Each year, the New Britain Museum of American Art hosts what was called "Art of Wine & Food," a dine-around, drink-around that raised money for its youth education programs.
On Thursday, two watershed moments were celebrated at the rebranded "Art & Education Uncorked" fundraiser — the museum's new Art & Education Addition and an emotional goodbye to retiring executive director Douglas Hyland.
"I have had the best time over the past 16 years," an emotional Hyland said as he mingled with hundreds of supporters, friends and family members at a pre-gala reception at the museum. "I wish I could do it again." He will step down on Oct. 30.
Among the well-wishers was Alan Hunter, the guy who hired Hyland so many years ago.
"We were so excited then to have him come on board," said Hunter. "And he more than proved himself."
"He is terrific," said museum supporter David Jepson. "But time goes by and things never stay the same."
Beaming during all the speeches and honors, including a $400,000 endowment and the naming of a gallery in Hyland's honor, was his wife, Tita Hyland, an art professor.
"We have so much to do, what with our family and grandchildren," she said as she explained the couple's immediate retirement plans. "We have lots of traveling planned, a cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo, a trip to Morocco and an art excursion to northern Italy with the Elizabeth Park Conservancy. It will be nice to have time together."