Wednesday, October 28, 2009

business + arts

(photo by Ishmael Orendain, Flickr Creative Commons)

We received a comment on our past entry from Miz-Eyesis – who says it would be great to have a sort of “networking party” or a place to connect the different artists in the state.

Hartford does have to support these different movements. That will also help sustain the local businesses which need local arts to help survive like bars, restaurants, night clubs and the various concert halls existing in this area.

The city needs to ponder hard on how to move into the 21st century more through the arts. There are so many ways to do it and so many facets from mainstream to underground sounds which should be reflected as art is a reflection on life. And further more it's through these actions which other businesses become more open to working with arts communities and brainstorming happens which can help one benefit the other.

She touches upon a good point here. It’s not just artists we need to focus on in this new “creative economy”. Its businesses – and focusing on the interaction between the two is key. The artists cannot be in one artsy bubble, with the businesspeople in their own, corporate bubble across town. According to “The Rise of the Creative Class” there needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship, each feeding off of one another. (Richard Florida wrote the 2002 book– which I’ll be stealing ideas from periodically.)

So, where in Hartford are businesses and artists working together – where could you see partnerships forming?

In terms of the other idea put forward by Miz-Eyesis, a shift into the 21st century economy, Florida says it’s already taking place:

Human Creativity is the ultimate economic resource. The ability to come up with new ideas and better ways of doing things is ultimately what raises productivity and thus living standards. The great transition from the agricultural to the industrial age was of course based upon natural resources and physical labor power, and ultimately gave rise to giant factory complexes in places like Detroit and Pittsburgh. The transformation now in progress is potentially bigger and more powerful. For the previous shift substituted on set of physical inputs (land and human labor) for another (raw materials and physical labor) while the current one is based fundamentally on human intelligence, knowledge and creativity.

Do you see this shift happening? Where in Hartford is it evident?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bated Breath Integrates Audience into New Project

(image by Ben Gancsos)

Meghan Maguire Dahn, Real Art Ways staff, wrote the following entry about a theatre project set in our neighborhood of Parkville:

On Saturday, October 24, Bated Breath Theatre Company presented a preview of The Parkville Project (debuting Thursday, July 8, 2010). Helene Kvale, the Artistic Director of Bated Breath, worked with a team of actors and creative professionals to create this work – anthropological in scope – about Parkville, its history and communities. The company interviewed local residents, business owners and seniors. Combining original text, movement, puppetry, and projection, the production tells the story of an undocumented worker caught up in an Immigration Customs Enforcement raid in Hartford.

Bated Breath talks about the project as something that “weaves together” diverse sources and stories. This language is particularly apt: the play surrounds you – it wraps you up and implicates you in its action. Audience members were free to move through the space (the preview took place in the club room at Barça in Parkville) as they chose, and for me this meant that I felt more engaged in the process of the performance. I liked this embodiment of the way we create meaning communally.

Real Art Ways and Where We Live are asking us to consider where creativity is located in Hartford, and who makes up the creative class. To me, Bated Breath’s The Parkville Project is offering us a model of how an integrated creative class would look: they use oral histories and interviews as source materials, they utilize historical documents in the articulation of the story, and they implicate audience members in the action of the play. This means that the creative act is a dialogic experience – it doesn’t exist as a fixed document, but is cradled somewhere in the fibers that connect us to one another.

About Bated Breath Theatre Company

Bated Breath exists to breathe new life into the theater experience, creating dynamic and contemporary interpretations of classics and new plays. We invite our audience to engage with the work in non-traditional and traditional theatre spaces, encouraging an interaction that is both personal and communal. Bated Breath is committed to celebrating the diversity of its audiences through its groundbreaking work.

The Parkville Project

Produced by Bated Breath Theatre Company. Directed by Helene Kvale. Text by Michael Bradford. Movement by Greg Webster. Puppetry by Paul Spirito. Costumes by Laura Crow. Scenic/Lighting by Mike Billings. Projection/Sound by Chad Lefebvre. Music by Tim Maynard.

For more information on Bated Breath Theatre Company visit:


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Creative Class in Hartford?

Thanks for getting us started with some great comments to our last post.

Carl (pictured in "A Starting Point," in the middle) says:
Since we heard this show ... Hartford has been rated #5 in the country to start a small business, great press!

From Where We Live's John Dankosky:
"It's a perfect starter to what we're talking about. If we can agree that thriving, creative people make a thriving, creative city, then small business startups need to have a place here. So, what are the barriers to people starting business here? How do we tear them down so that more "creatives" are investing here?

For instance, this might be a barrier."

Thank you, Dankosky, for segueing into the topic of our next live broadcast.

(photo by Chris Metcalf, Creative Commons)

Locating Creativity: Can Art and Innovation Revitalize Hartford?

It’s not just musicians and artists. Its scientists and business people too. It's potentially YOU.

Can Hartford, the former insurance capital of the world, support a creative class? What (and who) is already here – and how can we connect them? How does the greater Hartford region contribute to Hartford’s creative landscape? What are the elements of a dynamic city – and where should Hartford focus its energy? What are the city’s barriers to a bustling creative economy?

We need you to help us shape this conversation! Send us your thoughts. Tell us about yourself. Put us in touch with your neighbor... Send us a link.
The creative economy - a critical mass of thinkers and doers - has revitalized cities around the country. How can we bring that here? Can we afford not to?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a starting point

(image by Chion Wolf)

One of America’s oldest cities. The oldest continuously published newspaper. The oldest public art museum. The city of Hartford is wrapped in history. But what about its future?

Since its first settlement by Dutch colonists in the early 1600s, Hartford has been a place of commerce and invention…art and literature…a center for abolitionists and insurers…bisected by a highway and by battles over race and class…a city that suburban office workers see by day, but not often by night…the butt of jokes and jibes…New England’s “Rising Star” – or so went the ad campaign.

Hartford is neighborhoods, alive with language and cultures from around the world…but crushed by poverty. Hartford is Puerto Rican, African American, and West Indian. It is populated by people who care about the place they live – who wonder if it can be the place they want it to be.

In October, WNPR's Where We Live and Real Art Ways presented a live episode about Hartford: where it's been, where it is, and where it's going. We featured your stories, thoughts, questions and ideas.

Listen to the full episode

But, well, the show is only an hour. And this is a much longer conversation.