15 Things We Loved from Open Studio Hartford 2015

If you follow us on Instagram you noticed we were enamored with the local art at Open Studio Hartford this past weekend. We also launched our Snapchat (add us: LetsGoArts) so you wouldn’t miss a thing from the weekend event. After all, appreciating works of art can help reduce stress, depression, and even fight off disease. So, in case you missed Open Studios, here’s our roundup of 15 things we loved from the studios. Let us know what you enjoyed most in the comments!

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Origami sculpture at Art Connection Studio

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One-on-One with Justyna Dabrowski

Justyna Dabrowski

“Stanislaw” by Justyna Dabrowski

Intimate, nostalgic, and warm. Those are the words that immediately come to mind when viewing Justyna’s Dabrowski’s latest collection “Remembered”  on display at 100 Pearl Street Gallery in Hartford. Justyna draws inspiration from family photo albums to celebrate her Polish heritage. Using curtains and cloth, she constructs a tactile backdrop to the paintings, adding an element of warmth to the people portrayed in the pieces. This show is the first part of our Remembering & Repurposing exhibition series, which explores the preservation and recreation of memories and discarded materials into works of art from oil paintings to mixed media.

Experience the exhibit for yourself at the opening reception on Thursday, December 3, from 5-7p.m. at 100 Pearl Street Gallery (map), where you can meet Justyna, hear live folk music by Winthrop Stevens that echos the art, and share your own memories for our interactive arts piece over wine and light hors d’oeuvres. The show is on display through January 8. Read on for our q&a with Justyna and get a behind-the-scenes scoop of “Remembered.” Read More

Art Around Town: Southington Community Cultural Arts


Vacant buildings can spark creativity. That’s exactly what happened in Southington after town offices moved to a new municipal center and the Town Hall annex on Main Street, known as the Gura Building, was left vacant. Community members, led by Mary DeCroce, formed Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA), a non-profit arts organization that saw a creative new use for the vacant space. Originally built in the 1930’s, the Gura Building faced demolition in the past decade.  Internal damage, old windows, and naysayers did not stop SoCCA from reimagining and eventually reinventing the historic structure. The building has housed town offices, once operated as the police station, and will see a new life as a community arts center. Read More

Art Around Town: Windsor Art Center

File_000 (3)I’m discovering something. Community Art Centers are tucked into some of the most interesting buildings. This has been the case for each art center I’ve written about over the past month or two (Art Connection Studio and Golden Thread Gallery) and applies to the Windsor Art Center. Housed in the former freight house next to the Windsor Amtrak station, Windsor Art Center is a real treat. The building has tall ceilings with exposed beams and the work being done within its walls is interesting and important beyond the community of Windsor. Read More

Canvas Meetup: Ghost Hunting at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

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Spirits at Stowe

A thick, brown cable braided bracelet with a cameo sat on the display table. The brown cable was not made of synthetic fibers or leather…but real human hair. Not just any human hair, the hair of Harriet Beecher Stowe, anti-slavery advocate and author of the world famous Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This October, members of the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s young professional membership group, CANvas, received an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at Stowe’s former Hartford residence, which is now the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, a non-profit organization and museum. Read More

Dos & Don’ts of Grant Writing for Arts Organizations

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The Greater Hartford Arts Council recently held a grant prep seminar for nonprofit organizations and artists at the Connecticut Historical Society. With the help of Diane Gedeon-Martin (Grant Writer & Consultant, The Write Source, LLC) and Dina Silva (Director of Development at TheaterWorks) we reviewed grant opportunities in the region, gave a primer on the do’s and don’ts of grant writing, and a provided a “from the trenches” view of what it means to be a grant writer.

With the autumn granting season underway, we’ve rounded up some of the best do’s and don’ts from the seminar, as well as answers to your most frequently asked questions. Read More

#ThrowBackThursday: PARK(ing) Day 2015

Parking Day - Park HereNow that wool peacoats are becoming more common on the streets of Hartford, we decided to look back on one of the final days of summer 2015, PARK(ing) Day. On September 18th the streets of downtown Hartford radiated with energy in celebration of PARK(ing) Day, an international movement to call attention to the need for more open space in urban areas by converting metered parking spaces into miniature parks. Read More