Hill-Stead’s Annual Fund Campaign


Throughout the year, we ask you to support Hill-Stead

We are fortunate to have such a close-knit community of caring and compassionate individuals. Now, we hope you will join the charge in sustaining our beloved institution well into the future.

Through donations to the Annual Fund, we may thrive in 2021 and beyond. We invite you to give back to the place that’s been there for you throughout the pandemic.

Three Reasons to Give



Every year, 40,000 visitors enjoy, learn, or reflect our cultural hub in the heart of Farmington. Hill-Stead hosts more than 6,000 students each year from elementary schools to high schools and universities.

We were so happy to find a small summer camp at Hill-Stead this summer for our daughter during the pandemic. Nature, painting and drawing outdoors all in a safe and very small group setting was perfect.

—Marsha Krebs, parent of a Summer on the Hill camper



Hill-Stead’s collection of paintings by Monet, Degas, Whistler, Manet, and Cassatt rival artwork found in major art museums around the world.

Real Art Ways’ collaboration with Hill-Stead was the first in-person event we presented coming out of the coronavirus shutdown. The staff at Hill-Stead was outstanding and the setting was sublime. The film presentation (Raul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, a profound, thought-provoking work based on unpublished writing of James Baldwin), and musical presentation featuring Erica T. Bryan and Tom Sullivan, came off without a hitch. It was so good to see people after months of being closed. Hill-Stead reached out to area organizations, and made the space available. This is such a welcome development, and exactly the thing to do in the context of a pandemic that is affecting us all.

—Will K. Wilkins, Executive Director, Real Art Ways



In the year ahead, Hill-Stead embarks on a transformative chapter, developing innovative programs and taking future exhibitions and special initiatives to new heights. In doing so, we will ignite new dialogue while continuing our strong stewardship of Hill-Stead.

Many thanks for everything that you and all Hill-Stead staff have done to deliver the beauty, the landscape, and the experience of Hill-Stead to a broad community of constituencies. In these challenging and creative times, you have all been exemplars – among the finest of the ‘Go-Getters’ and ‘Can-Doers’ that I know. We have enjoyed gardens, walks, picnics, From the Porch performances and an Outstanding Dinner event. Each event was special in its own way, thanks to a great exertion of Effort, Planning and Magic. Tom and I are most grateful.

—Filomena &Tom Soyster, Hill-Stead patrons

For more information, contact Alyssa Luis, Development Assistant (luisa@hillstead.org).

The Theodate Pope Riddle Society consists of those who support Hill-Stead with gifts of $1,000 or more per year. Members of the society receive recognition in the annual report, invitations to exclusive events, and more!
For more information, contact Beth Brett, Chief Advancement Officer (brettb@hillstead.org (860.677.4787 x111).

Donate now or send a check by mail to
Annual Fund
Hill-Stead Museum
35 Mountain Road
Farmington, CT 06032


I have attended the Sunken Garden Poetry festival for many years and on those occasions, we would park the car, listen to wonderful poetry and music, and then drive home. This year, however, experienced the grounds of Hill-Stead in a whole new way.

Very quickly during the early days of the pandemic, Hill-Stead became my sanctuary and favorite destination. When area walking trails became over-run with crowds of mask-less people, Hill-Stead opened its stunning grounds to the public. On some days I would take binoculars and watch the birds. On other days, I’d head down to the barn and be entertained by the lambs and goats. And on still other days I’d simply wander on the trails and try to forget about viruses and politics and racial injustice for an hour. I always drove back home with my emotional and physical batteries recharged.

As spring turned to summer, I spent some of my happiest hours doing yoga on the Hill-Stead lawn thanks to the skilled teachers at West Hartford Yoga and the generous decision made by the museum to share their unique space with area organizations.  I found myself on that same lawn on numerous summer evenings as well, listening to musical programs by the Hartford Symphony and Yale Opera, as well as an inspiring one-woman performance focused on the Amistad.

The Hill-Stead Museum did not have to choose to collaborate with others. At a precarious time for so many nonprofit organizations, it would have been very easy to turn inward. I know I am not alone in my appreciation that they chose to look outward instead.  Thanks to their generosity and sense of community, Hill-Stead made a challenging year brighter.Anne Stanback, Avon, CT

In an uncertain time during the beginning of social distancing amidst a global pandemic the Hill-Stead Museum staff had a brilliant idea to do From The Porch. This series was a beacon of light at a dark time in human history and hope was scanty in the community. I felt honored and privileged to be a part of this much needed event. The State mandated safety COVID protocols that were in place went above and beyond. The spacious, well-kept grounds allowed many from the community to come out safely and enjoy a moment of much needed “normalcy”. I look forward to future events! Well done!Tammy Denease, storyteller, actor, historian, and playwright
We had the opportunity to perform in the beautiful setting on the porch at the Hill-Stead Museum in the summer. It was one of the first opportunities for many to come out and hear live music again after long months of social distance and isolation. The Hill-Stead Museum did an amazing job of quickly adapting to pandemic restrictions and creating a wonderful outdoor summer series to support and sustain both the community and performers during a difficult time when so many other events were cancelled. We loved playing there and hope to return soon!Jeanne Freeman of Celtic duo Ringrose & Freeman
I want more people to experience what I went through, it was the first writing workshop and a wonderful experience throughout the process. I was struggling to find influence for my poetry and, just in that hour, I was able to produce drafts for 3 poems. I would recommend it to anyone, even those who are inexperienced. It truly opens your eyes to the vast topics there are to write about. Mahogany L. Browne is an exceptional writer so it was an honor to meet and learn from her at the workshop and read my poem at Young Poets Day at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival on August 9.Haneen Alkabasi, Fresh Voices Winner
Honestly we had an amazing experience at Hill-Stead!!! Your staff was super accommodating. We loved that you gave us a private room with a bathroom. It was perfect to warmup in and to get dressed in. It made our travel very comfortable. Your staff was so kind and helpful. Anything we needed they had ready to go. The social distancing was done perfectly. We felt very safe. Our children loved your property and the playing area. We all loved the audience and atmosphere. It was a super success for us. We are so blessed to have had Hill-Stead be our first live performance as the “Quarantined Quartet.” Thank you very much for being so creative and finding a way to have safe concerts continue to happen during the pandemic. Best wishes to everyone at Hill-Stead!Elysa & Jason
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra performed at From the Porch three times this summer and these performances were absolutely critical to our success. The opportunity to reach audiences, in person, up close and personal, and in a beautiful environment, was truly magical. And, the Hill-Stead Museum’s partnership came a critical moment for us after a long delay from performing in-person. Anna Swinbourne’s guidance and her staff’s professionalism were top notch, handling all the details with ease. I can’t say enough about Hill-Stead’s leadership, generosity and collegiality in producing From the Porch. Bravo!Steve Collins, Executive Director, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra
At the height of the pandemic in spring 2020, Hill-Stead Executive Director Dr. Anna Swinbourne reached out to offer the Hill-Stead grounds as a potential performance space to the arts and culture leaders in Greater Hartford. With only one in-person, masked meeting walking the property, I made a quick and easy decision to take her up the offer and together we brought forth a collaborative vision to cross-pollinate our art forms and audiences. I do believe, together with Anna, we were one of the first dance companies in the nation to premiere a “live” fully produced dance performance – The Dance of da Vinci 2.0. Our event was the most “tech” heavy of all the From The Porch events, requiring staging, sound and lighting to be brought in days ahead of time. Rehearsals ran into the late nights to make sure lighting was right for the audience. Circles were drawn, masks worn and the event went smoothly. I am truly grateful that Anna extended her hand in true solidaritySonia Plumb, Artistic Director and Choreographer, Sonia Plumb Dance Company
Throughout the summer and fall, Hill-Stead became a beacon of what the arts can do, and a place of refuge and inspiration for much of the community. Hartford Stage was not alone in benefitting from Hill-Stead’s vision and generosity: The Hartford Symphony Orchestra, local dance companies, smaller theatre troupes, Opera Connecticut were among the beneficiaries of Hill-Stead’s belief in the transformative powers of art. That they kept their grounds open when everything around us seemed to close down, gave us all in the region a sense of faith that there were options and possibilities ahead. Thanks to the work that Hill-Stead did over the past 8 months, many patrons and arts leaders have a new vision of what collaboration across institutions can look like. Hill-Stead will continue to inspire us to work together to keep arts and culture in the forefront of our community’s consciousness even as our ways of delivering our programming fundamentally change.Melia Bensussen, Artistic Director, Hartford Stage

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