The Connecticut Office of the Arts animates a culture of creativity across Connecticut by supporting arts making and
arts participation for all people.
"A hero is someone has been given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell, American professor, writer and orator
We would like to acknowledge the nine (9) individuals who were recognized as a 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero. The Connecticut Arts Hero Awards honor Connecticut residents who are doing extraordinary things in, for or through the arts. These special Heroes were selected from over 160 nominations from all across Connecticut!

The 2018 Connecticut Arts Heroes are ( from left to right in above photo ):

  • Kim Stroud of Madison. Kim is a dancer, dance teacher and the Director of the Arts at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
  • Shanna Melton of Bridgeport. Shanna is a poet, curator and leader of the Writer's Group based in the City Light's Art Gallery in Bridgeport.
  • Calida Jones of Hartford. Calida a violinist, a violin teacher and the Artistic Director of Bravo Waterbury! at the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.
  • Dr. Jose Gonzalez of Quaker Hill. Jose is a poet, writer and Professor of English at the US Coast Guard Academy.
  • Mark Aldrich of Newtown. Mark is the Founder of THE GARNER PLAYERS, a playwriting/performance program at Garner Correctional Institute. He produces plays written and performed by inmates through the Theatre Arts & Opportunities Foundation and volunteers at the Alternatives to Violence Project at McDougall, Cheshire and Garner Correctional Institutions.
  • Leslie Elias of West Cornwall. Leslie is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children's Theatre, as well as a published playwright, director, actress, storyteller and teaching artist.
  • Elizabeth Morgan of Middletown. Elizabeth is a youth advocate and a former board member of Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown, where she also served as the volunteer Executive Director. 
  • Mohamad Hafez of New Haven. Mohamed is a Syrian-born artist, architect and Co-Founder of UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage, a multi-media installation that seeks to humanize the word "refugee".
  • Kristina Newman-Scott, Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Although she is an arts hero in many ways, Kristina is not a 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero. She presented each Hero with their award.
  • Kerri Quirk of Willimantic, with her escort Tom Menard. Kerri is a visual artist and a person with autism who is deaf. Kerri's art is her voice.

Congratulations to the 2018 Connecticut Arts Heroes and THANK YOU for inspiring others with your actions and through the power of the arts.
Judy Dworin , Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the Judy Dworin Performance Project (JDPP), was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Office of the Arts on April 25, 2018 as part of Connecticut Arts Day 2018.

Judy founded the Judy Dworin Performance Project in 1989 based on a commitment to the important role the arts can and do play in challenging and creating change. Judy was honored for her inspiring and innovative work on stage, in schools, in prisons and in the community that raises awareness about social issues and creates positive change through creative expression.

Judy was presented with a custom hand-blown piece by glass artist Peter Greenwood .

Learn more about Judy and the JDPP here .
Connecticut’s Poetry Out Loud state finals took place at Manchester Community College on Saturday, March 3 rd with 33 students competing from high schools across the State of Connecticut.

Audrey Molina from West Hill High School in Stamford was named the 2018 Poetry Out Loud State Champion, and Jasmine Kabira from Farmington High School was titled runner up.

This year, 5,542 Connecticut students and nearly 100 teachers and school librarians participated and executed Poetry Out Loud activities in their classrooms.

We are extremely proud of all the students and thankful for the teachers and librarians who participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud program! 
Above, from left to right : COA's Adriane Jefferson, 2018 State Champion Audrey Molina, 2018 Runner-up Jasmine Kabira, COA's Bonnie Koba.

Right: Farmington High School Student, Jasmine Kabira, represented Connecticut at Poetry Out Loud Nationals in Washington D.C. from April 23 - 25th.

Make Music Day is coming to Connecticut on Thursday, June 21, 2018! Across the state, musicians of every kind will take to streets, parks, plazas and neighborhood porches to celebrating the art of making music!

Artists of all ages and genres, amateur and professional alike are invited to sign up to perform in public spaces throughout the state. Everyone is welcome, and we mean everyone! If you’ve never touched an instrument before, our twelve regional organizers will have free music lessons and special hands-on music making opportunities.

And if you have a location to offer — a storefront, park, porch, or sidewalk — we invite you to sign up to host musicians on June 21. 

Just click on your local celebration to get started: Bridgeport , Fairfield , Hartford , Middletown , Milford , New Haven , Northeast CT , Northwest CT , Southeastern CT , Stamford , Stratford , Waterbury

A webinar focused on the FY2019 Artist Fellowship program w ill take place on Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm. A maximum of 100 attendees may join the live webinar so  REGISTER NOW ! The webinar will be recorded, archived and made available for those unable to join the live webinar.

The  Artist Fellowship program  encourages the continuing development of Connecticut artists.  The program provides competitive Artistic Excellence grants of $5,000; Artist Fellowship grants of $3,000; and Emerging Recognition grants of $1,000. The funding provides an opportunity for artists to pursue new work and achieve specific creative and career goals.

Over 400 people celebrated Connecticut's investment in and support of the arts at Connecticut Arts Day 2018 held on April 25, 2018 in Hartford!

The day included special performances, panel discussions, the Connecticut Arts Hero Awards and the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Judy Dworin, founder of The Judy Dworin Performance Project!

Photos were captured by Nick Cinea and Nild Sansone and Anthony Valentine of Kulture Magazine each produced a video about the day!

You are welcome to share these photos and videos in publications or on social media sites, however, please give credit to these amazingly talented individuals!

Watch the video produced by Nild Sansone!
View the gallery of photographs by Nick Cinea HERE!
Watch the video produced by Anthony Valentine HERE!

We hope to see you at Connecticut Arts Day 2019!

The Connecticut Art Education Association (CAEA) honored COA's Arts in Education Program Manager Bonnie Koba with their 2018 Distinguished Art Advocate Award at the 2018 Outstanding Art Educator Awards ceremony on May 6, 2018.

CAEA's Distinguished Arts Advocate award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions in art education advocacy and is presented to individuals who work to support and improve art education and create a lasting impression on the future through visual arts education. 

Bonnie has served as the Director of the Higher Order Thinking Schools program since 2005, a program she has been involved since 1995.

Bonnie was honored along with Amy Goldbas who has served as the Associate Director for Program Design for the HOT Schools program. The Connecticut Office of the Arts has invested in the HOT Schools program for over 25 years, with Bonnie and Amy being involved in the program since its inception.

Award recipients were asked to share what the arts and arts education mean to them. You can watch Bonnie answer this question in this video .

In recognition of her extraordinary leadership in the arts locally and nationally, Kristina Newman-Scott, will be presented with the Selina Roberts Ottum Award, the highest honor in the field of local arts agencies.

The Selina Roberts Ottum Award is presented jointly by Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and is presented annually as part of the Americans for the Arts' Leadership Awards.

The Selina Roberts Ottum Award will be presented to Kristina at the Americans for the Arts' 2018 Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, June 16, 2018.

The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts celebrated its Class of 2018 on May 11 on its campus in Old Lyme. Kristina Newman-Scott, Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of the Art s, delivered the commencement address. In addition to her commencement speech, Kristina was awarded an honorary degree for her contributions to the fields of arts and culture in the State of Connecticut and nationally.

“We are honored to have such a distinguished guest as Ms. Newman-Scott. She has made remarkable contributions to the state and the art world more broadly as a powerful advocate with an authentic voice that is experienced, passionate, and creative. The students and the entire campus community are so pleased that she will be joining us on this special day. These graduates are remarkable. They represent diverse interests and exceptionally creative minds. We know they will make significant contributions to the arts, the creative economy, and society, as a whole.” - Todd Jokl, Campus Dean and Associate Professor, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

Congratulations, Kristina! And congratulations to the twenty-two (22) students who received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that day!
ART IN PUBLIC SPACES - Undertow by Robert Gregson
Connecticut's Art in Public Spaces (AIPS) program was established in 1978 and requires that not less than 1% of the cost of construction or renovation of a publicly accessible state building be allocated for the commission or purchase of artwork for the building. Connecticut has nearly 400 works of public art representing a wide variety of media, including sculpture, wall relief, environmental installation, painting, photography and more.

The most recent installation, Undertow by Connecticut artist Robert Gregson, took place at Gateway Community College in New Haven.
Undertow (seen above) was installed above the security desk at the Church Street main entrance. The piece is constructed of poplar with acrylic paint and is approximately 13’ wide x 7’6” high x 6” deep. Undertow includes two overlapping grids with one solid panel. The grids are painted to create various visual movements throughout the piece. The work is an extension of more interactive situations and installations and invites visual participation in the form of intellectual games and architectural abstractions. The overlapping grids create a sense of movement that activates the space and creates the sense of a refreshed and ever-changing installation. 

Just a reminder that it is GRANT TIME! We are currently accepting applications for our FY2019 grant programs:

  • Regional Initiative grants provide funding for small community arts-based projects.
  • Arts Project grants provide funding for arts-based projects of artistic excellence that engage at least one (1) Connecticut artist in a significant role.
  • Arts Learning grants support opportunities that seek to connect PK-12 schools and citizens with arts experience(s) in Connecticut.
  • Supporting Arts grants provide general operating support to Connecticut arts organizations and municipal art departments.
Please join us this Memorial Day in remembering the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. May their sacrifice be a constant reminder of things that matter.

Tamara Dimitri
Lourdes "Lu" Rivera
Kristina Newman-Scott
Adriane Jefferson
Bonnie Koba
Rhonda Olisky
Jane Schneider (missing from photo)