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Dan Deutsch

Improving State of Mind: An Interview with Poetry on the Streets

Poetry on the Streets (POTS) is an interactive poetry writing exhibit created in 2017 by Melanie Faranello. We briefly spoke with Melanie who is gearing up to participate in this year’s Art on the Streets. Find out what Melanie has been up to below:

Can you tell us what Poetry on the Streets has been working on recently?

Poetry on the Streets is continuing to set up around downtown Hartford in various locations during the week. Over the winter, I visited a college class at Westfield State U which was a fun change of pace. A few favorite spots for POTS are along Main Street, the bus stop in front of the Hartford Public Library, Bushnell Park, and Pratt Street. I’m also working on preparing for Poetry on the Streets’ first gallery show. It will be held at Charter Oak Cultural Center and will showcase the poems people have written alongside their photographs. I’m excited to share the collection—beautiful expressions from so many different people who have engaged with POTS over the past two years. I hope the gallery show will highlight the common human experience we all share.

What is Poetry on the Streets’ dream project?

My dream project for Poetry on the Streets is to travel to different cities, set up POTS and collect poems from people all across the country…actually, from all over the world! Also, a big coffee table book: a compilation of people’s poems with their photographs. I’d read a book like that. Sometimes, I flip through the hundred or so poems I’ve collected and find one that speaks to me that day in an emotional way. My dream is to keep going and engaging as many people in as many places as possible.

What memorable response have you gotten from your work?

A big part of what keeps me committed to the project is the response people have after interacting with Poetry on the Streets. People feel better! There is a palpable sense of release after writing their poems. They want to be heard. They want to share themselves — their voices — they want to connect. This truth has become so apparent. Surprisingly, the majority of people want to leave their finished poems with me rather than take them. They want others to read them. They want to share their words. The responses are individual, but the overall feeling of improved mood and state of mind are the same.  

The responses are individual, but the overall feeling of improved mood and state of mind are the same.  

What are you most excited about for this year’s Art on the Street?

 I love Art on the Streets. It brings such an eclectic vibrant energy to Hartford and draws people together through art, music, dance, writing, crafts…I’m most excited about seeing all the different exhibits…the postcards, mixed media, printmaking, and spoken word are wonderful, and I’m looking forward this year to seeing the weaving project as well as the dance, meditation, and of course, the bands. It’s an amazing force of creativity that brings the city together in such a unique and inspiring way.  

How do you think the Arts supports health and wellness within the community?

The Arts support health and wellness within the community by providing a creative outlet for emotional expression. Engaging in the arts (music, visual art, writing…) has been proven to reduce stress, help people cope with trauma, and improve both mental and physical health. Working as a teaching artist with young people in Hartford, I’ve seen the impact the arts can have directly on youth and teens in terms of feelings of empowerment, creating positive self-image and awareness of their voices as ones that matter and have the power to create positive change. Connecting the arts with community organizations can be a powerful way to impact wellness within a community.

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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: Savana Jones

Savana Jones lives for movement. As a dancer, choreographer, teaching artist, and avid live music fan, Savana is well versed in the language of the performing arts. Don’t miss her one-of-a-kind collaboration with a live funk band on Make Music Day for “No Mercy,” a heart-pounding, foot-stomping hip-hop class of raw adrenaline at Arroyo Recreation Center at 3pm.

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?
I’m a professional Dancer, Choreographer and Entrepreneur. 

What do you do other than music/the arts – professionally? Hobbies?
I love to eat, workout, travel, spend time with family and friends, and support live music!

What drew you to MMH?
The opportunity to reach a new/different audience and introduce them to Dance. Giving people a chance to get to know me and what gives me purpose in life. Dance is and can be intimidating but with the right instructor (like myself), it’s my responsibility to relieve the student of that pressure of ” being perfect”. We must first learn awareness of our bodies (movement) and understand the “why” and “how” our bodies move that way.

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?
Well I was born here and I’ve made so many personal and business relationships, that I see myself planting and growing my business here. Hartford definitely has potential for artists to have a platform and no matter where I go, no matter how long I may live there, my home will always be here! 

What is your favorite genre(s) of music? 
That’s a very good but tough question!

Old school/ Soul music!

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford

  1. Public Transportation 
  2. Trendy small businesses 
  3. Bushnell Park

Fun fact:
I’m a Daredevil and I love that rush of being up in the air, so I have a true love for the “Aerial Arts”. Its a divine feeling being on top of the world! 

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?
Connecting with new artists and making memories. Seeing what others are bringing to the table will be fun as well. Support, support, support! 

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford:
More light to be shined upon the positivity that’s in our city. More events and activities that will bring our community together and make us stronger. We need the arts! 

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Summer of Portraiture at the Wadsworth

-The following article was submitted by the Wadsworth Atheneum-

In June, three portrait centered exhibitions will be on view at the Wadsworth. Kicking off the summer of portraiture, Giorgione’s La Vecchia has arrived in Hartford from the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. The Renaissance painting rarely leaves Italy and the Wadsworth is one of only two cities in the United States to host the masterpiece. Very few works are attributed to Giorgione, La Vecchia is one of the precious few. The hyperrealistic portrayal appears to have been painted from life but the sitter’s identity and meaning remain elusive. It hangs in a new gallery space designed for an intimate experience with the singular work of art. Get to know La Vecchia while she’s stateside during a Gallery Talk on June 19 at 12:30pm and a lecture on July 10 at 6pm.

Giorgione, La Vecchia, 1502-08, oil on canvas. Gallerie dell’ Accademia, cat. 272, © G.A. VE Photo Archive, Courtesy of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities – Gallerie dell’ Accademia, Venice.

Opening June 6, Tom Burr | MATRIX 182 | Hinged Figures features Tom Burr’s installations – a vastly different treatment of portraiture. Unlike Giorgione’s realism, Burr presents us with iconic figures from queer history and Modernism using materials including plywood, books, notecards, tinsel, and a Chanel dress. The works will be shown in the Wadsworth’s MATRIX Gallery, a period room, several collection galleries, and at the Austin House. Hear from the artist at a Gallery Talk on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30pm during Art After Dark, and curator Patricia Hickson on August 29 at noon.

Tom Burr, Chicks (detail), 2008. Plywood, wool balusters, vintage 1970s Chanel dress, vintage turntable, record and album cover of Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein. Private collection. © Tom Burr. Courtesy of SculptureCenter, New York; Tom Burr, One foot in the grave (reclining), 2010. Natural wood, hinges, postcard, soil. © Tom Burr. Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami, New York.

Near the end of the month Be Seen: Portrait Photography Since Stonewall explores how artists have used portrait photography to challenge, subvert, and play with societal norms of gender and sexuality in the 50 years since the Stonewall riots. Be Seen features prominent contemporary artists such as Mickalene Thomas, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Zanele Muholi, and seminal photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, and Nan Goldin. Experience the exhibition with curator Patricia Hickson in a Gallery Talk Friday, June 28 at noon.

Mickalene Thomas, Racquel with Les Trois Femmes, 2018. Chromogenic print. The Douglas Tracy Smith and Dorothy Potter Smith Fund, 2019.3.4. © Mickalene Thomas.

In conjunction with Be Seen, June films include “The Happy Prince” and “Before Homosexuals”; June 27 at 7pm, June 28 at 2pm, and June 30 at 2 pm.

For a complete listing of our programs, films, and events visit our website www.thewadsworth.org

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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: Stephen Cusano

Local musician and entrepreneur Stephen Cusano has made a name for himself, both on and off the kit. In addition to playing drums for multiple bands, Cusano is the founder and owner of Parkville Sounds, a one-stop shop for musicians, students, and recording artists who need everything from a studio to rental equipment.

Last year, Stephen hosted the Dueling Drums spotlight event outside of his studio on Bartholomew. This year, he’s stepped up as a planning committee member and the Parkville Neighborhood Music Hub organizer! Parkville Sounds will be hosting Dueling Drums, an open jam session, the Parkville Pickles (the studio’s new youth rock ensemble), and The Dance Collective, starting at 3pm.

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?
Professional drummer

What do you do other than the arts – professionally? Hobbies?
Love going to baseball games, traveling, exploring new food/drink

What drew you to MMH?
Amanda Roy is the bomb. She approached me with this idea about a year ago and I’ve been in ever since! 

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?
I received my bachelors’ degree in Jazz Studies at The Hartt School of Music / Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz in 2015. I’ve been in love with Hartford; the artists and the food that surround this city since my freshman year. My peers working and striving to make Hartford a better place has been what’s keeping me going. 

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?
Plain and simple…I love all music. 

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford:
– Large variety of authentic foods
– Tight knit community 
– You can do you in Hartford. There are endless possibilities to do what you desire. 

Fun fact: 
I have a cat named Harper

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?
Excited for the whole day! We are hosting a jam in the Parkville neighborhood from 4-8pm. The first ever Parkville Sounds’ Rock Ensemble will be performing at 6pm. 

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford:
Bring back the Whalers.

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HSO Kicks Off Hartford Arts Month with Renowned Compositions

Leonid Sigal

-The following article was submitted by Hartford Symphony Orchestra-

We are thrilled to team up with Hartford Arts Council to promote Hartford Arts Month!

We’ll be kicking off the month with Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 5 from May 31 – June 2. This pivotal work moves from tragedy to celebration, and its fourth movement, a declaration of love for his wife Alma, is his most renowned composition. Beethoven’s rich “Triple Concerto” features a dynamic interplay between soloists and orchestra, and showcases two of HSO’s gifted musicians- Leonid Sigal, concertmaster and Margreet Francis, pianist. We are also pleased to give a warm welcome to our guest cellist, Wendy Warner. Wendy is one of the world’s leading cellists, praised by Strings magazine for her “youthful, surging playing, natural stage presence and almost frightening technique.”

Join us for our pre-concert talk, led by Music Director Carolyn Kuan and Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians as they offer engaging presentations about the works, the composers and historic perspectives of the concert that lies ahead. This 30 minute pre-concert presentation will take place in the concert hall one hour prior to the performance.

Margreet Francis

…If you need even more persuading, we’re collaborating with CPTV for our Friday, May 31st performance of Mahler 5! The concert is going to be filmed by a CT Public camera crew as part of an exciting video project, which we will unveil in the coming months. Those who attend the performance will have the exciting “behind the scenes” opportunity to see the film crew in action, and may even be part of the final product!

Get your tickets at hartfordsymphony.org.

Wendy Warner

We hope you’ll spend your Friday, Saturday or Sunday with us!

**Special offer: Let’s Go! Arts members get 2-for-1 tickets to the Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 performances of Mahler 5!

And don’t forget to visit LetsGoArts.org/ArtsMonth to keep an eye on the exciting events happening throughout the month! #hartfordartsmonth

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Hartford Arts Month is Here!

Celebrate Creativity. Celebrate Hartford.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council and City of Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin have partnered to declare June, Hartford Arts Month. Hartford Arts Month is a joint, city-wide effort to emphasize the importance of the arts and celebrate creativity in the Capital City.

“Hartford has an incredibly rich and diverse community of artists working in every medium,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “We hope everyone takes advantage of the hundreds of opportunities to watch, hear, and interact with our arts community during Arts Month. I want to thank the Greater Hartford Arts Council for recognizing the value of a strong art scene — and for working with us to bring these events under one banner and organize such a terrific month-long showcase of art in Hartford.”

 “With hundreds of arts and cultural events taking place in Hartford during the month of June, it’s the perfect time to highlight the important impact the arts have on this community,” said Cathy Malloy, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. “We appreciate the Mayor’s partnership on this initiative and are proud to help raise awareness of the incredible events taking place every single day in Hartford.”

Everyone is invited to join in the celebration by visiting the Hartford Arts Month webpage, which includes hundreds of performances, exhibitions, classes, festivals and activities taking place throughout the month of June. For example, visitors will find event listings that include:

Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival del Coqui
June 2. Noon. Bushnell Park

Art on the Streets
Tuesdays. 11:30am – 1pm. Pratt Street / Thursdays. 11:30am – 1pm. State House Sq

Juneteenth Family Day
June 8. 10am – 5pm. Amistad Center for Arts & Culture

Make Music Hartford
June 21. All day. 100 FREE musical events throughout the City.

Greater Hartford Latino Festival
June 22. Noon – 7pm. Church of the Good Shepherd Lawn.

For additional event listings and information about Hartford Arts Month, visit LetsGoArts.org/ArtsMonth.

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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: Charmagne Glass-Tripp

If you’ve been even remotely aware of the Hartford music scene for the past couple of decades, you’ve heard of Charmagne Glass-Tripp. In addition to being an in-demand, Grammy-winning vocalist, Charmagne is passionate about social justice and animal rights. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with her on one of our Neighborhood Music Hubs – she’ll be booking a day’s worth of music at the Willie Ware Recreation Center, as well as hosting an open mic!

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?

Singer/Songwriter/Creator

What do you do other than the arts – professionally? Hobbies?

I do creative projects and marketing for a Social Justice organization and I have a passion for Animal Rights.

What drew you to MMH?. 

I love the idea of music being made on the streets. I feel like the city suffers from lack of festivity and this is a great way to make it vibrant and for artists to contribute collectively. 

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?

I was born in Hartford and raised in Bloomfield. I have deep roots here. Lots of support and familiarity.

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?

I grew up on 80’s pop and hip hop. Loved It! Whitney Houston was and still is my favorite singer. In the early 90’s I found my voice through Neo Soul and Smooth R&B. 

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford:

It’s size, diversity and evolving energy.

Fun fact:

I casually recorded a demo with a friend here in Hartford. Rapper EMINEM heard the demo, bought the song and we won a Grammy. 

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?

The collaboration between venues and artists to produce an amazing day of music.

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford:

That we maintain a vibrant and inclusive community that values and celebrates creativity and its people often.

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A New Vision: Teaching Weaving to the Blind for Art on the Streets 2019

Jeanette, bottom left

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center teaches weaving to the blind and visually-impaired. We spoke with Katie Glass Executive Director to find out more about the center’s annual group project. Read on:

Can you tell us what The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center has been working on recently?

Every year, we ask our Artisans to participate in a Center-wide project where all of our Artisans work together on one theme. The theme of “Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving,” takes traditional weave structures and makes them new by using color and tweaks in pattern to make bright, bold and interesting new pieces.

What is The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center’s dream project?

I think Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving is a dream project for the Center.  It’s allowed us to have 100% Artisan participation. It has a fun theme that allows people to experience traditional weaving and be bold in choosing different colors and materials which allows each Artisan to flex their creative muscles!

What memorable response have you gotten from your work?

The reaction we get from the Artisans when they know they’re participating in the group project is special. On Monday, we had a Center-wide critique, where we talked about everyone’s finished pieces.  Many, ooh’s and aah’s were heard, from everyone in attendance. We had scarves, bags, towels and wall hangings. Jeannette, a blind Artisan, saw her piece for the first time and said, “Oh, I did that!”

What are you most excited about for this year’s Arts on the Streets?

 As the Executive Director, I’m excited to have been a part of the planning process for Arts on the Streets this year. Last year before I started at the Center, I went  to Art on the Street as  a fact-finding mission/orientation for my new role. This year, it will be a lot of fun to see what’s made after everyone “on the street” participates!

Who are 3 Hartford Artists we should be following?

Three great organizations I’ve been working with lately are: Arts Center East, The New Britain Industrial Museum, who will be holding a fiber display with us next year, and Hartbeat Ensemble!

How do you think the Arts supports health and wellness within the community?

I think it’s important for our community to have an artistic and creative outlet because they’re usually overlooked in their ability to be productive members of society. Plus, weaving and being a part of our program has health benefits of its own. Recent medical studies have shown that social isolation is a physical and mental health risk for aging populations and adults with disabilities. Being able to combine artistic skills and social interaction into our weaving program is a huge benefit to the Artisans in our community. 

 

Join us and The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, Thursday, May 30th at State House Sq. Find out about other local artists and musicians participating in Art on the Streets 2019 here.

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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: Sophie Huget

Imagine the millions of ball bearings that allow countless machinery to run smoothly, or Stanley Black & Decker, the multi-billion dollar corporation with humble beginnings as Stanley Works…where did it all start? New Britain, Connecticut! New Britain Industrial Museum Executive Director Sophie Huget can tell you about the ins and outs of New Britain’s five major industries (electric percolators included), and participants in Make Music Hartford will be able to experience some of the museum’s collection firsthand in the Industrial Music Roadshow! Think STOMP, but on a smaller, more portable scale.

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?
I am a singer, but lately I have been eagerly watching volunteers for the New Britain Industrial Museum create instruments using New Britain-made found objects. 

What do you do other than the arts – professionally? Hobbies?
My hobbies mostly align with my museum career. I co-coordinate Drinking About Museums – Hartford (a fun museum professional networking group), am a part of the Connecticut League of History Organizations, visit as many museums as I can, and go antiquing. Extra-professional hobbies include painting while watching documentaries. 

What drew you to MMH?
Make Music Hartford makes music more accessible and highlights how many different ways there are to be a musician. 

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?
Hartford’s close knit community of makers and thinkers that challenge each other to make positive change is inspirational. Knowing just how many people want to see Hartford succeed makes me want to stay. 

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?
I like 60s Pop and 90s Rock, and will happily listen to anything people are excited to share with me. 

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford:
The food, the parks, and the museums

Fun fact:
I can bake a mean pie. 

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?
I am most excited to see how others use the objects we bring to MMH. 

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford:
Hartford is a beautiful city with dedicated, interesting people. I hope we can keep translating these qualities to people in surrounding communities. 

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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: James Johnson

James Johnson: Builder, Living Space Renovator, Community Organizer, House Music DJ. James’ passion for building that which is both concrete and abstract made him a great fit for our first Make Music Hartford Planning Committee! In addition, he’ll be leading a DJ Showcase on Make Music Day.

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?

I am a House Music DJ.

What do you do other than the arts – professionally? Hobbies?

I am a builder, and Living Space Renovator.

What drew you to MMH?

I love Hartford, and all the diverse artists and artistry that it produces. Amanda Roy understands the need to maintain and nurture these assets, so I want to do what I can to support the movement.

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?

Life drew me here. I grew up between New Jersey & Hartford. I stay here because I get all seasons, I have built a niche customers base of homeowners, business owners, and artists that I collaborate with, and provide services for, and I want to be a part of the process of elevating the arts in Hartford to greater heights.

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?

HOUSE and Hip Hop are my favorite genres of music.

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford

  1. SO many local beers and breweries
  2. There are great clubs, and groups that meet to do good for the community.
  3. Many of my younger artist friends in the Hartford area have videos and albums (this is kinda cool)

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?

I always look forward to playing music for people, but I love to hear how people moved around the city, enjoying various interactions, and productions.

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford:

I want to see more music on the streets throughout the year, and more spaces in the city that give a platform to sound and visual expression.

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