A hearty and brave group of Architectural Forum members dared to leave off Aquidneck Island to see Blithewold, one of the great mansions just across the Mount Hope Bridge, and enjoyed the extraordinary holiday decorations and festivities that the house has become famous for. The architectural tour was followed by a holiday concert in the mansion by Mary Jane Tyszkowski, a classical pianist who studied piano privately for many years and who is an active member of the Chaminade Club and Chopin Clubs. It was a great celebration of Architecture and the Holiday Spirit in one event.
We had an extraordinary gathering of state officials to discuss Economic development and “Smart Growth” in historic urban areas and there is no better place to do this than in Washington Square! The evening’s program included:
--Governor Lincoln Chafee to introduce the topic
--Keith Stokes, Executive Director of RI EDC
--Ted Sanderson, Executive Director of RIHPHC
--Scott Wolf, Executive Director of GrowSmart RI
The Newport community and many visitors came together on a beautiful Independence Day for a kids decorated bike parade, the reading of the Declaration from the very building where it was first read to Rhode Island in 1776, a firing of canons, a peeling of bells and an old fashioned dance and pie eating contest in the park afterwards. If you haven’t attended this wonderful celebration of architecture, urbanism and patriotism all rolled into one, please pencil it in on your calendar for next year!
Engaging and controversial scholar John Millar, author of The Architects of the Colonies, gave a wide ranging and interesting lecture on Peter Harrison, the great colonial era Newport architect who designed the Redwood Library, Touro Synagogue and the Brick Market. The PowerPoint lecture was presented to a capacity audience that largely filled this intimate and wonderful building.
Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave., Newport, RI Lecture: “Washington Square: Past, Present, Future”, More than 140 people turned out to hear Ross Cann and John Grosvenor speak on the topic of Washington Square as part of the Newport Art Museum’s winter lecture series. Cann and Grosvenor are two architects who are involved in the “Square Roots Initiative” which is working to bring the commercial and civic energy back to the place that was once the center of life and business in Newport. The two observed that much has been done to restore the historic character of the square but there is also much left to do and invited attendees to put their names on a list to receive more information about a series of coordinated lectures on the subject of Washington Square and its future prospects.
Casino Theatre. Newport, RI; Movie Screening: Mr. North, Many Architectural Forum members attended the special gala screening of Mr. North, the 1983 movie adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece of American society and manners, Theophilus North. This movie included scenes in more than a dozen Newport settings. The beauty of the film is that the book was written about Newport and many of the locations described in the book were used in the creation of the movie. This light hearted film drew a near capacity audience to the newly restored Casino Theatre and the event was made all the better by bartending by the Le Forge restaurant, the facility that had taken over the original Casino Club dining room!
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