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Arts & Culture

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Creative Life

Old Lyme is an exceptional destination for artists and art lovers to call home. Painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers, textile artists, and others find Old Lyme the right environment for their craft and lifestyle.


Our place in American art history comes from more than a century’s desire to capture what has been called the “Lyme light” here. With estuaries and the Connecticut River meeting Long Island Sound against a backdrop of woodlands and rocky inclines, it’s no wonder the American Impressionist movement began here. Careful stewardship of our natural resources means Old Lyme remains a timeless place where artists can still capture this natural beauty.


Learn more about the artists who arrived at Miss Florence Griswold's boardinghouse and created a movement by reading "An American Place: The Art Colony at Old Lyme."

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You'll find robust arts programming in Old Lyme. Students enjoy a strong arts department in our school system, while adults and teens can find the right workshop or intensive program to hone their craft. A printmaking shop and pottery studio are available through community nonprofits, as well as galleries to appreciate the work of others, or perhaps show your own work.


Creativity abounds beyond the visual arts. Musicians can drop by Nightingale’s Acoustic Café for “Pickin’ Parties” and open mic nights. See our Arts & Culture and Community Life pages for additional organizations. Our Artist and Artisan’s Resource Directory provides information on programs and support services specific to the creative community. We hope to soon add to this website a directory of Old Lyme artists and artisans with links to their online shops as we further support our creative residents.

Lyme Art Association

90 Lyme Street

The Association is a vibrant art center with a gallery where professional and developing artists mount major exhibitions throughout the year. The LAA has elected member artists plus affordable art classes and workshops.

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Lyme Academy of Art

84 Lyme Street

Through a variety of programming, the Academy provides education and training in the history, traditions, principles, and skills of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture as a foundation for one’s future development as an artist.

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Connecticut Valley Camera Club

Monthly meetings at Lymes Senior Center

Welcoming photographers of all experience levels, the Club offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops that help its members expand their technical and creative skills. It also arranges several exhibitions a year.

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Florence Griswold Museum

96 Lyme Street

Offering a variety of programming and events of particular interest to artists and creatives, including painting demos, Sunday outdoor "make a painting" sessions, and crafting evenings. See guidelines welcoming painters onsite.

Shoreline Arts Alliance

Shoreline Region

Enriching Connecticut’s cultural landscape through programs, arts advocacy, and a mission to transform lives through the arts, the Alliance hosts exhibitions and promotes artists from throughout the Shoreline region.

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The Cultural Coalition

Eastern Connecticut

The Coalition improve the economy, vitality and quality of life in Southeastern Connecticut by supporting the arts, cultural and creative community. Producer of the region's Make Music Day which Old Lyme participates in.

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Walt's Pottery Studio

@ The First Congregational Church

The studio serves as a place for master potters to offer classes and teach their craft.  Once a year, potters donate a collection of their handcrafted bowls to a popular “Soup Bowl Supper,” raising money for the Food Pantry.

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The Print Shop @ Lyme Academy

84 Lyme Street

A 1150 s.f. north-light printmaking studio equipped with 4 presses, including a Charles Brand etching press.  Relief printing (woodcut, linocut), drypoint, collagraph, monotype/monoprint, and intaglio are all possible.

Old Lyme Town Band

Rehearsals @ Christ the King Church

The Old Lyme Town Band embraces the history and the heritage of the American Community Band. Formed in 1886, Old Lyme members of all ages delight audiences with pieces from its catalogue of over 500 pieces.

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Con Brio Choral Society

Performances @ Christ the King Church

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Con Brio is a classical, auditioned chorus known for the variety of its repertoire, sparkling programming, and excellent musicality. Con Brio's Christmas concerts kick off the season for many.

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Pickin' Parties & Open Mics

Nightingale's Acoustic Cafe, 68 Lyme St

Check out Tuesday night's at Nightingale's Acoustic Cafe  where you just might find fellow strummers having a good ole fashion pickin' party. Open Mic Nights for emerging artists and teens often take place on the weekend.

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Artists in Old Lyme have long taken their easel and brushes outdoors to paint en plein air, a practice that became prevalent at the turn of the 20th Century as the Lyme Art Colonists embraced a new technology: paint in a tube. It is not unusual to see a painter or pastelist set up along Lyme Street, or in one of our preserves or open spaces. The Lyme Art Association offers paint outs and outdoor painting groups. The Florence Griswold Museum opens its grounds to painters with guidelines. Artists can also still capture some of the iconic views favored by painters more than a century ago, the Barbizon Oak, the Lieutenant River, and a favorite of Childe Hassam, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

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Welcome to Old Lyme

Welcome to Old Lyme, a small, historic town on the Connecticut coastline. We are known for our art galleries and beaches, and have so much more. Whether you are thinking about relocating your home or business here, or just looking to visit for the afternoon, welcome! We are glad to have you.

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