The Greater Hartford Arts Council’s got a brand-new blog.

Since the arrival of our new CEO, Cathy Malloy, we’ve been asking: “what is our role in the arts community of Greater Hartford?” Are we just a funding agency? Should we focus on providing the best services and programs to artists and arts organizations? Do we connect the public with art all around them?

The truth is, we do all of those things. And more. (If you’re looking for more information on what the Greater Hartford Arts Council does, I’ve created a page that should answer all of your questions.)

But most importantly, we’re about raising awareness for the arts and acting as advocates (read: professional cheerleaders) for all of the wonderful, talented artists and world-class institutions here in central Connecticut. We’re a lucky community: our Chief Operating Officer, Rie Poirier-Campbell, likes to mention that there are more cultural organizations—museums, theatres, symphonies, studios and historic homes—than Dunkin’ Donuts within a mile of the capitol building. And today, that’s a thing of beauty.

This brand-new blog is, most importantly, all about the arts. But along the way we’ll be talking about the United Arts Campaign, the wonderful work of our grantee organizations and how the arts have a big impact on our local economy. You’ll get to meet our fun-loving staff, hear first-hand reports and reviews of some of the best cultural events in the area and, hopefully, come to love our arts and heritage community just as much as we do.

So welcome! Let’s get this pARTy started.

Take pART: United Arts 2012

This year, we invite you to take pART in United Arts! We run an annual United Arts Campaign from February to June, and our new campaign is about experiencing art all around you: from visiting the world-class cultural institutions around Greater Hartford to enrolling your family in a dance class, listening to music on your iPod or doodling at your desk, there are hundreds of ways to pARTicipate in the arts. It’s our job to help you find out how!

The money we raise through our United Arts Campaign supports more than 150 different arts & heritage organizations across 34 towns in central Connecticut. Any gift of any size goes a long way to providing the funding our arts organizations desperately need to do what they do best: create exceptional programming that entertains, enlivens and inspires us all. Learn more about why our United Arts Campaign is so important.

The 2012 United Arts Campaign puts the focus back on art, one of our community’s greatest assets. Yes, we’ll be asking you for money. But more importantly, we’ll be encouraging you to get out and take pART in the arts. This blog will be your one-stop-shop for all things campaign-related; we’ll be making regular updates about what’s going on in the community, publishing wrap-ups of our events and projects and let you know where and when you can give. Here’s just a few of the things we have planned for 2012:

  • Look out for our “Face of the Arts” campaign featuring pictures of people taking pART in the arts every day: from community leaders to everyday donors, maybe you will be one of the “faces” of the arts in Greater Hartford.
  • We’re programming a series of fun, interactive and (mostly) free community events to get you out of your offices and give you something ‘artsy’ to do in the evening.
  • Feel like you’re stuck in your cubicle? We might be coming to an office near you! We host workplace giving events during the United Arts Campaign to connect employees (and employers) with the arts in their neighborhood. Stay tuned for more updates from our workplace giving program or find out how you can get involved here.
  • There’s plenty of arts and entertainment events everyone can enjoy. If you don’t get our 7-Day Arts & Entertainment Forecast, sign up now. We’ll be posting our own “best bets” on this blog and telling you all about the arts and cultural events we’re attending for your own inspiration.
  • Art can be enjoyed everywhere. Stay tuned for our interactive, online “arts breaks,” from videos highlighting our grant programs to instructions on how to fold origami post-it-notes at your desk.

The money we raise through United Arts funds our range of grant programs; more than 75 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to the arts and heritage organizations we support. Follow us until we wrap-up our campaign on June 30, 2012—it’s going to be an exciting ride!