Hill-Stead Receives “We’re Pulling for You” Grant from SBM Charitable Foundation, Affording East of the River Students Free Educational Opportunities
The SBM Charitable Foundation (SBMCF) has awarded Hill-Stead a “We’re Pulling for You” grant for $9,783.00 in support of the “Art, Poetry, and History at Hill-Stead Museum” program for area students in East Hartford, Vernon, and Manchester. It will supplement the initial $24,130 grant awarded in 2019, unexpectedly upended due to coronavirus.
Dr. Anna Swinbourne says, “SBM Charitable Foundation’s generous funding is the backbone of our educational programs. Hill-Stead is deeply grateful for SBMCF’s continued commitment to supporting educational programs through its funding for art, history, and poetry at our diverse and dynamic institution.”
by Rachel Culter, Education Specialist and Resident Artist
In recent years, an incredible partnership has been growing between Girl Scouts of America and Hill-Stead! Our beloved cultural hub’s education team has been offering them a bevy of activities to help the Girl Scouts work towards or earn their badges. This fall, several troops visited the House Museum, where they learned about its history and found inspiration in founder Theodate Pope Riddle’s story. Then, they sketched, painted, and hiked the scenic landscape.
It was the second week of June when we began our preliminary plans for an outdoor summer art program for local children. Governor Lamont set forth policies for what day camps would like in Connecticut during the pandemic. Undoubtedly, these were unprecedented circumstances, but we felt confident we could create an educational, fun, and, most of all, safe program for our youth.
Our Director of Education, Kate Ebner, and I brainstormed the lesson plans and worked out the logistics. Then, we lovingly named our new creation “Summer on the Hill.”
On Sunday, September 20, the trees around Hill-Stead were tinged with orange and red. With a slight chill in the air, it was a perfect day for painting. En Plein Air is the French term for creating art “outdoors,” and was popularized by the Impressionists.
Historically, the studio was the setting for most painting endeavors. Materials were not suitable for long hikes along the countryside. The “box easel” came into being in the mid 19th century, and artists ventured outdoors more frequently to paint, especially the Impressionists. They wanted to create art at the very moment they were looking upon a scene. They were capturing the essence, the impression of that moment.