Subject: Organizations' Newsletter - October 4, 2019

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News and Opportunities for the Cultural Nonprofits and Creative Businesses of Fairfield County, CT
October 4, 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 CT Office of the Arts (COA) has announced the recipients of the FY20 Regional Initiative (REGI) grant awards The grants ($1,000-$4,000) are designed to encourage local, collaborative, innovative arts projects that really engage a local community. They are administered by all nine of the Regional Service Organizations that work in partnership with COA. The awardees in our region are as follows (with the location(s) of their projects in parentheses)
Cynthia Rauschert/New World Circus Corps     (Bridgeport), $4,000
● IntempoCumbia! Samba! A Cross Cultural Concert (Norwalk), $4,000
● Lizzy RockwellThe Hope Quilt Project (Bridgeport +Norwalk), $4,000
● Junior Art & MusicAfter the Bell Jam: An After School Art Project (Norwalk), $2,000
● Back Country Jazz, Series of concerts and workshops in Bridgeport Schools$3500
We thank our volunteer reviewers for our region for their hard work and dedication: Mark Barnhart, Director of Community & Economic Development, Fairfield; Alicia Cobb, artist; Marti Etter, Executive Director, Ballet School of Stamford; Joel Martin, musician and composer; and René Soto, artist and gallery owner. 
Our next monthly radio interview show on WPKN 89.5 FM, Spotlight on Arts & Culture, Mon. Oct. 14, 12pm, will be both a broad and in-depth discussion about Accessibility & Inclusion in the Arts – specifically rooted in issues around arts venues and arts organizations making accommodations for people with disabilities. The discussion is an outgrowth of the ADA Principles and Practice Workshop conducted by Elanah Sherman for the CT Office of the Arts. The discussion on Oct. 14 will include Elanah, Tamara Dimitri from the Office of the Arts and the three guests on the workshop describing their experiences and recommendations as people with disabilities working with arts organizations: Alan Gunzburg, Amy Oestreicher and Jamie Petrone. Tune in Mon. Oct 14, noon

All Newsletters for the last 3 years are available in our archive. You can check all recent newsletters on our website at Newsletter Archive, under Resources.
– Latest List by Town of Organization and Creative Business Members: here
– Latest List by Town of Artist Members: here

Dean: Frank Martignetti

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the only professional organization in the U.S. totally dedicated to the education and needs of the organist. The nonprofit AGO has 17,000 individual members associated with 300+ local geographic chapters. Its purpose is to promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide a forum for mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members. Each chapter carries out the mission of the Guild in its geographic-specific area by offering local programs to its members and the public. The Greater Bridgeport Chapter of the AGO was established in 1948, and has created a community that works together to promote educational, outreach and fine choral and organ performance events inspiring music lovers of all ages. Accomplishments, as a chapter include: a $2,500 annual award to a student studying organ performance in an American university (Louise Miller-Paul Knox Scholarship - February annual solicitation); the Annual Pipescream Halloween Musical Extravaganza featuring the area university and youth choirs, along with our super-talented member performers (week before Halloween); a Community Choral Festival featuring 200+ singers in a massed choir led by the area's finest conductors and accompanists; a Pipe Organ Encounter summer program for teenage organ students; and multiple "Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza" events introducing young pianists to the organ. In 2020, the chapter will acquire an Orgelkids kit, allowing children, teens, and adults to learn about the organ, science, and music through building a small organ in a workshop. Each year there are programs to educate members and build community interest in the pipe organ: workshops on choral conducting, liturgy, congregational song, improvisation, organ technique, and other skills. See the GBAGO's website and Facebook and YouTube pages.

Beth Dempsey, President, Images and Details

The Greenwich Design District (GDD) is a branded design community aiming to be the go-to home design destination in Connecticut and Metro New York: a place where trade and consumers can find the finest quality design-related products and services from fabrics and furnishings to accessories, art and antiques. By forming a strong community that supports local businesses the GDD can help foster enhanced shopping experiences for the discerning clientele and increase foot traffic for its members. Greenwich has always had a strong retail presence and has been known for its luxury boutiques and retailers. One after another, design related businesses started popping up in Greenwich especially along Putnam Avenue. “There is always strength in numbers,” says Beth Dempsey, President of Images and Details, the PR and marketing strategist who conceptualized the idea of having a Greenwich Design District and Map for designers and consumers to navigate the area. “The number of design-related businesses has grown exponentially, so the idea of forming a group makes good business sense.”  The District is an opportunity for design-related business to build relationships that will, in turn, increase awareness and drive foot traffic. These relationships should create trade programs, digital marketing, events, collaborations and more to benefit designers and consumers. The Greenwich Design District’s hope over the next year is to grow to include more businesses, designers, and architects in the area all while becoming the “go to” design destination in Connecticut. Coming up is a "Taste & Tour" event: Toasting the Town, encouraging the public to stroll the district to be inspired by new decorating and entertaining trends. See the District's website, Facebook and Instagram pages.

President: Laurie Kenagy
Executive Director: Ruth Feldman
Music Director: Eric Mahl

Founded in 2002, the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra organization provides talented young musicians in the regional Connecticut and New York areas with exceptional learning and performance opportunities, while fostering an awareness and appreciation of the enjoyment and power of music. Twenty-five young musicians were selected for the inaugural Ridgefield Symphony Youth Orchestra in January 2003. In 2005, the program grew to include a String Ensemble, and in August 2008, as part of its goal to establish greater recognition of the organization’s regional focus, the name was changed to the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra. In 2010, the WCYO added a Wind Ensemble. Together the Symphony Orchestra, String Ensemble and Wind Ensemble consist of nearly one hundred musicians ages 10-18. Starting this Fall the WCYO added the Charles Ives Music Festival (CIMF) to the organization's educational and performance programming. CIMF furthers the mission and honors the legacy of Charles Ives by bringing American music to the Fairfield County area with both educational and performance programs. CIMF provides interactive educational events, centered around the exploration of chamber music, for both children and adults in the community. CIMF concerts feature dynamic and unique artists performing the music of Ives, other 20th and 21st century American composers, and works that transcends the traditional boundaries of classical music to incorporate other styles and genres. CIMF is led by artistic director and composer, Paul Frucht, and associate artistic director, Jon Cziner. See WCYO's website, Facebook and Instagram pages.

Executive Director: Matthew Mandell

The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) was established in 1931. Its mission is to support and help businesses develop to their full potential and it has striven, since its inception, to promote economic development by creating an arena that fosters an entrepreneurial culture. Today it is a vibrant and dynamic organization that exists to serve the needs of everyone who lives, works, visits and plays in Westport and Weston. It is committed to building solid and effective partnerships with its members as well as the towns of Westport, Weston, and surrounding communities. The WWCC focuses both on economic development and bringing the community together through the many events it organizes, many of which both raise the profile of the businesses who participate and sponsor them, and act as fundraisers to support charities and other not-for-profits in the area. Executive Director Matthew Mandell is a long time Westport resident and community leader. He is in his fifth two-year term on Westport's RTM, representing District One. He chairs the RTM Planning and Zoning Committee as well as serving on five others. He is a Trustee at Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center, since 2007. He is probably best known for his grassroots advocacy for open space and historic preservation. He was integral in saving the 22-acre Partrick Wetlands in Westport, as well as six acres at the White Barn Theater and 11 acres at the Norden property in Norwalk. Most recently he's championed the preservation of the Terrain House, the Geiger Barn and most notably the Kemper-Gunn House with its innovative move to town property and its adaptive reuse to promote local incubator retail businesses. See the WWCC's website, Facebook and Instagram pages.

Founding Director: Cynthia Rauschert 

Circus Moves delivers social arts education programming with a therapeutic twist, and serves individuals of all ages and abilities by providing customized on-location activities in any location. Cynthia Rauschert, founder of Circus Moves, is dedicated to empowering individuals and transforming communities with the expressive, athletic, and inclusive art of circus. In 1976 Cynthia's kindergarten class performed a pantomime circus in an elder care community and she was the juggler. Little did she know then that circus would become her life's work (or that seniors would be among her favorite people to work with!). In 2000 Cynthia learned to be an actual juggler and soon after dropped everything else to join the circus. She began coaching and performing professionally in 2003 and in 2007 founded what is now Circus Moves. Cynthia has brought her coaching and performing skills to eighteen states, five countries, three continents, and one great big ship and she is currently pursuing a Masters' in Recreation Therapy at SCSU. She is honored be a 2019 recipient of the Connecticut Office of the Arts REGI grant and is very excited to start the New World Circus Corps pilot program at the East Side Library in Bridgeport in January 2020. See Circus Move's website, FacebookInstagram and YouTube pages.
Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District, partnering with the NEST Arts Factory, was awarded a CT Office of the Arts Project Grant award of $12,000 towards A Pop of Color, a pop-up art exhibit project that will create a concentration of 10 art installations in vacant storefronts in downtown Bridgeport. The project is designed to create opportunities for city artists to make and display their work, for city musicians to perform at reception events, for the owners of the vacant storefronts to show the attractiveness and viability of their spaces to prospective tenants, and for the resident and visiting public to view and explore Bridgeport as an active hub of the arts. A call for artists is out until the deadline of Oct. 11 and the show, A Pop of Color, is scheduled to open Nov. 2.
City Lights Gallery, as part of its ongoing music enrichment programming with local schools, has received a grant from Band Central to bring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans to Bridgeport's Harding High School. In addition to performing at morning assembly Oct. 21, members of the band will talk with students about the evolution of jazz music in New Orleans including demonstrations of what it sounded like long ago and what it sounds like today. They will also be part of related programs in classrooms. The Band is kicking off its 32-show Tuba To Cuba tour Oct. 22 at Ridgefield Playhouse.
The Fairfield Public Library celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Fairfield Woods Branch Library in 1969. The demand for an additional library location was clear in Fairfield after Stratfield residents established libraries at the Stratfield School and the Stratfield Firehouse, starting in the mid-30s. In 1956 the Fairfield Public Library opened a branch at one end of Andrew Warde High School's library until the Fairfield Woods Branch Library opened at 1147 Fairfield Woods Road in 1969. The Fairfield Woods Branch, long-awaited by the community, has been a busy, dynamic neighborhood library since that time. Fairfield Woods Branch Library celebrates its 50th on Sat. October 19 - complete with cake!
The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras has changed its name to Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO) "to better reflect its current membership and goals for the future." Music Director Christopher Hisey, who just celebrated 10 years at the helm of GCTYO, and Executive Director Beth Ulman, will continue to lead GCTYO through the name change. Commented Maestro Hisey: "We are excited to present the GCTYO brand to young musicians and their families all over Connecticut. GBYO is really no longer an appropriate title for our organization. We are farther reaching than just the “Greater Bridgeport” area. Our members come from over 30 different towns in Connecticut, and our program has the potential to include more people and serve a larger community. There is great value in what we do, and now people from all over Connecticut who might enjoy and benefit from the opportunity to be a part of this organization will know we are there for them as well.”
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk has announced that Jason Patlis, a leader in national and international ocean conservation, has been selected as its next president & CEO. Jason is a former president of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Vice President and Managing Director of the World Wildlife Fund and currently executive director of Marine Conservation Programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He begins work at Connecticut's second-largest family attraction on Nov. 4. He arrives as The Maritime Aquarium begins its physical transformation, in response to the replacement of the Walk Bridge, which narrowly slots between the Aquarium and its IMAX Theater. Budgeted at $40 million, the Aquarium work involves building a new 4D movie theater to replace the IMAX Theater, which must be razed, and enclosing and enlarging its popular seal exhibit. The simultaneous projects are to begin in October and take about a year. More...
New Paradigm Theatre (NPT) performers were asked to perform with Kristin Chenoweth at the Ridgefield Playhouse Gala, Sept. 28. As a surprise Stephen Schwartz showed up and the performers got the chance to ask him questions during rehearsal. He performed with NPT's Kristin Huffman onstage. NPT also received a CT Office of the Art Project Grant that provided some of the  funding for NPT's annual summer production where the theatre always partners with another non profit that reflects the theme of the show. The grant will also help NPT to continue its work with children of all abilities.  
Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts was awarded a CT Office of the Arts Project Grant award of $12,000 towards supporting the Quick’s Global Theatre: A Performance Series Theatre That Changes OUR World with the showcase of two plays, Women On Fire and Right Before I Go. Last year, the Quick piloted this successful series, presenting theatre as a vehicle for social change along with curated community-wide conversations on topics of immigration, incarcer-ation, and gun violence. Curated by Connecticut artist Cheryl Wiesenfeld, an award-winning Broadway and off-Broadway producer, and building on the energy sparked by the pilot program in the previous season, the Quick now looks to dive deeper, reach a broader audience, and grow this series with productions on two issues that have timely and universal reach: a diverse array of women’s stories in the face of the #MeToo movement and suicide prevention.
The Stamford Symphony welcomes its new music director, Michael Stern. Stern, son of violinist Isaac Stern, was the unanimous choice of the search committee and the board, after an exhaustive two-year search process. “It was obvious from the very first rehearsal that Michael had a chemistry and connection with the Orchestra,” said Russell Jones, Stamford Symphony President and CEO. In his second decade as the Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony, he is credited as the architect of the ensemble’s remarkable artistic ascent and original programming and has been instrumental in securing the organization’s development and stability and the extraordinary expansion of its diverse audience. Click image for video. More...
Westport Country Playhouse is using a grant from CT Humanities for a series of public engagement events connected to its performance of Linn Nottage's Mlima's Tale. Mlima’s Tale: Discovery Series includes a conversation with Lynn Nottage, now available as a video here; a Sunday Symposium Oct. 6, with Joshua Williams, writer, director, teacher, and scholar, in conversation with David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director; and a panel discussion Sun. Oct. 13: The Ivory Trade in Connecticut and Beyond. There are also post-play dialogues (Thurs. Oct. 3 & 10), a backstage pass (after the 2pm performance Wed. Oct. 16); and a Talkback following the 8pm performance Thurs. Oct. 17. Don't miss the exhibition of photographs by Cultural Alliance member artists Penrhyn and Rod Cook, Vanishing, in the mezzanine lobby. And the Playhouse Perspectives: Mlima's Tale blog series is continuing here.

Local government officials and cultural leaders are increasingly embracing creative placemaking as a tool to strengthen communities. In urban and rural places across the country, they are collaborating with residents to develop arts, culture, and design projects that help transform the economic, social and physical landscape in tangible—and equitable—ways. Some local leaders describe creative placemaking as a refocusing of the planning process, with artists and residents reimagining community planning and development. They stress the importance of recognizing and valuing the history and culture of people who live in a place when developing plans for the future, noting that developing a plan together can be as important as the resulting initiative. To extend the reach of this strategy, National Endowment for the Arts and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) selected, from a pool of applicants to the NEA's Our Town program, six community   teams, based on their commitment to work together on creative placemaking, and their specific statements of need for assistance from the expert resource advisors. The gathering was the inaugural Local Leaders’ Institute on Creative Placemaking. At the two-day convening, local leaders shared community goals and ideas for implementing creative placemaking projects. The Arts Endowment and LISC organizers also invited creative placemaking experts to offer tailored advice on topics ranging from partnering with artists and community engagement to project management, and sustaining creative placemaking work. One team member commented that "it was practical and helpful to see how other places are designing their projects," noting the benefits of walking away with contact information for a national network of expert advisors and the chance to spend time with his local partner, strengthen-ing their team for future work. Another   appreciated that local leaders left with concrete suggestions. “For instance, we knew we needed a community advisory group to assist with planning and to understand more deeply how people think about the heritage of our region. This is already in the works with a survey of residents that will be used to design our next proposal.” Others agreed that one result for their project would be to invite artists artists to a leadership role in the planning going forward. Another government official said he gelt he could build understanding among his peers about this work by creating an artist residency “That should help create awareness of the value artists and creative work can bring to the multi-disciplinary nature of local government problem solving,” he said. For the complete story, click here.

In addition to the REGI Grants announced last week (see above in OUR NEWS section), the CT Office of the Arts recently announced many other grant awards. First are 28 Arts Project Grants ($5,000-$15,000), which support arts-based projects for Connecticut audiences, communities and participants (with 4 in our region: The NEST Arts Factory with Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District; New Paradigm Theatre Company, Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts; and The Stamford Symphony (see details above; see complete list here). Ten organizations received Arts Learning Presentation Grants ($500 to $1,000 to support a broad spectrum of arts experiences of artistic quality, in Connecticut, appropriate to a defined group of learners) including one in our region:   Columbus Magnet School, Norwalk. One hundred and nine organizations received Supporting Arts grants ($1,000-$15,000   providing unrestricted funding to support Connecticut’s arts organizations and municipal arts departments as they pursue their missions. Thirty-three of these were located in our region:
Bridgeport: Greater Bridgeport Symphony ($8,750); City Lights and Company ($5,950); Neighborhood Studios ($8,750)
Fairfield: Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras ($5,950); Connecticut Ballet School ($5,950); Fairfield Theatre Company ($10,500); Mendelssohn Choir of CT ($2,700)
Greenwich: Chamber Players of the Greenwich Symphony ($2,700); Greenwich Arts Council ($8,750); India Cultural Center of Greenwich ($5,950)
New Canaan: KEYS ($5,950); Silvermine Guild of Artists ($10,500)
Norwalk: Creative Connections ($4,200); Music Theatre of CT ($8,750); Norwalk Symphony ($5,950); Norwalk Youth Symphony ($5,950)
Ridgefield: Ridgefield Chorale ($2,700); Ridgefield Guild of Artists ($5,950); Ridgefield Playhouse ($10,500); Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra; ($5,950); Thrown Stone Theatre Company ($2,700)
Rowayton: Rowayton Arts Center ($5,950)
Stamford: City of Stamford ($5,950); Curtain Call ($8,750); Franklin Street Works ($5,950); Loft Artists Association ($5,950); Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic ($4200)
Westport: Fairfield County Chorale ($4,200); Friends of the Levitt Pavilion, Inc. ($8,750); Suzuki Music School of Westport ($7,500); Westport School of Music ($5,950)
Wilton: Music on the Hill ($5,950); Wilton Singers ($2,700)


National Arts & Humanities Month is a coast-to-coast recognition of the importance of arts and culture in America. Launched by Americans for the Arts more than 30 years ago as "National Arts Week," this now month-long celebration has the goals of:
FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels.
ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts.
ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts.
RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.
Professional Development Events Coming Up
Oct. 11: Deadline for registering with Norwalk Leadership Institute
Oct. 30: New England Foundation for the Arts, Idea Swap. Worcester, MA
Nov. 6: The Alliance: 2019 Annual Nonprofit Conference, Hartford
Oct. 11: Chamber Music America (CMA)'s Presenter Consortium for Jazz Deadline
Oct. 30: Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Cultural Exchange FundDeadline
Oct. 31: Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation Philanthropic Arts/Education Application Deadline
Oct. 31: Westport Woman's Club: Community Grant Program - Application Deadline

Nov. c2: CT Humanities Planning and Implementation Grant Application Deadline
Nov. 15: IMLS: Inspire! Grants for Small Museums - Application Deadline
Nov. 15: IMLS: National Leadership Grants for Museums - Application Deadline 

Awesome Foundation: $1,000 Awesome Project Grants
CT Office of the Arts Arts Access grants
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