Subject: Organizations' Newsletter - July 13, 2019

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News and Opportunities for the Cultural Nonprofits and Creative Businesses of Fairfield County, CT
July 13, 2019
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is a nonprofit membership service organization that supports its members through unified marketing, capacity building, professional development, and advocacy services. This newsletter is sent to all who request it, but we ask that, if you are not a member, you explore membership benefits and consider joining. Find out more and sign up here. 
The podcast is now available of our Spotlight on Arts & Culture Interview Program on WPKN 89.5 FM: Connecticut Theatre Women – Leaning In. The show introduces us to Kristin Huffman (New Paradigm Theatre), Claire Kelly (Shakespeare on the Sound) and Marie Reynolds, (League of Professional Theatre Women – CT Chapter), three women leaders in Connecticut Theatre, as they discuss their careers and the issues they have had to face as women in this profession. What’s changing these days in Connecticut Theatre for women? Where are women finding jobs – as artistic directors, managing directors, executive directors? What’s shifting and what should you look out for? Check it out.
At the invitation of the Cultural Alliance, Jackie Lightfield and Margaret Bodell - both celebrated placemakers who have led successful long-term operations to bring the arts and enterprise to vacant stores and storefronts - shared the history of their successes and guided a group of artists in Westport in planning their own strategies for doing the same. A 50-minute video of their presentations is now available, and an edited transcript of their presentations will be available shortly. 
The Cultural Alliance has been convening 13 arts councils and commissions and, separately, 16 historical societies in the region. In December and March both groups met to discuss issues on their minds and topics that they can move forward on collectively. Three or four working groups in each set have been formed and they are working on topics such as connecting more effectively with our towns' economic and community development departments, developing a more effective collective "look local" strategy for tourism, developing reciprocal membership systems and much more.
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is grateful for a grant of $2,000 from the New Canaan Community Foundation to support our peer networking programs, such as our Executive Director Network and Marketing Roundtables, that benefit the professional development of more than 260 arts and cultural organizations serving Fairfield County. We were one of some 80 beneficiaries of the Foundation's largesse.

President: Sharon Dunphy, 
Administrator: Betsy Reid

Founded in 1708, Ridgefield is a town brimming with history. From the many colonial buildings to the historical plaques that line the streets of town, you can see that Ridgefield has had many different, unique people come and go, leaving their marks on the town. This is where the The Ridgefield Historical Society fits in. The purpose of the Society is to preserve, interpret, and foster public knowledge of Ridgefield’s historical, cultural, and architectural heritage. It is based in the David Scott House on Sunset Street, originally built in 1714 and whose preservation, renovation, and restoration was completed in September 2002. It also operates and maintains the 1756 Peter Parley Schoolhouse, at West Lane & County Rte 35 in Ridgefield. The Society's mission is to strive to create a community dedicated to preserving and cultivating the memories of the town and its neighbors, past and present. Most of the Society's program content is directly sourced from state-of-the-art archives that contain more than 10,000 historical documents, images, letters, artifacts, and ephemera spanning hundreds of years. The Historical Society brings history to life through engaging educational experiences for all ages such as intriguing exhibits, topical lectures and author talks, guided walking tours, exciting field trips, historic home research, genealogy services, and more. See the Society's website and Facebook page.

President: Gail Liscio

Stratford, bounded by the Housatonic River on its eastern border was settled by Europeans in 1639 in the area known as Cupheag, or harbor. Early industries included oystering and shipbuilding, later, manufacturing became an economic mainstay and Stratford today still produces goods, from chemicals, electrical parts, and hardware to plastics and paper products. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of the American helicopter industry through the work of Igor Sikorsky. The Stratford Historical Society is located in the heart of the town on the edge of the Historic District, midway between the Housatonic River and I-95. It operates three buildings on its site: the Captain David Judson House, on the National Register of Historic Places, a fine example of Georgian architecture, built circa 1750 by Captain David Judson on the site of his great-grandfather's 1639 stone house, and furnished and decorated much as it would have been in the 1700s; the modern Catharine Bunnell Mitchell Museum with permanent exhibits of Stratford history and changing gallery exhibits which feature items from the collections of the Stratford Historical Society and an extensive genealogy library; and The Beach Family Carriage House (1880-1885), built by the Beach family, who lived on Elm Street in Stratford. At the time it was built, it was used to house a horse and carriage on the ground floor and the upper level was used to store hay and grains. See the Society's website and Facebook page.
– Latest List by Town of Organization and Creative Business Members: here
– Latest List by Town of Artist Members: here
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum has announced Namulen Bayarsaihan as its new Director of Education. Bayarsaihan previously worked as the Director of Creative Operations at Real Art Ways in Hartford; she began work at The Aldrich on June 17. At the Aldrich, Bayarsaihan will lead the Education department, which includes developing public programs for adults, teens, families, and educators, managing and building school and community partnerships, and creating dynamic and engaging content for these audiences, centered on the themes and ideas presented by the Museum’s exhibitions and in the contemporary cultural lexicon. She is committed to using art to connect people to ideas and to each other, to bridge cultural and economic rifts, and to provoke discovery, empathy, and exchange, which she plans to support through multidisciplinary programming.
Bayarsaihan settled in Connecticut after emigrating from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with her family in 1991. She is a creative organizer, educator, curator, writer, and artist particularly interested in examining social and political issues through food, public art, and performance. The Aldrich looks forward to working with her on further advancing its mission through compelling education initiatives.
Audubon has announced that Eli Schaffer has been promoted to Director of the Audubon Center in Greenwich, effective immediately. Eli will lead the center staff to achieve great conserv-ation and engagement goals, as well as oversee operations, major initiatives, and the implementation of the center’s three-year strategic plan. With a background in education and community engage-ment, Eli joined Audubon in 2017 as Public Programs Manager and helped significantly boost the center’s programs. He led the coordination of the center’s flagship annual Fall Festival and Hawk Watch, doubling its sponsorship and attend-ance. Having assumed much of the management of the center’s daily operations, Eli was promoted to the role of Assistant Center Director in June of 2018, where he ushered the center through a transition period resulting from the recent departure of beloved Center Director, Michelle Frankel. Having worked closely with Michelle over the past two years, Eli is uniquely suited to grow upon her legacy of educational excellence and a commitment to making the Audubon Center in Greenwich a place for all people to enjoy and to help protect the wonders of nature. Most recently Eli has re-engineered the visitor experience through a renovation of the center lobby and The Nature Store and the installation of the soon-to-be-revealed, The Perch Coffee Lounge with a nature theater. The center stands ready to embark on a new and exciting chapter in its rich history as the first Nature Education Center of the National Audubon Society. With Eli at the helm, we are confident the Center will achieve all that we have planned for it in the months and years to come. 
The Bruce Museum has welcomed its new artist in residence Milena Alvarez, a 21-year-old Colombian-American student artist based in Norwalk. This summer, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Arts Workforce Initiative, Milena will host Bruce Creates, a new series of recurring drop-in workshops for artists of all abilities. Milena grew up spending the summer visiting her friends and family in Colombia, which has inspired much of her work. She developed an affinity for painting at a young age and found emotional comfort through art. Her work consists primarily of oil and acrylic paintings and a growing sculpture portfolio. Milena is a graduate of Norwalk Community College and is currently working on her BFA in studio art. In 2014, Milena was a participant in the iCreate student artist exhibition at the Bruce Museum and aspires to be exhibited in her own show.
Creative Connections has reported on its Community Connecting Heritage Program (CCH), a US State Department-funded exchange between performing arts students at the Mandala Theatre in Kathmandu, Nepal and their counterparts at the Regional Center for the Arts (RCA) in Trumbull.  Having recorded oral histories of their family members, the Nepali students shared them via a virtual exchange of art, videoconferencing, and the creation of videotaped performance pieces. In February, some of the Americans travelled to Nepal for a 2-week working visit; then in March, five Nepali students and leaders came to the US. The Nepali students visited a variety of local cultural institutions while working with 13 RCA students to prepare for their joint cultural performance and the workshops they would deliver in local schools. During the second week, the Mandala/RCA student team visited local middle and high schools to perform their original play and give workshops on the importance of valuing and preserving cultural heritage. CCH participants worked with local students to produce and share aspects of their own oral histories through music, dance, theatre, and video performances. For Creative Connections, the opportunity to facilitate a comprehensive virtual and in-person travel exchange was a dream come true as staff gained many new insights into elements of meaningful student exchange that they are keen to use in their current art, performance, and videoconference programming. Click for project photos.  Click for more information.
The Center for Contemporary Printmaking  
is revamping its Editions Club as a way to encourage collectors, or potential collectors, to develop their interest and expertise in collecting prints. There's an annual fee ($75) and members receive announcements about new print editions that CCP will release at an exclusive Editions Club price only to Editions Club members. Editions will vary in size, price, and be available to subscribers on a first-come/first-served basis. This seems a good way to establish and/or continue to build a collection of prints as CCP will release some 4 to 6 prints a year plus opportunities to buy from earlier CCP projects as they are available. As a portion of the subscription fee will support CCP's high school fellowship program, greater participation in the Editions Club also ensures greater support for young printmakers, an important part of the Center's educational mission for prints and printmaking artists. For more information contact Jackie.
Center Stage Theatre, Shelton has announced that on July 1st, after 43 years of service to the Performing Arts in the community, its founders, Gary and Francesca Scarpa, "passed the torch" to Martin Scott Marchitto. Marchitto, who has spent the last three decades working as a freelance theater artist, teaching, directing, and designing throughout the country, has officially taken over as Artistic/ Executive Director of Center Stage. "Gary and Fran have been an inspiration to me ever since I first met them back in 1984," said Marchitto. "I was quickly impressed by their knowledge of theater, dedication to teaching, and beautiful and caring hearts. I consider them to be the two most influential people in my life, and I am honored to be the person who is entrusted to continue their legacy."
The Fairfield Museum and History Center recently unveiled an 8x20-foot mural by renowned muralist Robert Lambdin. The $40,000 restoration of Old Black Rock Harbor, a mural painted in 1948 by the Westport muralist, was made possible with leading support from Bank of America and funding from the Black Rock Community Council, Bruce & Michele Hubler, Jack & Kay Collins, Ronald Marshall, and many other private donors. Lambdin’s work hung at the Black Rock Bank and Trust Co., (Fairfield Avenue at Brewster Street, Bridgeport) until 2017, when the long-abandoned building underwent a complete renovation. The Fairfield Museum worked with the building’s new owner Tom Quinn to rescue the mural, which had been damaged through years of neglect. Bank of America had a special interest in this project, as the bank acquired Black Rock Bank and Trust Co. in the 1990s. Restoration was conducted by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The mural will be on permanent display in the Fairfield Museum’s Creating Community exhibition. Click for larger image.
Greenwich Historical Society’s reimagined campus, designed by David Scott Parker Architects, was recognized with a SARA AWARD for Professional Design Excellence from the Society of American Registered Architects. These awards celebrate the work of architects selected from hundreds of new projects in the region. The awards were presented at a reception this month at Battery Park in New York. Earlier this year, the Greenwich Historical Society was recognized with an award for Preservation Excellence from the CT Trust for Historic PreservationThe Greenwich Historical Society’s newly restored campus was opened in October, 2018 and features new exhibition galleries, a visitor center, café, museum store, substantially larger library and archives, and gardens inspired by members of the American Impressionist Art Colony who lived studied and worked at the site of the campus. Photo from left: John Wasilewski, David Scott Parker Architects; Debra Mecky, Greenwich Historical Society Executive Director and CEO, and David Scott Parker.
Ridgefield's Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center celebrated the opening of its new Visitor Center with more than 800 attendees on a sunny 4th of July. The c.1936 Cass Gilbert, Jr. building was purchased in 2016 from private owners and, said executive director Hildegard Grob, “with help from everyone, state grants, foundation grants, all of you, only three years after purchase, we are delighted to be able to cut this ribbon.” In the renovated space there is an elegant reception area, designed by Josh Fischer Design, with an adjacent orientation space, a small conference room, up-to-date kitchen, and two ADA-compliant restrooms. The public toured a future collections storage and archival research facility on the lower level, conversion of which will be partly funded by a Good to Great grant from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development. Grob also pointed out a new self-guided walking tour, based on 1920s photographs that correspond to the points of interest where the photo was taken when the Gilberts owned the property.
Norwalk Symphony Orchestra announced its new concertmaster: Krzysztof Kusnik.  A Polish-born violinist, Kusnik is an active solo, chamber, and orchestral musician in the New York metropolitan area.  He began playing the violin at age seven and has appeared as recitalist and soloist throughout Poland and the United States.  He has received many violin and chamber music awards, including Tadeusz Wronski Solo Violin Competition, the Young Concert Artists European and the Coleman competitions. He has participated in many international music festivals, has made numerous recordings, and has appeared in television and radio broadcasts in both Europe and the United States, including regular live broadcasts on WQXR in New York City with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Westport Country Playhouse’s New Works Initiative (NWI) continues in its fourth consecutive year of developing new plays and musicals with playwrights, directors, and other artists, culminating in readings before an invited audience. The NWI 2019 Season kicked off in June with a private reading of the new play, “form of a girl unknown,” written by Charly Evon Simpson, and directed by Melissa Crespo (2nd and 3rd from left in photo; click for larger image). “Our goal with the New Works Initiative is to nurture and nourish new writing and to seek exciting projects for our five-play seasons," said Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. Additional 2019 NWI readings will be announced soon.
The Westport Country Playhouse welcomes Jacob Santos of Montville, CT, as managing director fellow through the Newman’s Own Foundation 2019-2020 Fellowship Program. He will work with Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director, in the administrative areas of the not-for-profit, professional theater, now in its 89th season. "Jacob's judgement and knowledge are beyond his years, and his fresh perspective has already made us question assumptions and will lead to thoughtful analysis of our current practice." Santos, 24, received a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, and a BA in Theatre from Southern Connecticut State University. He has held the position of managing intern/casting associate at The Elm Shakespeare Company in New Haven and is the 2019 recipient of The ASPIRE Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) LORT Leadership Award, Region 1 Finalist, and went on to win the 2019 Arts Impact Award at the KCACTF National Festival.
The Westport Historical Society marked the closure of its award-winning exhibition Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport with the unveiling of the memorialized names of over 200 enslaved persons who made up an essential, but often overlooked part of our Town’s History. Each name was inscribed on a brick in the Society's brick walk to honor those who were once-forgotten as permanent part of the town’s heritage on the Westport Historical Society grounds.
Westport Writers' Workshop (WWW) is delighted to announce the appointment of writer and instructor, Liz Matthews as Executive Director, effective August 1, 2019. Liz will be replacing Michelle Bradley, who is moving with her family to Chicago. Liz has been a popular instructor of creative writing and fiction at WWW for the past two years. She brings a wealth of writing, publish-ing, teaching, and non-profit experience to the position. Blake Schnirring, Chairman of the WWW Board, says, "Liz will make an excellent Executive Director. I am confident she will continue our strong creative writing programming while growing our community recognition and outreach."
Before joining WWW, Liz was working at Shakespeare on the Sound as their social media coordinator. Liz enthuses, "I am thrilled to be taking over as Director of WWW. I have found my home away from home here - as a student , instructor, and fundraising volunteer. It's my honor to continue to grow Westport Writers' by adding more workshops, new students, and more community outreach events. Come say hello!"

Accessibility for All is a new collaboration among currently 11 cultural organizations across Fairfield County designed to assist those with people with special needs and to reduce the stress of planning visits to large community attractions. The Accessibility for All website provides listings of special events for guests with physical, sensory or intellectual disabilities and their families. Information about how each of the organizations can accommodate people with special needs is available on the site, and it provides contact information for an “accessibility coordinator” at each location, a person dedicated to answering questions about the institution’s accessibility features. Tom Naiman, director of education at the Norwalk-based Maritime Aquarium, spearheaded the formation of the collaboration, after receiving a $25,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation. In addition to creating the website and appointing 11 accessibility coordinators, the funds covered costs for the training of more than 150 staff at the different locations on how to best serve people with special needs. All eleven organizations must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but those requirements focus almost exclusively on people with physical disabilities, Naiman said. So, the group decided to invest in better serving individuals with sensory and cognitive disabilities, such as vision or hearing issues, and on those living with conditions like autism or down’s syndrome, for example. Challenges associated with those disabilities can include sensitivity to low or bright light, stress from loud noises and big crowds and the need for a quiet space during times of distress. Accessibility coordinators can make suggestions about how to avoid certain unpredictable factors that might disturb visitors with disabilities, said Caroline Bailey, accessibility coordinator at Audubon Greenwich. Organizations in the coalition are The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield; Audubon Greenwich and the Bruce Museum, Greenwich; The Connecticut Audubon Society, Fairfield; Beardsley Zoo and Discovery Museum, Bridgeport; Earthplace in Westport; EverWonder Children’s Museum in Newtown; The Maritime Aquarium and Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk; and Stamford Museum & Nature Center.

Artists and businesses looking to add murals in Norwalk will have a new, and hopefully, easier process to go through after the Zoning Commission approved amendments to the city’s sign regulations. Norwalk's Zoning Department will now be issuing a new mural permit after an artist receives approval for their work through the city’s Arts Commission, reports Marc Alan, co-chair of the Norwalk Arts Commission. The mural permit would be contingent upon approval of the mural design by the Arts Commission. "We are establishing a mural committee which will look at designs, materials, and the overall aesthetic as well as the location - working with zoning," said Alan. One reason for the new process is that recently some murals have been painted on a property owner's buildings without city approval. Although the property owner worked with Steve Kleppin, the director of planning and zoning, to get the murals retroactively approved, Alan said "This forced us to take a look at the city's right to control the location of murals while we're trying to create a process that's accessible to artists, so that it promotes good quality art.”  The mural process would be run similar to the Commission’s artistic traffic box program, which requires the artists and funders to use higher quality materials to prevent chipping and deterioration as much as possible. If the mural does begin to chip or deteriorate, that would become a blight issue for the Department of Building, said Alan. The new process aims to strike a balance between creating good art, and making sure obscene or inappropriate murals don’t get put up. "When you have something on the side of the building, yes it’s on the owner's property, but it’s in the public right of way,” said Alan. Kleppin said he believed the changes will help get most of the city staff out of the details of the murals. "City staff doesn’t weigh in on content," he said, stating that would be up to the Arts Commission. "Zoning will ensure that the Arts Commission has reviewed the size and content of the murals so that if a mural goes up without going through that step, the city will be able to enforce it," Kleppin said. Thanks to The Hour's reporting.

The GKV Foundation supports individual development and related community impact through the use of a range of artistic media, including the visual arts, music, and dance. The goal is that with GKV first-year funding enough measurable results will be achieved to attract sustaining funding from other sources. Priority is given to established nonprofits with a big idea that has great potential but that has yet to be funded and therefore is untested. In order to be consid-ered for funding, interested organizations must first submit a Letter of Interest. If the LOI is selected for further consideration, the organization will be invited to submit a more comprehensive proposal. It is expected that GKV will invite only two organizations to submit a full proposal for each new planned grant and that fewer than half a dozen new grants totaling between $15,000 and $50,000 will be awarded in this funding round. (The number will be effected by the amount that the foundation allocates to programs where the initial GKV grant showed great promise.) Extensions of grants into subsequent years are part of the foundation’s plan, but the extension will be a fraction of the first-year grant and then only if other grantors can be convinced that the program is worth their investment given first-year results. Letters of Interest are due by October 1. Based on those LOI submissions, two grant proposals will be requested for each planned grant by November 1. Those proposals will be due December 1, with all grant proposals to be evaluated in January 2020. See the GKV Foundation website for eligibility criteria, a complete description of the submission process, examples of previously funded LOIs, and an FAQ.

Connecticut Collections (CTCo) is an open-source, online resource tool that allows history and heritage organizations to manage their collections, to share selected items with the public through a statewide portal ( and to preserve their digital collections and associated metadata in the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) where they will be safe for generations to come.  There are so many “hidden treasures” among the small to mid-size museums and historical societies in Connecticut, that our goal is to help our members manage them, share them, and preserve them!  In 2015-16, the CT League of History Organizations (CLHO) completed a “pilot” phase with five institutions.  In early 2018, nine more institutions joined the group.  The public portal started up in summer 2018, and in 2019 eleven more organizations joined our project. If your organization is ready for an affordable collections management system that will help you keep track of, and find, your objects, photographs, archives, and other valuable material, as well as sharing selected material online, consider applying to join the Connecticut Collections 2020 cohort. Click here for more details and to apply.
Professional Development Events Coming Up
Aug. 27: CT Museum Educators Roundtable: An Introduction to Evaluating Museum Exhibitions and Programs, 2-4pm; CT Science Center, Hartford
Aug. 28-31: American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) 2019 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia

Connecticut Ballet Center, official school of Connecticut Ballet, has an immediate opening for a capable and experienced administrator. Founded in 1996 and located in Stamford, the school operates community and pre-professional dance classes year-round and shares space with the non-profit ballet company. The School Manager serves as a vital liaison in the larger Connecticut Ballet family. We seek a person who is both a strong communicator and a people-person, but who is also meticulous with details of class management, billing, database & record-keeping, comfortable with routine website updates, and school-wide correspondence. Forty-hour week. Salary commensurate with experience. Please send resume and cover letter to Brett Raphael, Connecticut Ballet Center Director,


 INTEMPO is a Stamford-based non-profit arts education and youth-development organization whose mission is to make music education relevant, accessible, and inclusive through the use of classical and cross-cultural instruments and repertoire. The creation of a music and technology pilot during summer camp will lead to curriculum implementation in 2019-2020. Respons-ibilities: Teach elements of Audio Production and Technology in a small group setting during Summer Camp, Aug. 5-9, 2019. 8:30am-4:30pm. Valuable professional development is offered through a partnership with Carnegie Hall PlayUSA program. This is a contractual position with a $1,250 stipend Bachelor's Degree Required; Bachelor of Music in Technology and Audio Production (Music Education preferred). Two years of teaching and recording experience preferred. Basic knowledge of ProTools/GarageBand and other recording software. Send cover letter and resume to, with "Audio Production & Technology Candidate" in subject line.

Arts for Learning: Executive Director
Artspace New Haven: Executive Director
Wilton Historical Society: Museum Educator
Aug. c1: Stamford Arts & Culture Commission: CAPP Grant Application Deadline
Aug. c1: NEFA: New England States Touring (NEST) Grant Application Deadline
Aug. c1: NEFA: Jazz Road Tours: Application Deadline
Aug. c2: CT Humanities Quick Grant Applications Deadline
Aug. c8: NEA: Our Town: Application Deadline
Aug. 20: CT Office of the Arts: Arts Learning Presentation Grants Deadline

Sept. 18: CT Office of the Arts: Arte-Accesible Grants Application Deadline.
Sept. 19: Connecticut Collections: Due Date to Submit to be part of 2020 Cohort

Oct. c1: GKV Foundation, Big Idea Letter of Interest Due
Oct. c4: CT Humanities Quick Grant Applications Deadline
Oct. 31: Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation Philanthropic Arts/Education Application Deadline

Nov. c2: CT Humanities Planning and Implementation Grant Application Deadline

Awesome Foundation: $1,000 Awesome Project Grants
CT Office of the Arts Arts Access grants
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The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is a 501(c)(3) cultural nonprofit membership organization. We are grateful to our members and our donors whose support enables us to do our work. Donations are always very welcome and may be made here. In particular, we are grateful for support from:
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, Gate Lodge at Mathews Park, 301 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850, United States
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