Through a Photographer's Eyes

Welcome to the latest issue of CTExplored/Inbox, your bi-weekly newsletter from Connecticut Explored. 

Every other week, we share that latest stories, the newest Grating the Nutmeg podcast, programs and exhibitions from our partners to see/watch this month, and more! 

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Summer 2021: City, Village, Neighborhood — Home

This issue, we’re celebrating those places we live in and love with stories from Norwalk to Norwich and Chester to (the lost village of) Chalybes

In this issue of CTExplored/Inbox, artist, photographer, and Trinity College professor of fine arts Pablo Delano, a transplant from San Juan, Puerto Rico, beautifully captures that live/love relationship with place in his intimate and personal photographs of Hartford in the Summer 2021 issue.

Visually Breathtaking Hartford Explored

Delano observes that the capital city “boasts extraordinary ethnic diversity and fluidity,” and that “this cultural diversity resonates in the built environment, which is continually adapted and repurposed to suit the needs and tastes of the newer populations.”

As a result, “the grays, muted ochres, and brick reds of Old New England succumb to a vibrant Caribbean palette of neon greens, acid oranges, and piercing yellows.”

He thought his book, Hartford Seen (Wesleyan University Press, 2020), was the end of the project but he continues to find inspiration—during COVID from the front seat of his car. And so his work continues, because, he writes, the city’s built environment “tells a story of a brash new beauty but also of respect for historical form. Layers of brick, paint, and plaster reveal the city’’s layers of history. The buildings whisper to me every day, as I drive or walk the streets, about the complex human dramas they have witnessed——fascinating stories for those willing to open their eyes and ears. Without immediately realizing it, I set about to make pictures that gave the buildings a voice.”

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The Latest from Grating the Nutmeg

120. How Four Connecticut Inventors Helped Change The Way We Live, Think, & Act

State Historian Walt Woodward talks with author and materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez about her award-winning and highly acclaimed book The Alcehmy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another and author of Summer 2020’s “Sarah Boone Invents A Better Ironing Board.” On virtually every national Top Science Book of the Year List for 2020, The Alchemy of Us is a wonderfully readable, lively, smart and witty account of the development of eight inventions that have not only transformed the way we live, but have transformed us, too. Not surprisingly, half of those inventions have important Connecticut connections.

Ramirez and Woodward discuss the roles Samuel F. Morse, Edwin Land, Ansonia’s William Wallace and New Haven’s George Coy [See “Coy Takes the Telephone to the Masses,” Winter 2020-2021] played in creating inventions that have helped the world convey, see, capture and think in new and different ways. It’s a fascinating and surprising story fest with one of the science world's best story tellers.

Programs and Exhibitions to Enjoy This Month

July Book Sale at Pequot Library

Pequot Library in Southport is thrilled to once again host its annual Summer Book Sale. Join other book lovers on the library’s Great Lawn from July 20 to 27 for ​one of the largest book sales in New England. You’ll find more than 100,000 gently used books for sale, plus CDs, DVDs, records, and unique “specials.” This event is one of the library’s most critical fundraisers and community events, attracting more than 10,000 visitors and raising more than $100,000 for the library’s operations each year. COVID-19 precautions and protocols will be in place. Details about the book sale can be found at ​pequotlibrary.org​.

Pequot Library, pequotlibrary.org

Enjoy Outdoors at Hill-Stead

Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington is a beacon of creativity with live outdoor art performances, educational offerings, and public and private events. Tour the house for a rare opportunity to be surrounded by world-renowned art with paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas, Whistler, and Cassatt. 

Hill-Stead Museum, Hillstead.org; 860-677-4787

Explore Nowashe Village

This summer, visit Nowashe Village, an outdoor museum of Indigenous life by the Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum. “Explore More” programs feature Indigenous presenters and crafters. Saturdays, 1 - 3 p.m. through November 13. Nowashe Village is located at 787 Main Street, South Windsor. Visit Nowashe.org.  

Wood Memorial Library & Museum is a historic gem built in 1927 by the Wood Memorial Library Trust. The Trust received support from the State Historic Preservation Office, part of DECD and with funds from the Community Investment Act, for a building assessment. Thank you, SHPO! Wood Memorial Library Trust, woodmemoriallibrarytrust.org

Olmsted Heritage in Connecticut

In recognition of the 200th anniversary in 2022 of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.’s birth, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Preservation Connecticut (PCT) are partnering to document the Olmsted heritage in Connecticut. One of Connecticut’s most famous citizens, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. was the father of American landscape architecture and the founder of a firm that was a national leader in the profession for more than a century. [For an introduction, see “Frederick Law Olmsted in Connecticut,” Spring 2018.]

For updates visit https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Services/Historic-Preservation and preservationct.org.

The Art of the Garden on View

The Greenwich Historical Society’s exhibition Beautiful Work: The Art of Greenwich Gardens and Landscapes continues through September 5, exploring the legacy and artistry of those who designed, worked in, and drew inspiration from Greenwich gardens. Pulling from the historical society’s rich collections of rarely seen garden landscape design drawings, dried botanical specimens, garden and horticultural books, and original works of art, the exhibition offers a glimpse at the splendid landscapes designed for Greenwich’s great estates along with more modest backyard gardens planted for food and personal enjoyment.

Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwichhistory.org

Editors’ Picks

Stories we love from back issues to read now. 

Early Photographer Augustus Washington,” Winter 2004/2005

María Sánchez: Godmother of Hartford’s Puerto Rican Community,” Summer 2003

See all of our stories about products Made in Connecticut on our TOPICS page.

Kids’ Page: “Celebrating Maria C. Colon Sanchez

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