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Posts from the ‘Community’ Category

At Your Service: Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grants 2014

Funded by the City of Hartford and managed by the Arts Council since 2009, The Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grants supports arts and heritage programming and projects that generate or retain jobs, support local business and drive economic activity. Since its inception the Jobs Grant program has retained more than 30 jobs, expanded more than 45, created over 650 (FT, PT and Temp), added over 170 youth employment positions and resulted in more than 5.5 million in visitor audience spending. In 2011 it became a national model for using the arts to impact the local economy, winning the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award.
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The ART of Affordable Care

Health Insurance. Everyone needs it, but most don’t fully understand it. (Myself included!) In March 2010 the Affordable Care Act was passed into law, which put into place comprehensive health insurance reforms. With the open enrollment period lasting from October 2013 through March 31, 2014 and coverage beginning as early as January 2014, there has definitely been no shortage of questions and concerns.

To help shed some light on the subject and share how artists can take advantage of new coverage, the Greater Hartford Arts Council put together The ART of Affordable Care. These free workshops provided basic facts about what the Affordable Care Act and Connecticut’s new insurance marketplace means for individuals and small businesses, especially artists and all those in the creative sector in our region.  Read more

The Gift of Giving Tuesday

Remember being a kid?

Remember when the holidays seemed, like, a million years away? And when you’re all grown up all of a sudden it’s BAM. They’re here?

Well the other day we were going over the staff calendar and realized BAM. Thanksgiving was just around the corner! We started prepping and planning our end of year giving strategy. Many of our donors like to make their gifts as the calendar draws to a close; it is, after all, a season of giving. Giving thanks, giving gifts, giving back.

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“We’re All In This Together”: Collaboration through Hartford Events Grants

Live together, die alone.” Although a bit hyperbolic, this phrase from the hit television show Lost more popularly, though more roughly reiterates another common saying that has emerged from the arts and cultural community throughout Greater Hartford—“We’re all in this together.” Now more than ever, our local organizations are working with one another to ensure that our culture—one of the region’s most important and valuable assets—sticks around for generations to come. That’s why I’m very excited that our latest round of Hartford Events Grants includes unique collaborations that provide truly dynamic, multidisciplinary projects for the public to experience multiple forms of art at one event.

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Funding to ‘Drive’ Arts Innovation

Over the last two years I’ve been analyzing the Arts Council’s overall investment strategy and considering ways our organization can provide the most meaningful support to cultural organizations in the Capitol region while also fostering growth of new organizations. Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ research shows that the types of financial support that are most associated with long-term nonprofit success are:

  • General Operating Support
  • Multiyear Support
  • Capacity-Building Support

While the Arts Council has been offering General Operating Support grants since its inception in 1971, there are a number of organizations that don’t meet the program’s eligibility requirements and deserve meaningful support to increase their operational effectiveness.

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The Story of PARK(ing) Day

Like all great stories, this one starts with a great idea. But not my idea—Liz’s idea. She came across PARK(ing) Day and thought it would be a cool project for us. I agreed.

Turns out, it wasn’t Liz’s idea either. Erin and Jordan, both with the Hartford Business Improvement District (and, tried launching PARK(ing) Day last year. They hit a couple roadblocks, and the idea just didn’t gain traction. But they were totally game to try again.

Ryan at Knox, Inc., the local parks nonprofit, loved the idea. He’s game for almost anything park-related. Together, we were going to turn this idea into a reality. An amazing, one-day event to take back the city by turning metered parking spaces into temporary, artist-envisioned pop-up parks.

I wish we could take credit for PARK(ing) Day, but it wasn’t our idea at all. It’s an eight-year-old global movement, begun by San Francisco’s Rebar Group in 2005, celebrated in 170 cities and more than 60 countries across the world. We’re just a little late to the game. But we figured: better late than never. And to beat this “game” metaphor to death, we decided to hit Hartford’s first celebration out of the “park.” Pun very much intended.

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Funding Vibrant Communities: Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grants 2013

We recently announced the recipients of our Neighborhood Arts and Heritage grants—grants that provide funding for projects and programs throughout our 34-town service area.  Recipient organizations use arts and heritage to enhance a vibrant local community and enrich the quality of life for its residents and visitors.

Funding for these grants comes from the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, and the United Way Community Campaign.  A special thanks to United Way donors who checked the ‘Neighborhood Arts and Heritage’ box—you made this possible!

A full list of grant awards can be found here.  More about the grant application process and eligibility can be found here.  And if you want to read about some great examples of the programs (and your dollars) at work, just look below! Read more

Defining Cultural Vibrancy in the Greater Hartford Community

I’m a guy who likes to keep his ear to the ground about all things culture in Greater Hartford. From exhibits to plays, I’m on a constant bustle to explore and to unearth the cultural gems of our region to share and promote to our community. Amidst these voyages, I’ve heard time and time again that art and culture rest at the core of a community’s vibrancy, bringing that —WOW— factor that both defines and creates a city or town as unique and distinct.


Taste of Caribbean and Jerk Festival

A vibrant community appears much more obviously at some times throughout the year than others. For instance, Riverfront Recapture fills each summer with cultural events that draw thousands to simply enjoy our region’s multicultural, multifaceted identity. For instance, The Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival this weekend (Saturday, August 3, 2013) will bring thousands to the heart of Hartford to celebrate West Indian culture, a heritage that Greater Hartford hosts the third largest population of in the nation. Another great example is EnvisionFest in the fall, a free, one-day festival that showcases over 100 events, activities and performances in downtown Hartford. Read more

Spotlight On: Artists Collective’s Youth Jazz Orchestra

NeighborhoodStudiosIconThis week in Neighborhood Studios, we take a turn towards the music of Artists Collective’s Youth Jazz Orchestra.  Artists Collective joins Neighborhood Studios for its eighth summer in a row. For over four weeks now, twenty apprentices have banded together, instruments in hand, to prepare and rehearse for their showcase performance, Sweet Harlem Suite. René McLean serves as the Master Teaching Artist on top of his duties as artist-in-residence, multi-instrumentalist and composer, and he kindly paused for at least a measure or two to write a few notes about the program.

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Spotlight On: The Mark Twain House & Museum’s Write to the Point!

NeighborhoodStudiosIconSomehow we have already arrived at the halfway mark for Neighborhood Studios (and summer!) and with three weeks to go we visit our third studio partner, The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Aspiring writers, take note!  This group of apprentices has been honing their journalism skills, interviewing a whole host of characters, collecting research and editing their own and each others words.  This is the Mark Twain House & Museum’s first year with Neighborhood Studios and all thirteen apprentices are thrilled to join the program!

Jackie Majerus is the Mark Twain House & Museum‘s first Master Teaching Artist and she took a generous moment or two to do a bit of writing for our blog.  Jackie has these writers active as ever, touring Hartford, collaborating on projects and preparing for communication in whatever career path they choose!

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