We’re always trying to find a new way to engage people with the arts, and this year we’re piloting a number of new projects and programs designed to encourage people to get out and do something artistic (to take pART, if you will). Last Saturday, just days after Big Red for the Arts, we launched a new initiative: Arts Day 2012.
Working with some of the local communities and municipalities in our 34-town service area, we declared Saturday, February 11, 2012 “Arts Day” in Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Simsbury and West Hartford. Each of the town’s mayors and first selectmen issued an official proclamation (see below) confirming their town’s commitment to the arts.
Arts Day also served as the kick-off of a really cool new public art project that we’ll be running through the spring in each of our 34 towns. Using supplies donated from Bic and Jerry’s Artarama in West Hartford, we’re asking each town to create a mural “mosaic” made up of index cards designed by members of the community. Each index card should represent arts, culture and heritage in each town.
Cathy and a few of the staff (myself included) visited Simsbury and New Britain, where each town was hosting its own “Arts Day” event to jump-start the mural project. Special thanks to First Selectman Mary Glassman of Simsbury and Tim O’Brien, Mayor of New Britain, for welcoming us and reading aloud their proclamations—a public statement in support of our arts community. Our “Arts Day” backdrop in Simsbury was the children’s section of the local library, and dozens of kids from all over town joined Mary and Cathy in designing their own piece of the mural. In New Britain, we visited the downtown gallery/visitor’s center and met many of the local artists who live and work in special studios in the heart of the city. We got to browse and buy their hand-crafted pieces and join them in starting the mosaic project in New Britain.
And this is just the beginning! Lauren Miller, Director of Cultural Advancement, and I will be reaching out to each community as they start their own murals, and posting pictures and stories here as the public art project evolves.
Take a look at pictures from the event, all courtesy Roger Castonguay of The Defining Photo: