Archives for category: Local CT

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Chalkville, a city-wide collaboration attempting to break the world record for Largest Chalk Pavement Art in West Haven, Connecticut, this summer may be the first public art project to use Scrum as its project management framework.  Joining a Core Team comprised of Courtney Tracy (Design), Mitchell Gallignano (City Relations), Gwyneth Evans (Registration), Pat Libero (School Relations), and Richard Kasperowski (Agile Coach/Tech) are now two Student-Artist Co-Chairs, Carlos Andino and Mary Antoinette Canieso.

Carlos and Mary Antoinette very kindly took a break from their responsibilities as students during a busy spring of the academic year to answer a few questions.  Valuing people and interactions above tools and processes, the Chalkville team welcomes a chance to get to know more about who they are and introduce them to the broader community.



My name is CARLOS ANDINO and I am a junior at West Haven High School. I moved here last year from Puerto Rico. I’ve been a member of the art department ever since I got into the school and have taken classes such as 2D design, Cartooning and Commercial Art.


I’ve always been interested in art. Ever since I can remember, I used to draw on anything and everything that I could (just ask my parents!). I would spend every Saturday morning eating cereal and watching cartoons, and after I’d grab some paper and pencils and draw out my own characters and stories. This has stayed with me throughout my life, and I’m very thankful for that. I love being able to think of interesting and compelling characters and stories, even if I’m the only one that will see them.

Moving here from Puerto Rico has been a big blessing. Back in my old school, the only non-academic classes were P.E. and Computer Science. Even though I am very much into computers, I felt like I was missing out. I would see American high schools on television and movies, where students had a range of classes to choose from, where they could go after school to a club that they enjoyed and wanted to be a part of. I envied that and now I’m very happy that I get to have that life.

The Art Department at West Haven High School has helped me so much with expressing myself through my art. It helped me harness my own style, and not be afraid to express myself, even if thought of as unusual to others. It is very important to me to be proud of my style of art because I hope to be an animator for movies, television shows or commercials. I want to be able to flip through the channels and spot something that I created or helped create rolling on air for the world to see.

In the Chalkville project I hope to contribute my skills as an artist, but also contribute my love for West Haven by making this chalk art the best that it can be. Whether that means being part of the design team or serving people cold water, I want to help any way that I can in this great opportunity that we all have to come together as a community and break the world record for largest chalk art!

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NETTIE CANIESO: I’m a senior at West Haven High School and have participated in the Art department for all four years. I have also been a part of the theater program since my sophomore year. I like to write (and sing) my own songs, stories and poetry. 


I’ve always been interested in art. Tooting my own horn, I’d say it was a natural talent. But I learned to hone my skills as student under the three art teachers at the high school and I had the honor of being taught by all three at one point or another. 


As a student, art classes, namely Studio Art Honors, have taught me to think outside the box and never stick to what I am comfortable with. Throughout my years, starting from Studio Art I and taking Studio Art II this year, I have learned the importance of deadlines and being able to produce works of art that I can be happy with while still being able to hand them in on time (being much easier said than done!)  Art is a reflection of what’s important to me as a person. Every work I create (that I am happy with and/or simply complete) is an extension of who I am and what influences me. Art has taught me to give reason to why I do what I do and why I create what I create.


Art will always be a part of my life and I hope to further my art education and eventually become an animator of a cartoon of my own creation. 


I hope that by participating in Chalkville, artists and non-artists alike will get an understanding of what is needed to create a successful work of art.  I hope this hands-on experience shows the community that art is more than just drawing a flower on a piece of paper. It’s a statement louder than words.  We all know a picture says a thousand words.  I hope what we create will leave viewers with at least this one: amazing.


Heading up the Design Squad, Courtney Tracy, a West Haven resident and alumna of the West Haven High School art department, will meet regularly with the students and other New Haven-area based artists including Giada Crispiels to create a unified image for a site-specific 100,000 square foot drawing.  All are welcome to participate in the world record attempt but must pre-register at  Meanwhile, principles of Scrum are keeping the development team on track: timeboxed (2-week) sprints leading up to a fixed release date, urgent and enthusiastic goal-driven communication, frequent inspection and adaptation, clear alignment of purpose in the form of user stories, and a commitment to demonstrate awesome results.

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Chalkville, a large-scale public arts event for civic pride, is funded in part by the Awesome Foundation, Connecticut Chapter.  Donations for chalk and other supplies are fully tax-deductible and may be sent to Chalkville, c/o West Haven Council on the Arts, PO Box 16513 West Haven, CT 06516.  SPECIAL THANKS to Ann Nyberg at WTNH Channel 8 for her recent interview which may be viewed at

Joy Wulke is an environmental artist who founded Projects for a New Millennium,



The organization is about “creating collaborative events that foster the fusing of art and science as a means of discovery and appreciation of the natural world.”

Wulke’s work is now part of the nightscape of the train station in Stamford, Connecticut.  According to The New York Times, “The new look, different from one second to the next, was achieved for only $155,000 — less than the cost of a paint job.”

The project, funded  with state money awarded on a competitive basis, demonstrates a national trend toward “creative placemaking,” an attempt to make places more vibrant through artist-led projects.  The winning team, led by Norwalk-based painter and sculptor Sandy Garnett, included Jamie Burnett and Steve Hamelin as lighting specialists and advisers.  It was Jamie who coined the term “light wrangler,” which Wulke defines as an artist who responds to the character of light as a partner in creation.

Read more at:

Worldwide, organizational culture is on the move.


New orders are emerging that are better suited to our complex era than those that came to the forefront during the Industrial Revolution.  There is so much on this topic to observe and examine, I have invited colleagues to participate in a trans-Agile metaspace to explore these shifting paradigms.

  • March 22 we will discuss cell-like work structures, including this awesome material from the Betacodex Network:
  • May 10 the focus will be on sociocracy as a workable and equitable governance structure in practice at Green Haven and Agile Boston.

The group is based out of The Grove in downtown New Haven,  a thriving cowork space and one of four designated Innovation Hubs active in the State of Connecticut (  Inspired by the Stoos Network (, our first meeting was held on World Stoos Day, Jan 25, 2012.  It may evolve into a Stoos Satellite or remain a platform that is broader than one particular movement or model.  I am curious to experience how the principle of self-organization animates and propels our discussions.

Meanwhile, here’s to the beauty of spontaneous order!

Do you frequent the Hartford Public Library? If so, share your story TODAY on the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Facebook page:


The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community. The award as finalist, given to only 33 institutions nationally, celebrates libraries and museums that make a difference for individuals, families and communities.  I have relied on Hartford Public Library’s extensive research section supporting grantseekers, and hope to see the institution shine on this national platform.

Happily for Connecticut, it is not alone!  The Wadsworth Atheneum is also a finalist for the 2013 National Medal.

More information on both institutions can be found at:


Susan Hildreth, director of the IMLS,“this year’s finalists exemplify the many wonderful ways museums and libraries can respond to the needs and wants of the communities they serve.”  The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  To learn more, please see .




I am pleased to announce the selection of an awesome application for funding by the Connecticut chapter of the Awesome Foundation!

This spring local artists and cultural organizers will lead citizens of West Haven in an attempt to break a world record for the largest street drawing.  Our implementation team is now forming, and a schedule of public meetings will be announced soon.

At the first meeting we will review the Scrum Guide.  We will seek feedback on using the Scrum framework to establish a flow for the project.  If there are no better ideas, and folks are game, why then we’ll probably just try it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.  May we all find our hearts in our work in 2013.


To illustrate findings from the recently released Americans for the Arts study Arts & Economic Prosperity in the State of Connecticut IV: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations and Their Audiences, Randy Cohen told a measurable version of a memorable tale.   “It was two weeks until Date Night,” his story began.  Then he took about 50 arts leaders gathered at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on December 7th through a path of decisionmaking that links cultural performances with a host of other categories of economic activity.

inside New Haven's Shubert Theater

inside New Haven’s Shubert Theater

First, by virtue of on-line ticket buying, the arts clearly tap skills from the technology sector in presenting and maintaining their websites.

Next, e-commerce interfaces with the banking industry.

Before Date Night, the gas tank might get filled up, benefitting a local convenience store.

On Date Night, before the show, a couple might go out to eat.  The chosen restaurant might feature local produce, benefitting area growers and the whole chain of entrepreneurs who bring food to the table.

Another ten bucks might go to a local parking garage.

At the theater, the couple may have a glass of wine, or a cup of tea.  Caterers benefit from this type of activity.  Local wines or teas might even be featured.

The theater building itself requires tradespeople in order to fulfill its function.  Plumbers, electricians and painters may be involved, as well as more specialized restorers and historic preservationists.

Ushers pass out programs, evidence that still others are being employed: designers, printers, paper/ink suppliers and deliverypeople.

Of course the show highlights the acting emsemble, its director and crew.  However, it is important to note that before the curtain ever rises, the arts organization presenting the performance is generating positive economic impact in its community.   How much, exactly?  Well, here are some conservative figures (all based on actual reported data, nothing projected) gathered from 337 arts organizations across Connecticut in 2010, using an input/output analysis model customized for local conditions and administered by a team from the School of Economics at Georgia Tech.

  • Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences spent a total of 653 million dollars.  Audience spending accounts for $198 million; the rest is spent by the organizations themselves.
  • Arts organizations supported 18,314 Full-Time Equivalent jobs in Connecticut.  Because of the high touch, hands on, face-to-face nature of the industry, these jobs are necessarily local, unshippable overseas.
  • Arts spending triggered $59 million in local and state government revenue.
  • 12% of arts attenders came from outside the state.  For 67% of those individuals, the reason for coming to Connecticut was specifically to attend a particular cultural event.
  • 33,379 volunteers contributed 1.1 million manhours, calcluated at a rate of $21.36/hr to represent a $24 million value.

Nationally, the nonprofit arts sector is a $135 billion industry and supports 4.1 million jobs.  $5 billion is invested annually, triggering $21 billion in government revenue.  That is a huge positive return on investment.

Who has bought into this methodology and its results?  National organizations including the Business Civic Leadership Center (U.S. Chamber of Commerce); the National Conference of State Legislators; National League of Cities; the United States Conference of Mayors; the International Association of Destination Marketing; and Grantmakers in the Arts all have their logos on this publication.  The study – conducted nationally and released in state-specific segments based on customized models for local data gathering – repeats every five years.

The bottom line is a strong message to those who govern states and municipalities in the U.S.   Funding for Date Night is no black hole.

The bonus for cities?…Workers in today’s knowledge economy are choosing to work where they live, and creativity ranks as one of the top five skills sought-after by today’s business leaders.  This means that only cool places attract professional people, and when it comes to overall economic health, it’s the most creative, culturally vibrant communities that can deliver the goods.

Speed networking is a good model to adapt when the goal is to construct any live, two-sided social platform.  It provides both sets of users with a chance to quickly discover what lies between the axes of choice and chance.

Art Space in New Haven is conducting a speed networking event for artists and curators on Sunday, September 30th.  I will be participating as one of the curators.

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is now accepting proposals for Reintegrate, an initiative that will pair artists and scientists in Greater New Haven.  Creative teams of artists and scientists are sought to complete a project by May/June 2013. A $10,000 stipend will be offered to each team.The deadline for proposals is Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 by 5 p.m.

If you’re interested in creating a project, but don’t have a team, here is a “matchmaking” event where you could meet possible collaborators at The Bourse Coworking Loft in  New Haven, CT, on Thursday, September 27th, from 5:30-7pm.

If you would like your information published online, so that possible collaborators can contact you, send the following information to Amanda May, Reintegrate Project Coordinator, at
Who I am: What I do: Interest area/specific idea (if any): What kind of collaborator I’m looking for: Contact (email/phone):

If you would like to receive updates about Reintegrate, including details about the meeting for possible collaborators, please send your email to

Creative Placemaking Funders Symposium

It has been an exciting journey as Connecticut builds its platform for articulating the relevance of cultural vitality to just about every other part of life, urban and otherwise.  Grant guidelines are now complete – colleagues in the arts community and I have had a hand in shaping them over the past year through meetings and forums held across the state, at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater and elsewhere.

The main question has been: how do we link cultural activity with specific economic drivers to make Connecticut’s places more livable?  As the Department of Economic and Community Development defines the resources it will bring, local Arts Councils activate their networks, and other sectors engage, the conversation gets bigger and more interesting.

I will be attending this upcoming event at the Bushnell Center in Hartford – happy to customize notes for anyone who wants a briefing.

Many cities have experimented with art openings and related cultural events in a given district or neighborhood engineered to coincide on a monthly basis.  Unfortunately, such predicability can lead to ennui among scenesters.  New Haven is trying something new in its Ninth Square.

The organization on9 has a plan for September which brings to mind a large note-to-self displayed in a former boss’s office: Remember to Breathe!  The public is invited to use this idea as both a prompt and a lens through which to experience culture.

Breathe On9  happens tomorrow evening, September 7th, starting at 6pm in Pitkin Plaza (behind Bru Cafe, in front of Devil’s Bike Gear).  See  for a full schedule of offerings.

The First Friday event celebrates reinvigorated streetlife and the change of season with a concentrated sampling of body/mind alignment systems.  It will also show off the district’s lean and green foodscape, e.g., Elm City Market, a new(ish) coop where membership is not required and the vast majority of products come from within a 250-mile radius.

A closing reception for three exhibitions at Artspace is fitted within a panoply of experiential services that promote wellbeing.  The art is not on display in the casual manner of a craft fair nor necessarily on view to be “read” and deconstructed by critics (though both can be fun, when done well).  Rather, in this context art is assertively occupying its place as a source of mental nourishment and aesthetic satisfaction without which urbanity would be incomplete.

Do people really want to be this heavily curated?  Is the theme idea working to boost business from pedestrian traffic?  Is the Ninth Square authentically a special place?  Do such events reinforce cultural coolness?  Last month’s photo display from the Noise on9 event appears validating…but I just may check in for follow-up with a few of the participating artists and organizations.

First Friday themes upcoming this fall:

October / Creative on9

November / Faces on9

December / Shine on9

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