Hill-Stead News

GRAND OPENING – The Tea Room at Hill-Stead

The Tea Room at Hill-SteadBeginning May 13, weekend visitors can round out their Hill-Stead experience with gourmet food and tea in this beautiful, historic setting. The museum announces a partnership with local artisan tea room and café Culteavo. The Tea Room at Hill-Stead will be located at the Packard Garage with additional bistro tables and chairs set on the open courtyard.

The weekly menu will showcase English scones, tea sandwiches, and sweet treats, including some gluten free and vegetarian options – all paired with loose leaf and cold brewed teas.

In addition to the seated tearoom, there will be the option of a “Picnic Basket for Two.” Visitors can take a full sweet and savory afternoon tea basket outside for a countryside picnic.

Just for Mother’s Day

Just for Mother’s Day: Hill-Stead is offering Mother’s Day Tea on the Veranda. Culteavo of Unionville has customized a very special menu just for this occasion.

  • Includes a choice of sweet and savory gourmet food and Culteavo teas and coffee.
  • Add-on options and additional guests are also available while making a reservation.
  • Seatings at 11:30 am, 1 pm and 2:30 pm.


  • Make your reservation by calling Culteavo, 860-470-5121.
  • All $45 reservations (for two).

2017 Fresh Voices Finalists Announced

Hill-Stead is honored to announce the finalists for the 2017 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition:


Michelle Chen
Sophia Durand
Grace Gonzalez
Joyce Hida
Mechelle Horelick
Rachel Horowitz-Benoit
Abigail Howard
Nadia Jalal
Samantha Lewis
Verne Mackoff
Kimberly McGuire
Quinn Miller
Sydney Parrott
Mae Santillo
Sonali Singh
Sophie Spaner
Michael Williams

Thank you to the record number of students who submitted their poetry this year!

Emily Jungmin Yoon chosen as winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize

Tupelo Press is delighted to announce that Maggie Smith has chosen Ordinary Misfortunes by Emily Jungmin Yoon of Chicago, Illinois, as winner of the 2017 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize.

Emily will perform her work in at Hill-Stead’s Sunken Garden Poetry Festival on Wednesday, July 19.  For tickets, visit Sunken Garden Poetry Festival 2017.

I’m completely taken in by these poems, how they deftly balance lyric and narrative, history and the present, body and mind. These are poems of violence–against women, and against Korean women in particular–but they are also poems about the pain and pleasure in language itself: ‘pear in Korean is a homonym for ship or boat’; ‘A homonym for apple is apology.’ Ordinary Misfortunes is a remarkable collection.
—Maggi Smith


Emily Jungmin Yoon‘s poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Offing, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. For her poetry, she has received awards and fellowships from Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, The Home School in Miami, the Aspen Institute, New York University, and the University of Chicago. She is the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and is a PhD student in the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at the University of Chicago.

Boundless: Altered Books in Contemporary Art

June 16 – September 4, 2017

Opening reception
 June 20, 5:30 pm

Boundless, Erin Walrath, To the Sun

Erin Walrath, To the Sun, 2017, book spines, archival glue, 6 in. diameter, 9 in. deep.

Boundless presents contemporary art inside Hill-Stead’s period rooms for the first time

In celebration of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival’s 25th Anniversary, the historic Libraries will be transformed into a contemporary sculpture gallery to showcase Boundless: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, guest-curated by Carole Kunstadt, a graduate of the Hartford Art School. Installed among the many rare first editions and early volumes in the Pope family’s personal library, it is an exhibition of altered books by three contemporary artists: Carole P. Kunstadt, Chris Perry and Erin Walrath.

Boundless presents three unique approaches to transforming and exploring the malleability of the form, creating new structures and experiences of the codex. Using found books as their medium, the artists give new life, meaning and relevance to the source materials. Through each artist’s process of deconstruction and recreation, the pages and spines are layered, cut, stitched, molded, stacked, drilled, shredded, woven and gilded. In re-imagining both the content and the context the resulting works reshape our relationship with books. they entice us into a world intriguingly familiar yet previously unknown. The written texts are re-imagined into a boundless world of new associations, altered memories and rekindled responses.

Associations abound when viewing the altered books, rekindling intimate imaginings, sensorial responses to the books’ physicality and cherished memories of personal attachments to books.

Boundless, Carole P. Kunstadt, Sacred Poem XI

Carole P. Kunstadt, Sacred Poem XI, 2015, 24 karat gold leaf, paper, thread, gampi tissue, 7.5 x 8 x 1.5 in.

Carole P. Kunstadt dissects, stitches, weaves and gilds book leaves savoring the aged qualities of the paper and text while reminding one of the personal associations to knowledge and history, and the passage and compression of time. Intimate in scale and intention the sculptural objects are a vehicle for the exploration of life’s vulnerabilities and a platform for sanctity and contemplation.



Boundless, Chris Perry, 92 Ripples well

Chris Perry, 92 Ripples well, 2011, paper, fabric, gel acetate, mirror, 3 x 21 x 21 in.

Chris Perry‘s book constructions elegantly invite us into an ordered, fluid, textural and structural experience. Cascading paper, layered or spouting from a stack of volumes, mimics and implies the focus on water and our environment. Reductive and additive elements find a balance in Perry’s works suggestive of the balance needed on Planet Earth.




Boundless, Erin Walrath, Consumed

Erin Walrath, Consumed, 2013, book covers, archival glue, wooden drum, 22 in. diameter, 12 in. deep

Erin Walrath‘s nest-like forms entice as well as excite the eye with their organic shapes thick with fragments of font, text, fiber, color in partly recognizable book covers and spines. One finds a refuge in their densely-layered and textural structure; as well as a joy in discovering these hybrid forms.

Boundless is exclusive to the Hill-Stead Museum and is guest curated by Carole P. Kunstadt in collaboration with Melanie Bourbeau, Curator & Director of Interpretation and Programs and Susan Ballek, Executive Director, Hill-Stead Museum.

Announcing the 2017 Sunken Garden Poetry Roster


The 25th Anniversary Season of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival features new talent, like Jamaal May and Ocean Vuong, as well as the return of Festival favorites Billy Collins and Mark Doty. The summer begins here.

For more information and to purchase tickets, see 2017 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, or our Calendar.

— 2017 ROSTER —

Billy 2croppedBilly Collins
Wednesday, June 21

The author of ten collections of poetry, Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-03, and Poet Laureate of New York from 2004-06. The evening will feature a special reading by Connecticut State Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin and music by Plywood Cowboy.

 Jamaal May & Tarfia Faizullah
Sunday, July 9

tarfiaAward-winning poets, Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah, co-direct Organic Weapon Arts. The evening will feature a Poetry Jam/Urban Poetry Conversation and musical spoken word performance by Tang Sauce and DJ Stealth.

Cornelius Eady
Wednesday, July 19

CorneliusCornelius Eady’s work as been nominated for a NAACP Image Award and the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. Eady will be joined by his band Rough Magic for music and poetry to delight and inspire. Also performing: Sunken Garden Poetry Prize winner (TBA this spring), sponsored by Tupelo Press.

 Mark Doty & Eileen Myles
Sunday, August 6

Mark DottyHill-Stead welcomes back beloved poet Mark Doty, New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner. Doty will be joined by acclaimed poet Eileen Myles, with musical guests The Girls from Ruby Falls.

 Ocean Vuong & Young Poets Day
Wednesday, August 16

A Ocean VuongRuth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, 28-year-old Ocean Vuong is the recipient of several awards including the 2016 Whiting Award. Hill-Stead’s own Fresh Voices Poetry Competition winners will also perform their work in the Garden.

Spend your School Vacation at Hill-Stead


Enjoy a break from school at Hill-Stead!

Our Vacation Workshops features hands-on study of Hill-Stead’s art and architecture and students have the opportunity to create their own masterpieces based on the collection. Add in some games and outdoor exploration and Hill-Stead has the perfect recipe for fun, educational school vacations!

Family/Grandparent level members, $40 per day; all others, $50 per day.  Not a member?  Learn more about Membership.

For more information, contact the Education Department (860) 677-4787 ext. 140, or email weaverj@hillstead.org.April Logo