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As artist enclaves in Connecticut go, the village of Chester is amongst the top of the list. To celebrate that, the town is hosting a Chester Arts & Literary Weekend from February 9-11 at myriad shops and venues. On tap: readings/talks, Meet the Artists, demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions and live evening performances.


Lovers of children’s literature will want to check into Chester Public Library, where Tassy Walden Award winners, including Doe Boyle, Leslie Connor, Jeanne Ferruolo Zulik, Nancy Tandon, Kimberly Behre Kenna, Frank Dormer, and more, will be reading and sharing insight into their writing worlds.


Adult lit fans can take in talks from authors including Howard Fishman, author of “To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse,” flash fiction fave Paul Beckman, who’ll be talking about his new novel “Becoming Mirsky,” environmentalist Erica Cirino sharing her journey that led to “Thicker Than Water.”


Little House Brewing Company will be featuring local photographer Brenda Dunn and her series titled Veiled Void, a pop-up of local Chester artist Aidan Neely and Deep River Woodworker Nick Shkutzko of Just Wood Crafting, and New England artist and author Em Sauter of “Pints & Panels” will be signing her books “Beer is for Everyone! (of Drinking Age)” and “Hooray for Craft Beer!”


Meeting artists and learning about their process (or watching it underway) will be a mainstay of the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday at noon, Rob Walker of Atmosphere Glass will perform glass-blowing demonstrations. Just down the street, BlackKat Leather will have demonstrations throughout the weekend, as will Dina Varano of Dina Varano Gallery, who will be showcasing her timely Amore jewelry collection and creating unique cards to accompany each item. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Lori Warner Gallery will feature a Meet the Artists event with Mandy Carroll, Ann Lightfoot and Florence Penault on board to chat with guests.


Just across the street, The Wayfinder Society will highlight a 3D printing art demonstration, host a Meet and Greet with artist Brigid Minter, along with author readings/panels. And Leif Nilsson of Spring Street Studio and Gallery will share stories about his works of art over the weekend. On Sunday, Leif will bring his love of music into the mix when the band Arrowhead invites folk to listen to them play on Sunday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.


A double-dose of Moya Aiken is happening with Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) welcoming Chester Arts & Literary Weekenders into her exhibition on February 9 between 10 and 3 (please call in advance, (860) 526-8920). Then, on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., Chester Gallery hosts Aiken as she shares her new memoir and does signings. To take in while there—art from both Aiken and Richard Ziemann, whose exhibition at New Britain Art Museum will be underway.


Ready to work on an art project of your own? Chester Historical Society (CHS) has you covered with both inspiration and a challenge. As CHS hastens in its 11th Annual Creative Challenge, it will be hosting a one-time-only display of Creative Challenges Past/Future at the Chester Museum at The Mill (9 Main Street, 860-558-4701), Saturday & Sunday, 11 am – 3 pm. Artifacts used in these challenges often came from early Chester manufacturers, such as Brooks and Bates, or were found materials from local properties. This year’s “Watch Out!” challenge item: antique pocket watch glasses, circa 1880s. Dive in and join this year’s challenge!


But we’re just getting started. There’s much afoot on the evenings of Chester Arts & Literary Weekend…


Evenings at Chester Meeting House (4 Liberty Street)


Acoustic Jam Session, Friday, starting at 6 p.m.

Musicians are invited to join in this jam session. Audience members are encouraged to lend a voice, clap their hands, and dance their hearts out! Tapville will have a bar onsite.


Connecticut Storytelling Center Presents Music & Storytelling, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Storytellers Jennifer Munro and Liz Gruber, along with songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Joe Flood, will be taking the stage during this 90-minute benefit for the Connecticut Storytelling Center. Also on tap—music! And beer. Tapville will have a bar onsite. $10 per ticket, pre-purchase at or at the door the night of the performance.


Breakwater Books Presents a Series of One-Act Plays, Sunday at 5 p.m.

Connecticut authors/playwrights Laura Thoma, Pat Lore and Julie Fitzpatrick present their works onstage via one-act plays hosted by Breakwater Books. Meet the authors and grab their books post-show!


All events are free to the public, with the exception of the Connecticut Storytellers Center’s Saturday night show. Additional parking can be found at these locations. Stay tuned to schedule updates via Visit Chester’s website.


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