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Posts from the ‘United Arts Campaign’ Category

Phoenix Rises With Their Campaign Creativity

Phoenix Wealth Management is an artistic fixture in the Greater Hartford arts community, and that’s not just because of their unique boat-shaped office building that adds beauty to the Hartford skyline.  Phoenix employees have been huge supporters of the United Arts Campaign for many years, raising funds for the Greater Hartford arts, heritage, and cultural institutions throughout the community.  This year’s workplace campaign just may have been our most creative and engaging campaign of the season.  Just look at these pictures, and you’ll see what I mean! Read more

Kudos to UBS Realty for Creative Fundraising for the Arts!

UBS Realty is located in downtown Hartford, right on Main Street.  And boy are they excited about the arts in Greater Hartford!  Though they’re a smaller office, they go all out for the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s annual United Arts Workplace Campaign.  Their creative fundraising reaches out to all employees regardless of age, position, or interest.  Through keen partnerships in the community and new, out-of-the-box ideas they are moving our fundraising mercury higher and higher on the campaign thermometer! Read more

Contagious Enthusiasm at Lincoln Financial Workplace Campaign

Enthusiasm is contagious, and Lincoln Financial must be one of the most infections of all companies.  Kicking off their workplace campaign on Wednesday evening with a reception at TheaterWorks, the employees and committee members were nearly bubbling over with enthusiasm for the arts and support for our campaign.  Everyone on the committee—and it’s a large and diverse committee!—was contributing in one way or another to the variety of activities on Lincoln’s campaign calendar.  Read more

Kicking Off the Spring Workplace Campaign Season

Birds are singing. Flowers are starting to sprout.  Days are getting warmer.  You know what that means, right?  Well, yes, it’s spring. But it’s also United Arts Workplace Campaign season!  We’re pARTnering with our allies in the corporate world to raise integral funds for more than 150 arts, heritage, and cultural organizations in the Greater Hartford region.

We kicked off the spring workplace campaign season with Deloitte LLP and United Technologies (UTC) last week, and we’ve already raised thousands of dollars!  Though these two corporations took two very different paths to support the United Arts Campaign, they both had one goal in mind—to raise as much money as possible to support the various organizations, programs, special events, and vital unrestricted funding for the Greater Hartford arts community. Read more

United Technologies & The Arts

Isn’t it great to walk into your office building or cafeteria in the middle of your busy day to hear beautiful, soothing music playing?  And isn’t it even better to discover that it’s live music?  We’ve been helping to make employees’ days a little brighter all month long at United Technologies (UTC) business units throughout the state.  From classical and Latin guitar to blues duets,  making prints of Blackhawk helicopters to Jackson Pollock-like Drip & Splat painting—we’ve been exposing UTC employees to a variety of creative outlets during lunchtime.

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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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2014 Featured Musician: Kate Callahan

Sometimes thank you just isn’t enough. Every year as a gift for donors who contribute $100 or more to our United Arts campaign, we commission local musician(s) to release an exclusive EP. This year our featured musician is the wonderfully talented Kate Callahan.

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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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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

Catching Up with String Theorie

String Theorie's Exclusive EP: "Let's GO Arts!"As a guitarist for more than a decade, I consider music to be one of my major passions, secretly (well, I guess not so much anymore) imagining what it’d be like to make it to the big leagues. Growing up, I frequented local shows around New Haven as often as my allowance would permit. As such, I grew up with a deep appreciation of Connecticut’s music scene, which my time at the Arts Council has only deepened—especially in this year’s United Arts Campaign.

Every year, we commission local musicians to release an exclusive EP or small album of songs for donors who contribute $100 or more to our Campaign. This year, String Theorie, an instrumental World Fusion trio composed of guitarist Joel Weik, bassist Karl Messerschmidt and percussionist Jordan Critchley from central CT, agreed to be our featured band. To learn more about the band’s inspirations, motivations and, well, music, I asked them a few questions. Here’s what they said:

You guys had quite the 2012! Winner of the Best Folk / Traditional Band at Connecticut’s Grand Band Slam, a new CD, Little Elephant, tons of gigs across the region… But let’s start at the beginning.  How did String Theorie come about? How did you guys all meet and start making music together?

Blog 8Well, String Theorie was formed in the summer of 2009 due to a happy accident! Fingerstyle Guitarist Joel Weik was casually invited to attend a friend’s-friend’s-birthday-party, which entailed an evening of open-mic jamming at a dive bar in New Britain. This friend’s-friend turned out to be Karl Messerschmidt, our virtuoso bass player! Joel approached Karl after being dazzled by his bass technique. A jam was arranged… Joel had a concept brewing in his mind for a while to put together a group based on the collaborations of Michael Hedges and Michael Manring, so Joel and Karl started working out some tunes over the summer of 2009 and in late August invited Southington native/DIY Drummer Jordan Critchley Jordan to join them on percussion at an open mic at Hartford’s La Paloma Sabanera. String Theorie played as a trio for the very first time that night and got a standing ovation with an offer to come back for a full show… and we’ve stayed together ever since.

Browsing your website, I noticed you characterize your music as embodying a “sound that can’t really be described in words.” Excuse the irony of my question, but how would you describe your style for people who are unfamiliar with your music?

Haha, what a tricky question! We find that words fall short because, no matter what, we can’t possible express with words the visual, audible and palpable effect of our music – especially during live shows, which is why we are particularly excited about our upcoming CD Release Party at Arch Street Tavern on Friday, April 12th. We held a live recording concert at La Paloma back in December of 2012, which is the first time we’ve created a live recording; this soon to be released album definitely provides the closest thing to a genuine “String Theorie experience.” By the way, the exclusive GHAC download card features a song from that live recording session, “April Showers,” which will only be available to eligible Arts Council donors – Let’s GO Arts!

String Theorie at Lost Acres Vineyard in North Granby, CT

Tell us a little about the exclusive String Theorie EP you guys have created for those who donate $100 or more to our United Arts Campaign. What were your thoughts behind the EP’s songs, themes, etc. Let us into your musical minds!

We’ve picked out some of our favorite songs from our self-titled EP and from our album Little Elephant that are mostly staples of our live shows.  “The Middle” has become our new go-to opening tune; it helps us get warmed up quickly.  “Inchworm” is the first song we ever learned together and it may have been played at every String Theorie show thereafter, although we’re not really sure.  “E Minor” was the first song Joel ever wrote and it became the subject of a music video filmed and edited by Stone Gate Studios in 2011. “Lily Lake” and “Woe” both make regular appearances in our live sets.  “While You Were Upstairs” is a different story entirely; it’s a piece that Karl wrote that features Karl on electric guitar and Jordan on cello.  We’ve performed it live a few times but the recording, as you’ll hear, is kind of impossible for us to ever pull off on stage without more musicians.  Finally, the live version of “April Showers” is an outtake from our upcoming album “Live at La Paloma.”  We held it back as an exclusive track JUST for this compilation – United Arts donors are the only ones who will have it!

Does each band member have a favorite song from the EP? If so, which ones and why?

Karl:  You mean besides the one that I wrote?  I would say “Inchworm,” which is kind of tragic in that it implies our music hasn’t gotten any better since our very first song, but that’s not the case of course.  I just think the whole thing is very well put together.  The bass line is inspired by a Block Party tune and I feel like it kind of serves as the lead at the same time, at least that’s how I hear it.  We’ve made some changes to the piece over time, so it’s kind of grown along with us as a band, which is why we decided to re-record it as part of our Live at La Paloma album, to show how far the song and the band have come since it was the first track on our debut EP.

Joel: For me it’s a toss-up between Lily Lake and April Showers… I think they both have a similar vibe, and I guess it’s a vibe I particularly enjoy! I think this mix of songs on String Theorie’s Let’s GO Arts! download gives us a chance to share a broad spectrum of sounds and styles.

Besides the EP, how will String Theorie be a part of our 2013 United Arts Campaign? Are you guys excited to take pART?

Totally excited! We are already booking gigs at workplace campaigns, and we are looking forward to the Arts Council’s Annual Meeting in July. We hope that the 2013 United Arts Campaign brings us many opportunities to bring our music to new listeners!

String Theorie setting up for the Little Elephant CD Release Party at The Studio @ Billings Forge

Performing at The Mark Twain House & Museum, The Studio at Billings Forge and other cultural institutions in Greater Hartford, String Theorie seems very much tapped into our local arts scene. How has our local arts and heritage community helped to shape String Theorie into the band it is today?

You can’t separate us from Hartford like you can’t separate Nirvana from Seattle or the Chili Peppers from LA.  It’s our home in every sense and we’re proud to be a part of its sound track.  It was really Hartford’s cultural institutions that supported us most and gave us the opportunity to succeed, which is why it makes so much sense for us to partner up with the Arts Council.  I mean, we do play bars and are a part of the regular music scene here in Hartford, but we’re kind of a novelty.  We don’t get asked to headline anything because we’re unorthodox and we don’t have vocals.  And we don’t get asked to play any of the big clubs near Union Place because we don’t have a loud radio sound.  But the cultural centers like the Wadsworth, the Mark Twain House, etc. have always come looking for us, and that’s kind of what we’ve developed our sound for; places where you can really pay attention hear the music for everything it is.  We work a lot of little musical Easter Eggs into our tunes that you can find if you’re paying attention in good listening environment.

Now to the future! What can we expect out of String Theorie in 2013?

We are very excited about our Live at La Paloma release party, which is taking place at Arch Street Tavern on April 12th. We’ll be joined by two other local bands, Post-Modern Panic and a SECRET BAND…!

Many thanks to String Theorie for taking the time to answer my questions. To learn even more about String Theorie, check out, or


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