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Stairwell Gallery |  Dog Listener Pat Wright |  Wadsworth Atheneum's Coney Island Exhibition |  Book Basement |  e-Readers at the Gunn |  Museum Passes |  Search the Museum's Catalog |  Connecticut Room |  Junior Library Programs

View Our Event Calendar!

Stairwell Gallery: "Still Life... and More" paintings by Hilarie Johnson

Local painter Hilarie Johnson will exhibit her work from March 14 through April 24.

The artist's work has been featured on the cover of the international magazine The Chronicle of the Horse as well as Country and Abroad. She has been featured in articles about her work in The Horse in Art and the Litchfield County Times. For several years she was a record-selling artist in the popular catalog, In the Company of Dogs, which sold over 6,000 giclée prints of her series "About to be Naughty." Hilarie has received portrait commissions from coast to coast as well as Europe and the Caribbean.

Hilarie is a self-taught artist, "...rejected from every art school I applied to back in the '70s," her realistic style didn't conform to the abstract and graphic art rage of the times. Inspired by her lifetime love of horses, she attended Boston University with the intention of becoming a veterinarian; but she decided against this goal and traveled throughout Europe for several years. When Hilarie returned to the United States, she began riding horses for a well-known trainer. Within a short period she became a professional trainer and has been teaching and training for over thirty years.

After vacationing in the Caribbean, Hilarie was inspired to revisit her love of painting. Her background with horses served her well, and she began to create equine portraits. Not restricted to one type of portrait, she has had success creating portraits of adults, children, horses, dogs and more.

The versatility of her subject matter extends from portrait to still life and landscape. She works in oils and watercolors, but the one commonality is the length of time she spends on a painting. There are at least thirty layers of paint, of which Hilarie says "time consuming but worth it. I love to paint, and I hope it shows."

This exhibit may be viewed during library hours.

Next Up in the Stairwell: Paintings by Faith Stewart-Gordon:
"Hither, Thither and Yon: People and Places, Real and Imagined"

From May 2 to June 13 we will exhibit a new show of acrylic paintings by local artist, Faith Stewart-Gordon.An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 2 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

This gallery showing marks Faith's eighth solo show since she returned to painting in 2009 after a six-decade hiatus. She has previously shown her work in Montesarchio, Italy, where her theme was the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as at the Richard Stein Salon in New York City. Her work has been exhibited locally and is also on view at "The Upper Crust" restaurant in New Milford, CT. She studies with artist and teacher Banjie Nicholas.

"Of course, every artist wants to leave a footprint," Faith says; "you leave it in your work, getting to the essence of the subject you're painting, be it a landscape, a person or a building — finding its animating spirit, its soul."

Faith began formal painting instruction at age 7 with nationally recognized portrait painter, Grace Dupré. She began working in charcoal, then pastels, then in oils; and then left off her art studies in high school when she became interested in acting. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1953, majoring in theatre. Also an author, having published three books including The Russian Tea Room: A Tasting, The Russian Tea Room Cookbook and a memoir, The Russian Tea Room, A Love Story, Faith currently serves as a trustee of the Washington Art Association, where her work has appeared in members' shows. For further information about the artist, visit www.faithstewart-gordon.com.

An Evening with Dog Listener Pat Wright

On Thursday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m. spend the evening with Dog Listener Pat Wright and learn how to bring your dog to peace and solve the problems of unwanted behaviors.

Pat will offer insight into why our dogs do what they do. She will share some entertaining experiences from her many years of dog listening and will cover a variety of topics including: pulling on the lead, jumping, aggression, separation anxiety and excessive barking. A question and answer period will follow.

Ms. Wright has owned and operated Baywood Kennels in Willington, Connecticut since 1990 and has worked with dogs for more than thirty years. After reading Jan Fennell's The Dog Listener, Pat signed up for Jan's canine communication courses in Scotter, England. When she returned home, she applied what she learned to help dogs and has become the highest ranking member Dog Listener in America as well as a mentor to Dog Listeners around the world. Visit her website, www.doglisteneroftheeast.com.

We love your pooches, but dogs are not allowed at the program. Thank you! For more information, please contact Margaret Ferguson at 860-868-7586 or gunnprograms@biblio.org.

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland

On Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. we'll host Erin Monroe, Assistant Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, for a presentation on the museum's current exhibition, "Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008."

"Coney Island" is the first major exhibition to use visual art as a lens to explore the lure that Coney Island exerted on American culture over a period of 150 years. An extraordinary array of artists viewed Coney Island as a microcosm of the American experience, from its beginnings as a watering hole for the wealthy, through its transformation into an entertainment mecca for the masses, to the closing of Astroland Amusement Park following decades of urban decline.

The modern American mass-culture industry was born at Coney Island, and the constant novelty of the resort made it a seductively liberating subject for artists. What these artists saw from 1861 to 2008 at Coney Island and how they chose to portray it varied widely in style and mood over time, mirroring the aspirations and disappointments of the era and of the country.

This exhibition runs until May 31, 2015 and features more than 140 objects comprised of both celebrated icons of American art and rarely-shown works from private collections, including paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, posters, architectural artifacts and carousel animals. This is the first exhibition in the museum's newly expanded and renovated special exhibition galleries.

For more information on Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and the Coney Island exhibition visit www.thewadsworth.org/coneyisland.

Book Basement

Come in and browse the newly added fiction, non-fiction, biography, history and children’s books. The history has been organized into major wars as well as American and European categories and more. There is an entire wall of new fiction. The new stock includes "specials" — frequently collectible and highly sought after titles priced far less than what can be found on internet book sites. A large collection of books about antiques will be featured, among which the series, American Furniture by Luke Beckerdite, is covering 1993 to 2010. A selection of Irish literature includes many signed books of poetry. There is a section of local authors and many are autographed.There are thousands of books on varied topics and for every age. Since the Book Basement is constantly restocking, if you don't find something one day, come in another to find additional titles that have been added. It is a bibliophile’s cornucopia!

Call the library for further information at 860-868-7586.

e-Readers at the Gunn!

Six Nook e-book reading devices have been added to our junior library collection, featuring titles for children and independent readers. Three are black and white models, with illuminated screens yet no glare in sunlight, and three are full-color tablets, perfect for younger picture book readers as well as movie-watchers with a Netflix account.

Four Amazon Kindle e-book reading devices continue to circulate from our adult circulation desk. Residents 18 years or older with a current library card may borrow an e-reader, and a Borrower's Term of Agreement must be signed. The e-reader program is made possible by a generous donation from the Shea family.

Museum Passes

Looking for a fun day trip? Museum passes are free to check out for for a three-day loan to Gunn patrons.

New Britain Museum of American Art — Free admssion for four people. (One adult must accompany children under 16). Pass is valid for general admission only. Additional fees may apply to special exhibitions, events and programs. Library pass cannot be used for Docent-led tours.

Wadsworth Atheneum — the ARTpass offers free general admission for up to two adults and two children (ages 6-17).

The Junior Library has more passes.

Explore the Connecticut Room

Looking for your ancestors? Want to learn more about your house? Is there something here in Washington that you've always wondered about? To explore the resources available in both the Connecticut Room and the Museum, please call 868-7756 for an appointment.

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