Grantee Spotlight: Connecticut Ballet

African dance presentation: Education of the Dancer | via connecticutballet.org

Here at the Greater Hartford Arts Council, our mission includes funding over 150 arts and cultural organizations that help make our community strong and vibrant. That’s why we invest in programs like Neighborhood Studios, our award-winning, nationally recognized summer arts apprenticeship program and organizations that fuel creativity and innovation by awarding grants.

Ignition Grants  fuel the research, design and execution of new strategic plans to support arts and cultural organizations as they strive to create unique and innovative solutions that go beyond “business as usual”—delivering exciting, cutting-edge programs that reflect the creative spirit of our community-and encourage innovation in all aspects of our daily lives.Continue reading →

Summer in Hartford: Live Music in the City

2016 Jazz Festival | via summerinhartford.com

If you follow us on social media and regularly visit our cultural calendar, you’ll know this summer is shaping up to be a fun one! In addition to the long list of exciting events our local arts and cultural organizations have planned, the Greater Hartford Arts Council has teamed up with the City of Hartford to bring you Summer in the City: a celebration of art, music and culture in the Capital city!

In the spirit of our Summer in the City launch, we’ve compiled a list of local outdoor concerts and music series throughout the city of Hartford for you to stop by during your work week! Keep reading to find a performance close to you!Continue reading →

A Budget That Works: Mapping out Southington Community Cultural Arts’ Future from the Ground Up

Southington Community Cultural Arts Center | Photo curtsey of SoCCA’s Facebook Page

Southington Community Cultural Arts Center (SoCCA) has come a long way from their initial gathering of local artists and art advocates in 2008 to opening and operating a fully functional community art center that is gaining media coverage all of over the state of Connecticut. The spearhead of this vision, Mary DeCroce, worked diligently with her team and the community to raise the funds necessary to make her vision a reality. SoCCA’s grand opening in 2016 coincided with the infamous Apple Harvest Festival, an event that is awaited by an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. Formerly the M. Gura Building, SoCCA is located in a high traffic area of town and includes a gallery, small performance area, retail space for artisan work, a catering room, a large workroom, five artist studios, a pottery room, and a soundproof music room.Continue reading →

Neighborhood Studios Prepares Local Teens for a Career in the Arts and Beyond

If you aren’t familiar with our nationally-recognized, award-winning 6-week summer arts apprenticeship program, Neighborhood Studios, you should be. In its nineteenth year, Neighborhood Studios provides area teens between ages 14 and 18 six weeks of hands-on education in the arts, as well as career-skills training. Apprentices are chosen from the Arts Council’s 34-town service area, providing an opportunity for teenagers to learn from others with different cultural, economic, and geographic backgrounds.Continue reading →

#SummerInHartford Events to Bookmark for July + August

What’s summer without live concerts in the park, fireworks, cultural festivals, and tons of food? Lucky for us, Hartford has all of the above (insert cheesy hashtag #HartfordHasIt) and more. The Greater Hartford Arts Council and City of Hartford have partnered on Hartford’s first Summer in the City series, a celebration of art, music and culture in our region. The series kicked off with the Black-Eyed & Bluesfest a couple of weeks ago, and the Greater Hartford Latino Fest just last weekend.

So, before you make any plans to go out of town, here’s what’s coming up in July and August. Tag your photos with #SummerInHartford on Instagram and we’ll repost!Continue reading →

Arts Innovation Day Recap: Partnerships that Work

In a room full of art enthusiasts at the 2nd Arts Innovation Day conference, art organizations throughout Connecticut, and surrounding states assembled to share their experiences, and tell their stories. This inspirational gathering was created to brainstorm together, share best practices, and gain knowledge to allow each person to walk away with valuable tools that will help their establishments thrive. The day is split into two sections with a total of four panels to participate in. As the Director of Community Engagement for a local nonprofit arts organization, I was eager and excited to learn about Business Volunteers for the Arts Program at the “Partnerships that Work” panel.

As a small arts organization that runs mostly on volunteers and a modest staff, you know the struggles that can present themselves when you’re wearing many hats, and juggling more than one task at a time. The end result- vital projects neglected-to tend to immediate concerns.Continue reading →

Arts Innovation Day Recap: Building Support from the Roots Up

How do you take a panel discussion rich with complex conversations and distill those insights into a blog post? The same way you build a strong community around your organization’s mission—you look for the common threads.

Building Support from the Roots featured three panelists: Raymond Fraser of Mohegan Holding Company and Tree Sleeve, Aleta Staton of New World Arts Northeast Inc. and New Haven Commission of Arts, and Onyeka Obiocha of Beakfast.Lunch.Dinner. moderated by Josh Borenstein, Managing Director of the Long Wharf Theatre.

Two clear themes emerged from the hour-long discussion, which was designed to address the ways arts organizations can grow their grassroots support: engaging audience to inform programs, and creating meaningful organizational partnerships.Continue reading →

Arts Innovation Day Recap: Building Your PR Toolkit

I have a question for you: What percentage of communications professionals implement strategies to drive business goals? I’ll give you a clue – it’s a shockingly low number.

12%.

Luckily, Monique Freeman and Josh Stoffregen of Prudential are part of that 12%, and they did a wonderful job laying the foundation of starting a Public Relations toolkit for nonprofits – small and large alike.

As Ms. Freeman explained, there are five steps to creating a communications strategy.

Continue reading →

A New Vision: Making the Windsor Art Center a Destination for Everyone

The Windsor Art Center Studios | Photo via Windsor Art Center Facebook page

If you live, work, or play in Windsor, CT then you are most likely well-acquainted with the Windsor Art Center. The Windsor Art Center is housed in a historic Freight House located directly next to the Amtrak train line in downtown Windsor. Across the street in the former Windsor Train Station lies 8 studio spaces currently leased by local artists. Holly Pelton, Founding Board Member of the Windsor Art Center says, “We are creating more opportunities for artists.” On select Saturdays the artists leasing these studios will open their doors to the public to showcase and sell their artwork as well as provide insight into their creative processes.Continue reading →

Putting New Britain on the Map: Using the Art League of New Britain to Energize a City

 

For those of you who love to mix art and history, the Art League of New Britain is the place for you. Formerly known as the George Post Stable and Carriage Barn the original structure was built in 1870. During this time Mr. Post used the barn for horses, wagons, buggies, and feed.

Originally the Art League of New Britain was founded as the second art league in the United States back in 1928. During these difficult times the League managed to evolve into an art club where artists could gather for social affairs. To this day the Art League of New Britain strives to maintain the historical significance of this space. In the words of a former Art League member, Meta Grimm-Lacey, “Let no man presume to modernize our old barn by stripping it of its architectural personality, which properly dates it as a fine example of its period.”Continue reading →