Longtime resident of northeastern Connecticut, Carly Martin founded Silver Circle in 2008 with the belief that art is the glue that keeps communities together, granting local artists a space to exhibit their masterworks, hosting classes for aspiring Picassos to hone their craft, and providing a venue for jewelry makers to sell their crafts. The original pieces in Martin's gallery––which have included works by Jean-Paul Jacquet and George Chaplin––rotate on a four- to six-week schedule, and featured exhibits can be viewed in the main hall every Tuesday through Sunday, or through an enchanted mirror on Monday. Rather than having a decorative mindset while choosing the pieces for the gallery, Martin takes a more spontaneous approach, telling the Putnam Villager, “We don't concern ourselves with 'matching'... If a piece of artwork speaks to us, it can change our whole space and add energy and interest in unexpected ways. Art truly breathes life into a home.”
It takes three large exhibit hangars and an open-air tarmac to hold New England Air Museum’s large collection of more than 80 civilian and military aircraft. Here you can see one of the remaining Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, one of the most advanced bombers during World War II. The museum also contains the Republic RC-3 Seabee, a single-engine amphibian aircraft. The collection encompasses helicopters, gyrocopters, and gliders. There’s even the Silas Brooks Balloon Basket, a basket circa-1870 that’s thought to be the oldest surviving aircraft in the United States.
A variety of special events run periodically, such as kid-friendly demonstrations that explain of the scientific principles that make flight possible, and the Build and Fly Station, where visitors are encouraged construct and keep their own aircraft.
When first-time potters step into The Celadon Studio, it may feel a bit like they're entering Wonderland, where none of the objects seem to make sense. Shortly thereafter, however, one of the 10 resident artists shows them the ropes. With the artist's help, novices are soon using the five Pacifica GT potter’s wheels, slab roller, electric kiln, plaster bats, and 15 studio glazes to fashion unique creations out of stoneware and domestic porcelain.
The Amherst College–owned Emily Dickinson Museum preserves the memory and work of the poet and hyphen master by maintaining the estate where she lived and composed many of her nearly 1,800 poems. The museum includes The Homestead, her birthplace and longtime residence, which stands near The Evergreens, where her brother, Austin, lived with his family. Emily and her siblings were all avid gardeners, cultivating flowers and hedges throughout their 3-acre estate. Emily herself maintained a conservatory for her collection of exotic plants, and she drew endless inspiration from her natural surroundings for her work.
The Emily Dickinson Museum welcomes field trips for groups of students and schedules events throughout the year to celebrate her poetry and role in American literary history. Interactive poetry discussion groups meet at various Amherst locations, keeping Dickinson's style relevant by communicating only in rhyming quatrains.
Parents and children gaze at Curious George's antics on a movie screen, which is situated amid the same stencil work, pews, and fixtures that have decorated Charter Oak Cultural Center's building since its construction in 1876. Once the first synagogue to be built in Connecticut, it currently hosts the center's theatrical performances, film showings, and gallery exhibits, which all center around the idea that art is sustenance for the mind. With a belief that open and equal access to the arts fosters the community as a whole, it aims to enrich minds through four key activity types—artistic, cultural, educational, and historic preservation—that are often free. Its youth arts institute is endorsed by the Hartford Public Schools superintendent’s office and aims to supplement curricula with programs before, after, and after-after school. In adult-learning workshops, instructors advise on topics such as what to consider before going back to school, while the center's Homegrown Dance movement supports seven local companies.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars' multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 600 calories with each go-round.