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    Friday, June 09, 2023

    Groton to create Performing Arts Commission

    Groton ― The town is looking to bring more arts to the community.

    The Town Council this week unanimously voted to create a Performing Arts Commission to collaborate on ways for Groton to foster the arts.

    The idea for the commission started with late Town Councilor Joe Zeppieri, and then Town Councilor Melinda Cassiere brought forward the idea.

    Cassiere said in a statement that the goal of the commission is to host more arts-related events, collaborate with town staff to initiate arts activities, and celebrate the cultures, diversity, and backgrounds of all Groton residents.

    Cassiere said she proposed creating the Performing Arts Commission because of the interest in the theater at the Pratt Building when a proposal for the use of the Mystic Oral School property was being discussed. Many residents and people from the theater and band/orchestra communities spoke to the council about wanting spaces to perform, she said.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic also gave us reason to start looking at creative ways at hosting outdoor events for community members,” she said. “I thought a commission consisting of artists, musicians, and theater community members who wanted to improve and increase our arts availability in the Town would be the way to help.”

    The resolution approved by the council calls for the mayor to appoint five people, who represent a variety of arts, to three-year terms. The five members will include a councilor who will chair the committee for the first term. The council’s Personnel and Appointments Committee will then appoint members after the initial term.

    “I hope this commission will bring artists, performers, and musicians together to make Groton a desirable arts-focused community filled with indoor and outdoor arts-related activities for all ages,” Cassiere said. “I hope that the members will work with Town staff to enhance already established programs and create many more performing arts opportunities for our great town.”

    At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, councilors supported the idea.

    Councilor Portia Bordelon said most people travel to Bridgeport, Hartford, New London or Westerly for the arts. Outside of the high schools, there is not really a defined arts location in Groton, which attracts a lot of people from OutCT and other diverse communities that want to be involved and express themselves through art, which is another language.

    She said she’s hoping that the commission takes off and is excited to see where it will go.

    Councilor Rachael Franco said she fully supports the creation of the commission and hopes it flourishes in the community.


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