Blog Posts for Connecticut

Member Spotlight: Lucy Gellman

Posted by Lucy S. Gellman, Linda Lombardi, Jul 20, 2022 0 comments

Lucy Gellman is the editor of the Arts Paper and co-founder of the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. As a reporter and editor, she covers arts, culture, and community with an eye toward social justice and anti-racism. Prior to her time at the Arts Paper, she worked as a general assignment reporter for the New Haven Independent and a station manager at WNHH Community Radio. She holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and the Courtauld Institute of Art, both in art history, and is a former Fulbright fellow and the winner of a 2020 Connecticut Arts Hero Award. This year, she received recognition from the Elm City Freddy Fixer Parade Committee for her work. “Last week, my Friday began at a theater summer camp and it ended with a march against police brutality in which song, poetry, and sidewalk art were all used in the streets. In between, I talked to a singer/songwriter about how the pandemic changed his practice. The arts are essential to every one of those stories.” 

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Member Spotlight: Markeshia Ricks

Posted by Ms. Markeshia Ricks, Linda Lombardi, May 10, 2022 0 comments

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Youth Arts Journalism Initiative (YAJI) introduces New Haven and Hamden, Conn. high school students to grassroots journalism through The Arts Paper, the organization’s daily publication. Program Director Markeshia Ricks is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience in newsrooms. Ricks dabbles in voice acting, blogging, podcasting, and photography. Before joining the Arts Council, she wrote for the New Haven Independent, Air Force Times, the Montgomery Advertiser, the Anniston Star, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Tuscaloosa News. “Teaching students how to practice journalism through the skills of interviewing and reporting is like offering them a permission slip to explore their world. While YAJI teaches these skills, what I’m really hoping students learn is that it’s OK to be curious about the world around them, to ask questions of everyone they meet but especially of those who want to lead them.”

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Member Spotlight: Mehmet Dede

Posted by Mehmet Dede, Linda Lombardi, Mar 22, 2022 0 comments

The Hartt School at the University of Hartford offers conservatory-based training in music, dance, and theater that moves beyond conservative traditions. Assistant Professor of Music and Performing Arts Management Mehmet Dede is an internationally recognized award-winning music curator and festival producer with 20 years of experience in the culture space. In addition to his work at The Hartt School, he is also the Programming Director of downtown New York City music venue Drom. “My two decades of work as curator and entrepreneur have taught me a powerful life lesson that I apply to my practice as an educator: To stay curious myself and to teach curiosity to my students. I love sharing what I know with others who are equally curious about music, the arts, culture, business, and how they all intersect. Whether college age students or lifelong learners like myself, I believe we have much to learn from each other.”

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In the Wake of the Pandemic, Asian Americans Artists Confront Racism

Posted by Irene Mei Zhi Shum, May 11, 2021 0 comments

Unleashed by anxiety over the pandemic, the nationwide rise in anti-Asian hate has served as a call to action for many Asian American artists to take a stand: To actively challenge the historic negative stereotype of the vice- and disease-ridden Yellow Peril; to dismantle the pernicious and divisive myth of the model minority that pits achievements by Asian Americas as judgements against other communities of color; and to advocate for social justice, equity, and inclusion for all. Located on opposite coasts, the work of photographer Mike Keo and multimedia artist Monyee Chau exemplify this new generation of Asian American activist-artists who are working within their respective communities to effect change. Both skillfully employ social media to raise awareness. Keo and Chau follow a long line of Asian American activist-artists and curators who deserve wider recognition. Most notably, in 1990 artists Ken Chu and Bing Lee and curator Margo Machida founded Godzilla: Asian American Art Network, an influential collective of artists and curators in New York City.

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How to Secure a Local Proclamation for National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Sep 08, 2020 0 comments

Proclamations are a wonderful way that your mayor, city council, or your city (or county) in general can easily show its support for the arts and culture. Each year, Americans for the Arts encourages advocates to work with their local and state elected officials to issue a proclamation declaring October National Arts & Humanities Month in their city, county, or state. They allow elected officials to easily demonstrate their support for the arts, offer a written document for advocates to use year-round to demonstrate the value of the arts and culture, and serve as a tool to engage other arts advocates in their local communities. For those who have never done this before, I thought that I would offer a how-to guide help you understand the process of obtaining a proclamation.

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A Strong Equation: How State Arts Advocacy Efforts are Paying Off!

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Feb 21, 2020 0 comments

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) recently published their FY 2020 State Arts Agency Revenues Report. By any measure, the report paints a very positive picture for state funding of the arts, with year-to-year appropriations increasing by more than 37% to a grand total of almost $495 million in total legislative appropriations. Because the economy is doing well, it stands to reason that SAA appropriations would be higher. While it is true that a strong economy makes increases more likely, a strong economy alone cannot explain this year’s massive increase. There in an interesting equation at work: If your state has a State Arts Agency that is engaged in thoughtful programming, a strong statewide arts advocacy organization, and advocates who are proactively engaged with your state’s existing political leadership, more funding/pro-arts policy are possible! 

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