Exhibition Archives

Back to WEIR FARM: VISITING ARTISTS 2001 Exhibit Info

Weir Farm National Historic Site and the
Weir Farm Trust

Weir Farm, purchased in 1882 by the artist J. Alden Weir, occupies a prominent place within the history of American art. The Farm’s rocky pastures and dense woods were a source of inspiration for some of Weir’s best work, securing his role as a major and pioneering figure in the American Impressionist movement. Museums across the country own numerous works of art that were created at the Farm by Weir and his wide circle of friends including Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sargent, and John Twachtman to name a few. The home, studio, farm buildings and landscape integral to Weir’s artistic vision have survived intact, making it the finest remaining landscape of American Impressionism.

In 1990, following a twenty-seven year preservation effort that joined community and environmental activists, artists, art historians, local, state and federal officials, Congress established Weir Farm National Historic Site as Connecticut’s first National Park and the only one in the country devoted to American painting. The Farm included the 60-acre historic core located in the towns of Ridgefield and Wilton.

Recognizing the importance of preserving this rich artistic legacy, the Weir Farm Trust, a private, nonprofit organization, grew out of a grassroots effort in the seventies to save the Farm. The Trust has since worked in partnership with the National Park Service to implement the long-range plan for development and preservation of the Farm’s profoundly significant resources.

The Trust’s mission is to promote awareness of the Farm’s history and artistic tradition, facilitate its use by contemporary artists, provide educational opportunities, and preserve the Farm’s unique environment. Through its innovative programs and activities, the Trust brings artists and audiences to Weir Farm and seeks to build community and financial support to help ensure its success as a cultural, educational and creative center.

For more information about programs and activities at Weir Farm, please call the Weir Farm Trust at (203) 761-9945 or the National Park Service at (203) 834-1896 for information about tours.

Or you can visit the Weir Farm web site...

Weir Farm Visiting Artists Program

Drawing inspiration from its magical landscape, artists have lived and worked at Weir Farm for 120 years. Underlying the significance of Weir Farm National Historic Site is the preservation of an extraordinary facet of America’s artistic heritage. Equally important, is the preservation of an environment where contemporary artists can thrive. This environment includes not only the physical landscape, but also an atmosphere in which the creative spirit is both fostered and nurtured. Providing outstanding opportunities for promising artists within the context of this environment is a mandate of the Weir Farm Trust and is critical to the success of the long-range management plan of the Farm.

The Visual Artists Program including both resident and visiting artists is the cornerstone of the Trust’s programs for professional artists and is central to its mission. The Visiting Artists component was originally envisioned as the first step towards the development of the residency program. Artists apply to the program in all visual art forms and are selected primarily on the quality of their work through a competitive panel process. These artists have reached a level of maturity in their work and have thoughtfully considered why they would like to work at the Farm. Using Weir Farm as an open air studio, participating artists work over the course of a year to create a cohesive body of work influenced by his or her own experiences of the Farm’s cultural and natural resources.

Since its beginning in 1991, the program has attracted Guggenheim, Fullbright, National Endowment of the Arts Fellows and Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant recipients, as well as winners of other national and international residency and fellowship awards. We are very pleased with this year's outstanding visiting artists Richard Lang Chandler, Maureen Cummins, Steven Dolbin, Camille Eskell, Thomas Mezzanotte and Michael Torlen.

After the conclusion of the work period and as a key benefit of the program, each group of visiting artists is presented in a museum exhibition. We extend our deepest thanks to The Housatonic Museum of Art and to Robbin Zella, Director, for presenting this exhibition of the 2001 Weir Farm Visiting Artists.

J. Alden Weir had a lifelong commitment to nurturing other artists. His spirit is alive and well at the Farm, due in great part to the artists who come to immerse themselves in their work, having been captured by the landscape that continues to inspire.

Constance Evans