Cultural Stamford

As befits the second largest city in Connecticut (after Bridgeport) and the largest financial district in the metro area outside New York City, Stamford is home to an array of artistic and botanical attractions.

As befits the second largest city in Connecticut (after Bridgeport) and the largest financial district in the metro area outside New York City, Stamford is home to an array of artistic and botanical attractions, from the historic Avon Theatre Film Center to the Stamford Museum and Nature Center to the Ukrainian Museum and Library, the oldest Ukrainian cultural institution in North America. Below is a select list of offerings:

The more-than-80-year-old Avon Theatre Film Center is dedicated to the best in independent, world and documentary filmmaking. On March 9, the center’s “Black Lens” series presents “Why Is We Americans?,” about the life and work of performing and literary artist and community organizer Amina Baraka. 203-967-3660;

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens — Once the home of dendrologist Francis A. Bartlett, founder of the F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co., the arboretum opened in 1966 with a mission to cultivate a collection of trees, plants and gardens for everyone to savor. Visit any day from dawn to dusk or enjoy such online presentations as “Controlling Backyard Invaders” (March 22), all about the most common invasive plants. 203-322-6971;

Bow Tie Cinemas has two multiplexes in Stamford — Ultimate Majestic 6 (203-323-1690; and Ultimate Landmark 8 (203-324-3100;

Connecticut Ballet — Founded in 1981 by choreographers Brett Raphael and Luk de Layress, Connecticut Ballet became a resident performing company at Stamford Center for the Arts in 1986. While the troupe expanded performances to Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford in 2005 and now calls that city home, it returned to the Stamford Center’s Palace Theatre last December for its production of “The Nutcracker,” with guest artists from American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet. 860-293-1039;

Curtain Call — Billed as “Stamford’s longest-running and only year-round, nonprofit producing theater company,” Curtain Call traditionally offers 10 to 12 (or more) full-scale productions each year in two venues — The Kweskin Theatre, a 184-seat auditorium; and The Dressing Room Theatre, a 100-seat cabaret-style arrangement. Through March 13, The Dressing Room presents “Happy Birthday,” Marc Camoletti’s romantic romp, a London-stage hit turning on mistaken identities. On March 26, Joey Rinaldi returns with his one-man show, “Potty Training.” 203-461-6358;

The Loft Artists Association (LAA), founded in 1978, is home to exhibits, classes, workshops, fundraisers and, in November, Open Studios, cultivating a diverse group of artists as it helps shape Stamford. 203-247-2027;

Stamford Art Association (SAA) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary with a December exhibit, the association presents juried shows in its three-story townhouse. 203-325-1139;

Stamford Center for the Arts (SCA) is a nonprofit performing arts center that owns The Palace Theatre; and the neighboring Rich Forum, which opened in 1992 and is leased by NBCUniversal as a television-production studio. 

Designed by Thomas Lamb, the king of the Roaring ’20s movie palaces, the 1,630-seat Palace opened in 1927 as a vaudeville house. After years of disuse and deterioration, the Palace was restored and reopened in 1983 for live theater, opera, dance and concerts, as well as art exhibits in its gallery.

Among the performers coming to The Palace in March are the Colleens of Comedy (March 11), Brazilian singer Marisa Monte (March 17), tribute band Best of the Eagles (March 18), classic-rock band America (March 26) actor-comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short (March 27) and Chinese dance troupe Shen Yun (March 30-April 3). 

For more on the Palace, call 203-325-4466 or

Stamford History Center — Formerly the Stamford Historical Society, the center mounts exhibits, maintains a research library and a photograph and image archive and offers special programs. Its Hoyt Barnum House (1699), the oldest extant house in Stamford, is currently closed for repairs. 203-329-1183;

Stamford Museum & Nature Center preserves and interprets the art and popular culture, natural and agricultural sciences and history of the area in multidisciplinary exhibits and programs. Through June 5, savor “Robert Dash: Food for Thought, Micro Views of Sustenance: Threats & Prospects,” in which the artist considers climate change’s effect on food. 203-977-6521;

Stamford Symphony — Founded in 1919, the Stamford Symphony disbanded after World War II when many of its musicians returned to Europe and reawakened in 1967. Under the baton of Skitch Henderson, it became a fully professional orchestra. Subsequent music director Roger Nierenberg (1980-2004) drew on musicians from top New York City orchestras, a practice that continues today.

On March 19 and 20 at The Palace Theatre, music director Michael Stern leads the orchestra in “From Struggle to Victory,” a program of works by Beethoven and contemporary composers Alejandro Basulto and Carlos Simon that also features Nicholas Canellakis playing the Dvořák Cello Concerto. 203-325-1407;

Ukrainian Museum and Library of Stamford, Connecticut is the oldest Ukrainian cultural institution in North America. It collects, documents, preserves and exhibits artifacts and publications, everything from icons to embroidery, to increase an understanding of Ukraine and the Ukrainian ethnic community in the United States — which has become increasingly important given Russia’s recetn invasion of Ukraine. 203-323-8866 and 203-324-0488;

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