Community Foundation grants $12,000 to New London arts programs

Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut President Alice Fitzpatrick (far left) and Connecticut College President Leo I. Higdon Jr. (left center) present $6,000 grants to A. Vincent Scarano, president of Hygienic Art (right center), and Theresa Broach, general manager of Writers Block Ink (far right). Andrew Bell

Funds were raised by Connecticut College to support arts in its host community

Two New London-based youth arts organizations – Writers Block Ink and Hygienic Art Center’s Do the Write Thing – each celebrated the New Year by receiving $6,000 grants from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

The $12,000 was raised by Connecticut College last fall when it turned a concert by Irish music ensemble Cherish the Ladies into a fundraiser dubbed “Cherish New London” with all ticket proceeds to benefit arts organizations in New London. The $12,000 total was used to establish a fund at the Community Foundation which subsequently chose Writers Block and Do the Write Thing to receive the grants.

Connecticut College President Leo I. Higdon Jr. and Foundation President Alice Fitzpatrick agree that these two unique, grassroots programs demonstrate the vibrant nature of the arts in New London by supporting and developing the many and varied creative talents among local youth. They also show the commitment of numerous professional artists and volunteers to improve creative self-expression among local students. Importantly, both organizations also link the arts to the literacy goals of the New London schools.

“The Connecticut College community is proud of its strong partnership with New London, and we are delighted that the Community Foundation chose to direct our donation to two organizations that are so closely tied with the College’s educational mission,” said Higdon.

Fitzpatrick said the grants will go a long way for the two winning organizations.

“We appreciate Connecticut College’s continued commitment to supporting the local region,” said Fitzpatrick. “Both Hygienic Art and Writers Block Ink are grassroots, modestly staffed organizations with high energy and great popularity. These grants will have a positive impact on the youth associated with them and with the greater local community.”

Hygienic Art is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to creating an enriching cultural experience in the city of New London, Conn. For the last four years, Hygienic Art has conducted an after-school program for 40 middle school students. It’s called Do the Write Thing and enrolls students from Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School and ISAAC in a creative writing and photography program. Each of the two 13-week sessions includes monthly meetings with parents and features readings, poetry, songs and photography in an informal atmosphere.

Writers Block Ink was established in 2003 by Clarissa Bayer-Jones, a Pfizer employee who believes in getting urban kids to make their mark “on the page and on the stage.” In Writers Block, middle school and high school students learn leadership and teamwork skills, while exploring social and personal issues through the collective creation of writing, dance, poetry, music and theater. More than 200 students participated in Writer’s Block in 2012.

About the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut

The Community Foundation serves the residents in 42 towns in eastern Connecticut by making grants and scholarships, nurturing local philanthropy and building a permanent endowment.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college’s 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning. For more information, visit www.connecticutcollege.edu.