Arts Watch: January, 2023

Raje Kaur

Raje Kaur

Contributed photo

RIDGEFIELD — A very Happy New Year to you all, and in keeping with this column’s theme, I hope it’s one full of pleasurable and horizon expanding art activities and events. A notable feature of arts events in town this month is the effort to draw more people in, to cultivate new patrons in spaces that they are more comfortable in or likely to frequent.

Two prime examples of such ventures are “Music at the Museum,” a collaboration between Lounsbury House and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra which premieres on Jan. 28 with a performance by the Elyrica Trio, and the “Aldrich Box,” an initiative to encourage an immersive and interactive art experience in the comfort of one’s home by the the Aldrich Museum.

As the arts strive to become more democratic and expand their audience, both museums and avant-garde artists are embracing the concept of mobile museums where the individual patron has the freedom to edit, sequence, archive and display images/art objects endlessly. So, if you think you’re going to be housebound because of the weather, it might be a good time to borrow an “Aldrich Box.”

A collaborative project conceived by chief of education Namulen Bayarsaihan and chief curator Amy Smith Stewart, the idea of a museum exhibit in a box was originally conceived as a “Care Box” in the wake of the isolation and anxiety provoked by COVID-19 to allow the public to continue interacting with art in their home space. Museum goers were encouraged to borrow an Aldrich Care Box and to “play” with its assorted art objects according to their whimsy in their homes for up to a week.

This year’s Aldrich Box’s theme is performance and underscores the cooperative and interdisciplinary aspects of making art. The first live performance installments of the Aldrich Box, moments, is scheduled for Jan. 21. It is a dance-theatre work created over five years by dancer and choreographer Ali Kenner Brodsky that bridges choreographed movement, composed sound, and art direction. 

Another exhibit that debuts this month as part of Aldrich Projects, a four month exhibit focused on a single artist is “Kathleen Ryan: Head and Hearts” that features two monumental works, Daisy Chain, 2021 and Pearls, 2017, sited in the Museum’s Leir Atrium. Instantly recognizable symbols steeped in popular culture and kitsch, both the pearl string made of pink bowling balls, and the oversized plastic daisy chain use humor to riff on traditional symbols of female purity and innocence. 

And lest we think that only contemporary art is radical, get a refresher on impressionism as a radical art movement of the 19th century in which artists strove to capture a moment in time through the dynamic play of light and color in ARTalk by Weir Farm’s artist in residence, Dmitri Wright at the Library. And if architecture is more your cup of tea, then how about a talk on Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Royal Albert Hall, three architectural landmarks of London? Zoom in on the 18th for this talk organized by the Library.

A real life radical who made Ridgefield her home for over 30 years was Alice Paul Day, pre-eminent suffragist who was instrumental in securing the right to vote for women, and was the co-author of the Equal Rights Amendment. Join The League of Women Voters of Ridgefield at the Keeler Tavern Garden Room to celebrate Ridgefield's suffragist Alice Paul’s 138th birthday on Jan. 10, to learn about other important women as well as the status of the Equal Rights Amendment which has yet to be ratified in the constitution, almost 100 years after it was drafted in 1923.

On a related note, do catch the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations at the Ridgefield Playhouse on the 16th, which typically feature a host of uplifting speakers and performances by local groups. The playhouse has an exciting schedule for January featuring Broadway’s Rock of 
Ages Band, Lords of 52nd Street, and the singer Linda Eder, among other events.

On Jan. 9, ACT will host Broadway Unplugged: 5th Anniversary Edition with Special Guest Star, Aaron Tveit, who won a Tony award in the Broadway premiere production of Moulin Rouge: The Musical.

Those are just a select few of the art events in town. For more information on those, and other events check out the websites of all those organizations.

Arts Watch January, 2023
Raje Kaur
Member, Ridgefield Arts Council