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Connecticut Creativity: Vision + Imagination + Inspiration

A Wilton Library/Wilton Historical Society Scholarly Lecture Series
February through April 2021

In the fourteenth year of the collaboration between Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society, the scholarly lecture series will focus on the theme, “Connecticut Creativity: Vision + Imagination + Inspiration.” This year’s series celebrates the arts – music, illustration, storytelling, performance art, and even the circus – homegrown in Connecticut. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the 5-part series will be held virtually on Thursday evenings from 5 to 6:30 pm with every session requiring a separate registration.

There is no charge however a $10 suggested donation can be made to the hosting institution right from the registration pages. Registration is required for each individual lecture. Please click the registration links below for more program and speaker details.

The five sessions are as follows:

Charles Ives and the American Music Identity – Dr. Gil Harel, Naugatuck Valley Community College
Thursday, February 11, 5 – 6:30 pm
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During this program, Dr. Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) will discuss Danbury-born composer Charles Ives as a founder of a distinct American music idiom. Charles Ives may very well be considered one of the most important American composers of the modern period. His considerable wealth is cited as a factor in allowing the composer to write abstract and complex works without having to worry about ticket sales. Today, he is regarded as a seminal American composer whose pioneering work with polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatory elements and more has cemented his place in the canon.

Gil Harel is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from the western classical repertoire to jazz. He is a popular guest lecturer in this scholarly series. At Naugatuck Valley Community College, Harel conducts the college chorale, a cappella ensemble, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions.
The moderator is Max Gabrielson. The program is sponsored by Nancy and Bill Brautigam. This program is being hosted by Wilton Library. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested. Support the library


The Story of Famous Artists School and its Connecticut Roots – Stephanie Haboush Plunkett and Magdalen Livesey
Thursday, February 25, 5 – 6:30 pm
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In this presentation, Stephanie Haboush Plunkett and Magdalen Livesey will look at the lasting influence of the Famous Artists School and the artists who contributed to it on the world of illustration from the twentieth century until today. Famous Artists School – “the art school for everyone, everywhere” – began in 1948 in Westport, then home to a number of well-known artists and illustrators. Al Dorne, a prolific illustrator, had the idea to create an art instruction program for distance learning based on the techniques and experience of other successful artists. Eleven artists, including Norman Rockwell and Stevan Dohanos, contributed material for the comprehensive courses.

Stephanie Haboush Plunkett is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum. She leads the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, the first scholarly institute devoted to the study of illustration art. Magdalen Livesey is a writer and freelance editor, and the co-author, with Stephanie Plunkett, of Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School. She and her husband, Robert Livesey, owned Famous Artists School from 1982 to 2016.

The moderator is Steve Hudspeth. The program is sponsored by Dr. Mark and Linda Rubinstein. This program is being hosted by Wilton Library. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested. Support the library


The World of Maurice Sendak: A Virtual Tour of the Maurice Sendak House and Studio – Lynn Caponera and Dr. Jonathan Weinberg
Thursday, March 11, 5 – 6:30 pm
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In this presentation, Lynn Caponera and Dr. Jonathan Weinberg will discuss the world of the famous illustrator, author, and Ridgefield resident, Maurice Sendak. Many individuals have fond memories of the numerous works and illustrations of Maurice Sendak, but few know of his enduring artistic legacy and creative process. Lynn Caponera and Dr. Jonathan Weinberg will invite and guide us into the Sendak world, discuss the Sendak creative process, and his Ridgefield, CT home and studio where he lived and worked for forty years. The recipient of numerous coveted awards, Maurice Sendak remains the most honored and beloved children’s book author in history.

Lynn Caponera, Executive Director and President of the Board of The Maurice Sendak Foundation, had a 40-year history with the celebrated artist Maurice Sendak. Jonathan Weinberg, Ph.D., Curator of The Maurice Sendak Foundation, is an artist and art historian.

The moderator is Max Gabrielson. The program is sponsored by Allison and Rob Sanders. This program is being hosted by Wilton Historical Society. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested. Support the Wilton Historical Society


The Greatest Showman – Fiction vs Fact! The REAL Story Behind the REEL Story! – Kathleen Maher
Thursday, March 25, 5 – 6:30 pm
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In this lecture, Kathleen Maher will captivate guests with an engaging journey through key elements in the P.T. Barnum movie The Greatest Showman and will share numerous bits and pieces of history that will “set the record straight.” From the depiction of Barnum’s childhood in Connecticut to his final bow with the Greatest Show on Earth, Maher will expand on the tales set in the screenplay and reveal the truth to the remarkable stories of struggle and triumph that are even more fantastic.

A gifted speaker and noted authority on all things related to Phineas Taylor Barnum, Kathy has 33 years of experience working at museums and is celebrating 22 years at the historic Barnum Museum where she is Executive Director. She holds gubernatorial appointments to the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Council, the State Library, and the Museum of Connecticut History.

The moderator is Steve Hudspeth. The program is sponsored by Rebecca Lin. This program is being hosted by Wilton Historical Society. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested. Support the Wilton Historical Society


Gillette and Holmes: Theatrical Innovation from Connecticut to London and Back Again – Emily Gifford
Thursday, April 8, 5 – 6:30 pm
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In this final lecture of the series, Emily Gifford will explore William Gillette, a colorful Connecticuter whose contributions to global popular culture have persisted for over a century. Gillette, from a prominent family in Hartford's Nook Farm, enjoyed early success in the theater as an actor, playwright and director. He also made advances in sound effects and pioneered the use of new lighting technologies to enhance storytelling, such as the dramatic use of lighting blackouts. It was "his" Sherlock Holmes, however, which brought him the most recognition, as well as financial rewards. Gillette used some of his income to create a wonderfully eccentric castle overlooking the Connecticut River, a residence as ingenious as any Holmes could have imagined.

Emily Gifford is an independent historian, educated in Connecticut at Trinity College (BA), Yale Divinity School (MA), and Central Connecticut State University (MA).

The moderator is Steve Hudspeth. The program is sponsored by Phil Lauria and Elaine Tai-Lauria. This program is being hosted by Wilton Historical Society. A $10 donation to the hosting institution is suggested. Support the Wilton Historical Society


 

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