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Art @ The Dump Kicks Off Cornwall's Social Season

By Lisa Green

To those who are considering moving to the Rural Intelligence area, be advised that "town dump" is not a place to be avoided. In many towns, it's where you meet your neighbors, get the gossip and, on occasion, pick up some one-of-a-kind artwork.

In fact, the town dump (more formally known as the transfer station) in Cornwall, Conn. is the site of "the beginning of the social season of Cornwall," says Gail Jacobson, referring to the town's annual Art @ The Dump event, which, this year happened April 21-22. It's an art "show" sponsored by the Cornwall Association that the whole town gets behind, even those who insist "I'm not really an artist." There are no rules or regulations. The only caveat: your work has to be made from recycled items.

In the past, people have created (and sold) a bubble wrap alligator, a Tyvek wedding dress and garden art made from metal castoffs.

"We've done themes like a trash-en show, a shoe re-do and recycled instruments," Jacobson says. "One year, the historical society donated old mannequins and people made lamps out of them." In recent years, a fair amount of entries have come from young men who are welding garden ornaments. This year's jumpstart is "Books Reimagined," but that's only a suggestion.

Art @ the Dump is open to anyone from anywhere — information and entry forms are available on the website. Artists get there early on Saturday and hang or otherwise display the work and set their own prices.

Now in its 18th year, Art @ The Dump is a fundraiser for the art department of the Cornwall Consolidated School. Over the years, the event has funded digital cameras, artist-in-residence programs and supplies.

"It was my idea," admits Jacobson, an artist herself, whose exhibit "All Over the Map" is currently on display at Souterrain Gallery. "Before I moved to Cornwall, I was president of the Ridgefield, Conn. Guild of Artists. A man called Art Green ran the dump. I thought, hmm, 'Art, at the dump.'" When I saw that in Cornwall the dump was kind of a social scene, I thought of an art show, and the recycling officer offered to help."

Earth Day was only six days away, so the event was put together in a hurry without standard art show rules and regulations. "We had so much fun and it worked great without any rules, so we've continued that way," she says.

Cornwall's transfer station is on Route 4, and, says Jacobson, it's a little hard to find, so balloons and old refrigerator doors will be signs directing trash takers and art buyers to the site. The actual "show" is sited just opposite the transfer station, where a sand shed, cleaned up by the road crew, serves as a gallery.
Each year, there's a People's Choice award. The good news, says Jacobson, is whoever wins first prize is, well, the winner. The bad news? The winner has to make three prizes for the next year. Recycled, of course.









You are invited to attend KentPresents, the nation's most exciting – and intimate – ideas festival. For three days in August, you can attend talks and mingle with some of the top thought leaders in the country. We are excited to announce we have 60 speakers confirmed for this year's event and are adding more weekly. Here are a few of the new faces:


                 Lesley Stahl                              Jeh Johnson                     Eva Moskowitz
                60 Minutes  CBS News           Former United States               Founder and CEO
                 Correspondent                  Secretary of Homeland        Success Academy Schools
                     Hitlon Als                           Neha Narula                         Harold McGee
              Staff writer and theater         Director, Digital Currency     Author, "On Food and Cooking"
              critic. The New Yorker           Initative, MIT Media Lab

               Robert Zimmer                         Steve Moore                          Ellen Stofan
            President, University           Author and Economic Policy      Director National Air and Space
                  of Chicago
             Analyst, The Heritage Foundation  Museum, former Chief Scientist NASA



You can keep up with all the new speakers here as they're added over the coming weeks.



And of course we're bringing back a few past stars we just couldn't leave out:

           Kristen Clarke                                Darren Walker                        Henry Kissinger
   President and Executive Director       President Ford Foundation       Former Secretary of State
      Lawyer's Committee for Civil
           Rights Under Law

One of the great things about KentPresents is that in today's world, we'll never run out of topics to discuss. In addition to the perennials, e.g., politics, threats abroad, healthcare issues, tech disruptors, economic outlook and more, here are some new topics that we guarantee will stimulate your thinking:


The Race to Find Planet 9

From the scientist who helped kill Pluto, the old ninth planet, the story of why he's confident a new Planet 9 is out there, and how he hopes to be the first to find it.


Psychedelics... Psychedelics?

Yes, they've come a long way from Timothy O'Leary's day. Michael Pollan has just published a new book out on it, and he'll update "turn on, tune in, drop out."






Connecticut's Sharon Playhouse has announced the appointment of Alan M-L Wager as the theatre's new artistic director and Robert Levinstein as the new managing director. The duo will be responsible for the management and programming of the 2018 season and beyond.

Wager and Levinstein bring with them years of production experience. In 2011, the two founded 22Q Entertainment, the company behind Off-Broadway's Would You Still Love Me, and Always...Patsy Cline in Los Angeles, among many other productions.

The 2018 season will be announced shortly.

Wager and Levinstein succeed outgoing artistic director Johnson Henshaw and managing director George Quick, who oversaw a bold new season at the Sharon this past summer. While the 2017 director-driven season saw a steady flow in ticket sales, it also caused some controversy, with one production almost shut down.

"Robert and Alan are the ideal team for the Playhouse," says Emily Soell, Board Chair in a press statement. "Their knowledge of and love for classical and contemporary musical theatre is impressive, no question. Their enthusiasm for all things 'theatre' is exhilarating. But, at the end of the day it was their understanding of our culture and the embrace of our mission and vision for our future that sold our Board and me."

"Robert and I look forward to bringing back mainstage shows and specialty events that will excite and engage this thriving theatrical community," Wager comments.

For more information on the Sharon Playhouse visit


KENT is the CENTER for ART in NW CT!



Morrison GallerySalvador Dali exhibit thru Feb. 11.   Gallery Hours:  Wed. - Sat. 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 PM. For more info, visit or call 860.927.4501


Kent Memorial Library ~   Redux:  A selection of artwork by local artist and acupuncturist Jessica Ifshin through Feb. 26.  Click here for more info.  32 North Main Street. or call 860.927.3761.


The Good Gallery ~"Reflections" by Martha Wakeman.  Gallery hours:  Daily 10 AM to 5 PM.  4 Landmark Lane on the Kent Green. 860.927.5065.


Eckert Fine Art Through Feb. 17Got cabin fever? Come warm the soul, bring yourself to art....featuring new acquisitions from a private collection including artists Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.    Gallery Hours:   Thursday & Friday 10:00 - 5:00 PM, Sat 11:00 - 5:00 PM, Sunday & Monday 1:00 - 5:00 PM, Tuesday & Wednesday CLOSED. 12 Old Barn Road. For more info visit or call 860.592.0353.


James Barron Art/Kent~   Gallery Hours:  Wed. thru Sun. 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM & by appointment.  4 Fulling Lane. For more info, call 917-270-8044 or visit


  1. David Herman Gallery ~ Stainless steel sculptures by W. David Herman.  Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 12-5 pm & Sun 12-4 pm.  25 Kent Green Blvd. 845.242.0807.  Visit for more info.


Kent Art Association ~  CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.  23 South Main Street.  For more info please call 860.927.3989 or visit


Brewery Boom

by Kathryn Boughton


It started decades ago with the slow-food movement. That morphed into the Farm to Plate movement and admonitions to "eat locally." With that sensibility raised, the movement inched inexorably forward to include those things we drink, leading to an explosion in local craft breweries.

"The growth in local brewers is directly related to farm-to-table, back-to-local movement," said Bill Heaton, co-founder of Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield MA. "People are really concerned with where their food and drink come from. And people are also back to the concept of supporting your town."

He explained the phenomenon. "One hundred years ago, everything you purchased came from your town—then we had strip malls and everyone traveled somewhere else to do their shopping. We can clearly see those going away with Amazon consuming our country. But now you see more emphasis on supporting local communities. With food, you see more people involved in CSAs, looking for food that has only traveled 40 miles rather than 200. And people are doing the same with what they drink."

Tom Crowell, co-founder of Chatham Brewing Company in Chatham NY agreed. "The whole buy-local movement blows over into beverages," he said. "You see it not only in craft breweries, but in local distilleries and cideries."

The nature of the craft beer drinker has changed over the years, however. Heaton said that in the 1990s, craft breweries were a "novelty." "It was a matter of who had the biggest flavor or the most alcohol. People wanted the newest, craziest beer."

He is encountering a more informed consumer. "Now people know whether they like a hoppy beer or they don't. And people are still experimenting—a whole thing with sour beers is becoming popular. Ten years ago, there was a really small niche of beer drinkers that liked sour beers. If you were a beer geek, you would check it off your list, but not really like it. Now, there are breweries that only make sour beers."

Craft breweries, wineries and distilleries fit nicely into the tristate culinary vibe, where restaurants tout chefs who work only with the finest local produce, where trips to local farms for pick-your-own adventures constitute summer entertainment, and where summer visitors browse farm markets for the ripest tomato or the plumpest ear of corn. But Crowell wonders about the future of the burgeoning brewing business.

"We are kind of a veteran in the craft brewing business," he said. "We have been here for 11 years and we have seen some peaks and valleys in the business. When we started there were a couple of breweries in Albany and in Hudson Valley, now every other week there is another opening."

"There are a lot of new little breweries—what they call nano-breweries. We will have to wait and see what happens with them—where they will find a comfortable size and whether they can make a living at the size they are. Are there enough craft consumers to support all the new craft breweries? I think we will have to look locally for customers."

Some of that has to do with the strict rules states impose on how alcoholic beverages can be distributed. Massachusetts, for instance, says that any beer imported from out-of-state must be handled by a distributor. This cuts Chatham Brewery out of the nearby Berkshires market, a fact that worries Crowell not at all. "We are comfortable where we are now," Crowell said.

The oldest community in the Berkshires, Sheffield, has one of the newer breweries, Big Elm Brewing. Bill Heaton said the decision to locate there had to do with the town's reception of his business proposal. He and his partner, Christine Heaton, looked for locations from North Adams to Sheffield. "Most towns didn't want a brewery," he said. "Everyone thinks they are big, stinky factories—which is not the case. When we found this location, I ran to the Town Hall and it was our best experience in the Berkshires. The town is very embracing and we love it."

Christine Heaton is the brewmaster, one of the very few women brewmasters in the U.S. "She was a chemist before she got her diploma as a brewmaster," said Heaton. "She is very talented—science heavy and brewer savvy. She comes up with the recipes."

The brewery is now five years old and distributes its wares state wide, in Rhode Island and in western Connecticut all the way to Long Island Sound, as well as through its local taproom. "People can come and sample, buy a pint and hang out," Heaton said. "We offer tours and are family and dog friendly. We do not serve food—that is the next phase—but only for limited things. We did the brew pub thing before and we don't want to be a restaurant."

Meanwhile, down in New Hartford CT, Chris and Christine Sayers are struggling to keep ahead of the phenomenal growth of their Brewery Legitimus. When they opened in 2016, Sayers said the brewery had "a decent capacity to handle growth." They are now moving toward their second expansion. Last summer they established a patio for patrons and the current expansion will nearly double their taproom and production area.

Sayer discovered brewing while living and studying in Belgium. He prepared for years, working for beverage distributors and for Duvel Moortgat, a Flemish family-controlled brewery, learning how ale is made. Later he took an MBA program at the University of Hartford.

"I was razor-focused," he said in a previous interview. "I was the guy who wanted to start a brewery and I was really getting my business plan down."

His attention focused on Connecticut, a state that was playing catch-up with the brewery boom. It is only a few years since Connecticut passed legislation allowing people to buy beer at a brewery. The brew-pub model allows sales through multiple streams of revenue," he said.

Sayers and his wife started building toward their business in 2010, deciding on Litchfield County as the right location. Their business model allows visitors to buy growlers of beer to drink onsite or take home and to experience flights of beers onsite to sample the taste of each of the styles brewed. Visitors can also bring in their own food and eat and drink at four large farmhouse tables. Food trucks are regularly onsite.




Some breweries in the region are:
Barrington Brewery
420 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington MA

Brewery Legitimus
283 Main Street
New Hartford CT

Chatham Brewing Company
59 Main Street
Chatham NY

Furnace Brook Winery
508 Canaan Road
Richmond MA

Kent Falls Brewing
33 Camps Road
Kent CT



On January 21 at 2 pm, Noble Horizons welcomes United States District Court Judge William F. Kuntz and former 17-year ACLU president, author and law professor Nadine Strossen for a discussion of Strossen's new book, "Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship."

Nadine Strossen was the first woman to lead the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's largest and oldest civil liberties organization, which she served as President from 1991-2008. When she stepped down as ACLU President, three Supreme Court Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter) participated in her farewell and tribute luncheon. She remains a member of the ACLU's National Advisory Council and is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and met classmate William Kuntz, her interviewer on January 21.

Kuntz was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court by Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously in 2011. Prior to his appointment as the Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Kuntz practiced law for 33 years and taught at Brooklyn Law School. He graduated with an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Kuntz and Strossen have homes in the Tri-State region.  Bain Real Estate was the selling brokerage firm for Strossen's home.

Strossen and Kuntz will discuss issues raised in Strossen's book, including whether hate speech laws violate our constitutional guarantee of free speech; the fine line between protected and punishable hate speech and whether hate speech laws actually provoke the feared harms of hate speech. Questions from the audience will also be considered.








Michael Trapp

by Kathryn Boughton

Designer and antiques dealer Michael Trapp traces his current career to his early family experience.

"My parents couldn't let me take art in high school," he said. "It was a pent-up frustration that exploded in all directions."

Those directions include interior, landscape and architectural design, dealing in antiques and an architectural salvage business. "It's all basically the same kind of thing," he said, "except that I do both inside and outside design, which most people don't do."

His direction in life started early. His military family moved frequently before eventually settling in Ohio where he studied landscape architecture and design. His family was living in Nancy, France, though, when his mother demonstrated her interest in antiques. "There was no money for babysitters," he quipped, "so she would take me along. It was my first exposure to antiques."

It came at a good time. "During that time period, antiques dealers were more connoisseurs of what they selling and they shared the histories of what they had. Today, a lot of dealers are just brokering items and don't know the history behind what they have. Sometimes they are not even interested, which is kind of depressing."

And some buyers are the same. "They are just looking for something to fill a space—but who am I to judge," he said. "Everyone is different."

His job is to make sure that the items he offers for sale—or the items he installs if he is designing the room—are perfect for the spot. Trapp, who began collecting while still living in Ohio, travels the world looking for his treasures. For four months each year, he shuts his West Cornwall shop and goes on his odysseys—to Southeast Asia, India, Turkey, North Africa and Europe where he frequents the large antique markets in Avignon, France.

Today his West Cornwall showroom is packed with elements that can transform any room into a stunning presentation. "I buy things from all over the world and from different time periods," he said. "I love beautiful things—they don't have to be valuable, they just have to be beautiful."

He buys for specific projects or just because the item is appealing to him and his inventory ranges from jewelry to case furniture and everything in between. In the hands of the master, these items can be converted into elegant statements.

For years now, the common wisdom in the antiques trade has been that "brown is down." Young buyers are not interested in vintage furniture. But it is not an insurmountable obstacle for the dealer/designer.

"I think classic antiques are out of favor, but everything constantly recycles," said Trapp. "it's been an interesting summer—we've had a lot of young couples buying houses and buying odd and curious things for them. They seem to be more curious and not completely locked into a mid-century look. They are honestly interested and seem to be enjoying the experience."

He noted that items from different periods and sources can be melded together to create a new harmonious whole—he calls it juxtaposing "old with older to create a timeless environment." Greek pottery and ancient pottery from Turkey might cozy up with a collection of bones. Butterflies and insects can be displayed in antique frames, and vases beg to be filled with tall colorful coral.

Trapp takes on projects as on both sides of the Atlantic—he spent last week working in France and is leaving this week to oversee an installation in Delaware—but the majority of his work is done in the Hudson River valley, Berkshires and the greater New York area.

This cosmopolitan man maintains his headquarters in West Cornwall, while warehousing stock in Sharon, because of his marked preference for country living. "I've only lived in one city, Columbus" he said. "Cities are interesting and fun, but I don't what to live in one."

His shop, located at 7 River Road in West Cornwall, is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 5PM and during the week by appointment. Phone 860-672-6098 or visit this link



Ian Ingersoll

by Kathryn Boughton

Ian Ingersoll, renowned cabinetmaker from West Cornwall, is multilingual. "I love the classics, but I am tasked to work in the modern world" he said, "so I work in five different languages of modern design."

After 42 years in the woodworking business, his world is still unfolding. "You have to go where the market is," he said. "I have no idea what will be next."

Ingersoll began his odyssey when he built a house and its furnishings for himself after he got out of the Army. "Then some friends twisted my arm to make furniture for their apartment in New York and, by the time I was done with that, I was hooked."

The budding craftsman taught himself as he proceeded, quickly learning that the part he enjoyed most was the shop work. "I wanted to advance the art form and I looked around for an influence," he said. He found it in James Krenov (1920-2009), a master woodworker, who inspired his colleagues to bring simplicity, harmony and above all, a love of wood to their work. Krenov wrote two books, A Cabinetmaker's Notebook and The Impractical Cabinetmaker, in which be shunned ostentatious and overly sculpted pieces, stains, sanded surfaces,and unbalanced or unproportional constructions.

Ingersoll was inspired by Krenov's counsel, and "decided it would be smart for me to find an influence to grow through."

Enter the Shakers. "The Shakers represent our heritage," Ingersoll said. "[Their furniture] is in our houses and our museums. And because it was local, it was here for me to look at, touch and feel."
Also attractive to him were the pure lines of the furniture. "It is a Shaker religious directive not to include ornamentation," Ingersoll related. "They had simplified the lines of existing furniture, the form had been reinvented and redefined into simpler, less ornate, forms."

As Ingersoll taught himself the techniques needed for creating Shaker styles, he found a ready acceptance of his furniture. "I did a step-stool and put it in a village store," he said. "It sold that weekend. The next weekend, the buyer asked if I would make a chest. I didn't know how to do it, but said, 'Yes.'"

And his business proceeded from there. "The one single piece of useful advice I took from my father, was find something you love to do for a living," he said.

Four decades later, Ingersoll still works in the little village of West Cornwall in three small buildings, where he employs 10 people. "There is no 'up' from West Cornwall," he said. "How could we leave. I've never been without work through four recessions."

But to keep on top of his game, he must constantly improvise. He says he still gets requests for Shaker pieces, but now about 85 percent of his work is done for the hospitality industry.

"The learning goes on," he said. "I not only work in original designs, but also incorporate metal, stone, leather, plastic—whatever comes to hand. I show traditional pieces in Cornwall, but I'm working for the most cutting-edge design shops in New York. Everyone wants to continue learning."

He recently made furniture for the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami FL.

"We have to create as we go along," he said. "That's what allows the woodworking shop to survive when we have to compete with the Chinese, who sub-contract to Vietnamese, who will work for practically nothing. We create new and then have the proprietary rights for a year."

He does most of designing, but also collaborates with customers and designers—and even occasionally with a worker who brings something new to his attention.

He employs different woods when they have been out of the public eye for a while and when the price is right. For instance, American black walnut was hot for a while. "We reintroduced it," he said. "Prior to that, it had out-priced the marketplace, but by the early '90s, you could it buy at a quarter the price of other woods. That's one way we stay ahead of the curve, using something that had not been used. Now you see it everywhere, so we are using ash, which is a local hot wood. There is a glut of it and it is a good material."

He buys the majority of his wood product from dealers along the East Coast. If a wood is priced right, he then figures the right finish. He cites one time when he sold "a year's worth of furniture to Las Vegas" using a technique by which he rubs paint into the grain of the wood. "It's akin to liming," he said, "but more interesting because it accents the grain of the wood. In Las Vegas, we rubbed in gold paint."

"We have been able to reach from Japan to Canada—which is like bringing coals to Newcastle, with all the trees they have," he said.


Joy Brown

by Kathryn Boughton

Joy Brown is a presence that looms large on Broadway these days. No, she is not in an SRO play. Rather, nine of the sculptor's larger-than-life bronze figures, all exuding a Buddha-like serenity, are installed along the thoroughfare.

The exhibition, which has been extended through mid-February, is presented by Morrison Galleries of Kent and the Broadway Mall Association in cooperation with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

The rotund figures are installed from 72nd to 168th Street, greeting pedestrians crossing the street and subway riders emerging from below ground. "It's a thrill to see how warmly they are being received," said Brown. "People are always posting pictures of them on Instagram with kids crawling on them. It's almost like the sculptures are not complete until people interact with them."

"The Recliners," located at 166th St. Mitchel Square Park, seem to invite the viewer to lie down beside them on the grass for a leisurely chat—and that chat would even have a starting point. "In New York City life is so fast," the artist said. "People are living so fast, always on their cell phones. Then here are these big, peaceful, still figures. Sometimes I have little hidden words on them—it's like a little secret. On the Recliners, I said, 'Listen, be still, here we are, you and me.'"

The largest of the sculptures, "One Holding Small One," is on view at the West Sides Arts Coalition on 96th St. "People say, 'Oh, that is so great, a mother and child,'" she said. "But we are like a child when we are next to it. With all the stuff that is going on with the world and how cut off from nature we are, I wrote, 'Sweet Mother Earth, holding us all.'"

The large bronze sculptures are a relatively new venture for Brown, who has made her reputation as a clay artist. She grew up in Japan, the daughter of medical missionaries, and apprenticed there in traditional Japanese wood-fired ceramics.

Her work inevitably reflects the Japanese aesthetic instilled through her rigorous apprenticeship with the family of Ichino Toshio, a 13th generation potter in Tamba.

"During that time, I was required to make thousands of cups, never firing one," she recalled. "Submission to the demands of this process taught me technical skills, disciplined concentration and an understanding of and respect for the clay. It also taught me that my experience while working with clay is just as important as the finished piece. Whether it is a pot or a sculpture, ceramic or bronze, the piece will reflect the spirit in which it was made."

She carried this sensibility with her to Kent, here she built her studio and constructed a 30-foot-long Japanese-style wood-firing tunnel kiln (anagama). "A year of my work is fired at once, in an intense 24-hour-a-day, week-long firing," she said. "The resulting warm rich colors and rugged texture are gifts of heat and ash to the clay, bringing life to the unglazed forms."

In 1998, she co-founded Still Mountain Center, a nonprofit arts organization that fosters East-West artistic exchange.

"In the past, the size of my figures has been limited by the size of my kiln," she said. About 18 years ago, she started casting some figures in bronze, but was limited in their scope by the cost of reproducing them in metal.

Then, serendipity struck. For the past seven years she has been working in Shanghai several times a year in collaboration with Purple Roof Gallery and Atelier, a small studio and gallery dedicated to supporting contemporary artists. With the support of the gallery, the series of monumental bronze figures has been developed. The Broadway exhibition is its debut in the United States.

"Twenty years ago, I was working with an entrepreneur in Thailand, casting smaller pieces," she explained. "In 2008, he called from China, and said he was now connected with a Chinese [firm] and would I like to be part of big project."

Brown had always wanted to cast her figures in a larger format and jumped at the chance. "I took some of my smaller figures and they scaled them up. They made armatures and then I went over and changed them. It was so much fun to work there in that huge workshop. We stayed there and came to really get to know and love those folks over the seven years we've been making these big forms."

The Chinese firm has underwritten the costs of casting, recouping its money only when one has sold. "He's got $250,000 in production costs on Broadway," Brown revealed. "It's a huge gift."

In all, 13 works have been produced in editions of eight and a second exhibition is on view in China. "It's like a dual-city exhibition," said Brown. "These pieces have sisters over there sitting beside the ocean."

Brown's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has been featured in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Art News, House and Garden and Ceramics Monthly. She says her work has been influenced by artists as diverse as the creators of pre-Columbian figures, Japanese tomb figures and English sculptor Henry Moore.