Waterford Historical Society (CT)
Families and friends could discover fine works of art by past artists of Waterford, and local contemporary and student artists in the second annual, free exhibition showcased in historic buildings at Jordan Green, sponsored by the Waterford Historical Society, on August 8 and 9, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Visitors enjoyed live music, art activities and “en plein aire” painting, as well as sketching, visiting the working blacksmith’s forge and strolling the Green, located at the junction of Routes 153 and 213 in Waterford, Connecticut.
Sloping farmlands, two rivers and the sea form the geophysical area of Waterford, Connecticut, and have inspired artists for centuries. In 2020 “ART IN WATERFORD: Past + Present + Future” highlighted the art of noted “Past” artists of three to four generations of the White and Brooks families, who were among Waterford’s founders. The artwork of nine juried “Present” working artists, all of whom have connections to the Town of Waterford, varied from watercolors to pastels to oils. Etchings and sketchings were also included. Scenes depicted water views, landscapes and portraits. Some pieces of contemporary artwork were for sale.
In the historic 1740 one-room Jordan Schoolhouse, “Future” artists displayed works based on their personal interpretations of the theme “From One-Room Schoolhouse to No-Room Schoolhouse.” Area students from grades 6-12 from St. Bernard’s High School, The Williams School, Clark Lane Middle School and Waterford High School experienced an abbreviated school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and were asked to produce works of art. To spur their creativity, the exhibit application invited students to respond to such prompts as “Where do I study?” “When do I study? “How do I study?” “Who - or what - is nearby?” A range of interpretations could be viewed at the exhibit.
An added attraction, the working forge in the Stacy Barn blacksmith’s shop was operational, and various items produced by the blacksmiths in the smithy were available for purchase, such as bottle openers, candle holders, rustic hooks and more.
Art in Waterford visitors could also enter a drawing for a chance to win an original 16” x 20” acrylic painting, “Latimer’s Reef,” by local artist Pat Kelbaugh of Niantic. In January 2020, Kelbaugh donated the painting to the Waterford Historical Society to serve as a fundraiser to benefit the organization. The frame was hand-crafted by Kelbaugh’s husband. Her artwork was featured in the PRESENT exhibit in the Stacy Barn during the weekend event. Tickets for the drawing for the painting, a $500 value, were $5 each or $20 for 5, (cash or check only) available at the event. The winner was contacted by telephone after the event and did not need to be present for the drawing.
As the public was invited to view this exhibit, public safety precautions had to be followed. Visitors were asked to bring their own facial coverings and to be respectful of social distancing while enjoying the show.
Art supplies, sketch books, and printed programs of the 2019 and 2020 Art in Waterford exhibitions were offered for sale, with all proceeds to benefit the Waterford Historical Society.
Parking was free and was available at the lot off Avery Lane, at the Waterford Public Library, and at the nearby Community Center --- all within a short walking distance. The Stacy Barn, where some works of art were displayed, is handicap accessible. Public restrooms are also located in the ground level of the Stacy Barn.
The inaugural Art in Waterford: Past, Present and Future festival took place in April 2019. This free public event on the Jordan Green on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., featured Waterford artists from the past, present and future. Visitors could learn about Waterford's art history, enjoy live music, tour the Town's historic buildings, purchase quality contemporary artwork, and visit a working blacksmith’s forge.
"The Day" newspaper published a fine article prior to the event on April 21, 2019: First “Art in Waterford” festival happens at Jordan’s Green next weekend.
View the video, a composite of scenes from Art in Waterford 2019, showcasing the interiors of the historic buildings, the premier works of art on exhibit, and the working forge. In the photograph below, visitors strolling on Jordan Green's beautiful grounds.