Tag Archives: New Britain Museum of American Art

Grab Your Hat Hartford! It’s The Weekend!!

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The rain is scheduled to go away (oh please)  and that means time to partake of the weekend Hartford!  Andcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] the choices range from very, very pretty to very, very  hot!

It’s Kentucky Derby Day Saturday. Besides a host of restaurant and club specials, there is also Ron’s Run for the Roses, the annual fundraiser at Folly Farm in Simsbury, benefiting The Ron Foley Foundation and its fight against pancreatic cancer.

The fun, including fabulous hats and mint juleps,  begins at 2:30 p.m.  There are hat and outfit contests, auctions, equestrian displays, Kentucky Derby viewing and more at the event that has raised  over $500,000 for research and help to those patients and their families in need.

run12For more information go here.

Also on Saturday, the CT Forum will host another in its lecture series, this one titled “Nerd Fest.” It features panelists Adam Savage, co-host of “MythBusters,” actress Aisha Tyler and New York Times “ethicist” and author Chuck Klosterman.

The forum convenes at The Bushnell at 8 p.m. For more information go here.

nbm8Also on Saturday, the New Britain Museum of American Art will hold its annual “The Art pARTy of the Year” spring gala. About 500 people are expected at the fundraiser that includes a cocktail reception, dinner , dancing , auctions and more. For more information go here.



On Sunday, Matthew Phillips Salon on LaSalle Road in West Hartford will host its 14th annual “Cut-A-Thon” benefiting the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. Haircuts are being offered from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for a cost of $25. Walk-ins are welcome. Information: 860-523-5261.

tandooriBut let’s back up a bit. Start the weekend on May 1 at the Wadsworth’s “First Thursday After Hours” and its May theme,  “Indian Tandoori.” The popular, monthly  Happy Hour from 5 to 8 p.m. will include Bollywood dance lessons, Indian-inspired food, henna body art, dance demonstrations and more. For Information go here.

Need some peace and solace?


Head over to Elizabeth Park on May 3 for the second annual “Re-Create Ct,” a holistic festival featuring yoga, Zumba classes, vendors, artisans, a fitness workshop. meditation and more to soothe mind and body. The event begins at 11 a.m. and continues to 5 p.m. For more information go here.

SAMBA-2014-poster-11-x-17[1]Want anything but peace and quiet?

Then dance over to Hartford’s eighth annual “Samba Fest” at Mortensen Riverfront  May 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Composer/guitarist Ivan Vilela will be featured along with Nation Beat and a host of other musical acts. For information go here.

Want a little more weekend? Monday is Cinco de Mayo and that means dozens of restaurant and party specials all over the state and on Tuesday Malta House will celebrate its “Wonder Women” at The Bushnell.

Also on Tuesday, “Beauty and the Beast”  opens at The Bushnell. For more information go here.

CT Breast Health Initiative Celebrates 10th Anniversary

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breast1They measure themselves in years, 20 for Marsha Goldstein, 18 for Judy D’Onofrio, the number of years since their successful treatment for breast cancer.

But the big number at the New Britain Museum of American Art Thursday was 10 as in the 10th anniversary of the CT Breast Health Initiative and a celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“When we started we had nothing, no home, no money, no corporate sponsors, we were a blank easel,” said program president Joyce Bray. “Now look at us,” she said as she prepared to pass out two tables full of research grants and sponsorship wards to people and places like Hartford hospital, Yale School of Medicine, WDRC Radio, Dattco and the American Saving Foundation. “We were like artists who started with a clean canvas and painted a success,” she said, alluding the party’s venue and favors that included mini-easels.

The initiative was formed after a group with the former Ct Susan G. Komen organization decided they wanted to do more locally and started their own Mother’s Day weekend 5K race as well as various fundraisers during the year.

Many of them, like D’Onofrio, are not only dedicated volunteers but breast cancer survivors as well.

“There is an excitement about working with this organization,” said the New Britain resident. “There is encouragement and comfort.”

Admitting many breast cancer support organizations may have been naïve decades ago when it came to finding the silver bullet to cure breast cancer, Bray noted that there have been measurable advances in prevention and treatment and that the goal now is to fund research that will lead to even bigger strides.    


Food, Wine, Art and Celeb Makes NBMAA Party A Top Shelf Success

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nbm1 (2)The New Britain Museum of American Art’s annual “Art of Food and Wine” fundraiser always draws a crowd what with its premium dine-around featuring foods from the area’s most prestigious restaurants and vendors pouring top shelf wines within the confines of one of the area’s most popular collections.

But this year there was a little added oomph to the event, a little celebrity power in the form of Gisene Bullock-Prado, the famed celebrity chef and cookbook author, who, by the way, happens to be the younger sister of actress Sandra Bullock.

“I’m glad to be here, this museum is beautiful,” said Bullock-Prado. Author of several cookbooks including her latest “Sugar Baby Cookbook,” Bullock-Prado, who lives in Hartford, Vermont, said there is yet another cookbook coming out but for now it’s a secret and will be released in 2014.

While the idea was to raise money for museum programs and at the same time enjoy the best ofnbm5 (2) the best when it comes to food, wine and art, it was also a chance to catch up on some restaurant comings and goings. Former “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant Van Hurd, who seemed to have disappeared for a while, is alive and well as sous chef for Jordan’s Caterer’s. Meanwhile for those who have wondered what happened to Hartford On20’s very capable general manager Marwan Idris, he too is alive and well but in a new venue. He has taken on similar duties at Arethusa al Tavolo in Bantam.

But not to worry. The service will still be impeccable at On20. Taking over there is Brett Bushong, who had been working at Millwright’s in Simsbury.

We cnbm6ouldn’t decide if it was just an overactive imagination but museum executive director Douglas Hyland seemed peppier than usual, if that is at all possible, and we found out why when he gushed about plans for a new wing at the museum.

“We have always wanted more gallery space and an education studio and that is what the new space will provide,” he explained about the two-story addition. Thanks to benefactors including business mogul and art collector Charles Hamm and his wife Irene, former Cadbury head Todd Stitzer and his wife Marenda, and some significant state money, groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for March 2014.

“It’s been our vision,” said Hyland. “We can’t wait.”

For more pictures go here.  


Planning The Weekend Hartford? So Many Choices, So Little Time

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Momentum picks up as mid-September arrives and that means weekends and beyond  thatcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] are full of good choices.

In the Hartford area that includes the mother of all fairs in these parts, the Big E in West Springfield. It opens Friday and runs through Sept. 29 and beyond the states’ exhibits entertainment, animals, rides and a lot of look at, there is the food that this year promises to be as full of calories and as decadent as years past. Gates open at 10 a.m. Tickets range from $10 to $20 depending on the day you attend and whether an adult or child and parking is $10. For information on the schedule, online discounts and directions go to www.thebige.com.

Calling all politicos or anyone who loves to hear politicians talk. It’s  Crocodile Club luncheon time again on Friday at the landmark Lake Compounce ballroom.

Stacroco2rted in 1875 by then Lake Compounce owner Gad Norton as a ‘thank you’ to legislators who delivered a little favor he needed, the annual luncheon has morphed in recent years into a fundraiser for the New England Carousel Museum. But what has stayed the same is the lunch menu, that includes lamb, corn on the cob and warm beer, and the list of guests which includes a who’s who of the state’s most well-known politicians and political wanna-bes. Tickets are $50 a person with a social hour beginning at noon (and free carousel rides if you so choose)  followed by lunch and speeches. Information: 860-585-5411.

What nicer way to enjoy one of the last weekends of summer than to take a cruise and listen to some really good jazz. It is possible on Sunday when the Hartford Jazz Society hosts its 52nd annual Jazz Cruise from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. A host of musicians including bassist Nat Reeves ‘All Star Quintet’ and ‘The Don Palma Sextet’ and vocalist Linda Ransom will provide the entertainment on the cruise that sales from the state pier on the Connecticut River in Haddam to Long Island Sound and back.  Bring your own picnic basket, drinks and cooler. Cost is $65 a person. Adults only, no pets. Information: hartfordjazzsociety.com

 Alshillstead3o on Sunday, you could head to the hill as in Hill-stead Museum in Farmington which will host its annual Dinner On The Hill Farm-To-Table benefit beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Russell Pryzbek of Russell’s Creative Global Cuisine will be overseeing a one-of-a-kind menu that features Connecticut grown products, artisan breads and wine and cocktails. Tickets are $150  per person with proceeds benefiting the museum’s Farmers Market and its companion education and community programs. Information: hillstead.org.

Let’s make the weekend a couple of days longer this week, shall we? 

On Monday at 6 p.m. Comcast Business and the CT Restaurant Association welcomes celebrity chef Robert Irvine at The Society Room for a dinner and program.

Annbm8d on Tuesday, the New Britain Museum of American Art holds its annual “The Art of Wine & Food. ”

Honorary Chair is Gesine Bullock-Prado, sister is actress Sandra Bullock, is the author of the memoir “My Life from Scratch” and the cookbooks ‘Sugar Baby,’ ‘Pie It Forward’ and ‘Bake It Like You Mean It.’   She will be joined by many of the region’s most well-regarded chefs from various restaurants serving small plates paired with an array of impressive wines.  The evening will also feature live and silent auctions. 

All  funds raised will benefit the Museum’s Family and Educational Programming. Tickets begin at $175. Information: nbmaa.org

NBMAA, Mariella’s Some D.C. and TLC Exposure

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murphy (2)New Britain Museum of American Art executive director Douglas Hyland is a man of patience.

It took him several years to convince art collector Robert Lesser that the New Britain museum would be the perfect home for his extensive pulp fiction collection and in April the deal was sealed.

Then there was the time four years ago, when Hyland offered to loan some of the museum’s pieces to then U. S. Rep. and now U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy for display in his office. Now that deal has been sealed, too.

The senator has chosen about 25 contemporary art pieces that he will display, pending museum board of director’s approval, in his office in Washington, D.C.

Hyland said he offered to loan works to the then-Congressman a while ago but that Murphy just recently said he would like to take advantage of the offer and showcase CT artists in his larger and well-secured office in the nation’s capital.

“I am delighted more Connecticut artists will be featured in our nation’s capital and more of our amazing collection will inspire visitors to his office,” said Hyland, who helped Murphy with the selection.

Speaking of showcasing Connecticut…

Did you happen to catch Friday night’s “I Found the Gown” on the TLC channel?

Featured were dresses from Rocky Hill’s Mariella Creations.

Show hosts Rick and Leslie DeAngelo, who stock off-price designer gowns at their Watertown, Massachusetts store, “Vows” traveled to Rocky Hill store where they met with owner Mariella Perna. After some haggling, the couple bought $28,000 worth of gowns from the Mariella “Attic” including a Vera Wang creation that retailed for $10,000.

As the episode unfolded, the Vera Wang was the exact dress one bride-to-be was looking for and she purchased it at the Boston store for 75 percent off.

The episode was filmed in Rocky Hill in December, 2012. To view the segment go to http://bit.ly/10y2Eyv


French Food and Art At NBMAA Begin This Month

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French food or French art? What’s your pleasure?

nbmaa1Doesn’t matter thanks to celeb chefs, formers Hell’s Kitchen contestants Van Hurd and Kevin Cottle. The two have arranged for you to have a little of both over at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

The museum hosts a new Henri Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit from January 12 to May 12. Toulouse-Lautrec lived in Paris during the 20th century Belle Époque (Beautiful Era) but was not the only famed celeb creating history at the time. There was also a chef, named Georges Auguste Escoffier.

“We just thought it would be a great idea, to feature the Godfather of French cooking at the same time the famed French artist was being featured at the museum, “ said Cottle. “Toulouse-Lautrec’s was the artist of the Moulin Rouge and Escoffier was the head chef there at the same time. It was a natural.”

nbmaa3Hurd and Cottle, who met during Chef Gordon Ramsey’s reality show a few years ago, and who now work for Jordan Caters, have set up three wine dinners at the museum that will include food demonstrations, authentic Escofier recipes, and tours of the art exhibit. This is the second year the two are presenting a wine dinner series at the museum.

The two-hour wine-paired dinners will be held on Jan. 10, Jan. 31 and Feb. 21. Among the foods that will be served depending on each night’s menu are Coquilles St. Jacques, classic cassoulet with duck and pork, Crepes Suzette, pheasant consomme, Escargot Chablisienne and dark chocolate soufflé. Hartley and Parker will be presenting French paired wines.

“The food was inspired at the same time as the art was inspired,” said Cottle about the series. “We will invite people from the audience to get involved and the plan is to have fun and laugh and drink and talk about wine and food and art.”

The dinners are from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $90 per person per class or three classes for $240 a person. Registration is limited to 30 per class. For more information call 203-272-8213.