Without frequent exposure to art, viewers may struggle to discern whether they're looking at an impressionist masterpiece or out a heavily smudged window. Start your eye-training with today's Groupon: for $7, you get two adult admissions to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut (up to a $14 value). Regular museum admission is free for active-service military families, K–12 teachers, and children younger than 18; $4 for seniors 60+ and college students; and free to all on Tuesdays.
Founded in 1964 in a building that dates to 1783, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum now ushers culturevores from historical Main Street into 25,000 square feet of gleaming galleries hung with eye-popping modern works. Rotating exhibitions from emerging and established artists cover entire high-ceilinged rooms. The fall season’s sensory banquet ranges from the Brazilian collective Chelpa Ferro’s Visual Sound installation, which coaxes music out of everyday items such as electric blenders and plastic bags, to Jessica Stockholder’s sculptural Hollow Places Court in Ash-Tree Wood, crafted from a 100-year-old tree cut from the museum’s own grounds after it became hopelessly infested with feral performance artists.
Outside and just beyond the glow of multistory glass walls, a peaceful terrace and 2-acre sculpture garden blossoms with different artwork every few months, much like a temporary-tattoo enthusiast. On Sunday afternoons, trained docents lead patrons through the galleries during complimentary one-hour tours, and art lovers of all ages are welcome many weekends for free hands-on creative events that bring visitors closer to the featured works without violating the museum’s no-tasting policy.