Arts & Culture

Whether an artist, an art lover or just interested in the wider cultural scene , you’ll appreciate all New Canaan has to offer.  The fine arts, performing arts and popular cultural resources are all well represented, with programs ranging from the New Canaan Library’s lecture series, featuring a cross-section of  speakers of international renown- broadcasters, journalists, authors,  and diplomats, to the Lapham Community Center’s wonderful calendar of classes covering a range of interests from international cooking to foreign languages at the Stone Cottage at Waveny.

By supporting these organizations, and fostering collaboration and cooperation among arts and cultural organizations, New Canaan sees a future in which arts and culture continue to thrive and our community continues to flourish.


Arts for Healing  (203.972.2982) is a unique, nurturing community-based center that helps peoplewith learning and developmental disabilities improve the quality of their lives through music and creative arts therapy. A not-for-profit organization, they have been working with special needs children, adolescents and adults, and their families for over a decade. By providing safe and enriching artistic experiences, our students emerge to increase communication, attention span, fine and gross motor skills, social skills, and language development. As they progress, their renewed awareness and self-confidence is carried with them into their family relationships, school settings, and community.


Carriage Barn Arts Center
A unique Nineteenth Century stone barn on the grounds of the Lapham estate is home to exceptional exhibition and performance space. The Carriage Barn Arts Center is host to several premier art exhibitions annually, including two major juried events and curated exhibitions of member and invited artists, as well as art classes for adults and children, lectures, and a variety of live musical performances in the NCSA Acoustic Series and the Waveny Chamber Society concerts.



The Glass House – The Philip Johnson Glass House, a National Trust Historic Site, is at the forefront of modern architecture. Its 47-acre campus, located on Ponus Ridge Road, is open to the public from May 2- November 30, 2012 (closed Tuesdays) with an extensive range of tours, covering many different facets of the legacy Philip Johnson left behind.  From the architecture to the art collection and the beautiful property, tours of varying lengths may be arranged to appeal to different levels of interest; from an overview to an in depth study.   The property encompasses 14 architectural structures and world-class private art and design collections.  In addition to the interiors of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Painting Gallery and Sculpture Galleries, visitors on the extended tour enjoy access to Johnson’s Library/Study housing his private architectural literature collection.   Advance reservations are highly recommended and tickets may be purchased by phone, 866-811-4111.


The Lapham Community Center – (203.594.3620) offers a wide variety of activities for New Canaan residents such as adult education, computer classes, health and fitness programs. Lapham Center is also the location for programs of the Senior Center of New Canaan but all adult New Canaan residents (not just seniors!) are welcome to participate in classes and programs at Lapham Center. There is no membership fee or requirement beyond town residency and the ability to participate.




The New Canaan Library  (203.972.2982) has served as the town’s intellectual center since 1877, when it was founded by volunteers who contributed donated books and raised money to operate a reading room on Elm Street. In 1895, New Canaan Library became one of the first public-private partnerships with the town, when the Town gave the Library its first annual grant of $100. The present building was built in 1913 and has been expanded and modernized many times over the years. Today the Library is home to more than 170,000 print and 20,000 audiovisual items, and 82% of town residents have a library card. Over the last several years, people have brought home more than 500,000 items annually. Each day, almost 1200 patrons access many different resources New Canaan Library offers: a high-speed Internet connection on public access computers, stimulating programming, tools for finding employment, computer classes, homework help for their children, and books and movies for entertainment. More than just a library, the New Canaan Library is also widely known for both the Salant and Attwood lecture series which bring well-known broadcasters, journalists and diplomats to the Library every year and its Literary Luncheon, which brings top authors to New Canaan. In 2010, the Library brought the town together through its Summer Reading Club where the community studied World War II and the holocaust. The Library continues to grow and evolve as New Canaan’s place for knowledge, collaboration, and community.


The Outback, New Canaan Teen Center, Inc. (203.594.3074) is a safe, comfortable, well-supervised facility where teens socialize in a positive, alcohol-free and drug-free environment. The Teen Center delivers high-quality programs, activities, and events throughout the year. Outback activities are geared toward students in grades 9 through 12 but additional programs and activities are dedicated to students in grades 6 through 8.


The Powerhouse Performing Arts Center -Home to the Town Players of New Canaan.In the early 1980’s, the Town Players renovated the power plant and called it The Powerhouse. See The Town Players of New Canaan, below.

Town Players of New Canaan  (203.966.7084)  The Town Players of New Canaan have been performing continuously for over 60 years. The Town Players had their initial meeting on December 13, 1946. At that time New Canaan was a closely knit, small town of 5,500 people. Merchants, commercial enterprises, and residents gave the Town Players generous support with opening nights often given front page coverage by the Advertiser whose support the Town Players has enjoyed and been grateful for ever since. Recent productions include “Postmortem,” “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs,” “Love Sex & the IRS,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “The American Songbook.”



Silvermine Arts Center–   (203.966.5617)  In the early 1900’s a colony of artists settled in the Silvermine area, lured by the picturesque countryside. The artists gathered around noted sculptor Solon Borglum, whose barn was the meeting place where these artists, the so-called “Knockers Club” came to socialize, exchange ideas and critique each others’ work. Eventually, the group outgrew the barn and purchased a larger one, on the present site of the Silvermine Guild Arts Center. Founded in 1922, the Guild of Artists was formally incorporated in 1924. Today, Silvermine presents abundant opportunities for individuals of all ages to enjoy and learn about the arts. The Guild of Artists now has over 300 members. The award winning Galleries present over 20 exhibitions each year. The award winning School of Art is the preeminent learning destination for visual arts in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Hundreds of courses and workshops in numerous disciplines are offered through the School of Art. A variety of programs and lectures are presented in the intimate setting of our auditorium.


Summer Theater of New Canaan   (203.966.4634)  Waveny Park plays host every summer to a summer-long program of outdoor theater and events presented by the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Fairfield County’s acclaimed professional summer theater company. Performances are in a state-of-the-art open-air tent theater and feature four popular shows. In 2011 the company produced Tony award-winning Broadway musicals “Carousel” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” along with “A Year With Frog and Toad” and “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” for young audiences. In addition to the main stage productions, special events are presented throughout the summer to complete a full festival season.


YMCA – What brings over 1,200 people through the doors of the New Canaan YMCA each day?  YMCA is about total wellness-enhancing spiritual, mental, and physical health. It all comes together in a way that sets the New Canaan YMCA apart from other not-for-profit community organizations: The YMCA fuses programs, exercise, learning, self-esteem, confidence, knowledge, and camaraderie to build people one step at a time. The end result is a stronger individual, a strengthened family-and, ultimately, a stronger community.