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2012 Newport County Calendar of Events

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

2012 Newport County Calendar of Events

January 23rd, 2012 by billfarrell

This 2012 Calendar of Events is from the Newport & Bristol County Conventions and Visitors Bureau. If you click on an item for more details, please use your back arrow to go back to the Spring Seasons Inn and Tea Room Page.
JANUARY 1 – 31
The exhibit, featuring 18th and early 19th century samplers from the Newport Historical Society’s textiles collection, reflects the evolution of Newport needlework over the course of a century and… Details
Stop in at Gallery Eleven Fine Art for our “Bold and Bright” exhibition January 14 to February 29 and add some color to your winter months with original works of art ranging from paintings in watercolor,… Details
Allow Chef Alexandra Day to whisk you away to the lovely Normandy region of France in this hands-on classic French cooking class. Crepe lesson – both savory & sweet. Tips & tricks for making… Details
Take a Tour of Scotland enjoying Scotch from some of the country’s finest distilleries including JW Black, Singleton, Oban, Lagavulin and Talisker, all accompanied by an inspired 22 Bowen’s… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Candlelight Tour throughout Belcourt Castle with the focus being on Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont who married Alva Vanderbilt and built Belcourt with architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1891-1894. Tour… Details
Mrs. Tinney takes you on a tour of her home of 50 years and talks about her ghost experiences. She has put pen to paper in her new book titled: “Ghosts of Belcourt Castle”. Tour Price: $25 adult $15… Details
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
Stop in at Gallery Eleven Fine Art for our “Bold and Bright” exhibition January 14 to February 29 and add some color to your winter months with original works of art ranging from paintings in watercolor,… Details
The exhibit, featuring 18th and early 19th century samplers from the Newport Historical Society’s textiles collection, reflects the evolution of Newport needlework over the course of a century and… Details
New England was inhospitable territory for Catholics from the colonial era until the Civil War. Dr. John Quinn will explore the history of Catholicism in Newport, RI, specifically focusing on the late… Details
Rock Steady (tribute to Bad Company) & Rock This Way (tribute to Aerosmith) in town for one night! Tickets $10/$12 day of show. 9pm.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Discover the early history of Newport’s people of color, enslaved and free. Visit the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House and the colonial African burying ground. $12 per person, $10 Newport Historical… Details
FEBRUARY 4 – 29
From its beginnings in 1994, this unusual show has brought together area artists who enter artwork representing pieces from the Renaissance to the modern day in a wide variety of 2 & 3 dimensional… Details
Featuring Piano Quintets by Dohnanyi, Mozart and Dvorak with Melody Albanese-Kelly and Meghan O’Connor, violins;  Diane Guillemette, viola; John Kelly, violoncello; and Paul Rosenbloom, piano…. Details
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Imagine experiencing and energetic mix of comedy, hypnosis and non-stop laughter from start to finish! Tickets $10/$12 day of show.
Narrated train rides in historic heated rail cars through Newport Naval Station and along scenic Narragansett Bay. Train departs from Old Colony at 11:45 and 1:45. Coach car tickets $10 adults, $8… Details
Noah Fulmer, Executive Director of Farm Fresh RI, will speak about the local food systems of Little Rhody from 7pm-8pm. This is the first event of SVF Foundation’s exciting new Lecture Series which… Details
Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people. Offered at 11am; $12 per person. Reservations suggested as space… Details
Feel transported through time to the heyday of a colonial metropolis on a lantern-lit stroll through Newport’s Historic Hill on this 4:30pm tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
New England’s Winter Extravaganza with more than 160 events combining food, music and entertainment for all ages.
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
Newport’s Revival features the social history and architecture of Newport after its Golden Colonial Era and before the Gilded Age. Offered at 11am. $12 per person, reservations suggested as space is… Details
Explore the Common Burying Ground during Souls & Stones. New to the Newport History Tours line-up, this 11am tour showcases the remarkable gravestones that make the Common Burying Ground a work of… Details
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
William J. Brown was an African-American civic leader who may have authored the most thoughtful narrative by a free man of color in the 19th Century. Mr. Brown uses his autobiography to tell how his… Details
See where scoundrels lived, where pirates profited and where criminals were put on trial and punished. Find out why the colony of Rhode Island was known as “Rogue’s Island.” Departs at… Details
Hear stories of revolution and ruin, struggles for religious liberty and remarkable entrepreneurship among Newport’s diverse people. Offered at 11am; $12 per person. Reservations suggested as space… Details
Newport’s Revival features the social history and architecture of Newport after its Golden Colonial Era and before the Gilded Age. Offered at 11am. $12 per person, reservations suggested as space is… Details
Watch bartenders compete in a “Iron Chef” format. What will be the secret ingredient?! A RI-USBG event. 8:30pm. Free.
Riots and rebellion, enemies and allies! Hear stories from the years surrounding the American Revolution in Newport on the 11am Road to Independence tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
Walk in the footsteps of the immigrants, sailors and merchants who once lived and worked in the Lower Thames neighborhood on the 11am Working Waterfront Tour.
FEBRUARY 24 – 25
6pm-9 pm. The free event features thousands of lights displayed on the trees and unique features of Ballard Park’s three acre quarry meadow which include a one acre vernal pond, groves of trees and a… Details
Visit two of the Newport Historical Society’s colonial properties, the 1739 Colony House and the c.1697 Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, on the 11:30am Public and Private Spaces tour. $12 per person,… Details
Feel transported through time to the heyday of a colonial metropolis on a lantern-lit stroll through Newport’s Historic Hill on this 4:30pm tour. $12 per person, reservations suggested.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
See where scoundrels lived, where pirates profited and where criminals were put on trial and punished. Find out why the colony of Rhode Island was known as “Rogue’s Island.” Departs at… Details
Explore the Common Burying Ground during Souls & Stones. New to the Newport History Tours line-up, this 11am tour showcases the remarkable gravestones that make the Common Burying Ground a work of… Details
Celebrate all that is Irish during this exciting month-long event.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Chefs from Newport’s sister city, Kinsale, Ireland, show off their cookery talents to create traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine in local restaurants.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
11am. Find your best green attire, keep your eyes open for leprechauns, and join in the revelry to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Newport! The parade begins at 11 a.m. at City Hall, runs through… Details
MARCH 23 – APRIL 1
A three-course meal from some of the finest area restaurant without breaking the bank! From a steaming cup of chowder overlooking the harbor to fine dining in romantic restaurants, Newport & Bristol… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
MARCH 23 – APRIL 1
Spring into Art, coordinated by the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County, takes place March 23-April 1. Artists, musicians, dancers, theater companies, photographers, arts organizations,… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
APRIL 7
10am. The Preservation Society of Newport County invites you to bring the children to meet the Easter Bunny. Reservations required. Visit website for ticket prices and to make reservations, or call.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
APRIL 14 – 30
Celebrate spring at this beautiful thirty-three acre estate on Narragansett Bay with a spectacular display of more than 50,000 daffodils. April 14 – May 6, 2012.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
Celebrate spring at this beautiful thirty-three acre estate on Narragansett Bay with a spectacular display of more than 50,000 daffodils. April 14 – May 6, 2012.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
11:50am – The parade features over 4,000 law enforcement participants to commemorate National Police Week. Parade starts on West Main Road going towards Newport.
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
MAY 26 – 27
The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is the only dedicated Class 40 sailing race in the US. The last of a 3 stage event will be held in Newport on Memorial Day Weekend. Event village and boats… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The official kick-off to summer in Newport, the international chowder championships are back! Enjoy all-you-can-eat samples of exotic and traditional chowders from across the country and beyond, and vote… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The Newport Bermuda Race is a 635 nautical-mile ocean race first sailed in 1906. Held biennially in even-numbered years. The race usually lasting three to six days. It crosses a stretch of the Atlantic… Details
The CVS Caremark Charity Classic features 20 professionals from the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours.  The Professionals are paired into 10 two-man teams. The CVS Caremark Charity Classic is Rhode… Details
JUNE 22 – 24
Enjoy the heat of Salsa – exotic plants and colorful designs, inspired by the fusion of Latin Music and dance.  Summer will sizzle with the 2012 Opening Night Party, June 22, featuring a… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
JUNE 23 – JULY 1
Newport is the final stop in the inaugural America’s Cup World Series (AC World Series), which will feature both fleet and match racing.The regatta will give the public an opportunity to watch the… Details
“Best Comedy Troupe 2011” Motif Magazine. “2011 Best Comedy Night” Providence Phoenix. Winner of 2010 Providence Improv Fest’s Local Blowout. The Bits Players perform high-energy, fast-paced… Details
The Fourth of July Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will step-off at the corner of Chestnut Street and Hope Street (Rt. 114) and ends on High Street, between State Street and Bradford Street.
At dusk (around 9:15 p.m.) Fireworks across Newport Harbor.
Newport, RI will be an Official Host Port for the Tall Ships Challenge® series on the Atlantic Coast in the summer of 2012 from July 6-9th. 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a… Details
Top ATP World Tour tennis pros travel to Newport direct from Wimbledon to compete for the Van Allen Cup in the only pro tennis tournament played on grass courts in North America. Complementing seven days… Details
JULY 12 – 15
A Festival of friendship between Newport and Japan that offers a variety of events emphasizing both Japanese and art and culture.
JULY 13 – 29
Newport Music Festival continues the tradition of presenting unique chamber music programs, American debuts, world-class artists and gala special events in the Gilded Age summer cottages of Newport, Rhode… Details
Come and frolic among the green animals at one of the nation’s oldest topiary gardens.
JULY 14 – 15
The spray of colors across the sky along Ocean Drive in July at the annual kite festival is a sight to behold. The air is filled with the sounds of snapping nylon and kite strings as the kites whip their… Details
Showcasing a variety of fresh cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes. Arts and crafts vendors, live musical entertainment.
JULY 28 – 29
Fort Adams is situated at the mouth of Newport Harbor with panoramic views of the Newport Bridge and the East Passage. The festival at the Fort features 3 stages of music, food & crafts, and a number… Details
AUGUST 3 – 5
The festival features two full days of jazz on three unique stages at Fort Adams, one of the Park system’s national treasures situated at the mouth of Newport Harbor with panoramic views of the… Details
This event features live reggae entertainment throughout the day.
AUGUST 16 – 19
Don’t miss the triennial renewal of this historic tradition of horsemanship and elegance. Authentic 19th century coaches drawn by teams of four horses participate in a series of daily drives and… Details
This event features live entertainment and authentic Irish cuisine.
SEPTEMBER 1 – 2
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Featuring a full range of powerboats and sailboats from both domestic and international manufacturers, as well as an extensive selection of marine equipment, services and accessories in a venue that spans… Details
Held in one of the most spectacular settings in America, this remarkable weekend experience features hundreds of wines from around the world, fabulous food, cooking demonstrations by nationally-renowned… Details
SEPTEMBER 29 – 30
An old-fashioned autumn Fair with crafters, food, games, animals, hay rides, mud pit, and monkey bridge.
This bona fide Bavarian weekend bubbles over with an expanded International Biergarten, juicy bratwursts, yodeling and folk dance performances. A kid-friendly Kindergarten area rounds out fall’s… Details
Area restaurants celebrate the “harvest of the sea” on historic Bowen’s Wharf, in downtown Newport. Enjoy a smorgasbord of seafood, baked goods, and kid-friendly fare. Groove all day… Details
NOVEMBER 2 – 11
A three-course meal from some of the finest area restaurant without breaking the bank! From a steaming cup of chowder overlooking the harbor to fine dining in romantic restaurants, Newport & Bristol… Details
DECEMBER 1 – 31
A month long celebration of the Holiday Season throughout Newport. Enjoy a series of concerts, tree lighting, craft fairs, candlelight house tours and much more.

Art Newport – Aboard the Megayacht Venue

June 29th, 2011 by billfarrell

SeaFair, a forty million dollar mega yacht has docked in Newport for what is planned to be a two month floating art show/sale. Florida base art dealers, David & Le Ann Lester have based their art show on what have become hugely popular land based art fairs and have taken it to the high seas, docking in ports up and down the east coast. A recent showing in Sarasota, Florida attracted 18,000 visitors in five days.

Floating Art Gallery

While the ship is docked in Newport, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the ship, admiring art from prestigious presenting paintings, sculputure, photography, solver, jewelry, design and fine art glass among other things. With five decks, a glass walled restaurant, luxe lounge, international coffee bar and open air sky deck bar and bistro, the Sea Fair promises to be a once in a lifetime visit.

Guests of The Spring Seasons Inn and Tea Room are eligible to receive special pricing on admission to the exhibits. Please call for details.

 

Newport Waterfront Festivals 2011 Sunset Music Series

April 5th, 2011 by billfarrell

Newport Waterfront has announced their Sunset Music Series lineup for 2011. Reserve your rooms at the Spring Seasons Inn before we sell out.

Read the rest of this page »

Greenvale Vineyards 12th Annual Summer Jazz Series

March 30th, 2011 by billfarrell

Portsmouth, RI – Greenvale Vineyards will continue with its 12th Annual Summer Jazz Series.  The Jazz Series was organized by Matthew Quinn and is held in his honor.

The Jazz Series concerts are held in the Tasting Room from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday from May 7th through the last Saturday in November. We will be offering wine tastings as well as wine by the glass and bottle all day and welcome our guests to come with picnics.

Greenvale Vineyards is located at 582 Wapping Road in Portsmouth, just 6 miles from downtown Newport, along the Sakonnet River. This historic property produces approximately 3,500 cases of wine each year from over twenty acres of vines, which include Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc grapes.  All of the wines are made from 100% estate grown grapes.  The Tasting Room is open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, with tours daily at 2:00 p.m. or by appointment. For further information, call (401) 847-3777 or visit online at www.greenvale.com

French Film Festival Coming to Newport

March 13th, 2011 by billfarrell

Saturday, March 12, 2011

GoLocalProv Lifestyle Team

Salve Regina University in Newport opens their annual French Film Festival on Sunday, March 27, a two-week event that attracted an audience of more than 2,000 last year.

The opening reception and film will feature a wine and cheese tasting provided by Newport Wine Cellar, French café music performed by Salve Regina students, and student ushers from the university’s theatre department dressed in can-can. The feature film on opening night, Heartbreaker/L’Arnacœur, is an action-packed romantic comedy that was a blockbuster in France.

C’est Magnifique!

Films range from dramas and thrillers and romantic comedies. A complete line-up can be found here: www.salve.edu/frenchfilm. The festival runs at two locations in Newport through April 7. Tickets are $15 for the opening night film and reception. All other films during the festival will cost $5 at the door and will be screened at Salve Regina University’s O’Hare Academic Center, Ochre Point Avenue. A festival pass to all films and events is available for $20. Salve Regina students are admitted free with valid university identification.
Tickets and passes may be purchased at www.tinyurl.com/salvecasino or by calling (866) 811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased at the Casino Theatre during box office hours.

Newport show highlights Gilbert Stuart, and friends

December 10th, 2010 by billfarrell

NEWPORT, R.I. — Somewhere, Gilbert Stuart must be smiling.

by Bill Van Siclen, Providence Journal Arts Writer

Not only did the man who gave us iconic portraits of George Washington and other Colonial-era luminaries recently celebrate another birthday (his 255th, on Dec. 3), but his work is the focus of “Gilbert Stuart and His Times,” a sparkling new exhibit at William Vareika Fine Arts.

Indeed, the show, which has been handsomely installed on the gallery’s second floor, amounts to a kind of mini-survey of early American art: In addition to Stuart, visitors will find paintings by his daughter, Jane Stuart, his onetime mentor, Benjamin West, and the man whose success may have inspired Stuart to pursue a painting career in the first place: John Singleton Copley.

The gallery is down the street from the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Other highlights include works by Thomas Sully, a British-born artist who also painted several portraits of Washington; John Smibert, a Scottish painter who was active in Newport during the Colonial period; and Charles Willson Peale, a Philadelphia painter and the founder (along with his sons Rembrandt, Rubens and Raphaelle Peale) of one of the great family dynasties in American art.

The result is an exhibit that many museums might envy. Yet as gallery owner Bill Vareika explained during a recent visit, the show began as something far more modest.

“Basically, it just sort of snowballed,” Vareika said. “At first, the idea was to do a small show focusing mainly on Gilbert but with a few supporting works from some of his close contemporaries. But as sometimes happens in this business, once we started it was hard to stop.”

This Gilbert Stuart oil painting is of Rebecca White Pickering, the wife of Col. Timothy Pickering, who served in President Washington’s Cabinet.

Vareika, of course, has done this sort of thing before. In fact, over the past few years, his Bellevue Avenue gallery has hosted a number of museum-worthy exhibits, including shows devoted to the 19th-century artist-designer John LaFarge and Newport painter William Trost Richards.

Those efforts, in turn, have made it easier for Vareika to borrow artworks that might otherwise remain locked away in private collections or inside museum storerooms. In the Stuart show, the loans include a handsome portrait of Abraham Touro, on loan from Newport’s Touro Synagogue, and a rare portrait bust of Stuart himself owned by the Newport Historical Society.

The Society also lent what is thought to be Stuart’s earliest known artwork — a pencil sketch of a young boy, presumably one of Stuart’s friends, made on a wood shingle.

In all, the show boasts about 75 artworks, ranging from small sketchbook drawings to large-scale landscapes and historical scenes. According to Vareika, roughly half the works are for sale, with the remainder on loan from a variety of public and private collections. (By the way, a percentage of each sale will go to a worthy cause: the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum in Saunderstown.)

At the same time, Vareika concedes that his gallery is no match for the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which organized a major Stuart exhibition in 2005, or Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which affords Stuart a prominent place in its new Art of the Americas Wing.

Opposite is Stuart’s portrait of Abraham Touro, a Newport merchant, shipbuilder and philanthropist who was the son of the first rabbi of Touro Synagogue.

Instead, “Gilbert Stuart and His Times” offers something else — a quick but satisfying glimpse of Stuart the man and the artist, together with cameo appearances by some of his contemporaries, both famous and forgotten. Indeed, while many of Stuart’s most famous paintings are already in major museum collections, his skills as a portraitist are apparent even in relatively minor works.

A gifted raconteur, Stuart had a knack for putting his sitters at ease — a trait that’s evident in a circa-1816 portrait of Rebecca White Pickering, wife of Revolutionary War hero Col. Timothy Pickering. Sporting a white-lace cap and matching collar, the British-born Pickering manages to look both dignified and down-to-earth — the kind of woman you might meet in a Jane Austen novel.

Other works, including portraits of Harvard University president the Rev. John Thornton Kirkland and Newport businessman George Gibbs, show off the paint-handling skills Stuart learned in London, where he apprenticed with the expatriate American painter Benjamin West.

No Stuart show, of course, would be complete without a portrait of another George — George Washington. After all, Stuart painted the definitive portraits of the first president, including the so-called “Athenaeum Portrait” which appears on the U.S. one-dollar bill.

Don’t bother looking for any of those paintings here. However, you will find one of the few portraits of Washington painted directly from life; it’s by James Sharples, an English portraitist who was famous for using a special device, known as a “physiognotrace,” to create an exact outline of a sitter’s face. The result: Sharples’ Washington has broader (though presumably accurate) features than most of us are used to seeing.

After Stuart’s death in 1828, his daughter, Jane, carried on the family’s painting tradition. For the most part, that meant cranking out copies of her father’s Washington portraits. But on the rare occasions when she ventured out on her own, Jane Stuart proved to be a better-than-average painter in her own right.

A case in point: a charming painting of a cherub, his face as rosy as a bowl of Christmas punch, that hangs on the gallery’s back wall.

“Gilbert Stuart and His Times” runs through March 6 at William Vareika Fine Arts, 212 Bellevue Ave. in Newport. For information, call (401) 849-6149 or visit www.vareikafinearts.com.

bvansicl@projo.com

Big plans at Vernon Court Possible Aquisition of Iconic Mural could spur addition at National Museum of American Illustration

October 14th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 21:56:01By Ted Hayes
EastBayRI.com

udy and Laurence Cutler in their Tiffany mural room at the National Museum of American Illustration at Vernon Court.

Judy and Laurence Cutler in their Tiffany mural room at the National Museum of American Illustration at Vernon Court.

NEWPORT — Nine years after they opened their doors to the public, the founders of the National Museum of American Illustration may soon take possession of one of the master works of American mural art — a 160-foot long, 12-foot tall mural depicting the evolution of the telephone that until recently hung in the former Boston headquarters of telephone giant Verizon.

And if museum founders Judy and Laurence Cutler are successful in their quest to bring the piece to Vernon Court, they hope to build a new wing on the mansion to accommodate it.

“We’re very excited,” said Mr. Cutler. “We’re absolutely the right place for it.”

But to get the piece — “Telephone Men and Women at Work,” a 1951 mural by Dean Cornwell, they’ll have to fend off challenges also filed by the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and another Miami museum. All three have asked Verizon officials for the painting since company officials sold the building last year and earlier this year removed it from the lobby where it had hung for more than half a century. Verizon officials have been mum on who will win out.

Detail from Dean Cornwell's "Telephone Men and Women at Work." The mural is 160 feet long.
“Telephone Men and Women at Work,” a 1951 mural by Dean Cornwell

The Cutlers will also have to rise above criticism from those in the art world, who have protested the painting’s possible move out of Boston, the historic home of the telephone.

The painting

Mr. Cornwell, one of America’s best loved muralists and illustrators, created the piece for New England Telephone and Telegraph, the forerunner of Verizon, between 1947 and 1951. Referred to as the “Dean of American Illustration” by Norman Rockwell, he was primarily an illustrator who sold works to the popular magazines and periodicals of the day while also creating murals for private companies, courthouses, libraries and other institutions. He loved the large format pieces, said Mr. Cutler, because “they would last and give him a life beyond death.” Newport’s museum already has about 15 other, smaller Cornwell works.

The imposing telephone piece, which Mr. Cornwell painted in the attic of Grand Central Station in New York City, depicts 197 people performing telephone-related functions throughout the device’s history. Painted in rich tones and hues, it depicts male and female telephone operators — they replaced the men after it was determined their voices were more soothing — wire workers, Alexander Graham Bell and more than 190 other people.

The mural hung inside the Verizon offices for decades until Verizon sold the property to another firm last year and reached an agreement to remove the mural. Mr. Cutler heard about its uncertain fate quite by accident, from a friend who lives in Cambridge, Mass.

“My roommate from grad school walked in to see the mural. A security guard told him they were being taken off and they were looking for a museum to take them. A lightbulb goes off in his head, and he called me.”

Mr. Cutler called Verizon officials a short time later, who told them other institutions were interested in the piece. Nevertheless, Verizon officials invited him to travel to Boston to watch the canvas mural being removed; the canvas had been secured to the walls with a lead-based adhesive and took some time to remove.

After traveling to Verizon, the Cutlers met with company officials, were asked to give their appraisal of the piece, and are currently waiting to hear whether they’ll win it. The painting is in storage.

New wing?
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Though their Newport museum houses two other large murals — one by Tiffany and another by Maxfield Parrish — the Cornwell piece, if obtained, would necessitate an entirely new wing as it’s too large to fit properly in any existing spaces.

The Cutlers said they always wanted to build an addition onto Vernon Court’s south facade, but until the mural became a possibility “we thought it would be done by someone else, after we were gone,” said Mr. Cutler, a trained architect.

After studying the painting’s dimensions, though, he realized its acquisition could be the perfect impetus for building now. He started sketching.

“I did some measurements and if we got (the painting) it would exactly fit” in a space they’d already identified as the perfect spot for a new main entrance, Mr. Cutler said.

The plan — Mr. Cutler has already talked to city officials about it and has determined that the plan would need a new round of zoning approval — is to build a 60-foot long, 40-foot wide addition on Vernon Court’s south side. The addition would butt up to a brick walkway that would serve as the new main entrance for museum visitors. Inside the addition, museum staff could house a gift shop, restrooms, a reception desk and possibly a coat room. Outside, parking areas could be reconfigured, with parking added behind Vernon Court walls where tennis courts are now housed.

“You want to get people oriented as soon as you get them in the museum,” he said. “This would do it. The ideal would be to also have the museum shop there.”

The mural was designed to be housed in an oval room, and Mr. Cutler said he would round off the interior corners to accommodate it.

“This would fit very nicely,” he said.

Controversy

Since word leaked out in Boston art circles that Newport and Miami were under consideration for the mural, there has been more than a little online scuttlebutt over its possible move to the City By The Sea. Much of it has come from Boston-based art lovers and historians, many of whom want the painting to stay in Boston.

Susan Park, president of the Boston Preservation Alliance, was one of many in Boston to state opposition to the move. In an interview with the Boston Herald, she said, “It has no reason to be in Newport. Bell made the first telephone call in the South End, not Newport.”

But from the Cutlers’ perspective, Newport has an edge. Their museum celebrates muralists and illustrators like Cornwell, has an impressive collection, and they have a real plan for how to use it. As for keeping it in Boston?

“I understand their feelings, but I think the most important thing is that it stay in New England,” said Mr. Cutler.

Explore the treasures of Newport and beyond from our exquisite bed and breakfast Newport RI lodging hideaway. The National Museum of Illustration is about a mile from our Inn. At The Spring Seasons Inn, your exclusive Rhode Island adventure awaits.

Newport Museum of Illustration Provides Rich Experience

August 15th, 2009 by billfarrell

Sat, 15 Aug 2009 21:25:46By David Boyce

On a recent day trip to Newport, some friends and I spent a few hours at the National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI), housed in Vernon Court on Belleville Avenue.

This makes for a beautiful, Gilded Age ambiance for a spectacular collection of original works by America’s illustration masters, called imagists, including works by N.C. Wyeth (father of Andrew and grandfather of Jamie), Howard Pyle, J.C. Leyendecker, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Violet Oakley, Charles Dana Gibson, J.M. Flagg, Jesse Wilcox Smith, and Howard Chandler Christy, among several others.

As the guidebook describes it, “Vernon Court is a Beaux-Arts adaptation of an 18th century French building, Cháteau Harouè (1721), outside Nancy, by architect Germain Boffrand. French-style architecture was considered the consummate expression of proper architectural manners and this New World manifestation is more perfect than its historic antecedents.” The setting is as beautiful as the artworks.

Founded in 1998 by Judy and Laurence Cutler, and opened to the public on July 4, 2000, this is the first national museum dedicated to the art of illustration. Because the world of fine arts looked down on commercial enterprises, illustration did not find significant support or collectors until the late 20th century.

Early in the 1960s, Judy was one of the first private collectors to recognize illustration for its intrinsic aesthetic value, and she collected with a passion. The NMAI’s collection has grown since then, using the Cutler’s American Imagist Collection as its base.

Beginning the museum’s tour, we watch a video as an introduction to the collection and Vernon Court, featuring interviews and commentary by the Cutlers and such collectors as actress Whoopi Goldberg, an avid collector herself. An informed docent then guides our group through the various first-floor rooms of Vernon Court, filling in details about the artworks as well as the architecture and décor. Each room is laden with exquisite objects and it takes a while to soak it all in, but it makes for a visual feast that is well worth the price of admission ($18 for adults).

At the beginning of May of this year, I reviewed the new Abrams publication “J.C. Leyendecker” by the Cutlers, a beautiful volume and the second (and far superior) major study of the German immigrant who became Norman Rockwell’s hero and mentor, and the most prolific cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post with 322 covers. Seeing so many of Leyendecker’s original paintings at the NMAI was quite thrilling, as he was a painter in the true meaning of the word.

David B. Boyce is senior arts correspondent for The Standard-Times. ARTicles appears biweekly.

Art Scene by Bill van Siclen: New paintings of classic R.I. landscapes

June 24th, 2009 by billfarrell

Wed, 24 Jun 2009 12:35:43

By Bill van Siclen, Providence Journal

There was a time, just over a century ago, when Rhode Islanders couldn’t spend a day at the beach without bumping into a famous artist. There was Martin Johnson Heade, who came to paint the thunderstorms rumbling across Narragansett Bay. There was William Trost Richards, who painted the surf breaking near his home on Jamestown Island. And there were artists like John La Farge and John Frederick Kensett, who explored the rocky cliffs and coasts of Portsmouth and Middletown.

Nowadays, of course, artists still visit these storied locations. Still, it’s been a while since cutting-edge painters — and Heade, Richards and La Farge were all cutting-edge by the standards of their day — spent some quality time painting and sketching along the Rhode Island coast.

Sue McNally, a Newport artist whose work is the focus of a wonderful solo exhibit at the Newport Art Museum, aims to change all that. A longtime fan of painters such as Heade and La Farge, McNally decided to test her own (considerable) painting skills against her 19th-century heroes.

Sue McNallyÂ’s painting Hanging Rock Sunset is part of an exhibit of her work at the Newport Art Museum.

To do that, she revisited many of the locations favored by 19th-century artists, including landmarks such as Hanging Rock and Paradise Valley. She also consulted previous works by the likes of Kensett and La Farge, as well as more obscure talents such as David Maitland Armstrong and George Quincy Thorndike. (For the record, Thorndike was a Boston-born artist who settled in Newport around 1850; Armstrong, meanwhile, was a New Yorker who spent most of his career in Italy and France.)

At the same time, McNally’s goal wasn’t simply to mimic what other artists had done. Instead, the idea was at once more challenging and, ultimately, more rewarding: to channel the spirit of 19th-century painting while still maintaining her identity as a 21st-century artist.

About a dozen examples of this past-meets-present approach are now on display in NAM’s main Griswold House gallery. In many cases, the specific locations and topographical features that inspired the paintings will be familiar to anyone who’s spent much time wandering along the Rhode Island coast, especially Aquidneck Island. But McNally’s style, which combines bright, neon-hued colors with a playful Pop Art sensibility, also forces us to see these familiar landmarks through new eyes.

A good example is Hanging Rock Sunset, a painting that turns the famous rock formation into something akin to a psychedelic rock poster. In contrast to the muted greens and browns favored by 19th-century artists, McNally uses an array of more vibrant colors. Lush pinks and maroons, for example, dominate the cattail-filled marsh that sits at the rock’s base. The craggy profile of Hanging Rock itself is rendered in darker shades of blue and black, highlighted with streaks of electric blue and green.

As for the sky, its mix of lime greens and pale salmon pinks might seem better suited to the Caribbean than the North Atlantic. Still, the whole thing works. Granted , this may not be the Hanging Rock you’re used to seeing in old paintings and postcards. But who’s to say that McNally’s version, with its simple, stylized shapes and candy-hued palette, isn’t just as true to the spirit of the place?

Other paintings take similar liberties.

The phrase “fall color,” for example, takes on a whole new meaning in Valley Floor, one of several large multi-part paintings in the exhibit. Though the scene looks familiar — almost anyone who’s taken a walk in the New England woods has seen similar tangles of trees, vines and shrubs — McNallay’s colors, which range from bright pinks and purples for the trees to luscious reds, oranges and pinks for the ground, transform it into something dream-like and otherworldly. If Paul Gauguin had decided to skip Tahiti and settle on Aquidneck Island, he might have done something like this.

Perhaps the show’s most striking work is a night view of Middletown’s Sachuest Point. Titled Paradise at Night, it has an almost childlike simplicity. The waves rolling in toward Sachuest’s horseshoe-shaped beach, for example, are rendered — in classic paint-by-numbers fashion — as a series of flat bands of color. The moonlit clouds, meanwhile, are little more than glowing splotches of white.

Yet the painting itself is far from simple. Indeed, Paradise at Night has some of the spooky beauty of another nighttime scene: Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night.

That’s not to say McNally can do no wrong. While some of her subjects lend themselves to easy stylization — notably the waves in Paradise at Night and the playful polka-dot-shaped clouds that hover over many of her scenes — others are less successful. That’s especially true of some of the smaller paintings, where her efforts to depict a snowy field in mid-blizzard (Feb. 3:40 P.M.) or a spring meadow in full blossom (Spring) look more like sketches than finished paintings.

Still, these are minor complaints.

In these new paintings, McNally manages to pay her respects to some of the giants of American art without submerging her own artistic identity. It’s a brave, possibly even foolhardy mission, but McNally makes it work. No doubt fellow painter-surf bums like Heade and La Farge (several of whose works appear in postcard-size miniatures alongside McNally’s canvases) would approve.

While there’s plenty to see at the Newport Art Museum these days — in addition to the Sue McNally show, the museum is also exhibiting works from the collection of former Fleet Bank CEO Terry Murray and his wife — don’t miss François Poisson’s small one-man show near the museum’s front desk. A RISD-trained artist who now lives in Connecticut, Poisson makes toy-like sculptures and mixed media pieces that walk the line between childhood innocence and adult experience.

It’s a duality that’s summed up in Poisson’s favorite image — a cartoon bunny with puffy cheeks and an enigmatic, Mona Lisa-ish smile. When you first meet him, it’s easy to take this quirky little creature as a benign, even slightly comical presence. But the longer you look — and look you must, since the bunny appears on almost everything Poisson does, from a series of portraits to a collection of wooden cars and trucks — the stranger the bunny gets.

By the time you’re done, you may never look at Peter Rabbit or Bugs Bunny the same way again.

“Picture Paradise: Paintings by Sue McNally” runs through Aug. 12 and “François Poisson: The Bunny Car and Friends” through Aug. 23 at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave. Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-5 and Sun. noon-5. Admission: adults $10, seniors $8, students and military with I.D. $6, five and under free. Contact: (401) 848-8200 or www.newportartmuseum.org.

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Norman Rockwell in Newport Rhode Island

June 21st, 2009 by billfarrell

Sun, 21 Jun 2009 13:36:39The National Museum of American Illustration, located on Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue, a short distance from The Spring Seasons Inn is hosting a special exhibition entitled, Norman Rockwell, American Imagist, Rhode Island’s first ever Normal Rockwell exhibition from June  6th – August 31st, 2009.

Norman Rockwelll at work. See his work at the National Museum of American Illustration oin Newport, Rhode Island.

Norman Rockwell’s heartwarming depictions of everyday life made him the best-known and most beloved American artist of the 20th century. He lived and worked through one of the most eventful periods in the nation’s history and his paintings vividly chronicled those times. His images often served as a mirror of American life, reflecting not who we really were, so much as what we thought and felt – and what we subconsciously endeavored to become.

Norman Rockwell: American Imagist exhibits a remarkable collection of selected original art spanning six decades, providing us with a comprehensive look at his career.

Rockwell was a storyteller during a time when so-called “serious” art was neither narrative nor representational. His painted stories were folksy, humorous, and often topical, but Rockwell was more than just a chronicler of the times. He had a genius for knowing which stories to tell, how to tell them and what details to emphasize. It has been said that a Rockwell painting does not require an explanation, a caption or even a title. It speaks to us directly.

Although Rockwell is most associated with small-town America, he was in fact born and raised in New York City. At 21, he moved to New Rochelle, New York, to be near his idol, the notable illustrator and icon-maker, J. C. Leyendecker. He set up a studio and began to sell freelance work to magazines such as: Life, Literary Digest and Country Gentleman.

In 1916, at the age of 22, Rockwell painted his first cover for the prestigious Saturday Evening Post beginning a long (1916-1963) and fruitful relationship. Most readers immediately recognized his covers, and responded well to the charming portraits of American life. Readers became fans and followed his covers through the Depression years and World War II.

In 1943, the entire nation joined together when he created the Four Freedoms, which toured in an exhibition raising $135 million for the war effort through the sale of war bonds.

The Saturday Evening Post covers became Rockwell’s greatest legacy. Yet he parted ways with the Saturday Evening Post in 1963 and began to work for Look magazine, where he had more creative freedom. The Look illustrations included his first socially conscious work concerning civil rights, space travel and other issues of national concern.

Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his life with his wife Molly in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On November 8, 1978, he died in Stockbridge at the age of 84, leaving an unfinished painting on his easel. Norman Rockwell was an American Imagist, whose art captured America and ultimately the world.

Some critics have called his art too sentimental to be taken seriously, but the fact that his work continues to resonate and find new audiences in the 21st century says something else. There is a universality to his appeal, suggesting that Rockwell’s real subjects were not simply “grandfathers, puppy dogs – stuff like that,” as the artist once said, but something larger, if less tangible.

This exhibition permits us to review selected works in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. These original works give the viewer a chance to see Rockwell’s accomplished technique and superb craftsmanship, which are sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions of his work.

Norman Rockwell: American Imagist asserts Rockwell’s place as a great American artist/ illustrator and suggests that his real and most enduring subject matter was capturing The American Spirit.

This exhibition, curated by Judy Goffman Cutler and organized by Laurence S. Cutler along with the American Illustrators Gallery and the National Museum of American Illustration, gives us the opportunity to experience Rockwell close up and marvel at his painterly skills.

While visiting the National Museum of American Illustration, plan to stay at The Spring Seasons Inn in Newport, Rhode Island , where your exclusive Rhode Island adventure awaits you.

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