Clinton’s Rebirth Might Start With Art Project
Something wonderful is happening in Clinton. A group of volunteers have started the Clinton Arts Project (CAP). The idea gained steam in July and the group has been meeting since. Bob Farace of Clinton, who has significant experience in the art world, has agreed to head up the project. Mr. Farace has been associated with Hygienic Art, Inc. in New London since 1989 where he spent twenty years as a member of the Board of Directors.
For related information go to Hygienic Art’s web site at www.hygienic.org and look at its’ history under the “About HYG” Tab. You will learn that a group of artists who ran an annual weekend show, with a $1,200 budget, ultimately saved a historic building, converting it into galleries and artist’s studios. This organization is credited with rejuvenating parts of decaying downtown New London, not an easy task.
The prime mover in this effort is Tony Pinto, Chairman of the Economic Development Commission (EDC). Tony was key in formulating the idea, looking at real estate, finding Mr. Farace and other details. Assisting are Ellen Cavanagh, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Christine Goupil and Alan Kravitz of Planning and Zoning and several from the arts community. Mr. Pinto along with Ms. Goupil and Mr. Kravitz have been critical in promoting the advancement of economic development, housing and quality of life issues through the EDC and the Planning and Zoning Subcommittee created for this purpose and the Chamber of Commerce.
The Clinton Arts Project is busy organizing, creating a non-profit 501c(3), writing a mission statement, initiating a web site, looking at downtown venues and researching funding sources, including grants. One key will be finding affordable downtown space that will be a draw. This will be much more than a gallery. The idea is to include teaching and all forms of artistic and creative expression even including music and hosting small performances. Think of it as a center for culture or an arts cooperative. Once completed, such a destination will give out of town mall shoppers a reason to come downtown.
An exciting aspect of this is to include Clinton students and art teachers in the project and its events, stimulating community involvement. How about a student show for example? One link to be explored is to Yale University’s Art School which will help to regionalize its appeal (another Pinto idea). Yale was born in Clinton and with their resources and students, could be a great help. Such a connection will also help to honor the memory of the Reverend Abraham Pierson and the Reverend Jared Eliot. Anyone have a good contact there?
I know little of art, other than I know what I like. But I know a little about economics and what drives development. It is private folks taking the initiative and going forward. This is really exciting stuff and will have direct economic benefits. These folks have an idea, ignore the obstacles, and are going to “take the hill”. If it can happen in New London (one tough place) it can happen here. Don’t listen to folks who only recite reasons why it can’t be done.
You’ve got to believe and offer your help by Contacting Bob Farace. This is the kind of “incubator” project that just might jump start a downtown renaissance. It could have been the old P.D. as a restaurant, but let’s not miss yet another opportunity for rebirth. They are few and far between. Although Clinton Arts Project was born slightly before Heritage Days, this is just the kind of citizen involvement, initiative and Clinton pride that Heritage Days was meant to stimulate – bravo to the insightful folks volunteering to start the Clinton Arts Project.
Bob Farace's phone number is (860) 669-7439.