Art and artists have played an important part in Old Lyme’s rich history. Artists were drawn to Old Lyme by its abundant natural subject material and colonial architecture. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the artists worked together as a community, staying at Miss Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse and forming the Lyme Art Colony. Miss Florence was fond of saying, “So you see, at first the artists adopted Lyme, then Lyme adopted the artists, and now, today, Lyme and art are synonymous.”
And so it remains today.
Painters, musicians, and authors find Old Lyme for its natural beauty and quiet inspiration. Art is everywhere. Visitors can stroll through its museums and galleries, (even the Town Hall and Library have art collections!) or perhaps find a concert or book signing.
Below is a sampling of our arts organizations.
Florence Griswold Museum (96 Lyme Street)
The Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a gallery of changing art exhibitions, education and landscape centers, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.
Lyme Art Association (90 Lyme Street)
On August 6, 1921, the present Lyme Art Association gallery (built on land donated by Florence Griswold in 1918) opened. It was the first gallery in America built by a summer art colony. American Impressionist painters Gifford Beal, Louis Paul Dessar, Childe Hassam, and Willard L. Metcalf joined with Will Howe Foote, Henry Rankin Poore, Allen B. Talcott, and Carleton Wiggins in the early exhibitions of the Association. The Lyme Art Association continues today to exhibit the work of some of the region’s finest and newest representational artists in its beautiful, historic gallery.
Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (84 Lyme Street)
The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts was founded by professional artists in 1976, and is distinguished among the art schools of America for its focus on the history, tradition, principles and discipline of drawing, painting and sculpture. The Academy’s gallery features year-round exhibits of fine representational art by students, alumni, and faculty.
The Cooley Gallery (25 Lyme Street)
The Cooley Gallery is a nationally-recognized dealer of American art. On display are works from the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth century.
Sandy Garvin Gallery (10 Lyme Street)
Visit local landscape artist Sandy Garvin at her studio.
Fresh Ayer Gallery (Old Lyme Shopping Center, Halls Road)
Explore new exhibits monthly, and find locally made fine art gifts.
Eastern Connecticut Ballet (Boston Post Road, East Lyme)
At Eastern Connecticut Ballet they believe it is important to provide performance opportunities in order to showcase the talents of young dancers. Working on new choreography and dancing classic masterpieces completes the dancers’ training with invaluable stage experience.During The Nutcracker, performed annually at the Garde Arts Center in New London, students dance next to stars of today’s ballet world, with live music of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.
Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds (80-1 Lyme Street)
Gilbert V. Boro is a sculptor, architect, educator and international design consultant. Studio 80 is open to the public by appointment. Come and see the artist at work in his 3500 square foot custom designed studio. Large and small scale works on display. The Sculpture Grounds are open to the public 9am-5pm Monday-Sunday.
Pat Shippee Fine Art Appraisal and Consulting Services
Patricia Shippee’s expertise has been acquired through her corporate business experience, her studies in art history, and as a collector, gallery owner, curator in Connecticut and New York City.