The Baker Museum at Artis Naples just opened after a lengthy post-Irma rebuild.
Though open to visitors, exterior cladding work continues.
There are currently three exhibition themes.
The first floor shows iconic works from the permanent collection.
The second floor has a loaned exhibition from the Dixon Galleries and Gardens in Memphis.
It features impressionists and post-impressionists like Monet, Rodin, several Renoirs,
Matisse and a Berthe Morisot.
The third floor has exhibitions on the theme of letters and words. The two on the right are by Robert Indiana. The ones on the left are from a feminist series by Barbara Kruger,
In the spring, summer and fall, people have their pictures taken in Elizabeth Park every day,
all day long. This family was preparing to pose for a photographer in the rose garden
this week, despite the cold and gray and the absence of roses.
Back in Naples today. I need time to watch the New England Patriots this afternoon and
to unpack before finding new material in southwest Florida.
Ridgefield's Main Street shopping district is only about three blocks long, with many additional stores and restaurants behind the front line. The town lights Main Street nicely for the Christmas season.
Frances and Mary work at Valerie's Place. I met them at a coffee shop. We started talking and they invited me to see the facility with them. Communities are fortunate that committed people like Frances and Mary choose to devote their careers to valuable social services like this.
Valerie's Place is remarkable. Founded by a woman whose mother died when she was young, Valerie's Place is a nonprofit that offers a facility for children who have lost parents or siblings to grieve their losses. The first venue is in Fort Myers, another is in Punta Gorda.
The one I visited opened in September in adjoining rented houses in Naples.
Local designers and artists volunteered their time to paint the walls with welcoming murals.
This is a room for the youngest children.
The idea is to group children by ages, so they can share their feelings and experiences with peers who are going through the same grieving processes. Each room has age-appropriate rules posted.
The Gathering Room is a place for older children, often teens, to talk about their feelings.
I'm back in Naples for a few days before returning north for Christmas.
A mother and daughter team from Zimbabwe own Kunjani, a coffee shop based in their art gallery specializing in African art. It is across Seagate from the Waterside Shops. Kunjani is highlighting lifelike pencil and graphite animal drawings by Zimbabwe artist Fraser MacKay. MacKay is an avid conservationist who devotes much of his time to anti-poaching causes.
Back in Ridgefield taking care of the granddaughters.
West Lane Inn is an 18-room inn built in 1849 as a mansion. A family converted it to an inn in 1978. The last family member wanted to retire, so this summer she put it on the market with the
condition that it continue to be operated as an inn. The town is delighted (and relieved)
that two local women bought it and committed to running it as an inn.
Nice juxtaposition of a pair of circular works. On the left, one by Chinese dissident artist, Al Wei-Wei, constructed from once common kitchen stools. On the right, a colorful and absorbing painting from Frank Stella's "Protractor" series, carefully designed with a protractor and compass.
Detail from a big Egyptian-influenced art deco vase or umbrella stand.
The museum showed a substantial exhibition of African American art.
This one brought a happy smile. Back in the 1990s, I was on the board of directors of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. We created "Neighborhood Studios," a summer program that paid urban high school students to work with a variety of arts organizations under the tutelage of an artist. (Summer money for kids and struggling artists.) I persuaded my company to provide the initial funding to get the project off the ground. The Atheneum paid Dawoud Bey to lead 14 students in arts and photography. This eight-panel photographic work was done by Bey during
that program, which is still going 25 years later.
I was in West Hartford over the weekend before heading back to Ridgefield to take care of the granddaughters for a second week. So, I visited the Wadsworth Atheneum for the Festival of Trees.
More than 100 trees, decorated by local nonprofits or by individual supporters, were placed
around the museum. Some, like this whimsical flamingo tree, were inspired by
the works of art near which they were placed.
The Aldrich is in a modern building set behind rows of stately mansions on Ridgefield's Main Street.
It is Connecticut's only museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.
It has no permanent collection, simply temporary exhibitions. When I visited last week,
many (but not all) were organized around themes of weather, atmosphere and global warming.
Eva LeWitt's site-specific installation was one of the exceptions. She hung columns of brightly colored mesh fabric in a room. Each mesh column had perhaps 10 mesh pieces of differing
colors and mesh sizes. As one walked through the room, the interaction of
the layers of mesh fabric played visual tricks on the eyes.
For someone as grounded in reality as me, much of the weather-themed art went over my head.
But this one was different. Artist Ellen Harvey painted the 100 miles from Miami Beach
through the Everglades to the Gulf of Mexico based on satellite photos.
This is an environment most vulnerable to sea-level rise.