Hartford – The City of Hartford will spend more than $1 million a year for the next three years to fund public arts events – performing arts and visual arts – in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Mayor Luke Bronin.
During a press conference at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park, Bronin and Arts Council CEO Shelley D. Best announced a partnership to spend the money, which is part of the grant from the city of the American bailout, on the Hartford Creates initiative.
Bronin called Hartford Creates a “wider initiative to celebrate the arts in Hartford”.
“These are physical art installations around our city that will beautify our public spaces and create opportunities for Hartford artists to exhibit their work. It’s about doing thoughtful planning that makes effective arts activation possible,” he said.
The city previously announced that Hartford’s ARP total allocation was $112 million, and $5.85 million would be spent on arts and culture initiatives. City spokesman Akash Kaza said Hartford Creates accounts for about 60% of that $5.85 million. Plans to spend the remaining amount will be announced soon, Kaza said.
The first event funded by Hartford Creates will be the addition of an artist, merengue star Raul Acosta, to the Greater Hartford Latino Festival, said Amanda Roy of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. The festival is one of the events in the Summer in the City series. The Greater Hartford Latino Festival takes place on Saturdays from noon to 7 p.m. at Dunkin Donuts Park.
Roy said the Latin festival and the eight other Summer in the City series events will all receive high-profile performers thanks to funding from Hartford Creates.
“These artists will attract more audiences and inspire other musicians and artists to be part of festivals,” she said. She did not reveal the names of the other high-profile artists who will be performing at the other festivals.
Other branches of the Hartford Creates initiative are:
- Public art, focusing on outdoor visual art.
- Neighborhood arts activation, focused on outdoor performing arts.
- All-season event grants, focused on arts events throughout the year, indoors and outdoors.
Artists, artist collaborations, nonprofits and small creative businesses can apply for grants — which Roy said would range from $1,000 to $10,000 — to participate in the initiative.
The application portal for the All-Season Event Grants is open at letsgoarts.org/creates. Roy said these grants are only for nonprofits or small businesses.
The public art and neighborhood arts activation, which is also available to individual artists and artist collaborations, will open after the Arts Council convenes a community panel to advise on “how to set up a coherent plan for public art,” Roy said.
Bronin said developing public art events and projects is a mandatory ingredient in the city’s recovery from the economic downturn of the pandemic.
“We’re a city that punches above our weight when it comes to arts and culture,” Bronin said. “We have so many creators who make art on a daily basis: art, music, dance. This city is so culturally rich, and we want to make sure everyone knows it and everyone shares it.
Best said Hartford Creates aims to elevate the creative economy.
“Our goal is to really elevate the work of artists and create innovative artistic experiences here,” she said. “Our job is to create opportunities for transformative programs that will heal and transform.”
For updates on Hartford Creates, visit letsgoarts.org/creates. For a list of Summer in the City events, visit summerinhartford.com/events.
Susan Dunne can be contacted at [email protected].