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Posts from the ‘Grantees’ Category

2014 Featured Artist: Carol Padberg

We are so thankful to everyone that contributes to our United Arts Campaign. To show our gratitude to our wonderful donors, every year we offer thank you gifts. One of which is a Greater Hartford-inspired print for those who contribute $500 or more. For 2014 our Featured Artist, Carol Padberg, has created a collage print inspired by Hartford’s cultural diversity.

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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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“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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Spotlight On: Real Art Ways’ Eye On Video

NeighborhoodStudiosIconOur 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.

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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: 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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Spotlight On: Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Snap! Photography

NeighborhoodStudiosIconAfter 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

Spotlight On: Hartford Stage’s Breakdancing Shakespeare

NeighborhoodStudiosIconWith 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?

NS Breakdancing Shakespeare T-Shirt_FINALRight 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?

BDShakespeare (1)

Introducing Breakdancing Shakespeare 2013!

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


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