New London - New London Landmarks plans to use a $100,000 state grant to improve the neighborhoods around Riverside Park and Hodges Square in the eastern section of New London.
The "Creative Placemaking" from the state Department of Economic and Community Development is one of 10 grants, announced last week, awarded to organizations in the New London area. The city and Hygienic Art Inc. received a $126,062 grant from the City Canvas Initiative program for an outdoor mural project.
Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. today at 319 Williams St., in Hodges Square, to discuss the project.
The grant, which will be administered by Landmarks, will cover the cost of a one-year program in which local artists and neighbors will develop programs to improve the area.
The primary participating artists include Derron Wood, who specializes in performance art and is the director of Flock Theatre; L'Ana Burton, director of Creative Dance Continuum, who uses dance and body movement to explore the wider physical world; and Mark Patnode, whose master teaching classes explore the visual arts. They will be joined by Dr. Roger J. Tremblay, who uses computers, mathematics and visualization to inspire interest and understanding of mathematics.
Jose Ulloa of Expressiones Gallery on Bank Street will develop arts projects to include Hispanic members of the community.
Other collaborators will include Brian Kent, an architect and landscape designer, and Peter Miniutti, associate professor and director of Community Research and Design Collaborative at the University of Connecticut. Art Costa and the Re-New London Council will work with the businesses in Hodges Square to assess their business plans and explore ways to invigorate the commercial center.
Landmarks will work with the City of New London, Friends of Riverside Park, the Riverside Park Conservancy, Neighborhood Alliance and the Parks & Recreation Department. The new Winthrop Magnet School also will be involved in the project, as well as Connecticut College and the Coast Guard Academy.