Subject: Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County Convenes Conference on the Vital Real Estate and Space Needs of the Artistic and Cultural Community

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December 1, 2016
Media Contact:
Jennifer Bangser, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County
(203) 256-2329

Norwalk, CT - Close to 100 artists, nonprofit leaders, business owners, real estate developers, and community organizers convened on Saturday, Nov. 12th at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport for an all-day conference entitled Creative Spaces for the Creative Economy, organized by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County

The Creative Spaces for the Creative Economy conference was created to address an increasing demand, from throughout Fairfield County, for affordable, accessible and sustainable space for artistic and cultural work, inclusive of, but not limited to, artist studios, performance, rehearsal, and exhibit spaces. Such spaces can incorporate short-term and long term options stimulating - not only potential returns on real estate and economic development investments - but returns on involvement and engagement by the community at large, creating vibrant, sustainable cultural communities.

The panels of distinguished participants were assembled and moderated by David Green, Director of Programs and Membership for CAFC. The keynote speaker was Wes Haynes, Director of Making Places, an initiative of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Haynes reviewed some of the tools currently available to reconfigure and redefine spaces for creative use, such as economic re-development of historic structures using tax credits, sweat equity, economic development grants, transfer of development rights and more. The keynote address was followed by four panel discussions. (Details on topics and speakers outlined below). “This was an important convening,” said Mr. Green. “It elicited very enthusiastic responses and will lead to an Action Agenda to be pursued by several working groups now being assembled.”

In addition to the panel discussions, David Green announced an exciting new joint venture between the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the New York City based nonprofit FracturedAtlas, with CAFC as the leading regional partner: a space matching data base, SpaceFinderConnecticut, designed to assist artists and cultural organizations to locate the space they need to create, rehearse, perform or display their work, as well as helping venues promote and rent their spaces. For reference, please visit the databases currently running: SpaceFinderMassachusetts and SpaceFinderNYC. CAFC will be the lead partner of the venture that is expected to launch on March 2 2017 (a day designated as “Connecticut Arts Day” by the CT Office of the Arts).

The Creative Spaces for the Creative Economy conference was sponsored, on behalf of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, a 501(c)3nonprofit organization, by The Kuchma Corporation, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, LLC, Trattoria ‘A Vucchella, The City of Bridgeport and BeFoundation.

Creative Spaces for the Creative Economy: Panelists and Topics:

1. Using temporary spaces:
Fernando Luis Alvarez, Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery, Stamford
Margaret Bodell, Southington Community Cultural Arts
Richard Epstein, Westport Arts Advisory Committee and WPKN Board of Directors
Norwalk-based artist, Jahmane West

2, Connecting cultural spaces to the community:
Anita Durst, Chashama
Callie Heilmann, Hartford Prints!
Marcella Kovac, The Bananaland, Bridgeport
Peter Propp, Stamford Innovation Center

3. Sharing of space and back-office services:
Phil Kuchma, The Kuchma Corporation, Bridgeport
Dawn Reshen-Doty, Benay Enterprises, Danbury
Jim Kern, Comradity, Strategy & Creative Resource Center, Stamford
Richard Wenning, Be Foundation and SpreadMusicNow, Redding

4. Policies and incentives to be used to help release commercial space for cultural use:
Tod Bryant, Norwalk Preservation Trust
David Genovese, Baywater Properties
Erin Wilson, Director of Economic Development, City of Torrington
Robert Orr, Robert Orr & Associates, Architects
Jackie Lightfield, Norwalk 2.0, Stamford Partnership

Videos of each of the sessions are available HERE
Slide presentations are available for viewing HERE

A full report will be issued shortly. For questions about the conference or SpaceFinderConnecticut, please contact David Green, Director of Programs and Membership at CAFC: or 203.256.2329. For more information about CAFC, please visit

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has close to 500 members, comprised of nonprofit arts and culture organizations, creative businesses, artists, libraries and municipalities.

The mission of the organization is to support its membership - and the cultural sector - by providing promotion, services and advocacy. CAFC maintains the region’s most comprehensive online event calendar for all things arts & culture, CAFC is also one of the State of Connecticut, Office of the Arts's (COA), "Designated Regional Service Organizations," which are directed to develop, convene, and sustain the arts industry, develop cross-sector relationships, and provide support for specific COA programs and services. 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Bangser, or 203.256.2329

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is supported, in part, by:
Gate Lodge at Mathews Park, 301 West Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850, United States
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