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?


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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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: Amanda Roy

We’ve had the honor of collaborating with countless hard-working individuals and organizations this year, and we wanted to take the next few weeks to highlight the work they’ve done not only for MMH, but for the Greater Hartford community as well. In these interviews you’ll learn a little bit about their connection to the arts, why they love Hartford, and what they’re most looking forward to on June 21!

In our first post you’ll learn about Arts Council Community Programs Manager Amanda Roy and how her deep connection to Hartford inspired her to bring this international celebration to the capital city.

photography by Mike Marques

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

What do you do other than music/the arts – professionally? Hobbies?
Professionally I’m the Community Programs Manager at the Greater Hartford Arts Council. I have one of the coolest jobs. Besides being involved in music and other arts, I love adventure and spoiling my dog Rigby. My husband and I are currently working on canoeing in all 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico. We’re doing as much as we can with our own canoe so that means a lot of road trips. After 3 years we’re a quarter of the way done.

What drew you to MMH?
Make Music Day came to me in the fall of 2017. The Make Music Alliance and the CT Office of the Arts pitched the program to regional arts council in CT. I couldn’t turn down coordinating the program in Hartford. Our state, region and capitol city are so rich with musical talent. The possibilities for this program are endless.

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?
There really is so much to do in Hartford. You can find something interesting to see, hear, or experience every day or night of the week. When I moved to Hartford in 2007 I felt an instant connection to the city that hasn’t faded.

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?
Can we consider 90’s music a genre? I’m kind of stuck in a time warp when it comes to music. I primarily listen to alternative rock, hip hop and R&B from the 90’s or jazz.

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford
1. Monday Night Jazz at Black Eyed Sally’s is one of my favorite things to do in Hartford

2. I’m a local beer fan. I love hanging out at Hog River Brewing.

3. The whole arts scene! I’m surrounded by the arts all the time while I’m working, but also when I’m not working. I try to get out there and support local artists as much as I can outside of work too.

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to seeing the entire program come to life. I really love our “Spotlight Events.” These are all participatory activities where musicians and non-musicians can take lessons, play in groups, or sit in for jam sessions. I spend a bunch of time coordinating these with the super talented musicians who lead them. I enjoy seeing how they turn out. This year we have over 20 Spotlight Events including jam sessions, free music lessons, play along events for certain types of musicians. There’s going to be so much going on!  I’m also looking forward to getting behind a drum kit at some point during the day. It’s going to happen. I’m just not sure where yet!

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford
I’d love to see more artists involved in decision making when it comes to planning for public spaces, not just public art. Artists bring different perspectives and problem solving strategies to the table. Their voices are critical in all aspects of community planning.

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Summer in the City Spotlight #3: Puerto Rican Parade & Festival del Coqui

Asopao.  Arroz con gandules y lechon.  Tostones.

Do any of these ring a bell? One of them is the national dish of Puerto Rico; yellow rice and pigeon peas with roasted pork. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, just wait until June 2nd. With one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the country, Hartford is set to be a destination for the Puerto Rican Parade & Festival del Coqui.

The Parade & Festival are organized by the Connecticut Institute for Community Development Puerto Rican Parade Committee (CICD), which is “committed to preserving [Puerto Rican] culture by promoting leadership and education, celebrating traditions and being involved in community service for the Puerto Rican and Hispanic community.” Board President and Vice Chairperson Sammy Vega works with 9 other Board members and 50 volunteers to organize this massive annual undertaking. “The Board is made up of members from the cultural, nonprofit, education, government, and business sectors,” says Vega. “They bring an array of skills, ideas and points of view to the organization, which translates into strategic thinking to propel CICD forward. They are the new generation of leaders who continue to promulgate the work done by many others who came before them.”

The Parade and Festival are indeed not only a celebration of Greater Hartford’s current Puerto Rican population, but also the first generation of immigrants who arrived in Connecticut in the 1840’s. In addition to being cultural and historical in nature, the celebration is also meant to be educational. With the help of national brands like GOYA and Tito’s Handmade Vodka and local partners such as Dressler Law and Access Health CT, CICD and its volunteers are excited to continue showcasing and educating the public about Puerto Rican culture. Asked what his favorite part of the event is, Vega was quick to reply, “seeing people from all nationalities enjoying our beautiful culture, music, food…” That is really what Summer in the City is all about – a celebration of Hartford’s many different cultures.

If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to take part in the Parade (as if asopao, sweet and sticky rice cooked in ginger, milk, coconut milk, raisins and rum isn’t enough of an incentive), CICD has partnered with WTNH News 8 to broadcast the parade live. Festival attendees can also look forward to performances by local and national artists including salsa singer Hector Tricoche, Domenic Marte, and Hartford native Shorty C.

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A Day at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center

Earlier this month, the Greater Hartford Arts Council joined volunteers from United Healthcare at The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center. The Center’s Artisan program is dedicated to teaching the art of weaving to the blind and visually impaired, and anyone 55 and older.

Executive Director Katie Glass led the group of volunteers on a tour of the Weaving Center’s main floor gallery and various work rooms–where staff members assist blind and low-vision artisans craft an array of woven goods. More experienced artisans work independently at looms spread throughout a designated studio space. The volunteers also got a firsthand look at various hand-woven scarves, blankets, and stuffed monsters made in-house and available for purchase in the gallery room.

“Our Sewing Room is where we do all of our own finishing twisting of our scarves, hemming, creating our bags, [stuffed] monsters, etc.” Katie mentioned.

On the Weaving Center’s second floor, Katie led the group through a layout of newly renovated classrooms, one of which was completed as recently as January. Further down the hall, the group toured the Fiber Room, where all donated fiber is organized and stored by the Weaving Centers’ creative director and volunteers. Various parts of the upper floor were still undergoing renovations, and Katie expects to have a newly renovated classroom in the near future. 

After the tour, Katie and the volunteers circled back to the sewing room, where they unraveled the seams on donated neckties and prepared hand-spun fiber to be used by the Center in future projects. In fact, the fabric from the neckties will be used in an upcoming Open House and Community Project at the Center on Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“This isn’t just an average arts center. Stephen Farrell, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New England says in a shared post via LinkedIn. “The work they do is truly outstanding.”

After a long day of honest work, easy conversation, and meaningful connections, Katie expressed gratitude to United Healthcare for funding the Weaving Center’s center-wide project: “The center-wide project allows all of our artisans to be involved in one central project, showcasing each artisan’s unique skills. This year’s theme is ‘Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving.’”

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center provides a safe place to escape the hardships and isolation often faced by the blind and visually impaired. They also offer year-round classes for all ages. Proceeds from these classes help support their Artisan program. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome, and tours of the Weaving Center and shop are offered Monday through Friday, year-round.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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