Have you Heard About the Community Art Center Catalyst Pilot Program?

Have you heard?

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is partnering with five community art centers to help provide quality art experiences in your town! We have been working with these organizations behind the scenes to provide capacity building resources to help strengthen their business practices and impact their communities. Without further ado; our five partners for the Community Art Center Catalyst Pilot Program are:


The goal of the Community Art Center Catalyst Pilot Program is to assist community art centers in achieving a goal that will take their organization to the next level of innovation with a real impact on their community. Below is how we have been able to achieve this goal:

Step 1: Determine a Need

Our Community Programs Manager, Amanda Roy, reached out to Community Art Centers in our region to assess the need for a capacity building project at this time in their life cycle.

Our priority was to partner with organizations that aligned with our impact goals to increase Greater Hartford’s ability to attract and retain talent by leveraging the value of extraordinary arts experiences as an integral part of the region’s quality of life. Indicators of success include efforts to:

  1. Promote intercultural understanding by supporting arts experiences that include, represent, and engage all populations regardless of their ethnic, cultural, social, economic, and ability backgrounds.
  2. Utilize the arts to cultivate the creative talents of school-aged youth in the region, especially those whose economic conditions present a barrier to access.
  3. Enhance the vibrancy of communities that have been historically underserved by increasing residents’ accessibility to arts experiences and institutions.
  4. Engage members of diverse communities to explore together social issues of broad public concern through the arts.


Step 2: Ensure Readiness

In the beginning stages of this program art centers evaluated their ability to take on an initiative of this size. Some organizations had to make the difficult decision of “opting out” which was in part due to their already trying schedules and incapacity to foster the project to the best of their ability.

Step 3: Determine Innovation Goal

Once the Art Centers were committed to the project and full of energy to take on the next step we sent them straight to an Innovation Goal Workshop run by Kenya Rutland, Principal and Chief Enthusiasm Officer. The full day retreat consisted of sharing common goals and objectives, creating an organizational S.C.O.T. (Strength/Challenges/Opportunities/Threats) analysis, innovation activities, group discussions, vision drawings, and finally the defining of their Innovation Goal.

2016 | Sandy & Linda from Farmington Valley Art Center Drawing their Vision at the Innovation Goal Workshop Retreat | Photo Courtesy of Kenya Rutland


Step 4: Provide Resources

Each of our partner organizations were carefully paired with corporate professionals that specialize in the capacity building technique that is required to carry out their innovation goal. For example; Windsor Art Center is working with a marketing professional to help broaden their outreach beyond business as usual. This relationship is built through our already existing Business Volunteers for the Arts program.

Business Volunteer for the Arts or BVA is a national skills-based management consultant program that pairs corporate business professionals with arts organizations to achieve internal capacity building goals. Read more about our Business Volunteer for the Arts program on our Website here and our blog here.

Step 5: Measure Results

Each organization is expected to report on the progress they have made half-way through the project. This is where the art centers are open about the challenges that they have faced and the success that they have met so far.

Once the project is complete a final report will be submitted to evaluate if the objectives have been met and in what way. We are looking forward to hearing the stories and accounts of those who have worked on the project.

Step 6: Achieve Goal

Each of the organizations are expected to meet the initial innovation goal set by the Innovation Goal Workshop exercise. Once the goal has been achieved and reported on the art centers will be eligible for funding. They then have the opportunity to continue to work with their BVA consultant on the next phase of their initiative or begin a new initiative with the knowledge gained.


We are beyond excited to be working with such pleasant and passionate people and are looking forward to sharing their success stories with our audience in the future. In the meantime, follow the links below to indulge in a series of posts that take a deeper look into these organizations and the partnership we have built with them thus far.

Stay tuned for Stories from:

  1. Art League of New Britain
  2. Farmington Valley Art Center
  3. Southington Community Cultural Arts
  4. Windsor Art Center
  5. Young @ Art CT

Help us make an impact in your community!