“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.
Posts from the ‘Grantees’ Category
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.
Our final stop on this summer’s Neighborhood Studios tour lands us at Real Art Ways’ Eye On Video Studio located in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. Working in the realm of filmmaking, ten apprentices have self-identified their own creative goals for the summer while simultaneously completing individual and collaborative assignments, acquiring technical skills and dabbling in film theory. With an eye towards their showcase this Thursday, these apprentices have set their sights and ears on their culminating work, a film festival to highlight their music videos.
Erika Van Natta, Master Teaching Artist, has led the Eye On Video Studio for the eight years that Real Art Ways has been a Neighborhood Studios partner. Between plotting video scavenger hunts and fostering creative problem solving, Erika sat down to share with us just how she guides these young filmmakers through their summer apprenticeships.
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
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.
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
After swinging through Hartford Stage last week, next we travel just a few blocks away to The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Snap! Photography program. Here, ten budding photographers are learning the art of the camera, dark room techniques and what it means to create in both form and content. These talented apprentices are participating in the Amistad’s eighth summer as a Neighborhood Studio.
Master Teaching Artist Caleb Portfolio leads the Amistad program for his seventh year. He kindly took a few moments to share with us his perspective on the value of Neighborhood Studios in the present and all that it arms these students with for the future. Read more
With all five Neighborhood Studios well underway, it’s time to drop in and take a closer look at each of our partners. First up, Hartford Stage returns to the Greater Hartford Art Council’s Neighborhood Studios for its eighth summer. Fifteen apprentices are hard at work on their culminating showcase event, this year’s Breakdancing Shakespeare production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education, talks about the goals of the Hartford Stage Studio, the overall program and how they work to empower these students with creative and professional skills.
What are the goals for your studio this summer?
Our goal is to create and perform a production of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona for an audience at Hartford Stage. In our production, breakdancing and hip-hop is a part of the storytelling. Throughout the rehearsal process, the cast will gain new dance skills, work as a cohesive ensemble, and learn to read, understand and speak challenging text.
What’s an average day like at your studio?
Right now, our days are split between working on text and working on dance. Typically, mornings are spent working with the script, practicing vocal techniques, and staging the play, while afternoons are spent learning and rehearsing dances. As we move further into the process, we’ll start to put everything together and working on text and dance will become much less separate – speaking through words or through dance all becomes part of the storytelling.
What about working with students in the Greater Hartford region inspires you?
We have an amazing cast this year – they come with incredible talents and skills already, and yet they also come eager to learn and help each other. Their creativity, hard work and commitment are evident and inspiring.
How do you see the exploration of an artistic discipline as well as career skills impacting the way these students might look towards the future?
I think it’s very important for these students to learn that there are jobs in the arts, and that creativity and artistic expression are valuable. But even if all of them go into fields other than the arts, they will have experienced the true meaning of working as an ensemble – participating in the arts, and theatre in particular, develops creativity, collaboration, and communication like nothing else, and those are skills they’ll need to succeed, no matter what they choose to do.
Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing such an insightful glimpse into the world of Breakdancing Shakespeare! To see the culmination of a summer’s worth of text and dance work, come to Hartford Stage’s Neighborhood Studios showcase event, Two Gentlemen of Verona, presented on August 13, 14 and 15 at 7 pm at Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford. Admission is $5 and for more information, visit www.LetsGoArts.org/NS.
Besides fireworks and barbeques, the first week of July also kicks off the beginning of the Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios, a six-week arts education apprenticeship program. This summer, 67 teens will be taught the value of creativity and fundamental career skills they’ll need to succeed in today’s workforce. For the next five weeks, we’ll be holding the spotlight on each of the five Studios to see what they’re up to and what they’re all about this summer.
Under the guidance of master teaching artists at some of Hartford’s premiere arts and heritage organizations, Neighborhood Studios apprentices receive hands-on instruction to develop their artistic abilities in the fields of their passions. This artistic enrichment culminates with a “Studio Showcase,” where apprentices from each studio publicly exhibit or perform their work for the community. Without further adieu, here are this year’s Neighborhood Studios:
- Write to the Point! at The Mark Twain House & Museum (BRAND NEW this year)
- Breakdancing Shakespeare at Hartford Stage
- PRODUCTION: Two Gentlemen of Verona
- “Eye on Video” Digital Film Production at Real Art Ways
- THEME: Music Videos
- Youth Jazz Orchestra at Artists Collective
- THEME: Sweet Harlem Suite
- Snap! Photography at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
- THEME: Free Style
In addition to arts training, our apprentices develop skills that help prepare them to succeed in today’s ever-changing work environments. Now more than ever, employers seek to hire individuals who approach projects and problems critically and creatively—skills which an education in the arts promotes the use of every day. Additionally, to substantiate a solid core of professional abilities, apprentices also engage in a rigorous career skills curriculum to teach them job readiness, interviewing and networking skills, resume building and personal financial literacy.
Our Neighborhood Studios program, above all, helps foster well-rounded individuals ready to tackle the world we live in today. Advocating for diversity and civic pride, our apprentices leverage the power of the arts to bridge socio-economic divisions and illustrate the power of teamwork and collaboration in a sample of students that reflects the entire Greater Hartford community.
To learn more about each studio and for a schedule of studio themes, showcases and performances, visit www.LetsGoArts.org/NeighborhoodStudios.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Many thanks to Travelers, this year’s presenting sponsor of Neighborhood Studios, Bank of America, the contributing sponsor, and studio sponsors Ensworth Charitable Trust, Hartford Hospital, the Howard A. Fromson Foundation, Lincoln Financial Foundation and The Hartford. Additional support for Neighborhood Studios comes from the Elizabeth Carse Foundation, Fisher Foundation, NewAlliance Foundation, the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and individual donors to the United Arts Campaign.
It’s time to get your ART beating again throughout Greater Hartford! Aetna Arts Week, a week-long celebration of the arts in and around downtown Hartford, kicks off on Sunday. Sponsored by Aetna, Aetna Arts Week provides an incredible opportunity to take pART in our cultural community—all thanks to your generous donations to our United Arts Campaign.
Occurring every year in both the spring and fall, Aetna Arts Week invites the entire community to experience some arts and heritage organizations that receive essential United Arts funding through low-cost and free events in the Capital City. This programming for our community would be impossible without the support of Aetna, a long-time supporter of the Arts Council, and, of course, our amazing and generous donors.
CELEBRATE OUR CULTURE
Have a free lunch next week, or could you really just use an arts break? Aetna Arts Week hosts a wide range of activities in a variety of genres to appeal to the arts lover in everyone. From gallery and cast talks to happy hours and open tech rehearsals, check out the events we’re hosting at places like The Bushnell, Hartford Stage, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Butler-McCook House & Garden and our own 100 Pearl Street Gallery at FeelYourArtBeat.com.
EXPLORE KNIT-HIT HARTFORD
This Aetna Arts Week has also gone yarn crazy through our temporary public art project, Knit-Hit Hartford. Working with local knitting groups and independent fiber artists, we’re installing homemade, site-specific “yarn installations” around downtown Hartford, blanketing trees, benches, light posts and street signs with multicolored knit coverings—a type of popular urban graffiti called “guerilla knitting.” So when you’re just strolling through downtown Hartford around City Hall, the Wadsworth and Bushnell Park, keep your eyes peeled for locations enlivened with these cool custom yarn creations!
If you have your smart phone handy during your Knit-Hit Hartford explorations, snap your photo with an installation for our Instagram Photo Contest. Simply Tag #KnitHitHartford and you’ll be entered to win prizes to some local arts and heritage events. We’ve also hidden three locations from all of our maps and the first people to find them will also win big, too.
So what are you waiting for? To see our full events calendar and to find out more about Knit-Hit Hartford, head to FeelYourArtBeat.com. Make sure to stay up to date with pictures, videos and testimonials on our Facebook page, too. Go ahead and
Get your ART beating now!