Waterford Historical Society (CT)
Famous puppets and marionettes such as Pinocchio, The Blue Fairy and characters from “Treasure Island” – created by two well-known Waterford, Connecticut artists from years past, Rufus and Margo Rose – and contemporary artwork by local artists were on display in the historic buildings of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center during the Waterford Historical Society’s fifth annual “Art In Waterford: Past + Present + Future. Representing artists of the “Past,” the Rose marionettes and puppets, on loan from the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at UCONN, were displayed in the White House. Juried artworks with a southeastern Connecticut theme created by contemporary artists representing the present, along with “future artists,” local secondary school students, could be viewed on the second level of the Rufus and Margo Rose Theater Barn.
Admission was free and open to the public, and donations to the historical society were welcomed. Parking was ample, free and handicap accessible. The O’Neill grounds, the lower level of the Rose Barn, and the White House are all handicap accessible; however, there is no handicap access to the upper level of the Rose Barn.
This first collaboration between the Waterford Historical Society and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (known widely as “the O’Neill”) to present “Art In Waterford” provided a perfect setting for all ages to experience the arts and the outdoors. Visitors could view the display of puppets and marionettes and local artists’ works of art in the Center’s historic buildings and learn more about the O’Neill and its upcoming summer season of puppetry, musical theater, plays and cabaret. They could take in the local water views, as the O’Neill faces Long Island Sound and is located just minutes away from other seaside attractions including Harkness Memorial State Park, Seaside State Park and New London’s Ocean Beach Park. Artists could be observed creating artwork outdoors “en plein aire.”
Most of the artworks with a southeastern Connecticut theme in the fifth annual juried exhibit for contemporary artists were for sale, including sculpture, paintings, photography and fiber arts. A percentage of the proceeds benefited the Waterford Historical Society’s programs and activities.
The Society’s commemorative event booklet, available for purchase, hold historical information on the 19th-century Hammond buildings, the evolution of the Eugene ‘O’Neill Theater Center and the lives and talents of Rufus and Margo Skewis Rose. Other books about Waterford’s history and hand-forged items created at the Society’s blacksmith shop on Jordan Green were also for sale. Visitors of all ages were able to procure art supplies to create their own artwork on site.