non-alcoholic beverage) participants can wander through the museum for inspiration and brainstorm with others for ideas.

White Pine Bark mokok with collar (7H x 4W x 3D).

Participants can choose from three different basket designs that include a white pine bark wall pocket, and two sizes of a white pine bark mokok with collar. Whatever basket you choose to make, it is something unique to treasure at the end of the day.

Space is limited for this workshop that is expected to sell out, so sign up early. To participate, please register and pre-pay by June 2. The cost of participation, including all materials and tools, is $75 for members of the Institute and $85 for non-members. To register click here. If you have questions call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org.

White Pine bark wall pocket, curved bottom (7H x 7W x 4D)

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.

Blocks of Hope and Healing Participate in a Community Quilting Project Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies has just announced a new quilting project for the month of May called “Blocks of Hope and Healing.” This community-quilting project is a way to support and bring attention to the MMIWG2S epidemic. MMIWG2S is an abbreviation for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit People, respectively.

Quilting serves as a testament to heritage and history, with each piece offering encouragement and solace. Quilts connect us to the world around us and are often symbolic of hope and comfort by providing physical and emotional warmth. The concept of this community-made quilt will be used to honor and remember the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2- Spirit People.

The Institute is inviting the public to become part of this important global movement by participating in two Quilt Workshops on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 22 @ 11 a.m. that will be conducted by Education Director, Director Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation). If you don’t have much experience sewing, no worries, Kascak, will be there to walk you through the process. If you don’t complete your quilt package during the workshop, you can complete it in the comfort of your own home as long as you return it to the Institute by Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

All participants in this project are asked to make a $25 donation to the National Indigenous Women’s Rights Council (NIWRC). The Institute will give all participants a quilt block packet, complete with all necessary materials and instructions for creating your section of the community quilt. Please call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org to reserve your section on this community quilt, sign up for one of the quilting workshops, or if you have any questions about this initiative.
Donations to NIWRC can be made at the following link: https://www.niwrc.org/donate.

About MMIWG2S
MMIWG2S refers to initiatives intended to address the ongoing violence and continued genocide of women, girls, and Two-Spirits. Each year thousands of Native American women and children go missing or are found murdered in the United States and Canada. Gaps in data make the true scope difficult to estimate, but some sources suggest that the total number of cases may approach 10,000.

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.

Drum Making Workshop @ the Institute for American Indian Studies

Rhythm and sound are important to just about every culture around the world. Throughout the Americas, indigenous peoples have been using drums as part of their culture for thousands of years.

If you are asked to think about Native American music, there is a good chance you will think of the sound of drums, but did you know that the drum is considered to be a living and breathing entity to Native peoples and symbolize a strong relationship with the creator?

On Sunday, March 20 the Institute for American Indian Studies, located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut is hosting an in-person drum-making workshop, with sessions at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

The highlight of this workshop is to learn how to make your very own rawhide drum. The drums made in this workshop will be 14- inches in diameter and constructed of a traditionally used material, elk rawhide. Each drum will come with a drumstick. While creating a drum for their own personal use, participants will learn about their cultural significance, and how they remain a vibrant part of today’s indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Space is limited for this workshop and pre-payment and pre-registration is required. To register online, please visit the Museum website to register via Eventbrite. If you have questions about the workshop, please call 860-868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org. The price for this workshop is $90 for IAIS members and $110 for non-members.