Friday, January 30, 2015

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree!

Come and join us for a high-energy weekend of jazz! We'll be hosting the Ricky Alfonso Jazz Duo tonight, and Saturday the Greg Diamond Jazz Trio will be performing here! Don't miss out!
Click below for more!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week AND a Volunteer Request

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Photography Meets Sculpture (Jan. 29 - Mar. 1)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks with Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky about the "Picture/Thing" exhibition, which opens in the Main Gallery of Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Thursday, January 29, 2015, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog. Admission to the gallery is free.

Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky and Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff have teamed up to bring us Picture/Thing, an exhibition in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery that explores the relationship between photography and sculpture through the work of ten groundbreaking artists: Kendall Baker, Isidro Blasco, Rachel Harrison ’89, Leslie Hewitt, Jon Kessler, Anouk Kruithof, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Erin Shirreff, and Letha Wilson.

These ten artists create hybrid objects that challenge and expand traditional definitions of photography and sculpture. The objects in the exhibition take myriad forms, as each artist has a unique approach to material, technology, and presentation.

Upon entering the gallery, one is greeted by the work of Erin Shirreff. “Hers are digital prints that have been placed in somewhat traditional frames,” says co-curator Ms. Rudensky. “But when you look closer you discover this whole other reality. For one thing the paper is not flat. It’s three dimensional, and what she’s capturing are sculptures, or forms that are very reminiscent of mid-century sculpture, so she’s playing with this lateral movement back and forth between photography and sculpture.”
Anouk Kruithof, "Façade," 2014, inkjet prints, plexiglass, polystyrene, cellophane foil, bricks, 55.5 x 43.3 x 39.4 inches, courtesy of the artist and Boetzelaer | Nispen.
Turning around one sees a free-standing “picture/thing” by Anouk Kruithof. Its styrofoam blocks and iridescent glass glisten. “It’s a very mysterious piece,” says Ms. Rudensky. “In part because as you walk around it, the view and the content change dramatically. Because of the play of light that happens with the reflectedness of the materials she’s using, there’s this revelatory experience that continues as you circumnavigate the piece.”

Venturing further into the gallery, one encounters the work of Mariah Robertson. “She’s someone who works with traditional photographic processes,” says Ms. Rudensky. “She makes darkroom prints in a time when very few people are making darkroom prints, but then does these wild things with them by making 164 foot photographs that are suspended in space.”

Picture/Thing transforms the gallery into a world of rare objects. Each artist’s work is stunningly different from the next.

While most of the artists hail from Brooklyn and Harlem, their work speaks to a far-reaching trend in contemporary art.

“The idea for the exhibition came together rather quickly, in part because the phenomenon is very much there and present,” says Ms. Rudensky. “Artists are looking for new ways of dealing with traditional media.”

Picture/Thing will be on display in the Main Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, March 1, 2015.

Interested to hear Ms. Rudensky speak in more detail about the exhibition? She and co-curator Jeffrey Schiff will give a talk at 5:30pm this Thursday, January 29 as part of the exhibition’s opening reception.

Spring Events Include World, New England, and Connecticut Premieres

Wesleyan University is a center for creativity and innovation, and one of the best places for our community to come together to participate in that energy is at the Center for the Arts. Our year-long exploration of Muslim Women's Voices in performance continues on February 27 with a rare opportunity to see a dance company coming to Middletown from the northernmost tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. The dances of Tari Aceh! feature quick, highly-coordinated movements of hands, heads, and torsos, punctuated by lively body percussion. It's unlike anything you've ever seen before. And on April 17 and 18, you can get a first look at a theatrical work-in-progress by playwright and actress Leila Buck '99 that was commissioned for Muslim Women's Voices.

Rachel Harrison, "AA," 2010, wood, bubble wrap, cardboard, acrylic, tennis shirt,
A/V cart, DVD player, speakers, projector, extension cord, five hair rollers,
pack of gum, ear plugs, American Apparel video, color/sound (2009), 80 x 70 x 70 inches.
Courtesy of Greene Naftali Gallery.

In the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from January 29 to March 1, Studio Art faculty members Jeffrey Schiff and Sasha Rudensky curate Picture/Thing, an exhibition featuring the work of ten artists working at the intersection of photography and sculpture.
In April and May, we present "The Connecticut Meets the Nile," a two-part happening that will highlight two great rivers. On April 10, Crowell Concert Hall hosts The Nile Project, an all-star gathering of musicians who live in the countries that border the Nile River and have come together to create music that draws attention to the environmental issues of a historic river that sustains millions of people. Then on May 9, at Middletown's Harbor Park, Wesleyan and regional partner organizations present Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter, an afternoon of music performances, visual art, and kid's activities that will engage our community with our own beautiful river.
And throughout the winter and spring, you can put your finger on the pulse of what's inspiring our newest artists by visiting the Senior Thesis Exhibitions in Zilkha Gallery, or by attending thesis performances by music, dance, and theater students performed throughout the CFA.
It's all here for you. We hope you'll join us.
Pamela Tatge
Director, Center for the Arts

Friday, January 23, 2015

Preschool Information Fair Postponed

The preschool information fair to be held at Russell Library on Saturday, January 24, has been postponed to Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. in the children's activity room.  Parents are invited to bring their children and visit with representatives from area preschools and day care centers.  There will be an arts and crafts table for children.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!! ~ R I F K A ~ Adopt her today!!

Cat Tales
The Cat of the Week!


Name: Rifka
Gender: Female
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Color: Black & White
Age: 10 years old
My original owner passed away and since then I've been in foster homes. I have 2 brothers, Shalom and Shimon, but I don't need to stay with them. I'm a very sweet, loving girl who's quiet and won't cause you any trouble. I like to play and love to be pet but will need time and patience to adjust to my new forever home. (No Dogs, No Children)

Volunteers Needed!
Cat Tales is seeking volunteers to:
    ·               Become a foster home
                Feed feral colonies
                Sponsor a cat
                Assist in transporting cats to vets
                Act as a plumber, electrician, or carpenter
                Cleaning and animal care at our shelter
                Assist with adoption appointments
                Correspondence with donors
                Help with returning phone calls and answering cat-related questions
                Coordinate fundraising efforts or help at fundraisers
                Become an animal community advocate
Register on the Web:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MxCC Foundation Scholarship Applications Available Now for Returning Students, High School Students, and Others Seeking Affordable Higher Education

mxcc, scholarship Individuals considering starting or continuing their education at Middlesex Community College may receive some help with the cost of attending college through the MxCC Foundation’s 2015 annual scholarship program.  The Foundation announced today that scholarship applications, available for download at, are being accepted now through March 1.  
The scholarship application form requires students to submit a copy of a current transcript (from high school or MXCC) and two letters of recommendation on official letterhead.  Applicants must also submit a typed essay explaining why they should be considered for a scholarship, how they define success, and how MxCC would help them achieve their goals. Complete submission requirements are detailed online and on the form.

Funds for the scholarships are raised throughout each year by the MxCC Foundation from generous individuals, businesses, civic organizations, corporations, and those looking to leave a legacy. Each award has its own purpose – to recognize academic performance, community involvement, or financial need.  Winners are determined by the Foundation’s Selection Committee.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Owen McNally comments on Buttonwood Tree's Jazz Performances

Hartford Courant writer Owen McNally comments eloquently on experiences and performers at The Buttonwood Tree.  Read his latest story below.

Sinan Bakir will appear tonight at 8 p.m. at The Buttonwood Tree 605 Main street Middletown.
All are welcome!

This Weekend At The Buttonwood Tree


Once again, we ring in a New Year at The Buttonwood Tree! Join us for our exciting new events this month, including Sinan Bakir, Evolution of The Revolution, and many more!

2014 was a great year for The Buttonwood! We hosted dozens of amazing artists, performers, and groups. To kick off 2015, we have several unique and stirring artistic events planned.

This weekend, we have Sinan Bakir, an original jazz and folk artist hailing from Turkey, and the ongoing in-gallery presentation of Evolution of The Revolution by artist Andrew Wallach. Further along in the month, we have Groovin' With Girls, a benefit concert for West African girls charity, and the CinTamani group returning for another groove-session with super food treats by Chef Kale-Yums! If you haven't had a smoothie with kale and coconut here's your chance! He makes them amazingly delicious and reasonably priced. Do join us for whatever strikes your fancy!

Thank you to all of you who have donated recently, we appreciate your generosity and concern for the welfare of TBT!

If you haven't made a donation to help us through this next year, we'd love for you to do it soon. Just click the link below or send us a check by mail, your choice :)  Thank you!

For our events this weekend, click below!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SEBASTIAN!! Also, a Request for Volunteers.

Cat Tales
Cat of the Week!

Jewish Genealogical Society of CT January Meeting, Sunday, January 18, 1:30 pm, Godfrey Library


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut presents Godfrey Memorial Library Director Beth Mariotti, who will speak on the multitude of resources available online and how to use them, on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 1:30 at Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT. 

 Get tips for:

 ·         Discovering which documents are available online

 ·         Using databases

 ·         Successful Google searches

 ·         Free sources such as ICONN and

 ·         Managing online documents


Free and open to the public.  For additional information, please visit our website.

Cub Scouts Bottle Drive At Third Congregational Church Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Jan 10th, Local Cub Scout Pack 43 is having their semi-annual bottle drive at the Third Congregational Church on Miner Street (just west of the Westfield Fire Dept) off East Street.

The event runs from 9am to 1pm. Proceeds from the bottle drive will help the Cub Scouts pay for their spring High Adventure trip and other activities throughout the year. Scouts will unload your cans and bottles from your vehicle.

Pack 43 celebrates over 505years of serving the Westfield section of Middletown, boys from 1st through 5th grades. Anyone interested in learning more about Pack 43 can go to their website  or contact Cubmaster Jim Carlson at (860) 301-4179

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Red Cross Cold Weather Safety Tips

From the South Fire District.
As always, the Red Cross reminds people to take precautions against the cold. It’s good to reacquaint yourself with some cold weather tips to get you through the season safely. Please, feel free to share this note with family, friends, co-workers and others in the community.
Protect Yourself from Freezing Temperatures
Avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold. Be aware of both the temperature and the wind chill when planning outdoor activities. When you prepare to go outside in severe cold weather, please remember the following:
  • Most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
  • Dressing in layers helps you retain heat. You can remove layers as needed if you become too warm.
  • Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
Heat Your Home Safely
As families turn to alternative heating sources to supplement their home heating systems, they should take the following precautions:
  • Use caution with portable space heaters Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the winter months, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. About two-thirds of home heating fire deaths are caused by portable or fixed space heaters.
    • To prevent fire, place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets and people.
    • Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don't leave children or pets unattended near space heaters.
    • Drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a fire hazard.
  • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and replace batteries as necessary. REMEMBER: smoke alarms have a finite lifetime and should be replaced after 10 years. Many newer models have long-life batteries that do not need replacing during their 10 year lifespan. More information about preventing home fires is available by clicking here.
  • Don't overload your electrical outlets when plugging in space heaters. Be careful of extension cords that present hazardous walkways.
  • Have your chimney connections and flues inspected by a professional and cleaned if necessary prior to the start of every heating season.
  • Use a sturdy fireplace screen when burning fires. Burn only wood - never burn paper or pine boughs. 
  • Create a disaster supplies kit — Get together lifesaving items in both your home and vehicle. Visit for more information on disaster preparedness.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Many homeowners may not be ready for frigid weather either. Now is the time to protect your house pipes from freezing and bursting. With the cold weather upon us, preventive action may make all the difference.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage or in walls adjacent to the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the temperature is very low outside, let the cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes or pipes in exterior walls. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
  • More information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes is available here.
Visit for more information on preparing for cold weather.

CT State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo Meets with MxCC

Connecticut State Senator Danté Bartolomeo (D, 13th District) joined educators, advisors, deans, and community supporters at Middlesex Community College’s Meriden Center on January 5 to discuss how the College is implementing and complying with Public Act 12-40.  The group explained how MxCC is identifying and serving students who need remedial support in math and English necessary to begin an associate degree or certificate program at the College.

Since its passage in 2012, Public Act 12-40 has meant Connecticut public community colleges and state universities must reconfigure how remedial or developmental education is delivered. It also requires public high schools to align their curriculum as described by the Common Core State Standards to ensure that graduates are ready for college level work. 

Prior to this bill, however, MxCC had identified an increase in the need for remedial math and English programs to support individuals who have been away from formal education for long periods of time, or who never built an appropriate skill set while in high school.  The College had been developing “fast track” or transitional programs for these students, which had to be modified to meet the specific demands of the new law.  Additionally, the school had been proactively addressing ways to resolve other barriers to higher education including the need for certain social services, family obligations, and balancing school and work schedules. 

“As a community college, MxCC does not set academic admissions requirements for enrollment,” explained Dr. Steven Minkler, MxCC’s academic dean.  “However, in order to succeed in our most basic math and English classes, students often need refresher courses or other support.  Additionally, since our goal is student success, it makes sense that we take remedial learning seriously.”

Another ongoing challenge discussed at the meeting was the complexity in transferring within the state college system.  Each of the state universities and college has its own set of requirements that affect the course choice of MxCC students.  Emily Canto (pictured here talking with Sen. Bartolomeo), career counselor and academic advisor at MxCC, illustrated this by showing the transcripts of three MxCC students and detailing how different each student’s transfer experience would be at three Connecticut state universities. The group also discussed Transform 2020, a multi-year improvement effort by the Board of Regents of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU).

“It is so important to listen to and learn from the experiences of educators and students who are affected first-hand by laws and legislation coming out of Hartford, especially in the area of standards, developmental education, and transferring to other Connecticut colleges,” Bartolomeo said.  “Upon graduation, most community college students stay in our state, making them one of our most valuable assets who will drive our future economy.  Clearly, we owe it to them to listen to the concerns and ideas of their professors and administrators and support them as much as possible.”

The event was coordinated by MxCC Professor Tad Lincoln, who also oversees the legislative internship program at the College.  In addition to representing a large proportion of MxCC’s service area, Bartolomeo is the newly appointed Co-Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee which manages issues related to the state’s Office of Higher Education and the Board of Regents for Higher Education, private occupational schools, and various job training institutions and programs.

Bartolomeo was open to learning more about the challenges at the community college level and at MxCC.  At the same time, she encouraged MxCC to learn more about legislative timelines and the need for hard data outlining challenges. 

“I welcome concrete recommendations and suggestions for keeping our community college system competitive, responsive, and available to all students,” Bartolomeo said.  “Higher education is only growing in importance to today’s workforce, and many students need a healthy community college option.”