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Connecticut‘s community of universities, colleges and independent art galleries have helped shape the state’s growing art reputation. Tucked into large and small towns across the state are galleries showing contemporary artists, emerging talent and the best in American art. Culture Trip select the top 10 art venues to visit during your stay in Connecticut.
The White Gallery (so named because it is housed in a white family home) is owned by Susan and Tino Galluzzo, an attorney and former banker who have travelled the world to feed their love of art. It’s based in the small town of Lakeville, in North Connecticut, and shows both contemporary masters and newer, emerging artists working in all mediums, from paintings to photo mosaics. Inside, the walls are indeed white, but there’s a cosier atmosphere than in most galleries, with carpet on the floors and views onto the sculpture garden outside. Represented artists include sculptor Drew Klotz and mixed media artist Emma Kindall.
The White Gallery, 342 Main St, Lakeville, CT, United States, +1 860 435 1029
Hosting four exhibitions a year, the Thomas J Walsh Gallery is small, but perfectly formed. It is housed in Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts (a centre for art, music, dance, theatre and film) and has dramatic high ceilings stretching to two storeys. Recent exhibitions have included an exhibition of Po Kim’s bright, modern works, and a show by American magical realist painter Colleen Browning. Fairfield, a short drive from New York City, is a picturesque town by the sea – make sure to also visit its historical revolution sites and Ogden House, a preserved 18th century farmhouse.
This striking stone building in Norwalk’s beautiful Mathews Park is home to exhibitions, studios and frequent workshops on the art of printing. Its Grace Ross Shanley Gallery showcases solo and group shows, as well as international print competitions (including the ‘miniature print’ competition, in which artists must submit a piece of 4” by 4” or less). In a small ‘printmaking cottage’ next door is the current artist-in-residence, a role which print artists take up for anywhere from one week to several years. Visitors can tour the studios, watch artists, take one of the workshops and view the exhibitions – visit for a comprehensive insight into an often-overlooked craft.
The New Britain Museum of American Art was the first museum in the country dedicated to displaying only American art. Situated in New Britain, a small manufacturing town, the museum has an encyclopaedic collection which traces the entire development of American art. The museum owns more than 10,000 works by American artists, from colonial portraits through Impressionism and more recent works. Recent exhibitions have included James Prosek’s natural history paintings and sculptures and a collection of multi-sensory installations by Ivan Toth Depeña. The museum’s permanent collection is also very impressive – it includes works by Georgia O’Keefe, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Willard Metcalf.
Part of Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, this free gallery boast an impressive collection of works, which are on display throughout the campus and in its own galleries. The collection, amassed entirely through donations, includes artworks from the past three centuries as well as ethnographic objects such as helmets, masks and weapons from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Artists on show include Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Warhol, Klimt, Renoir, Rodin and many more – an amazing collection to be held by a single college. Visiting allows you to view the art but also the college, as you wander its corridors (and even the president’s offices) to view the entire collection.
The Joseloff Gallery is part of Hartford Art School and shows both internationally famous artists and students and staff from the school itself. Gallery monitor jobs are often filled by students and a artist fellowship allows artists to come to the university to teach and exhibit their work. The building is an architectural feat, designed by Tai Soo Kim to have no right angles and with skylights flooding the galleries with light. The Joseloff recently hosted an exhibition of art on the subject of sustainability, with installations exploring ways to improve the environment, and Keith Sonnier’s striking neon sculptures have also been on show here.
Real Art Ways is an alternative art space near Hartford’s Pope Park. It was founded in 1975 when a collection of artists and museums took up residence in a space in downtown Hartford where they lived, worked and exhibited. Today, the space is housed in a simple one-story converted typewriter factory and hosts events around many disciplines, from visual arts to lectures, films or musical performances. The collective has always focused on the diverse and alternative, and hosted a landmark exhibition of Puerto Rican artists in 2005. They exhibit only living artists, putting their exhibitions on the cutting edge of international contemporary art.