Daily activities for kids and the family are abound in Fairfield County! Whether you want to spend the day with your children at a zoo, a museum, or just outdoors, we've got it all here. Want to see what's going on next weekend or when you have those few days off? Check out the NY Metro Parents' calendar!
35th Annual Museum Mile Festival - Museum Mile
June 11, 2013 - Upper East Side
Now celebrating its 35th year, the annual Museum Mile Festival takes place rain or shine on June 11, 2013, from 5:45-9pm. More than 1.5 million people have taken part in this annual celebration since its inception. Festival attendees can walk the Mile between 82nd and 105th Streets while visiting nine of New York City's finest cultural institutions, which will be open free to the public throughout the evening. In addition, several of the participating museums offer outdoor art activities for children, including chalk drawing, live model drawing classes, plus entertainment both inside the museums and on the streets.
The Museum Mile Festival's opening ceremony takes place at 5:45pm at The Jewish Museum (Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street).
Animal Hall Volunteer Orientation - Earthplace
Through June 12, 2013 - Westport
Do you love working with animals? Earthplace houses a collection of over 30 live animals and they always looking for volunteers to assist in their care and feeding. Orientation will give you a chance to learn all about Earthplace, the Animal Hall and the responsibilities of an Animal Hall Volunteer before deciding if you would like to join the team.
Note: Attendance at a Volunteer Orientation is mandatory for participation in the volunteer program. Volunteers need only attend one orientation, either June 11, 2013 OR June 12, 2013. The next Volunteer Orientation will be offered in the fall of 2013.
Beyond the Bed: The American Quilt Evolution - Katonah Museum of Art
Through June 16, 2013 - Katonah
Quilts have evolved dramatically in form, fashion, and function during their long and distinguished history. In this exhibition Jean Burks, senior curator at the Shelburne Museum, will explore the wide range of quilts intended as bed coverings, articles of clothing, furniture accessories, wall decoration, and finally, three-dimensional room sculpture. Illustrating a variety of techniques, designs, and cultural styles, the pieces selected will showcase the work of North American quilters working from the beginning of the 19th century to the present. February 24 through June 16, 2013.
Major funding for this exhibition was generously provided by The Coby Foundation.
Born to Be Wild - Maritime Aquarium
Through June 20, 2013 - Norwalk
Academy-Award winner Morgan Freeman lends his voice to this film which follows orphaned baby orangutans and elephants, and the people who rescue and raise them for eventual release back into the wild. Through June 20, 2013.
The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through June 20, 2013 - Norwalk
Coral reefs are considered exotic, distant places with little or no connection to our everyday world. Yet every reef is a living city beneath the sea, with a parallel existence to ours. Maritime Aquarium audiences will recognize scenes from New York City as the film compares reef communities to human communities. The film?s imagery immerses audiences in reef communities, among familiar dolphins, sharks and rays but also lesser-known species, such as crocodile fish, colorful nudibranchs and delicate flatworms. January 18-June 20, 2013.
Sharks - IMAX Theater, Maritime Aquarium
Through June 20, 2013 - Norwalk
This film offers an unflinching look at the ocean's ultimate predator with an emphasis on why shark populations are dropping. A sea turtle with a British accent help make this a family-friendly show, even for the youngest members. January 18-June 20, 2013.
Exhibition: SANA MUSASAMA: My Journey - Clay Art Center
Through June 22, 2013 - Port Chester
Clay Art Center is proud to present "SANA MUSASAMA: My Journey," a solo exhibition that combines art, social justice advocacy, and community arts outreach with New York artist and global citizen, Sana Musasama. The exhibition, which features ceramic sculpture and installation inspired from Musasama's travels around the world, will be on exhibit May 18-June 22, 2013, with an opening reception on Saturday, May 18, from 6-8pm.
In conjunction, the artist will be an artist in residence at Clay Art Center for the duration of the exhibit, and Clay Art Center has initiated a string of community arts outreach events entitled, Inspire, Commit, Act... Admission to Clay Art Center is free.
In her twenties, when she began traveling, Sana Musasama realized that clay existed all over the world. After her education in the public school system in New York, she felt limited, locked in, and undereducated. Traveling became her way of relearning the world and its inhabitants. Her work is informed by history, women's studies, culture, and her journals of global citizenship. "My Journey," an exhibition of large scale sculpture and installation, will speak of those experiences, from the "Maple Tree" series about the abolitionist movement involved with indigenous Americans, African indentured servants, and Dutch colonialists, and "The Unspeakable" series, an inquiry into the nature of violence and healing in women's lives, to her current work, "The UnKnown/UnNamed" series, which focuses on honoring the lives of those lost to war and genocide. Sana has spent the past 5 years working and traveling in Cambodia. It is there that she found herself in the killing fields, walking on fragments of souls that once were.
Sana Musasama's work is grounded in the ceremonies of living. It guards their integrity and memory, and acts as a reliquary of historic events and her personal narratives. In her inquiry into the world, she sought to understand the human landscape. This transformed Sana and her approach to clay. There is no dichotomy between her life and her work, as her extensive traveling has made her relearn seeing. Her mission speaks of a global citizen who walks through the artwork heart first.
Inspire, Commit, Act?: Community Events with Sana Musasama. For the duration of the exhibition, Sana will be an Artist in Residence at Clay Art Center, acting as an advocate for her work in the exhibition and the social justice issues it invokes. While in residence, she will also be working on a new body of work. As part of her residency at CAC, Sana will have the opportunity to work with Latino and African-American youth of Westchester County, NY, especially young women, and will be a visual presence for them, inspiring them to commit and act on the belief that they too could be artists, should they want to be. She will be working with Port Chester's Carver Center's NIA group, a young women's leadership group, mostly made up of Latino and African American individuals, Port Chester High School students in CAC's "Around the World in Clay" community arts outreach program, and teen girls from Westhab shelter of Family Coachman Center, which is the largest homeless shelter in Westchester.
In addition, Sana will lead three public hands-on workshops in June in the gallery (alongside her artwork). For more details on these workshops, visit clayartcenter.org.
ABOUT THE WORK IN THE EXHIBIT
About her "Unknown/Unnamed" series, Sana states, "My newest ceramic work was born out of the devastation of the 9/11 attacks and the hundreds of workers and others whose identity was buried under the rubble, the faceless whispers out of concentration camps, the endless mass graves throughout the world. It stems from my global travels to Cambodia, Vietnam and Rwanda - into the homes and hearts of the people I've encountered; these pieces represent their silent voices, which remain unknown and unnamed."
"The earth carries the memories built on the backs of oppressed/unrepresented people and their buried bones throughout the world. At My Lai, Vietnam, I walk on the site of a massacre where the lives of hundreds of women and babies were taken in revenge. I touch the soil. At the Holocaust museum, I look at the hundreds of pairs of eye glasses, shoes, gold-capped teeth, and briefcases, and I wonder who they belonged to. In Rwanda, a young woman tells how she searched for her family at a mass burial site. I have worked in Cambodia with former sex slaves, wondering who enslaved them, and walked the killing fields, with their fragments of what once were human beings."
"Will it ever stop? These new works are meant to slow us down, make us look closely at our world, silence us for the moment. They are created in homage to the Unknown/Unnamed."
Additionally, work from Sana's "Unspeakable" series will be on view. About this challenging and poignant body of work, Sana shares this story: "Twenty-five years ago, while living in Mendeland, Sierra Leone, there was a group of young girls, ages 10-15, who would visit my hut every day. We began our rituals of sisterhood: they combed my hair, tried on my clothing, and applied my makeup. They taught me the formal greetings in Mende, how to sit like a Mende woman, eat with my tongue, and to never allow food to touch my lips. They showed me how to cook on three rocks and wash my clothes in the river, beating on washing stones. They taught me the birth chants, and I learned, too soon, to recognize the death song."
"Suddenly, one morning, there were no young girls in the village. They returned thirteen weeks later, changed. Our ritual of sisterhood was no more. They no longer had the sparkle of wonderment in their eyes; they weren't carefree young girls any longer. They didn't want to have anything to do with me. I could not understand. I know now that they were circumcised (incised)."
"MY JOURNEY" will also feature two large-scale sculptures from Sana's "Maple Tree" series. These sculptures were inspired by the Maple Tree abolitionist movement in the late 18th century in New York and Holland. Dutch colonists, Native Americans, and free indentured African servants joined together in protest against slave labor on sugar cane plantations in the West Indies. They took as their symbol the maple tree - a source of sugar without exploiting slave labor. At once trees and aspects of the human body, these sculptures explore links between trees and human sexuality, between trees and human agency.
Sana Musasama (b. 1957, NYC, lives in Queens, NY) received her BA from City College of New York, NY (1973), her MFA from Alfred (1988), and studied at Mende Pottery, Sierra Leone (1974-75). Feeling undereducated by her public school education, Musasama began traveling as a way to recover identity and cultural place. Clay was a geographic catalyst that brought her first to West Africa, venturing later to Japan, China, and South America. She has continued her quest, expanding her interests to tribal adornment practices in various indigenous cultures. She is challenged by the concerns surrounding the safety of women, specifically the rituals involving rites of passage, female chastity, and the "purification" of the female body. She teaches at Hunter College, NYC; the 92 Street Y, NYC; and through CASES, a program which offers an alternative to incarceration.
Clay Art Center is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit ceramic art organization offering exhibitions, clay classes for adults and children, studio spaces for clay artists and outreach programs in the community. It is located in the heart of Port Chester at 40 Beech Street, Port Chester, NY 10573.
Photography & Sculpture Exhibition - Rowayton Arts Center
Through June 30, 2013 - Rowayton
High-quality photography and sculpture by RAC exhibiting members are featured in this exhibit. June 2-Jun 30, 2013.
iCreate Teen Art - Bruce Museum
Through July 07, 2013 - Greenwich
Organized by the Bruce Museum's Youth Committee, Youth@Bruce, this exhibition features approximately 40 juried works of fine art created by regional high school students. The work in oil, watercolor, acrylic, tempera, gouache, pastel, drawing media, traditional printmaking forms, mixed media, and digitally generated demonstrates the range and talent of today's young artists.
Stag Kids Reading Club - Fairfield University Bookstore
Through July 14, 2013 - Fairfield
Students in grades 1-8 are invited to join this incentive based reading program in partnership with the Bridgeport Bluefish and Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Read a minimum of 5 books and write one original book review between April 14 - July 14, 2013 and receive one free ticket to the Bridgeport Bluefish game on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 1:05pm. Additional tickets are available for purchase for $10. The Stag Kids Reading group will meet the players before the game for a private autograph session, run the bases after the game and a public announcement will acknowledge the students' reading success. One lucky member chosen at random will get to throw out the first pitch. Other raffle prizes include two free tickets to any Quick Center Performance Series Event (no expiration date) and a $25 Gift Card to the Fairfield University Bookstore (no expiration date).
IMAGES 2013 - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through July 21, 2013 - Fairfield
Fairfield Museum and History Center's fifth annual juried photography exhibition features a solo photography exhibition by internationally renowned photographer and Connecticut native, Phil Trager. May 3-July 21, 2013.
IMAGES 2013 and Solo Exhibition by Philip Trager - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through July 21, 2013 - Fairfield
Fairfield Museum and History Center's fifth annual juried photography exhibition features a solo photography exhibition by internationally renowned photographer and Connecticut native, Phil Trager. IMAGES has become a highly-regarded exhibition to celebrate the exceptional work of 60 talented photographers from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. May 3-July 21, 2013.
IMAGES 2013: Solo Exhibit by Philip Trager, internationally renowned photographer and 5th Annual Juried Photography Exhibition - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through July 21, 2013 - Fairfield
The exhibition features solo photography by internationally renowned photographer and Connecticut native, Phil Trager. IMAGES, which has become a highly-regarded exhibition to celebrate the work of 60 talented photographers from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts is being sponsored by The Bank of Fairfield, Southport Galleries, Moffly Media and Fairfield University. Through July 21, 2013.
Summer Sundays on the Farm - Stamford Museum & Nature Center
Through August 11, 2013 - Stamford
Join an SM&NC educator or farmer for an up close look at Heckscher Farm. Visit the vegetable garden for some self-guided reading, planting or crafting, watch the otters have their lunch, meet one of the farm animals up close, help with a farm chore, explore a barn, join in a cooking project to take home and more. Activities and animals will change each week. Sundays, June 2-Aug 11, 2013.
Wilton Library Summer Reading Program - Wilton Library
Through August 16, 2013 - Wilton
Wilton Library Summer Reading Program Registration The Pages through the Ages Summer Reading Program is now online. Patrons can use the new summer reader program, Evanced, to register and log their summer reading. Prize coupons can be printed and brought to the library for redemption. Some highlights of the online program are: flexibility by being able to log-on whenever and wherever throughout the summer; convenience of keeping track of reading online and ability to print lists easily (teachers love to see what the kids read over the summer); attractive graphics are engaging and help encourage participation; on-demand access allows vacationing patrons to participate, too. The online program can be accessed from internet-capable computers, laptops, iPads and more. Call the Children's Library for more information at 203-762-3950, ext. 217. Through August 16, 2013.
MathAlive! 2 the Extreme - Connecticut Science Center
Through September 01, 2013 - Hartford
This exhibition brings to life the real math behind video games, sports, fashion, music, robotics, and more, and creates interactive, hands-on experiences that bring to life the math at work in each, whether in design, application or use. Videos and graphic displays feature professionals, celebrities and visionaries who explain how they use math in their respective fields. Along the way, animated character help visitors tackle the challenges, explaining the math involved, prompting and encouraging answers, and jumping in if visitors get stuck. On view May 28 through Sept. 1, 2013.
The 1750 Ogden House Tours - Fairfield Museum and History Center
Through September 01, 2013 - Fairfield
Enjoy docent-led tours of the 1750 Ogden House and see how people lived in the 18th century. The house is furnished with period objects including textiles and fine pieces of furniture. Take a stroll through the kitchen garden, generously maintained by the Fairfield Garden Club, and view plantings used in colonial times. The Ogden House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sundays, June 1-September 1, 2013.
Meerkats - Maritime Aquarium
Through September 02, 2013 - Norwalk
Meerkats are members of the mongoose family that live in social �mobs� in the Kalahari Desert, in the southern African nations of Botswana and South Africa. No mere cats, meerkats are fascinating for living in structured but cooperative societies, including a foraging strategy where adults take turns standing guard upright on their hind feet, watching for predators, while the others eat.
The meerkats� exhibit offers opportunities for climbing, digging and exploring, with several feeding locations to keep them on the alert for incoming crickets. A viewing bubble lets visitors pop up right among the meerkats. Through September 2, 2013.
Lorikeets - Maritime Aquarium
Through September 02, 2013 - Norwalk
Step into a lush aviary to share a laugh and a squawk with tropical birds that will sip nectaar right out of your hands.
The exhibit features about a dozen varieties of lorikeets, which are colorful medium-sized parrots native to the south Pacific.
Playland Amusement Park - Rye Playland
Through September 02, 2013 - Rye
Get ready to zoom, spin, splash, swing, and soar your way through acres of amusement park rides from the cooling log flume, to the famous Dragon Coaster, and all your other favorites!
- Starting Friday, May 24: $30 unlimited rides; $20 Junior (under 48") Spectator admission (no rides) is free for Westchester County residents and $10 for non-residents.
- $95 for unlimited rides all season, with a $15 discount for Westchester residents.
- $35 for spectator admission all season (no rides), for non-residents of Westchester County.
Acceptable proof of Westchester residency is a Westchester County Park Pass; New York State driver's license or non-driver ID; or a photo ID or report card from a Westchester County school.
For the season schedule go to ryeplayland.org or call the park at 914-813-7000. Use the website link to join the Playland E-Club and receive valuable discounts all season long.
Kissable Camels - Beardsley Zoo
Through September 02, 2013 - Bridgeport
Two visiting camels named Toby and Goliath, are visiting the zoo and kids of all ages are welcome to climb aboard these camels for a ride. A photo of the ride is included with the price. Children under six years old require an adult rider with them. Through September 2, 2013.
INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S ART SHOW - Maritime Aquarium
Through September 02, 2013 - Norwalk
Young artists from 22 countries--as well as those from numerous Fairfield County schools--celebrate their cultures in a special gallery display. The theme of the 2013 show is "Illuminate! Bringing My Culture to Light." The drawings and paintings were created by children ages 8 to 16 who were challenged to share a cultural belief or value that is meaningful to them. They also had to include a natural, man-made or symbolic source of light. The exhibit is displayed in The Maritime Aquarium's IMAX Theater lobby, which can be entered without paid admission. Through September 2, 2013.
FREE ADMISSION FOR ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY - Stepping Stones Museum
Through September 03, 2013 - Norwalk
As a participant in the Blue Star Museums program, Stepping Stones offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their immediate families from Memorial Day, May 28, through Labor Day, September 3, 2012. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,500 museums across America.
Dinosaur Revolution - Stepping Stones Museum
Through September 08, 2013 - Norwalk
Did T-Rex live closer in time to Apatosaurus or your mom? Were dinosaurs warm-blooded? Dinosaur Revolution challenges visitor knowledge, presents cutting-edge discoveries, and debunks popular myths. Experience what its like to feel the earth beneath your gigantic feet as you make tracks in the Triassic. Learn to fly as you glide through the Jurassic. Between May 28 and Aug. 11, a different dinosaur will be the focus of special, creative programming. Daily drop-in programs include arts, crafts, improvisation and play. During designated times each day, children will be able to take part in a dinosaur dig.
Dinosaur Safari - Bronx Zoo
Through September 08, 2013 - Bronx
The new attraction will include a ride through the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods with more than two-dozen animatronic dinosaurs up to 40 feet long which move, snarl, roar, and spit.
In anticipation of the new exhibit, the Bronx Zoo is offering New Yorkers a chance to vote for their favorite dinosaur species at bronxzoo.com/dino and win tickets to see the dinosaurs. Included in the vote: long-necked Brachiosaurus, the intimidating Tyrannosaurus rex, the gator-like Baryonyx, the massive Triceratops, or the flighted Quetzalcoatlus. Exclusive Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari stickers that can be used with a safari field guide will be given to those who vote.
Dinosaur Safari will include a ride through a two-acre area of the zoo, and will highlight the physical or behavioral adaptations many share with species that are alive today.
This limited engagement will run from Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, September 8, and will be included in the Total Experience Ticket.
A 20% discount is offered with online purchases for Monday and Tuesday visits. Tickets can be purchased in advance at bronxzoo.com/dino.
Federico Uribe: Fantasy River - Hudson River Museum
Through September 22, 2013 - Yonkers
In a summertime extravaganza, the Hudson River Museum presents a dramatic new 3-dimensional landscape - inspired by the dreams of artist Federico Uribe, acclaimed for his fascinating transformations of everyday objects into art. Witness how he creates sculptures, which are not "sculpted," but instead, constructed and woven in ways, curious and unpredictable, intricate and compulsive. A conceptual artist originally from Columbia, Uribe makes individual works and whole-room installations entirely from objects we see around us - shoes, colored pencils, hangers. Red, blue, yellow, a panoply of colors envelopes in this three-gallery display. For the Hudson River Museum, Uribe creates his site-specific installation, "Fantasy River," inspired by the dramatic rolling banks of the Hudson and the world's other great rivers. Filled with blossoming flowers, flying birds, dazzling sunshine, and the flowing "water" of a winding river, this installation, created from new and old materials, provides a spectacular theatrical experience in the Museum's central atrium. Uribe's art is a unique hybrid that resists classification. Watch how he uses the language of pop art to transform the objects of daily life, while tipping his hat to the history and tradition of classical art. Uribe studied art at the University of Los Andes in Bogota, and in 1988 moved to New York to study with acclaimed conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer. As part of his global vision, Uribe's career includes years of work in Cuba, Mexico, Russia, England and Miami. On view through September 22, 2013.
Sensory Bounce - BounceU
Through September 28, 2013 - Stratford
This is a program for children and adults with sensory integration dysfunction, autism, and other disabilities with a sensory component. Teachers work on balance and coordination, auditory and tactile sensitivity, strength building, motor coordination, cooperative play, turn-taking, and social and verbal skills. Through September 28, 2013.
What Is It? Technologies and Discoveries of the Victorian Era - Lockwood-Mathews Mansion
Through October 06, 2013 - Norwalk
Victorian era gadgets, technologies and breakthroughs will be on display to introduce visitors to mid-to-late 19th century inventions and discoveries in many diverse areas including communication, transportation, manufacturing, medicine, food and recreation. Audiences might be surprised at how some of the historic breakthroughs are still relevant today. April 17 2013-October 6, 2013.
Eggs-hibition: Unscrambling Their History - Bruce Museum
Through October 20, 2013 - Greenwich
This new exhibition will delight visitors with an array of eggs. From food to children's fairy tales, Fabergé eggs to pharmacology, Eggs-hibition explores the evolution of the egg, its prominent inclusion in creation myths worldwide, the complex simplicity of its design, and the inspiration it imparts to artists who have painted, bejeweled, photographed, and written about them. March 23-October 20, 2013.
Tours - Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate
Through November 11, 2013 - Sleepy Hollow
Kykuit, the six-story stone house and rolling hilltop estate that served as home to four generations of Rockefellers, is open to visitors beginning Saturday, May 4, through Sunday, Sep. 30, and Nov. 1-11. Open daily Oct 1-31. Kykuit's modern and classical art collection, architecture, and expansive gardens are consistently rated the top attraction in the lower Hudson Valley, and draw tens of thousands of visitors annually. Kykuit, which means "lookout" in Dutch, includes a six-story stone house, multiple terraced gardens, art galleries, outdoor classical and modern sculpture, and commanding Hudson River views. Its hilltop location overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades is 500 feet above sea level. Visitors to Kykuit learn the story of the Rockefellers, beginning with John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, whose business acumen made him the richest man in America in his day. He later became the country's first great philanthropist. By his death in 1937, he had given away more than half his fortune through various philanthropic programs. Visitors can choose from four tours: Classic, Grand, Timesaver, and Selected Highlights. The Classic, ideal for first-time visitors, is a shorter experience than the comprehensive, three-hour Grand. Besides the mansion, both of these tours include time in Kykuit's art galleries, gardens, and Coach Barn, with its collection of horse-drawn carriages, vintage automobiles, and equestrian equipment. The 90-minute Timesaver is ideal for those on tighter schedules, while Selected Highlights maximizes time in the gardens. Visitors can buy tickets online in advance, choosing the exact tour, time, and date they want to visit. Tickets are on sale at hudsonvalley.org. Historic Hudson Valley recommends advanced ticket buying, particularly for weekend tours, which fill up quickly. Besides online, tickets may be purchased by calling 914-631-8200 (service charge additional) or at the Kykuit Visitor Center at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow. All tours start at the Kykuit Visitor Center; doors open at 9am.
Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharoahs - Yale Peabody Museum
Through January 04, 2014 - New Haven
This exhibition will take you on a journey through two thousand years of fascination with ancient Egypt, the land of the pharaohs. Visitors will enter through a reproduction of the Egyptianizing gateway that is the entrance to New Haven's Grove Street Cemetery (designed by Henry Austin in 1839), and then discover how a culture that flourished thousands of years ago has impacted our own world. Echoes of ancient Egypt appear in art, architecture, and literature around the world from ancient Africa to medieval Europe and the Middle East, to modern North America. April 13, 2013-January 4, 2014.
Exhibition: Six Ladders - Katonah Museum of Art
Through April 21, 2014 - Katonah
Bright swaths of vibrant colors transform the Katonah Museum of Art's exterior in its newest outdoor exhibition, "Six Ladders," by artist Andrea Lilienthal. Lilienthal created a series of giant bamboo ladders for the Museum's stately Sculpture Garden that are whimsical and enigmatic; their brilliant colors electrify the natural surroundings.
Five ladders, with their cheerful colors and playful patterns, lean against the Museum's enormous spruce trees in various positions and at different angles. On the building's facade, a sixth, 30-foot ladder extends just short of the roofline - its form and ribbons of color energizing the wall and lending sculptural dimension to the flat expanse. Each of the ladders are hand-constructed from sturdy commercial bamboo, harvested in China, and painted with high-gloss outdoor enamel paint from Holland. Their surfaces are smooth and reflective, in contrast to the course-textured tree bark.
According to Katonah Museum of Art Curator Ellen Keiter, "These are not functional structures - their bottom rungs are too high to mount and the ladders fail to reach the top of their intended destinations. These are instead beautiful works of art; Andrea Lilienthal responds to the inherent geometry of ladders and the repetitive rhythm of their rungs. She finds beauty in their simple, minimalist construction."
"Lilienthal's ladders instill a sense of wonder and suggest that seemingly unreachable goals can be attained," she says.
Keiter explains that bamboo is a hollow-stemmed, woody plant that "bows, sways, and splits, so slight imperfections, even substantial cracks, add distinctive character to each ladder. No two ladders are painted the same, yet their similarly saturated hues coalesce into a lively visual harmony."
She adds, "The bands of luscious color wrap around the bamboo like candy confections, and bright confetti patterns alternate with stark black-and-white designs. A causal link exists between the artificial colors and the natural bamboo. On one ladder, Lilienthal painted white rings around the growth nodes of the bamboo; on another, the nodes demarcate the lengths of painted blue and orange sections."
Says Lilienthal: "These magnificent and mysterious trees [at the Katonah Museum of Art], whose tops are not even visible, dwarf the people and furniture below. In response to their super scale, I chose the ladder, a form with human scale and multiple readings: utilitarian ancient, mythic, and universal. The severe and stately trees support the bamboo ladders in an implied partnership; rooted and stable, the trees assist the ladders in their attempt to ascend. But ultimately, how do you mount an 80-foot Norwegian spruce tree? My answer was to climb it with imagination, affirming our connection to the natural world."
Lilienthal has used bamboo in her artistic practice for several years. In earlier installations, she aligned multiple painted, wrapped, or taped bamboo poles along a wall - works awash in color, but still relatable in size. However, her current exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art is in keeping with the majesty, diameter, and spacing of the giant spruce trees.
Adding to the intrigue of this exhibition are enlarged photographs of the Garden's spruce trees displayed in the Museum's two west windows adjacent to the lone 30-foot ladder. On first impression, the images appear as reflections. In this way, Lilienthal reinforces the relationship between the ladders and the trees while further playing with the viewers' perceptions and expectations.
Historically, ladders carry rich and universal associations. In many faiths and fables, ladders are a symbol of ascent, of travel, of reaching upward. In modern times, they represent progress and growth, allowing us to reach higher than we would otherwise be able to go. Ladders symbolize elevation: from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, and from the material to the spiritual. They are featured in art from prehistoric cave paintings to contemporary times. Jacob's Ladder, the metaphysical passage between heaven and earth, is mentioned in the first book of the Bible, and is represented in such disparate media as Renaissance paintings and popular
video games. There is a popular African-American spiritual, "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder," Eric Carl's beloved children's picture book, "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me," and innumerable colloquialisms regarding "the ladder of success."
On view through April 21, 2014 during Museum hours: Sundays: 12-5pm; Tuesdays through Saturdays: 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.
Toy Boat-Making Workshop - Maritime Aquarium
Through December 31, 2015 - Norwalk
Visit the toy boat-making area on weekends for a fun 20-minute boat-building project. Build and decorate a toy sailboat to take home as a special keepsake of your visit. Saturdays and Sundays year-round.