STATEWIDE — One of the first tourism trails in the State — The Connecticut Art Trail — is celebrating 25 years of guiding art aficionados across the state on a journey that includes 22 world-class museums and historic sites. Originally launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, encompassing 10 museums, today the Trail includes more than double that number, plus a growing range of affiliate members including galleries and art-based environments, according to an email from organizers.
“When the founding museums first gathered, over two decades ago, I’m not sure that anyone imagined that this trail would not only continue to thrive but grow in reach and reputation, across the country,” shares Carey Weber, volunteer president of the Connecticut Art Trail and executive director of the Fairfield University Art Museum. “When considering how to celebrate 25 years of collaboration, the answer was clear — curating and opening a collaborative exhibition comprised of works from all of our member museums, hosted by a member.”
The resulting “Made in Connecticut” collaborative exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, Oct. 15, and run through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.
James Prosek, American artist, writer, naturalist, and current Artist-in-Residence at the Yale University Art Gallery will be the independent curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition is made possible thanks to the tremendous collaboration of the partner museums, and the generosity of our guest curator James Prosek. We are excited about building on this energy for our next 25 years,” said Weber. “In addition to paintings, drawings, prints and other traditional works of art, this exhibition will feature a number of decorative and industrial art objects including a rubber desk, an early typewriter, a selection of historic buttons and much more.”
“The member museums and historic sites of the Connecticut Art Trail are spread statewide,” shared Prosek. “Their combined collections number over half a million objects and are filled with astonishing works. It is an honor to be working with the museums to showcase the diversity of objects that have impacted Connecticut’s rich cultural landscape over the centuries.”
In addition to works from the collections of the member museums, Prosek has included works by two contemporary artists and members of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, Bill Donehey and Kristin Emilyta. Together the artwork in the exhibition tells the story of Connecticut’s natural and industrial landscape. It showcases the state’s makers and builders, workers and thinkers, artists and innovators.
The “Made in Connecticut” exhibition is the highlight of this milestone year for the Trail, which will also include educational programming and unique anniversary exhibits among individual members. This will also be the final year that the popular Connecticut Art Trail passport, which provides no-cost admission to all 22 member sites,” will be available for its original, $25.
Entrance to the Wadsworth and the “Made in Connecticut” exhibition are included with the purchase of the Passport which can be done online at www.ctarttrail.org or at any member location. “The proceeds of passports purchased directly at a member location results in a $25 donation directly to that museum,” concluded Weber. “Not everyone realizes that the Trail currently does not receive any state or federal funding and that we strictly operate from members dues and the sales of passports. Therefore the sales of the passports have a direct impact on the ability of the museums to promote their great work.”
Docent-led tours of the Made in Connecticut exhibition will be on Sundays at 11 a.m. from Nov. 1 to Feb. 7, 2021. Advanced registration is required via www.thewadsworth.org.
In addition to celebrating its 25th anniversary with the “Made In Connecticut” exhibition, the Wadsworth will be hosting several virtual related programs. For a current listing, check www.thewadsworth.org.