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Faces of #MakeMusicHartford: CO:LAB

Hartford is full of individuals who have their hands in many pots – Rich Hollant and Zoe Chatfield of CO:LAB are just a couple of them.

Almost immediately upon moving their brand communications firm from a Parkville loft to the former Goodwin branch of the Hartford Public Library, they opened Free Center, an event space housed within CO:LAB that they open up for community-driven events. One of these events just happens to be Make Music Hartford, where they’ll be acting as the South End Music Hub from 11am-5pm. Inside the space, visitors will be able to view the PRIDE Community Art Exhibition. Additionally, the Hartford Public Library bookmobile will be parked outside from 12-3pm.

photography: Mike Marques

What is your instrument(s)? If not a singer/musician, what is your connection to the arts?
Rich – I play mostly guitar (and other string instruments) and write music. I song well enough for folk music. I’m also the Chair of the Commission on Cultural Affairs.

Zoë – I sing in two groups – You’re Not Listening! Brass Band and Bandshes. I’ve also just grown up with the arts being a central part of my life. Both my parents are artists (my mother is a visual artist and my father is a musician) and have made livings at different points of their lives teaching their craft as well as selling artwork/playing gigs.


What do you do other than the arts – professionally? Hobbies?
R: Professionally, I run a brand communications firm, CO:LAB, that works on community impact. I have a lot of hobbies… the one I’m thinking of now is I’m a photographer… though I guess I do that professionally as I am about to have my first museum exhibition.

Z: Besides music and work for CO:LAB and Free Center, I enjoy writing (songs, prose, poetry, creative nonfiction, and have started to try my hand at screenwriting). I’m also currently working on a graduate certificate in GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

 

What drew you to MMH?
The Hartford area has so many talented people. We love supporting events that highlight local talent and also encourage people who may not consider themselves musical to appreciate and participate in music.

What drew you to Hartford and what is making you stay?
R: When my first kid was born, we lived at the edge of the world… in an urban frontier neighborhood in Boston. We came to the Hartford area because it’s super safe and has a great quality of life. I’m still here because, through active participation, the folks I’ve met here have made a place for me… told me I belong and I matter. Gosh—that’s all you can ever wanted from a place, isn’t it?

Z: I have family connections to Hartford (my parents met at Hartford High; my grandmother and father both still live in the city), and have spent my youngest years, high school years, and college breaks here. After I graduated, I applied to jobs all over, with the idea in my head that I’d work somewhere else for a while and eventually end up back in Hartford because it’s my home base. I ended up getting a job here though and don’t see myself leaving any time soon. I’m happy with the work we’re doing and love the community I have here.

 

What is your favorite genre(s) of music?
Z: I don’t know what I’d consider my favorite genre but I go through phases of listening to certain types of music, specific artists, or eras of genres. Right now, I’m really enjoying 60’s/70’s (and some 80’s) rock (like the Velvet Underground, the Zombies, etc). Although, a month ago, I was really enjoying Janelle Monae and Ariana Grande’s new albums.

R: God! Don’t do this to me. I listen to what Zoë doesn’t listen to. Then, I fully expect we’ll just switch.

 

Top 3 favorite things about Hartford
First, the people. Hartford is full of people who are passionate about the work they do and the city they live in. There are so many people in this City that inspire us to keep growing and learning. Second, there are so many beautiful things in such a small city – like the parks and the Wadsworth; it’s pretty amazing how many historic and public attractions we have access to in Hartford. Third, the Hartford area has some pretty great food. Very rarely are either of us disappointed by the restaurants around here.

 

Fun fact
We’re not as tall as we appear in pictures.

What part of MMH are you most looking forward to:
We’re looking forward to being a hub. We’re working on getting other things to our space during our music hours so that there’s multiple things to bring people in and for them to enjoy. We’ve already confirmed the Hartford Public Library Bookmobile to stop by for a few hours, and will have a community art exhibit celebrating Pride month on display as well.

 

Hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford
You know… the hopes/dreams/wishes for Hartford don’t belong to us. We have intentionally put ourselves in the position of supporting the hopes/dreams/wishes of the vibrant, engaged, talented people here.

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