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Three Things to Know – August 5, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the third installment of Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.

1) Hill-Stead continues to bring the magic with its phenomenal summer programming! From the Porch, our inaugural multicultural performing arts series appears in more than a dozen articles. Here are some of the recent clips, highlighting the series, including not one but three feature articles in The Hartford Courant. Coverage includes today’s article on our upcoming Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, a full account of our summer series, along with a front-page story from last weekend’s Dance of Da Vinci 2.0 (pictured here).

In the coming weeks, the lineup includes music, film, theater, comedy, and more, so please join us for extraordinary evenings under the moonlit among our creative spirits, crickets, and fireflies!

2) As many of you know, one of Hill-Stead’s most popular annual events is the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. Now entering its 28th year, this one-of-a-kind event continues to celebrate poets laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners, and prestigious award recipients. We have persevered in planning two unique poetry programs to be enjoyed in-person on Hill-Stead’s West Lawn or live-streamed to your home.

On August 9 from 5 to 8 pm, Hill-Stead hosts Young Poets Day of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival features Mahogany L. Browne, a California-born, Brooklyn-based writer, educator, activist, mentor, and curator. The talented winners of Hill-Stead’s Fresh Voices Poetry Competition, an annual competition for student poets, will join her. We are also thrilled to bring moderator, Kamora Le’ Ella Herrington, founder of Kamora’s Cultural Corner to the stage.

We are over the moon to welcome our country’s first Native American poet laureate, Joy Harjo, along with Dujie Tahat, Winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Award. The two will close the Festival on September 13 from 4 to 7 pm

Tickets to the upcoming events are going fast! Purchase yours today and tell your friends! You can tune in from the comfort of your home with a Livestream presentation as it happens.

3) Tailgating off the success of our socially-distanced, farm-to-table dinner, we invite you to join us for the August and September dinners to benefit Hill-Stead. Affectionately coined, Theodate and Tyler: For the Love of Hill-Stead, celebrity chef Tyler Anderson has created a culinary masterpiece for these one-of-a-kind experiences. Held on select dates through September 10, these stunning affairs include multi-course dinners with wine pairings, top-notch musical talent, and post-reception house tours.

In related news, our silent auction is now online, with new items added throughout the summer. We are immensely grateful to our presenting Sponsor: Bank of America; Bronze Sponsors: Grunberg Management, Liberty Bank and Stanley Black & Decker; Friend Sponsors: Peoples United Bank, V.F. McNeil Insurance, and Chubb Corporation.

I am eager to hear from you. Your questions, ideas, and inspirations are welcome. Leave a comment on a post relevant to the topic or email brettb@hillstead.org.

I will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.

Best wishes,

Beth Brett
Director of Communications and Marketing

Guided tours are back at Hill-Stead Museum!

We are thrilled to open our doors once again for the public!

  • House tours will take place Thursdays through Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Hill-Stead Guides lead tours on the hour; the last tour begins 3 pm
  • Tours are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • There may be no more than 12 people per tour
  • Tickets should be purchased upon arrival
  • Hill-Stead also offers Exclusive Private Tours with our curator by appointment
  • Hill-Stead’s gorgeous grounds and garden remain open to the public daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Hill-Stead is also hosting From the Porch, a summer performing arts series; benefit auction events; and a summer camp—all of which are open to the public

Admission

Members  | FREE
Adults | $18
AAA & Seniors (62+) | $16
Students | $12
Children 6-12 | $10
Children under 6 | FREE

Museum Members are always FREE!
Not a Member?  JOIN NOW

We recommend that all visitors make reservations in advance
RESERVE TICKETS

Special Admission Programs

As a Blue Star Museum, Hill-Stead offers active-duty military families FREE admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America.

Hill-Stead is a part of the Museums for All program and offers FREE admission for up to four people to with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Museums for All is a cooperative initiative between Association of Children’s Museums and Institute of Museum and Library Services to offer a signature access program that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits.

Hill-Stead is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail.  Discover Connecticut’s artistic treasures with the Connecticut Art Trail Art Passport. The $25 Art Passport includes one admission to each of the 20 member museums per year. Explore diverse, quality collections rich in history and heritage, including European masterpieces, American Impressionism, ancient art and contemporary culture.

Please note: 
  •  There are no self-paced tours at this time.
  • There are no school group visits at this time.

The safety of staff and visitors is our highest priority.

To ensure a safe, inspiring experience for all, we’ve adopted new health and safety protocols. You’ll find everything you need to know about your next visit below.

Social distancing best practices are in place. All persons entering the building will be required to wear a face mask covering at all times.

  • Always wear a facemask and make sure it fits over your nose and mouth
  • Practice safe social distancing. Please keep six feet between yourself and others (outside your party)
  • Please wash/sanitize your hands at our sanitizing stations
  • A limited number of visitors will be permitted at one time
  • A one-way flow of traffic will be required in the House
  • Contactless payment is available and encouraged
  • Please let us know if you or another member of your party have traveled outside of Connecticut in the past 14 days or​ experiencing fever, chills, cough, or any other symptoms
Please note: 
  •  There are no self-paced tours at this time.
  • There are no school group visits at this time.

Three Things to Know – June 19, 2020

In the spirit of our tech-driven times, I am delighted to bring you the second installment of “Hill-Stead Museum’s Three Things to Know.”

1.) With the official first day of summer around the corner, Hill-Stead is beyond thrilled to bring you From the Porch, our inaugural multicultural performing arts series. Please join us for this diverse and dynamic showcase featuring music, dance, theater, and more! The series celebrates the “Year of the Woman,” to coincide with the centennial of women’s suffrage with signature events to amplify women’s crucial role in history.

First up, vocal-guitar duo Kristen Renehan and Jim Mastrianni create an elegant, enjoyable musical experience for all ages. This Saturday’s family-friendly prelude performance will include jazz, pop, soul, rock, and folk music with a twist.

Then, join us on Friday, July 26, for an opening night celebration to remember. Tammy Denease, an accomplished storyteller and actor, will perform as Sarah Margu, a captive on the Amistad. Powerful songstress Elizabeth Lyra Ross will also headline the event with a voice to make angels weep. Her distinguished career has included performances with the Metropolitan Opera and an Emmy Award nomination.

Don’t fret if you cannot be there in person. You can tune in from the comfort of your home with a Livestream presentation as it happens. Tickets to the upcoming events are going fast! Purchase yours today and tell your friends!

2.) Where better for children to spend summer than Hill-Stead. Now your children or grandchildren can “Summer on the Hill” with a four-week in-person workshop series offered from July 14- August 14, perfectly pairing painting with nature. Hill-Stead’s own resident artist and educator Rachel Cutler introduces young artists to drawing and painting en Plein air. As we say at Hill-Stead, “If you like Bob Ross, you are going to LOVE Rachel!”

Courses are offered two days per week from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays OR Wednesdays & Fridays. Space is limited to 10 students, so please sign up now to reserve your spot. To register, please email Kate Ebner, Director of Education, at ebnerk@hillstead.org.

At the same time, Hill-Stead’s education department runs a virtual summer arts series for seniors, exclusively for Duncaster residents. If the pilot proves successful, it will serve as a model for future programs.

Summertime Fun

For creative spirits near and far, Hill-Stead’s What Matters Most Photography Contest allows those from all over the world to submit their photography. Everyone has a story to tell, and this contest provides a forum to capture unexpected outcomes, epiphanies of personal discovery, and moments of pure joy and connection. In doing so, Hill-Stead hopes to build a global community of artists and art enthusiasts. Please enter your work or vote through September 21.

3.) This year, Hill-Stead will host six separate benefit dinners (yes, you heard correctly, in lieu of our annual gala we will hold a bevy of special evenings!). Affectionately coined, Theodate and Tyler: For the Love of Hill-Stead, these exceptional farm-to-table experiences – intended for up to 75 guests each evening – will be created by celebrity chef Tyler Anderson and take place on the gorgeous grounds of Hill-Stead from Thursday, July 23 through Thursday, September 10. These stunning affairs will include special guest appearances, multi-course dinners with wine pairings, and, after-parties in the Sunken Garden. In addition to the live events, there will be a silent auction open to all with new items added throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more details soon!

I am eager to hear from you. Your questions, ideas, and inspirations are welcome. Share a comment on a post relevant to the topic or email brettb@hillstead.org.

I will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.

Best wishes,
Beth
Beth Brett
Director of Communications and Marketing

Summer on the Hill – A Painting and Nature Workshop Series

Begin your days at Hill-Stead, meet new friends, make art, and enjoy the outdoors!

Hill-Stead’s new summer camp, Summer on the Hill, introduces young artists to drawing and painting en plein air. Perfect for outdoor lovers with creative sensibilities! Participants will learn field drawing and sketching, and build skills in both watercolor and oil pastel, depending on age and interest. No art experience necessary!

New Session Added!

We have added a new bonus week: August 11 & 13

This special bonus week will feature new crafts, new art projects, and new games! Learn more

REGISTER for our new bonus week! 


Summer on the Hill

This summer program runs from 9 am to 12 pm two days a week (choose either Tuesdays & Thursdays or Wednesdays & Fridays).

See all available sessions.

REGISTER NOW

Week 4: Final Masterpiece
Use the skills you have learned to create a final showpiece in watercolor or oil pastel

Bonus Week: All New
This week features new art projects, games, and crafts


Program details

  • For students ages 9 to 14
  • 15+ are welcome to apply as “artists-in-training” to assist
  • 10 students maximum
  • Campers must dress appropriately for outdoor activities and bring snacks. Hill-Stead will provide water bottles and art supplies. All campers must wear masks, keep at least six-feet apart from other campers and staff, and wash hands regularly.
  • Questions?  Contact ebnerk@hillstead.org.

Cost

One week  |  $100
Siblings  |  10% discount
Artists-in-training*  |  $80/week or $275/series

*Those ages 15+ can apply to assist

 

A New Multicultural Performing Arts Summer Series

Building on the success of Hill-Stead’s indoor events and nationally acclaimed Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, From the Porch summer programming will take place on our 152-acre campus. The experiential events will happen several nights per week and be open to audiences of all ages.

Hill-Stead will kick off the inaugural series with a venerable celebration of the “Year of the Woman,” to coincide with the centennial of women’s suffrage. Our signature events will amplify women’s crucial role in history.

Bring a blanket and picnic or order beverages online through The Wise Old Dog (check back soon for beverage ordering link).

See all upcoming From the Porch events


Prelude Event – Kristen Renehan and Jim Mastrianni

June 20, 2020
6:30 to 8 pm

Tickets | $25 per person
PURCHASE TICKETS

Vocal-guitar duo Kristen Renehan and Jim Mastrianni bring their time and talent to Hill-Stead. Classically trained, musically appealing and daringly eclectic, the two musicians combine beautiful vocals with tasteful guitar to create an elegant, interesting musical experience for all ages. Next Saturday’s family-friendly performance will include jazz, pop, soul, rock and folk music with a twist.


Opening Night – Tammy Denease & Elizabeth Lyra Ross

June 26, 2020
6:30 to 8 pm

To coincide with the centennial of women’s suffrage, Hill-Stead will kick off its inaugural series with a venerable celebration of the Year of the Woman. The evening filled with storytelling and song will amplify women’s crucial role in history.

Tickets | $20 per person
PURCHASE TICKETS

Tammy Denease, an accomplished storyteller, actor, historian, and playwright will be performing as Sarah Margu, a captive on the slave ship, Amistad. Margu went on to become the first African to graduate from college in America (Oberlin College, Ohio). Tammy proudly brings the lives of significant, yet “hidden” women in history to life. Tammy received the gift of storytelling from her great-grandmother, a former enslaved person who lived to be 125, and grandmother, who lived to 100.

We are equally delighted to bring songstress Elizabeth Lyra Ross to the stage for our opening night. Elizabeth is the first African American female member of The U.S. Army Band and Chorus. Since completing her enlistment, her international career has included performances in Aida, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Santuzza, and as both Bess and Serena in Porgy and Bess. Elizabeth has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and she was nominated for an Emmy Award on the Live from Lincoln Center Series.

June 12, 2020

Dear Friends,

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington CT

With the imminent approach of Summer Solstice—a precise planetary moment when the Earth’s tilt reaches its zenith—I take solace in knowing that I am part of a global community. It happens at an exact moment; it is the same moment everywhere on Earth. We cannot take it back; we can only move forward together.

On this day (June 20), we invite you to come to Hill-Stead and step outside with us at the moment of the Solstice. To pause, be present, and mindful in this powerful and challenging moment in our collective history.

With utmost conviction, we acknowledge our responsibility to fulfill our founder’s intention for Hill-Stead, namely that it serves to enrich and educate our local citizens and the greater public. We exist for all members of the public and seek to build a strong, healthy community that, among many things, is inclusive and embraces equality. And we believe that the arts have the power to unite, an ability that is now more important than ever.

Taking this to heart, not only igniting dialogue but moreover, putting actions behind its words, Hill-Stead is launching From the Porch, a multicultural performing arts series. Building on the successful indoor events and nationally acclaimed Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the vibrant and inclusive programming of this new series – with music, dance, theater and more – will take place outside on our gorgeous grounds, several nights per week. We will welcome audiences of all ages, and strictly follow the state and local regulations for distancing and safety.

We are also, in this kickoff, celebrating both our identity as the brainchild of an extraordinary woman, and the importance of 2020 as the 100th anniversary of women acquiring the right to vote in the United States. Yet even as we celebrate, we acknowledge that this reform was flawed, as voting rights were not accessible to all women equally in our country. Barriers such as poll taxes and literacy tests fostered unequal and discriminatory voting practices.

To welcome summer on the evening of June 20, our dear friend and neighbor, singer-songwriter Kristen Renehan will sing an acoustical concert from the front veranda. Jim Mastrianni will accompany her on guitar.

Then, on June 26, Tammy Denease, an accomplished performing artist and storyteller, will be performing as Sarah Margu, a captive on the Amistad. She proudly brings the lives of significant, yet “hidden” women in history to life. Tammy received the gift of storytelling from her great-grandmother, a former enslaved person who lived to be 125, and grandmother, who lived to 100.

We are equally delighted to bring to the stage that same night, Elizabeth Lyra Ross, who will dazzle us with her magnificent song. Elizabeth is the first African American female member of The U.S. Army Band and Chorus. Since completing her enlistment, her international career has included the opera roles of Aida, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Santuzza, and both Bess and Serena in Porgy and Bess. Elizabeth has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and she has been nominated for an Emmy Award on the Live from Lincoln Center Series.

Throughout the summer season, Hill-Stead will collaborate on specific events with other arts organizations from Opera Connecticut to dance companies led by Judy Dworin and Sonia Plumb. In doing so, we will provide a venue for these neighbor institutions, knowing they cannot host their performances indoors now. Our aspiration is simple: by linking our hands and sharing our resources, we nonprofit cultural institutions can together create a lively and sustainable future.

And if the weather allows, we will continue this series into the autumn, to bring to our community as many enjoyable and enriching experiences as we can. During colder days, be ready to sit in the audience wrapped in a blanket or wearing your winter coat!

Throughout the pandemic, we have kept our grounds and gardens open to all every day. Now, you can be there for us by supporting this vibrant summer series, which will simultaneously serve as a fundraising effort for our beloved Hill-Stead. With your support, we can join together to be part of this shared endeavor to bring the arts back to the community.

To find details of the series events, please visit our calendar. It will grow as we move through the summer!

I look forward to greeting you personally when you arrive for a performance.

My best,

Anna

 

Announcing the winners of the 2020 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

Congratulations, Poets!

The winners are:

Haneen Alkabasi, Avon High School
Alicia Chiu, William H. Hall High School
Jake Colangelo, Joel Barlow High School
Olatunji Osho-Williams, Westminster School
Maggie Munday Odom, The Grove School
Charlotte Watts, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts

 

For the first time, the Fresh Voices readings were performed live via zoom.  Many things were missing from the event—the historical and beautiful setting, the applause of the crowd, live music, and contemplative silences between each reading.  Zoom can never replace live art.  But even virtually, the students’ poetry was transcending.  For one evening, these young poets created a community through their creativity, intense curiosity, and commitment.

Hill-Stead Museum is grateful to all the Fresh Voices Finalists for their efforts and willingness to participate. We are immensely appreciative of the Fresh Voices Judges, who had a challenging task this year!  Thanks, too, to parents and teachers who supported our poets! A special thanks to Hill-Stead Museum’s sponsors and donors, especially the Ellen Jean Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, our members, and our amazing interns and volunteers.

A video compilation of the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition reading will be coming soon for everyone to enjoy!

Please join us at the opening of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival on Sunday, August 9. Winners will read their poems in person at Young Poets Day featuring acclaimed spoken word poet and activist, Mahogany L. Browne.

Learn more about the Fresh Voice Poetry Competition 

NYT says “Yes” to Hill-Stead

     

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share this exciting news—hot off the press! The New York Times said, “Yes” to Hill-Stead!

They accepted our proposal for a wedding story! Magdalena and Brett Day’s beautiful elopement took place in Hill-Stead’s Sunken Garden on Cinco de Mayo at the end of our incredible Giving Tuesday Now (May 5, 2020). The story appeared as a ¼ color-page feature in today’s Vows Section and posted online.

On a related note, a lovely couple out on an evening stroll at Hill-Stead offered their congratulations to the Day’s. Both had married at Hill-Stead on precisely the same day—albeit four decades apart! What sweet serendipity!

Congratulations again to Magdalena and Brett Day! Hill-Stead remains open for small, properly socially distanced, outdoor events. For more information, please contact Jennifer Mooney, Manager of Private Events & Corporate Functions (860-677-4787 ext. 134, or mooneyj@hillstead.org)

We are eager to hear from you. Your questions, ideas, and inspirations are welcome. Leave a comment on a post relevant to the topic or email brettb@hillstead.org.

We will strive to respond to questions as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours.

Best wishes,

Beth Brett
Director of Communications and Marketing