Grant Affords East of the River Students Free Educational Opportunities
FARMINGTON, CT—November 30, 2022
The SBM Charitable Foundation (SBMCF) has awarded Hill Stead a “We’re Pulling for You” grant for $34,466.94 in support of the “Art, Poetry, and History at Hill-Stead Museum” program for area students in East Hartford, Vernon, and Manchester. This program, in partnership with the SBM Charitable Foundation, has provided valuable Fine Arts, Language Arts, and World Languages themed educational programs for thousands of underserved students since 2006.
Before moving on to resolutions, I like to savor the year coming quickly to a close. I play a little game and challenge myself to name my three favorite moments.
For 2022 it isn’t easy because there has been lots to love. There is the news from our partners Clatter Ridge Farm (their animals and know-how plus our land and barns honor Hill-Stead’s past as a working farm) that together we are helping the endangered monarch butterflies; or, finally attributing the mystery painting in the guest room to a fellow hidden gem, Henri Martin; or, removing the cataracts to (again finally) see the admirable and generous person behind our great founder, her equally impressive father Alfred. But what about that summertime Saturday ping of a clandestine video, a young man proposing marriage in the Sunken Garden? I must include that!
Perhaps I’ll let myself choose four, it is a special birthday year after all.
In these last days of it, as so many of you make donations to your favorite non-profits, we ask that you please consider our museum. Whether your joy lies in art, nature, history or inspiring characters, we at Hill-Stead work all year to bring it to you. And it is your generosity that sustains us.
A bright light in the darkness.
and all best wishes for all good things in 2023,
Dr. Anna Swinbourne
Executive Director & CEO
P.S. Should you prefer to donate to us directly, please contact Kathanne Wray (t: 860 677-4787 x 111 – e: firstname.lastname@example.org)
It is so easy to overlook what is right under our nose. For seventy-five years at Hill-Stead, we have admired the paintings on the walls without considering the bigger picture of how they got there. Realizing we ought to, we began to look more closely, and what we found is extraordinary.
The artwork now at the museum is only a fraction—a tip of the iceberg—of what was once there. Self-taught and daring as a collector, Theodate’s father Alfred bought the art of his contemporaries, the Impressionists, who were then little-known in this country. He acquired over forty Impressionist masterpieces that we have traced to their current owners around the globe: a third Monet haystack; a second Degas jockeys; landscapes by Pissarro and Sisley; even a stunning Renoir painting of a girl and her cat. More astonishing still is how many left the museum not by his choice, but rather his daughter’s, and long after his death, likely to fund her own creative endeavors, including the school she founded to honor him, Avon Old Farms. Continue reading →
35 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT 06032.
Hill-Stead Museum is pleased to announce Alfred Pope: An Evolution of Ingenuity, an exhibition that presents the little-known and under-appreciated father of Hill-Stead’s founder, Theodate Pope Riddle. On view will be a group of paintings and drawings he once owned, which are now scattered around the world, as well as selected works on paper, objects, and ephemera from Hill-Stead’s collection and archives that illuminate this fascinating, generous individual. The exhibition opening will be on December 8, 2022, from 6-8 pm. Continue reading →
Hill-Stead Museum is pleased to announce Deborah Berke, Founding Partner of Deborah Berke Partners and Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture, as the recipient of the inaugural Theodate Pope Riddle Women in Architecture and Design Award. The award recognizes women who have made significant contributions to both design excellence and the advancement of women in the fields of architecture and design. Continue reading →
109 years ago, in November 1913, the English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst arrived in Hartford to give her “Freedom or Death” speech. Our founder Theodate picked her up at the train station and in typical take-action fashion drove her to Hill-Stead for a welcoming lunch. Later that day, Theodate also publicly pledged $100 for Pankhurst’s cause when the hat was passed in the theater post-speech. All these years later, Theodate has made it easy to honor her legacy: all we need to do is get ourselves to the polls on Tuesday, November 8th, and exercise our right to vote!
Emmeline Pankhurst (center) in Hartford, Connecticut, 1913. Library of Congress.
Hill-Stead Museum is honored to have been selected to receive an award from the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, a grant-making program established by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in collaboration with Environment & Culture Partners and RMI to catalyze climate change action in the visual arts. Funds will be used to complete the replacement of a failed HVAC chiller, installed in 2001, and the associated upgrading of pumps and temperature and humidity controls for the 1901 historic house. Funds will also be used to maximize energy savings measures, such as retrofitting all existing parking lot and exterior property lights with new LED lamps, featuring “dusk to dawn” operation. This project will help us reduce our carbon footprint. Additionally, operational costs will dramatically decrease. For instance, the energy-efficient new chiller is expected to operate at 70% of the cost of the old 2001 model, resulting in approximately 30% savings in energy costs.
“Good news department” was the title of a recent message from our partners at Clatter Ridge Farm, whose sheep live at Hill-Stead. I found their tidings not just good, but glorious: we don’t mow but leave the grooming of our pastures to the sheep, and since those sheep don’t eat milkweed, we have created an environment that’s extra friendly to the monarch butterfly, just recently added to the endangered species list.
I must admit that I was exceptionally proud of Hill-Stead! Yet another way that we’re honoring our nature-loving and preservationist founder, Theodate.
A monarch butterfly at Hill-Stead & STEAM Academy 4th graders at our Hilma’s Ghost exhibit.
“Tell the bad times to scram!” were the words of Erin Hazelton in our first meeting to dream up this year’s gala. She and co-chair Kristen Renehan have taken them to heart!
They have created a Roaring ‘20s evening for legends:
To begin, High Hat Circle guests will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate inside the museum. With a nod to Theodate’s husband, Ambassador John Wallace Riddle, who was renowned for having the best alcohol during the prohibition (thank you diplomatic pouch!), we’ll gin up a speakeasy and serve cocktails from the butler’s pantry pass-through, while listening to the captivating duo, Acute Inflections.