Dan Deutsch

Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Builds Community and Creativity, Stitch by Stitch

Tucked away next to Grace Lutheran Church on Woodland St, the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is led by Executive Director Katie Glass along with a handful of part-time staff and a team of about 30 volunteers. Glass recently joined the ranks at the Center with as much curiosity and excitement as a kid in a candy store, and you can hear it in her voice. “Soup to nuts, it’s a team thing,” Glass says. “I’ve never felt more kindness or support [in a workplace]…people help each other start to finish.”

In fact the Center, entering its 10th anniversary year after moving from Oak Hill, is a candy store in its own way. Enter the gate and walk up the stairs, and one of the first things you see is a community weaving project the Center brought to downtown Hartford for Art on the Streets. The Center itself is full of life and color – artisans and volunteers alike can be seen at their looms, with a patient, focused, yet light-hearted attitude towards their craft. How can you frown when you see brightly colored scarves, rugs, shawls, wall-hangings, and pillows in progress all around you?

Every year, the Center presents an exhibit of their artisans’ work on the third floor of the Hartford Public Library. This year, “Block by Design” explores the endless designs one can weave using the basic unit of a block pattern. The artistic force behind every stitch is Creative Director Fran Curran, who not only conceptualizes the colors and patterns, but she also personalizes each design to every artisan. At most looms you will see a piece of paper with a set of numbers in a specific order; that is weavers’ code. For the artisans who are 55 and older, they will use the code as a visual guide. For the artisans who are visually impaired or blind, they might listen to the numerical pattern on headphones, translate it to braille, or even memorize it!

When you visit the exhibit at the Library, the finished products are truly works of art. On the surface they clearly have an aesthetic and textural beauty, but the benefits of weaving go beyond the aesthetic. The art of weaving is multidisciplinary to the core. It combines math and art, and the act of weaving increases artisans’ opportunity for creativity, builds community, and helps build synapse connections in the brain. Glass added that doing things with one’s hands helps lessen anxiety. One of the artisans, Joanna, said it best: “You have to be very present…you can’t miss a stitch because you’re thinking about what you have to get for your groceries.”

“Block by Design” is on view at the Hartford Public Library through September 29, and you are invited to meet the artisans at the gallery on Monday, August 13 at 10:30AM.

Mark your calendars – their annual open house and sale is November 10-11 from 10:00AM to 5:00PM at 42 Woodland St! Visit www.weavingcenter.org for more information.

Supporting organizations like Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is part of our mission to improve lives and transform communities through the arts. Your support for the Greater Hartford Arts council helps us make it possible.

– Dan Deutsch, Marketing & Communications Manager
GHAC

Read more

Open Studio Hartford, Hartford Harvest Market Receive Funding through Hartford Events Grants Program

Hartford, CT (October 27, 2017) — The Greater Hartford Arts Council is proud to award funding to 15 Hartford events taking place between October 2017 — March 2018 through its Hartford Events Grants program. These grants support free, family-friendly concerts, festivals and exhibits that draw community engagement and showcase Hartford’s cultural vibrancy. Hartford Events Grants are supported by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“Hartford Events Grants make possible dozens of free community-wide events in our capital city,” says Cathy Malloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. “These events showcase the creativity, innovation and cultural diversity that make our community such an exciting place to live, work and visit.”

Recent events supported by Hartford Events Grants include Night Fall and Eversource Hartford Marathon. The following events will take place in November through the end of the year:

Open Studio Hartford — November 11–12, 2017

Presented by Artists in Real Time, Open Studio Hartford is a free, city-wide event and is the largest collaboration of artists, arts organizations, and events in the capital city.

7th Annual Hartford Harvest Market — November 18, 2017

Hosted by Knox, Inc., the 7th annual Hartford Harvest Market will collaborate with local organizations, artists, community leaders, farmers, vendors, and community gardeners to produce a full day of family fun. Activities include live musical performances, local environmental art, crafts, Hartford-grown produce, and story hour for the children.

A Kwanzaa Celebration — December 16, 2017

A Kwanzaa Celebration at the Artists Collective is a free event that exposes a broad community to the African-American traditions of Kwanzaa through music, dance, and a key-note speaker.

For a full list of the 2017 Hartford Events Grants award recipients, please visit LetsGoArts.org/HartfordEventsGrants.

About the Greater Hartford Arts Council

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. To learn more about Arts Council programs and services, as well as our United Arts Campaign, visit LetsGoArts.org or follow us @letsgoarts_org on Twitter.

Read more

5 Ways To Get Involved On #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday, a global day of giving back following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, returns on November 28 and the Arts Council needs YOUR help!  Here’s how you can get involved and make a difference this #GivingTuesday:

  1. Donate to the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Your contribution provides critical support to more than 150 local arts organizations, helping to foster diversity and equal access to the arts for all people. Give directly at LetsGoArts.org/SeasonOfGiving.
  2. Attend our Yoga & Mandalas workshop on #GivingTuesday, hosted by our partner Starr Yoga West Hartford, to experience the benefits of art on mental and physical health. All proceeds from the event benefit the Arts Council. Spots are still available, but not for long – RSVP at LetsGoArts.org/Create!
  3. Share your #MyGivingStory on our blog! Have you supported the arts  over the past year? We’d love to hear why the arts matter to you! Snap an #UNSelfie to social media or write a guest post for our blog on the importance of the arts. Download the #UNselfie sheet below and fill out:
  1. Host a Facebook Fundraiser! The best fundraisers are shared between friends. Harness the power of your social networks and raise money for the Arts Council on #GivingTuesday by hosting your own fundraiser on Facebook. Click here to get started.
  2. Spread the word! “Donate” your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post on #GivingTuesday to inspire your audience to give give back to our community and support the arts.

We appreciate your support! No matter how you show your support, you’re helping to improve lives and transform our community through the arts, right here in Greater Hartford!

Read more

Local Arts Centers Receive Funding for Employment Opportunities, Community Projects

Hartford, CT (October 3, 2017) — The Greater Hartford Arts Council is proud to award funding to four community arts centers in the greater Hartford region through the Arts Center Catalyst program. The recipients include: Art League of New Britain, Farmington Valley Arts Center, Southington Community Cultural Arts, and Windsor Art Center. These funds, which are being awarded following the completion of a 1 year organizational goal setting and professional development program for art center leaders provided by the Arts Council, will support general operating, employment, and capacity-building projects that achieve organizational goals.

“We recognize the important impact of community arts centers in improving quality of life for residents in our region,” says Cathy Malloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. “These organizations are gathering points for each of their communities where children take dance lessons, seniors enjoy a variety of art classes, and all people come together to express their creativity. Both the professional development and the unrestricted funding our Catalyst program is providing will help these organizations best serve their communities.

Here are the project goals for each of the recipients:

Art League of New Britain

Art League of New Britain will launch a new discussion series with the help of Business Volunteers for the Arts consultant, Stephanie Glasgow of Day Pitney. The series will connect the theme of each visual art exhibition to a salon-style discussion of relevant current events and/or live performance.

Farmington Valley Arts Center

Farmington Valley Arts Center will hire a social media consultant to assist with marketing efforts to help them reach new audiences. They will also expand their gallery programming to include a full array of artistic experiences such as storytelling, hands-on workshops, and demonstrations.

Southington Community Cultural Arts

Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA) will use funding to employ a part-time assistant at the center to support the Executive Director with developing a donor appreciation program, volunteer coordination, and expansion of the All Access Program.

Windsor Art Center

Windsor Art Center will hire consultants to assist with building a database to grow, audience, revenue and members, as well as strengthening their social media presence.

Read more