Dan Deutsch

Summer in the City Spotlight #2: Greater Hartford Latino Festival

Summer in the City may have seen a little rain in 2018, but one thing is for sure – Hartford knows how to bring the heat. You’ll find a particular explosion of Latin American culture with the Greater Hartford Latino Festival at The Church of the Good Shepherd on Wyllys Street this year on June 22 – with an old school “show-mobile” stage and all.

The Festival’s mission is to provide the Hartford community with an opportunity to experience traditional and contemporary Latin American culture through the presentation of performing arts. The Festival is led by Victor Luna, a community organizer well known throughout the community. Luna’s favorite aspect of the day is the community. “People who haven’t seen each other in years will run into each other and catch up, like old times.” However, the festival is not just about the heritage. “It’s not all just Latinos,” Luna says. “Everyone wants to be a part of our event, in any way they can.”

Luna’s company, Luna Productions, helps out with local events throughout the year like toy giveaways and Three Kings Day celebrations. The Greater Hartford Latino Festival is in its 5th year, and Luna promises crowds can look forward to the same excellent food and entertainment they’ve come to love.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Summer In The City Spotlight #1: Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz 2018

Charles Christie, lead organizer of the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, has had a lifelong passion for Hartford, family and music. In 1996, he was invited by the board to build the presence of the festival, so he began by incorporating arts and crafts vendors to attract more visitors. Almost 20 food vendors and almost 60 Arts & Craft, Health & Human, and Services vendors set up shop on the Bushnell Park lawn every summer for three days in July.

“The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is now woven into the fabric of the city.”

Christie is part of a 12-member team that creates this widely renowned “destination event,” as people fly in from around the country to participate in celebrating all things Jazz. On the more local spectrum, residents from the capital region have been known to block the weekend off as a “stay-cation” to make sure they grab a spot at the park, before the thousands of yearly visitors arrive. “Some Hartford families, schools, and businesses even use our event as a place to host their class reunions,” remarked Christie. “The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is now woven into the fabric of the city.”

The theme of this year’s Festival is “A Mixed Bag of Jazz.” The event will feature performances of styles including New Orleans, Smooth and Contemporary, Latin, and ‘Straight Ahead.’ A personal highlight of Christie’s will be trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis’s headlining appearance on Friday, July 19. Other performers include The Funky Dawgz Brass Band, Rohn Lawrence, Jazmin Ghent, Julian Vaughn, Braxton Brothers, Studio 860/SideStreet Dancers, Personal Touch, Zaccai Curtis, Steve Clark, Jonathan Barber, and Nat Reeves.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz 2018

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz certainly has come along way since its roots, having started literally on the back of a pick-up truck. “Being able to see all the hard work come to life in Bushnell Park is wonderful,” Christie added. “I enjoy when I can walk through the park and see the smiles, creative set-ups and be able to listen to the sounds transcend throughout the park for everyone to hear. It feels good…this is a feel-good event we are proud of.”

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will take place in Bushnell Park from July 19 through July 21. More information about the festival can be found on their website. Summer in the City, which is made possible by United Technologies, is a program of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, in partnership with the City of Hartford.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Hartford Events Grant 2019 Awards

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is proud to award funding to 14 Greater Hartford organizations through the spring Hartford Events Grant program, which is made possible by support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Recognizing the value that the arts bring communities, this program funds events that honor culture and traditions, build community, energize neighborhoods and support local businesses.

“We have seen the impact arts and cultural events have on communities time and time again,” said Cathy Malloy, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. “Beyond entertaining and educating, the events that will receive this funding help spark conversations, bring people together and ultimately, help strengthen our community.”

A panel of community volunteers evaluated proposals based on the artistic focus of the event as well as its alignment with the Arts Council’s community impact goals. Three of the 14 grantees and their projects are listed below.

HartBeat Ensemble
Pegao – April 11-24, 2019
Award: $5,000
HartBeat Ensemble will present an original bilingual performance of Pegao, a story of a 70s-era Puerto Rican family struggling with identity, mainland loyalty and female sterilization. The performance will be held at the Carriage House Theater.

Hartbeat Ensemble’s “Gross Domestic Product”

Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra (HICO)
Hartt Connections – April 4, 2019
Award: $4,000
HICO will perform a concert of works by faculty and alumni at The Hartt’s Millard Auditorium on April 4, 2019. This concert is, in part, a celebration of the life and music of the late Hartt composition professor David Macbride.

Out Film CT
32nd Connecticut LGBT Film Festival – May 31 – June 8, 2019
Award: $5,000
The 32nd annual Connecticut LGBT Film Festival brings together the LGBTQ community, their allies and independent film lovers from around New England to Hartford to view up to 60 LGBTQ features, documentaries, and short films.

Hartford Events Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis. To learn more about the Arts Council’s Hartford Events Grant program and see a full list of recipients, please visit LetsGoArts.org/HEG.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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ART of Health Grant Program to Raise Awareness of Community Health Issues

The Greater Hartford Arts Council launched the ART of Health Grant program, which funds programs that are using the arts to raise awareness of the complex societal, environmental and personal factors that impact health and well-being. This program is made possible by a grant from the Cigna Foundation.

Rather than focus on cultivating health as primarily an individual and personal pursuit (promoting healthy lifestyles and exercising, for example), funded programs will acknowledge the inter-relatedness of the personal and societal dimensions of health an embrace the notion that participation in artistic activity itself can be a pathway to healthier living.

“The Cigna Foundation is pleased to support an imaginative, uplifting, arts-focused preventative health program that will engage the community in cultivating a culture of health, and which recognizes that health can be impacted by the joy of artistic endeavors,” said Susan Stith, Executive Director, Cigna Foundation.

Organizations that are funded through the program will serve the Greater Hartford community, with priority given to organizations serving economically challenged populations in cities such as Hartford, East Hartford or New Britain. A call for letters of intent is now underway. Details can be found on our website at LetsGoArts.org/ArtofHealth. Grant recipients from this pilot initiative will be announced in July 2019. The ART of Health program was also picked up in the Hartford Courant.

For additional information about our granting programs, visit LetsGoArts.org/Grant-Programs.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Greater Hartford Arts Council Amplifies Travelers’ Impact on the Arts

The Greater Hartford Arts Council, in partnership with Travelers, has created the Travelers Arts Impact Grant Program to deepen and strengthen the company’s community investments in the arts and culture sector. Through this new program, the Arts Council will allocate grants provided by the Travelers Foundation to organizations in the city of Hartford that provide education related to the arts, develop multicultural understanding and enhance the community.

 “The arts help to create vibrant communities, enhance academic success and form new cultural connections,” says Erin Haberman, Director of Community Relations at Travelers and Senior Program Officer for the Travelers Foundation. “The Arts Council has an extensive track record of supporting relevant nonprofits in the Hartford region, and this relationship will enable us to reach more people through the arts and make an even greater impact in the community.”

This new program is aimed at creating a culturally enriched community, which is a key focus for Travelers and the Arts Council. The first set of grants, which are by invitation only for the first year of this initiative, will be announced in March 2019. The Travelers Arts Impact Grant Program follows other recent corporate partnership expansions for the Arts Council, including the Summer in the City program with United Technologies, the Arts + Wellness Grant Program made possible by UnitedHealthcare and a summer event series sponsorship with Stanley Black & Decker. Additional corporate partnerships are being planned and will be announced in the coming months.

For additional information about the Arts Council’s granting programs, visit LetsGoArts.org/Grants. To learn more about Travelers’ community support, visit Travelers.com/Community.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council helps to improve lives and transform communities through the arts. We inspire all people to participate and invest in the arts in their region, so that together, we can create a thriving, vibrant community that is united by art.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Charter Grant 2019 Awards

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is proud to award funding to 21 arts and cultural organizations through its signature Charter Grant program, which provides unrestricted funding to arts and cultural organizations to help address their most critical needs. We are excited to welcome four new organizations into the program: Cuatro Puntos, Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, Queen Ann Nzinga Center, and Spectrum in Motion.

A performance of “Music from the African Diaspora” at Queen Ann Nzinga Center

Cuatro Puntos is dedicated to intercultural dialogue and universal access through the performance, writing, and teaching of music. One of their programs, Music Moves Hartford “Downtown Singers,” gives those who have experienced homelessness and hunger the opportunity to come together in song and use music for means greater than itself.

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center preserves, promotes, and teaches the craft of hand-weaving. In addition to teaching classes for all ages, curating exhibits and running sales, they also run an artisan program for the blind and visually impaired, and anyone 55 and older. The Weaving Center provides a safe space to escape the isolation common to people in their circumstances; they become valuable members of the artisan community where they are supported artistically and spiritually.

The Queen Ann Nzinga Center provides children with opportunities to connect within a community of peers and mentors, discover and hone their individual talents, succeed in a collaborative environment, and celebrate diversity. They promote family and community by honoring culture and tradition through the arts.

Spectrum in Motion is a contemporary dance theater ensemble dedicated to sharing the American Experience. They also provide dance education for Hartford’s children and young adults, beginning at age 4. Spectrum in Motion uses music and dance to tell stories, transcending the barriers that divide us: race, language, gender, economics, and “neighborhood.”

Spectrum In Motion at Charter Oak Cultural Center

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and those who support the United Arts Campaign,” says Dayna Snell, executive director of the Queen Ann Nzinga Center. “This grant will help us continue to serve young people of all races and abilities, helping build self-esteem, enhance life skills and foster creativity in a positive environment.”

Charter Grants are reviewed by panels comprised of Arts Council Board members and peers from the non-profit and arts fields. Their recommendations are reviewed by the Arts Council’s Board of Directors for final approval. Interested in serving on a Grant Review panel? Apply by January 31!

An artisan weaves at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center

Learn more about the Charter Grant program and check out a full list of recipients here.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Make Music Winter

(photo: Nick Caito)

The weather outside was a little frightful, but the small and mighty crowds that gathered for our CityPlace Caroling and Winter Solstice Jazz Trail kept up the holiday cheer!

As the windy rain toppled umbrellas on an unseasonably warm Winter Solstice, The Music Moves Hartford Downtown Singers filled the CityPlace Lobby with song as they sang a 20 minute set of carols and other classics with a few members of local favorites, the Hartford Hot Several Brass Band. The contingent of almost 30 musicians/singers as well as passersby also had the opportunity to enjoy hot chocolate, generously provided by United Healthcare.

It wasn’t long before City Steam Brewery, the first stop on the Winter Solstice Jazz Trail, was alive with the contemporary stylings of jazz guitarist Dan Liparini along with drummer Kirk Woodard and bassist Matt Dwonszyk completing the trio! Chango Rosa Tacos was the perfect venue for Damian Curtis’s Latin Jazz Quartet with Dwonszyk (who would also later reappear with Sarah Hanahan’s quartet), trombonist Emmett Goods, and percussionist Nelson Bello. The third stop, Rocking Horse Saloon, familiar with country music fans, was host to pianist Andrew Wilcox, bassist Conway Campbell Jr. and Woodard returned on the drums for his second out of three stops. Saxophonist Peter Greenfogel led his own quartet at The Russian Lady for a steadily growing crowd of about 40 people with Wilcox, Campbell Jr., and drummer Jimmy Gavagan. Dwonsyzk and Woodard converged yet again for the fifth and final stop to join the Sarah Hanahan Quintet, complete with Hanahan on saxophone, Brian Simontacchi on trombone, and Mike Carabello on keyboard. Hanahan’s set capped off the Jazz Trail in a meaningful way as a nod to her alto sax idol, Jackie McLean, who founded the institute of the same name at the Hartt School of Music where a number of the night’s performers got an education.

The Arts Council would like to thank all of the musicians, venues, collaborators, and attendees for participating, and we’re already excited for June 21! Special thanks to Maurice D. Robertson and Nick Caito for their photography.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

(photo: Maurice D. Robertson)
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Why We Give to the Arts

#GivingTuesday kicks off our 2018 Season of Giving fundraiser, “Why We Give to the Arts!” Our fundraising goal is $2018 and it will run until the end of the year.

The arts bring communities together, enable us to take risks, and give people a voice. The Greater Hartford Region is rich with arts and culture. From classes at your local arts center to visiting a museum, from theatrical performances to rehabilitative dance and movement, the arts give us a way to celebrate our present, honor the past, and dream of the future.

We celebrated #GivingTuesday by partnering up with Pietro’s Pizza on #garlicknotsforgood, where we invited the public into The Art Room at 100 Pearl to share why they give to the arts. In exchange, they got to grab a slice of pizza and some garlic knots! Here are just a few reasons why members of our community give to the arts:

Because we learn by teaching and teach when we learn.

To help Hartford grow into a vibrant scene

Because the arts made me who I am today

Creativity nourishes the individual soul and the spirit of our society

To showcase the multi-dimensional art presence so many overlook in Hartford

Because the arts have the power to bring communities together

Why Do You Give?

Our Facebook Fundraiser is up and running on our page! If you don’t have a Facebook or would rather give through our website, you may do so here.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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Little Theatre of Manchester’s “Kiss Me, Kate” Combines Contemporary and the Classical

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Sam and Bella Spewack

Little Theatre of Manchester
Dates: November 2 – 18, 2018
Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM / Sundays at 2 PM
Ticket Prices: $30 for VIP / $25 for General Seating (Student & Senior Discounts Available)

Kiss Me Kate is an ambitious show, using the play within a play device in a clever and witty way. In this case, the play is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. While this idea is innovative and works well, it also makes for a more elaborate production, what with the large cast, the many costumes from two different periods, and the way Porter’s songs serve both to move the contemporary story along and also to also enhance the Shakespearean scenes.

Pat Sloan, LTM’s Head Costume Designer, has had her challenges in bringing both decades to life. Kiss Me, Kate is set in the 1940s, while the Shakespearean scenes are circa 15th century. She and her team have been working diligently for months—cutting, sewing, collecting, and making costumes (many from scratch) for a cast of 30. The actors have several costume changes for a total of approximately 350 pieces. Pat also must consider historical accuracy, and if movement is required for the scene, the fabric must allow for dance.

Sloan and her team are sticklers for detail. For example, each costume is lined in cotton (to absorb sweat). Attention to each element is paramount, from the embossed roses on Bianca’s Renaissance wedding coat and dress to the two thugs in classic pinstripe suits and spats in the always wonderful number, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

Kiss Me, Kate is an explosion of color and physical activity, highlighted by a magnificent two-story set, and those fabulous costumes. And with that incomparable Cole Porter touch of wit and gorgeous melody that distinguishes his very best work, it’s a show that lives up to its legendary reputation.

LTM.’s production, by the way, precedes the upcoming and eagerly awaited Broadway revival with Kelli O’Hara, expected in early 2019.

Dwayne Harris is the Executive Director of Little Theatre of Manchester, and he can be reached at dharris@cheneyhall.org.

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Where Are They Now Part IV: Art League of New Britain

One of the strengths of the Arts Catalyst program is that it meets people where they are at. All of the participants in the first cohort two years ago had different needs. They all went through the same consulting workshop, developed an innovation goal plan, and worked with Business Volunteers for the Arts. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll see they’ve all benefited from their participation. The fourth and final post in our Where Are They Now series shines the spotlight on Art League of New Britain (ALNB), the oldest organization in Cohort 1, and also the second oldest art league in the country!

From the ALNB Salon event, “At Home Abroad: American Women Artists in Late Nineteenth Century Italy”

During the preliminary consultation, each organization analyzed their Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, and Threats. Board members Christie Ward and Jim Brunelle served as representatives for ALNB, and like other organizations in the cohort, found that their strengths and challenges sometimes overlap. ALNB, founded approximately 90 years ago, is housed in a picturesque carriage house, first owned by local industrialist George Post. However, they struggle with usable space for growth. Ward and Brunelle ultimately settled on the goal to expand ALNB’s offerings by creating special workshops and lectures appealing to a broader and more diverse audience. “Jim and I had a great time during the innovation goal process. As a board, we had often talked about new ideas, but we had never engaged in such a detailed level of imagining and planning,” elaborated Ward.

“We were hoping for a professional who could bring a fresh perspective to the table, and we were not disappointed.”

After creating their innovation goal plan, Ward and Brunelle started working with marketing specialist Stephanie Glasgow of Women’s Health USA. “The BVA pairing was especially exciting for us. We were hoping for a professional who could bring a fresh perspective to the table, and we were not disappointed,” Ward said of Glasgow. “We also felt the process of guided self-reflection would be very valuable to our organization, and it was.” Brunelle added, “our BVA took appropriate time (in a busy schedule) to meet with board members to survey and assess survey responses to membership’s needs.”

From ALNB’s Connecticut Women Writers Panel

One of the major projects Glasgow helped with was a proposal template for ALNB’s Salon Series, a year-long schedule of events focused on thematically connecting visual art exhibits to a lively discussion of relevant current events and/or a live performance. The event template included a project abstract, organizational description and history, program review, event description, project timeline, budget template. Last year, ALNB held five Salon Series events with themes including Utopian/Dystopian literature, “Fake News,” American Women Artists in the 19th Century, Connecticut Women Writers Panel, and Un Año después de Maria, an exhibition and musical event held in conjunction with programming at the New Britain Museum of American Art in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Hurricane Maria disaster in Puerto Rico. “Without Stephanie’s encouragement, we might not have made the leap into this kind of new programming, which has attracted people who have never before visited ALNB,” commented Ward. “We plan to use remaining [Arts Catalyst] funds to offer additional Salon events in 2019.

Since participating in the Arts Catalyst program, ALNB has been able to expand their membership as well as actively promoting their programming. After surviving a flood in their gallery a couple weeks ago that could have seriously damaged an entire exhibition, they’re looking at capital improvements as well. “We are looking forward to improving our building by renovating the stables and expanding our gallery space,” reads a statement from the Board of Directors. “We also hope to hold more art exhibits and more Salon events. We would like to offer more classes and to seek out more opportunities for community engagement.”


Our second cohort of small arts & culture organizations are currently in the midst of the Arts Catalyst program, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results!

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager

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