John Frederick Kensett 2016 Birthday Celebration


John Frederick Kensett

Renowned artist John Frederick Kensett, one of Cheshire’s most notable residents, was celebrated throughout 2016.  Born on March 22, 1816, his 200th Birthday Celebration featured many activities all across town.

On February 26-27, 2016 renowned PBS lecturer and artist David Dunlop was at ArtsPlace to discuss Kensett’s importance in the art world, and provided some painting demonstrations.  Mr. Dunlop stopped by the Cheshire Historical Society to tour the building and greet the public.  A bonfire was lit outdoors and members of Cheshirepedia made Kensett Kocktails (see below) and other potables for the public.

Activities by Artsplace, Cheshire Historical Society, Cheshire Historic Commission, Made In Connecticut Arts, Cheshire Garden Club, Suburban Garden Club of Cheshire, Cheshire Land Trust, Cheshire Environmental Commission, Cheshire Academy, Cheshire Public Library, Cheshire Art League, Ball & Socket Arts, Cheshire Community Chorus and Cheshirepedia also celebrated the artist’s life.

Kensett, who was born in Cheshire, became a noted Hudson River painter and his paintings can be found throughout the country.  On the canvas next to Kensett in the photograph at left is “Smith’s Point, Beverly, Massachusetts”, painted in 1867.  This painting is currently being exhibited in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Kensett Kocktail

One of the ways to celebrate the Kensett Celebration has been the creation and promotion of the Official Kensett Kocktail! Although scholarly research emanating from ArtsPlace indicates that Mr. Kensett was not only fond of a bit of gin from time to time, the research produced the names of two brands of gin he would have preferred! While always an option, we believe that the Kocktail should be based on ingredients indigenous to Cheshire and available to Mr. Kensett in his part of the 19th century.

We refer to apple cider (hard variety) and cranberries. There was indeed a cranberry bog in Cheshire more than one hundred years ago. In order to construct the perfect Kensett Kocktail, considerable research into the different brands and styles of these ingredients is already underway. We are assured the assistance of two experienced mixologists to put possible finishing touches on the recipes in the competition. We plan a preliminary tasting by a select panel and when appropriate finalists have been identified (could be from five to ten different recipes) we plan a Grand Salon – in the manner of a gallery show of new works of art – with a broad list of invitees who will vote in the winner. With the selection of THE Kensett Kocktail recipe, we shall endeavor to have that recipe on the menus of various establishments in Cheshire where such beverages are purveyed.

Of course since the Kensett Bicentennial events will run throughout the year of 2016 at ArtsPlace and at the Cheshire Historical Society, the opportunities for the Kocktail to spread joy throughout and to all involved are manifold. Stay tuned!

Kensett Home

A pen and ink drawing of the Kensett home on South Main Street in Cheshire by local artist Tony Ruggiero


2 thoughts on “John Frederick Kensett 2016 Birthday Celebration

  1. John, thank you so much for posting this and getting the word out to the community about Kensett’s birthday celebration!

  2. I am very intetested in Kensett. I graduated from Cheshire High Class of 1985 with Honors I went to Norton Elementary and Dodd Junior High with Honors. I graduated from UConn in 1990 with a BFA and Washington University in St. Louis in 1996 with a MArch. I am very interested in history, fine arts, engineering, geography and architecture. I worked with Kevin Roche in Hamden, CT and Charles Gwathmey in New York City . I now work at PDS Newburgh, NY.

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