The event was spearheaded by local artist and event coordinator Christine Chaise Greenwood, who had two missions. “I wanted to bring the community together and raise money for Hartford-area charities,” she explains, emphasizing the importance of making the event open for all to participate.
making connections, building a community
“I think it worked, because we connected,” she says. “I think art has the power to do that.”
The idea to make the event “international” is a personal one for Christine, who was born and raised in France and move to the United States in 1988. Like Christine, many of the participating artists descend from other countries, including Chile, England, Haiti, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.
“We all come from somewhere in the world,” emphasizes Christine, “And we are all a part of the community here in Greater Hartford.”
When it came to finding local charities to support, Christine decided to spread the wealth among three. “I researched and reached out to each organization—they were thrilled,” she says.
Bloomfield, CT-based Foodshare; the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, which is working to fight opioid abuse; and the Hartford homeless shelter South Park Inn will receive 10% of the proceeds from art sales and all of the proceeds from an art raffle.
Art2Unite was well attended, with a turnout of about 250 people who spent an evening in Hartford viewing and interacting with art, music, and dance from more than 25 national and international artists.
artists as innovators
Attendees were also able to watch a live 3D printing demonstration from MakerspaceCT co-founders Devra Sisitsky and Brian Patton, which provided an opportunity for artists to see how they can create three-dimensional sculptures.
“Artists are truly innovators,” notes Christine. “I reached out to Devra because I thought she would be great to introduce to the artist community.”
She adds, “We want Hartford to be dynamic and vibrant. A lot of that can be done thought the arts. Hartford has the talent—you can find that bridge between technology and art. MakerspaceCT provides a big potential for doing things together.”
Hartford-area artist Benjamin Grippo agrees. “I was really glad to see that a place like MakerspaceCT exists,” he says. “I have a lot of hobbies that I feel could burn out or become a ‘one and done’ project. I think MakerspaceCT would be cool to check out because others like me can always follow up with their projects and not have them left behind at home.”
Ben played an integral role in Art2Unite, not only displaying his artwork, but also brainstorming with Christine early on and helping find food and drink contributors for the event.
Christine is the first to admit her gratitude for all those involved, from all the artists to the musicians and DJ, to the food and drink suppliers, and volunteers.
“It sounds clichéd, but it really does take a village,” she admits. “I feel I really created a ‘family’ of people working together to create and to give back to the community. Everyone who participated was so generous. When it comes to helping coordinate an event, the community is always there.”
Christine says the community involvement and participation exceeded her expectations—and it started when she was building the buzz about the event. “I was encouraged from the start,” she says.
artists as entrepreneurs
Art2Unite is likely to be an annual event. Christine admits she learned a great deal organizing the community event. “As an artist, you have to know how to market, and sometimes do event planning. This is the second time. But really my first time planning something on my own.”
She continues, “Being an artist and planning these types of events is entrepreneurial in some ways—you have an idea and you go for it. Having an idea is not enough.”
Learn more about ArtSpace Hartford
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