Conning & Co. Walks the Walk

Conning & Co. employees know numbers– they evaluate investment strategies and assess risk daily.  But they also know great public art when they see it.  As a company founded here in Hartford, they remain dedicated to the city and the community, which is why they continually support the United Arts Campaign.  This year was no different, and the committee was quite enthusiastic to show their employees their support of the arts in Greater Hartford while also encouraging healthy living. 

Conning & Co. is located right in downtown Hartford, within easy walking distance of both the Riverfront and Bushnell Park.  However, many employees have never been out to see the beautiful public artwork the city has to offer.  So in an effort to tie together the importance of healthy living through daily exercise and the physical and mental benefits of artwork, I had the privilege of coordinating a lunchtime walk with Conning employees to view the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk along the Riverfront.  Thankfully, it was a sunny and warm May day, so our walkers were quite enthusiastic to get outside.  A $500,000 grant in 2005 from Lincoln Financial to the Greater Hartford Arts Council, in partnership with Riverfront Recapture, provided the funds to design a permanent sculpture walk along the river in Hartford and East Hartford.  The result is amazing– permanent sculptures on both sides of the river along well-maintained walking paths depicting the life and history of Abraham Lincoln.

Many of the employees had never seen the sculptures stretching along the Founders bridge, along the East Hartford side of the river, and down the Hartford side towards the Boat House.  They were absolutely amazed that such wonderful walking paths, eating areas, concert venues, and artwork was so near to their offices!  Our walk may not have been at the most vigorous pace, but we certainly got our Vitamin D and exercise walking up the steps at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza (talk about cardio!) One of the group’s favorite sculptures, which prompted quite a long pause to truly appreciate the delicacy of the artwork, was “Toward Union Lines” by Preston Jackson.  It depicts a young woman walking north toward Union lines, and includes many ornate details symbolizing the trials and tribulations of life as a former enslaved person.

I was only able to highlight a portion of the sculptures and paths due to time constraints, but they all truly enjoyed seeing these amazing sculptures that tell the story of Connecticut and Abraham Lincoln.  We also provided them with great brochures from Riverfront Recapture to highlight all the other possible paths they could explore over their lunchtime to further enjoy exercise, artwork, and all the downtown has to offer.  Go out and explore it yourself on a walk during lunchtime, or at one of Riverfront Recapture’s fabulous events!