Places of Kent

Art history is Kent history, and it is a continuum. Since the 18th century, Kent has been an attraction to landscape painters seeking a beautiful setting to immortalize. Its bucolic nature has remained unspoiled by development for a variety of historic and ecological reasons: the removal of industry to the cities in the 19th century, the principal occupation of farming, and the natural topography of the landscape. Our lush Housatonic Highlands have remained very much as they ever were, thanks to this seeming commercial oversight.

By the 20th century, well over 250 artists had chosen the Litchfield Hills to be their home, and many of them chose Kent. They “had national reputations and are still well known, but the knowledge that they had painted [here] had been lost.” (Artists of the Litchfield Hills, Robert Michael Austin). The quality of their work was and is impressionable, some of the best in the country.

In Kent, creativity is woven into the fabric of our community, evidenced by the formation of the Kent Art Association one hundred years ago. Here nature was and is appreciated; the spirit of environmentalism is alive and well. Artists have created works of our shared experience, having beautifully documented the ethereal beauty of the places of Kent and instilling a sense of place.

The Kent Historical Society is proud to bring Kent’s collective history forward with our latest exhibit, Places of Kent, a unique opportunity to celebrate this continuum of art history during a renaissance of the plein air art movement.

Some historic and many contemporary pieces created by today’s Kent artists will be on display. Contemporary artists include Susan Grisell, Scott Bricher, Chris Magadini, Edward Martinez, Deborah Chabrian, Jim Laurino, James Napoleon, Heather Schofield, Bob Lenz, Bill Merklein, Thomas Adkins, Shannon Blanton, Richard Stalter, and Richard Schmid. Historic works by George Laurence Nelson, Carl Hirschberg, Robert H. Nisbet, Spencer Nichols, and more will also be included in the exhibition.

A festive opening benefit will be held on October 7, 6-8pm at The Gallery above the House of Books, donation $50. New work will be available for purchase with a percentage of the proceeds to benefit the various functions of the Kent Historical Society.

Places of Kent opens October 7, 2023 with a festive opening benefit from 6-8pm, admission $50 per person, at the Gallery above the House of Books, 10 N. Main St., Kent, CT 06757. The exhibition is free and open to the public October 8 – 29, 2023 on Fridays 4pm – 7pm, Saturdays 1pm – 6pm, and Sundays 12pm – 4pm, also at the Gallery above the House of Books. To reserve tickets, email or click here.