Coalition announces state arts grants

New London — The Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition announced Tuesday that the Connecticut Office of the Arts has awarded $29,000 in grants to nine recipients in the 19-town region the coalition serves.

The state arts office, part of the Department of Economic and Community Development, developed the Regional Initiative Grant program, or REGI, in partnership with the coalition and eight other regional service organizations.

"We are thrilled to participate again this year alongside our eight peers across the state and with the Connecticut Office of the Arts in this important program that supports small, local arts projects that will have great community impact,” Wendy Bury, the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition’s executive director, said in a statement. “The projects selected are exciting, educational, and will reach new and diverse audiences in innovative ways."

Grant recipients in southeastern Connecticut were:

Norwich Public Schools, $3,726, for the Kelly Middle School Playwright project, an after-school school program in which children in grades 7 and 8 will collaborate with Eugene Cello, a local writer and director, and the Norwich Arts Center, to write plays and bring them to life as actors, directors and set designers.

Envision Kindness, Inc., $3,261 for the New London County Student Arts Project to Promote Kindness, engaging middle and high school students in New London County to produce paintings or drawings depicting kindness, accompanied by poetry or essays created by the artist or a collaborator.

Juliet W. Long Elementary School Beautification, Ledyard, $2,982 to bring students and staff together to complete an artistic project to beautify an exterior wall near the main entrance to the school building. Michael McNabney, a professional artist and muralist, will work with classroom and art teachers and students in grades 3 through 6.

Youth Mural Project, Norwich, $3,726 to combine history with creativity in producing and installing a mobile mural depicting young hands fixing, painting, and preserving the city's historic buildings. Artist and teacher Sherrie Parentau will supervise the project, working with youth from the region's Youth Empowerment Group, hosted by Our Piece of the Pie, Inc., and Reliance House. 

Norwich Arts Center, $1,866 to bring the Norwich Free Academy Student Art Association together with volunteers from the Norwich Arts Center to create a team that will identify, produce and promote a public art event appealing to high school students.

Common Thread Collaboration, $3,726 to increase awareness of art therapy in southeastern Connecticut and, through collaboration, a 20 percent cost savings on shared art supplies used by the four collaborating organizations: Reliance House of Norwich, The Light House of Groton and Niantic, Horses Healing Humans of North Stonington and United Community & Family Services of Norwich.

Troubadour Trail, Norwich, $3,726 to acquaint residents and visitors to Norwich with people, places, and events in Norwich history via excerpts of songs and narration on location at local historic sites and on the Internet. Tom Callinan will work with the Norwich Historical Society to produce the project, and the Norwich Community Development Corporation will help to promote it.

Black Light Garden, New London, $2,726 to bring the community together through art. Students, senior citizens, and other interested community members will design and fabricate a large-scale outdoor installation of environmentally significant flora and fauna. Working with Amy Hannum, project manager, and blacklight installation artist Johanna Z. from Ocular Delights, the group will display these three-dimensional glowing sculptures each night during the Salon des Independants at Hygenic Art Park in New London.

Girls in Jazz Band Music Writing Camp, Norwich-New London area, $3,261 for middle and high school girls who have never participated in a community band to focus on music composition utilizing the work of Hygienic Art poets. Kia Baird, project facilitator, vocal coach, and musician, will coordinate guest lecturers. The camp will culminate in a performance at the Garde Arts Center.

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