Russell Blair

1

Hartford Public Library invites the community to a daylong celebration on Saturday, Oct. 2 to mark the grand opening of the new Park Street Library @ the Lyric!

The festivities will begin in the morning with art activities at the Art Box (777 Park St.) followed by a parade to the new library (603 Park St.). At the library there will be live music, food trucks, activities for kids and open access to come inside and tour the brand new space.

RSVP on Facebook HERE

DAY’S EVENTS:
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Art activities at the Art Box, including painting of Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance Frog Hollow heroes murals
11 a.m. – Puppet show, presented by Hispanic Health Council
1 p.m. – Colors of Frog Hollow Community Parade from Art Box to Park Street Library @ the Lyric (Wear a shirt representative of your culture)
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Block party celebration

FEATURED PERFORMERS:

De 4 Ahwee & Co. with friends from Trinity Steel, presented by the Trinity College Center for Caribbean Studies
DJ Connie Carmona featuring YOUMedia Hartford teens
Bomba Ashe
Latin Essence Jazz Group
Mariachi Academy of New England

OTHER PROGRAMS:
Voices of Frog Hollow multimedia presentation
Hartford History Center Hartford Public Library branch history exhibit

2

StoryWalk

The Hartford City Council recently approved a plan by the Hartford Public Library, in partnership with Hartford Athletic and Cigna, to install a permanent StoryWalk display in Colt Park.

The display will consist of a series of 20 interactive podiums that will each feature one to two pages from a children’s book as well as a physical activity to complete while walking to the next podium. The pages will be displayed in English and Spanish. The final page will contain a QR code that will direct users to a website where they can complete a quiz to win Hartford Athletic prizes

“Putting literacy and physical fitness at the forefront, this initiative provides families in the Hartford community with a fun and educational activity that is available to everyone,” Hartford Public Library, Hartford Athletic and Cigna wrote in a letter to Councilwoman Marilyn E. Rossetti, chair of the council’s public works, parks, recreation and environment committee.

The StoryWalk will begin with a podium outside the entrance of Dillon Stadium, continue to the corner of Van Block Avenue and Masseek Street and then enter Colt Park where 18 additional podiums will be placed on the east side of the youth soccer field.

A resolution by Rossetti, Council President Maly Rosado and Councilwoman Shirley Surgeon was included on the consent agenda at the council’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Cigna has agreed to pay $25,000 to cover the cost of the project, including three years of maintenance and upkeep.

The StoryWalk is expected to be completed in mid-October and the Hartford Public Library will replace the book pages and activities on a quarterly basis.

Carlos Hernandez Chávez.

Carlos Hernandez Chavez.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, and to mark the occasion, the Hartford Public Library is highlighting local artist Carlos Hernández Chavez, a musician, muralist and friend to the library.

Carlos had already established himself as an accomplished artist when he came to Hartford from Mexico City in 1967.

“When I first arrived I might as well have arrived to another planet,” he told The Hartford Courant in 2013. “Everything was just so different even though I spoke English. The newness of the place… it was just mesmerizing. I was told that I was the first Mexican in Hartford. I’m not sure if that was true but I did not meet any Mexicans for many years after 1967.”

Carlos quickly became ingrained in the city’s arts scene and worked for the City of Hartford for 25 years, beginning as a bilingual social worker and ending his career as the top hearing officer for housing and parking violations.

In 2014, his works were featured in the ArtWalk at the Hartford Public Library. The exhibit, “Dialogues: Impromptu Conversations in Color,” included works created in the Carite rain forest in Puerto Rico. Carlos took leaves off plants, coated them with paint and pressed them to paper or canvas.

Over the past year, Carlos has been photographing the progress of the construction of the new Park Street Library @ the Lyric that is scheduled to open at the end of the month.

Hartford Public Library honors and celebrates the history, culture and contributions of our Hispanic and Latino community.

Ana Cuevas works on a scarf during the opening of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Ana Cuevas works on a scarf during the opening of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

Ana Cuevas was born without vision but it hasn’t stopped her from producing finely crafted scarves and other items at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center.

“My understanding of color is very limited but I like to do things for others to see,” Cuevas, who has been weaving for about four years, said Thursday as she demonstrated her skill at an opening for the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library’s Downtown location.

Dozens of items produced by artisans from the weaving center will be on display on the library’s third floor – outside the Hartford History Center – through Oct. 21.

For Johanna Bolduc, who lost her vision in 2002, the center on Woodland Street has been a welcoming environment since she first started training there in 2013.

“It’s the nosiest peaceful place you’ll ever be,” she said, calling the art of weaving a form of “active meditation.”

Garrett Weaver admires a rug he created at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center during the opening of the center's Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Sept. 9, 2021.

Garrett Weaver admires a rug he created at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center during the opening of the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

The center was forced to suspend classes for months during the COVID-19 pandemic but materials were sent home so the men and women who train there could continue working on their craft, said Ann Kollegger, executive director of the nonprofit.

In addition to teaching hand-weaving to people who are blind or visually impaired, the center also offers classes to Hartford-area seniors, like Garrett Weaver, who has a rug on display in the exhibit. He said it took him about three months to produce, start to finish.

Weaver said he’s been weaving for about 25 years and has been working at the center since its start.

“In college I was interested in modern art and math, and it’s a blend of that,” Weaver explained, adding that he uses Microsoft Excel to plot out patterns before getting to work on a project.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn, center, talks with Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Executive Director Ann Kolleger. right, and Hartford History Center Education and Outreach Manager Jasmin Agosto, left, during the Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, opening of the center's Perspectives on Color exhibit.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn, center, talks with Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Executive Director Ann Kolleger. right, and Hartford History Center Education and Outreach Manager Jasmin Agosto, left, during the Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, opening of the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit.

Cuevas, the artisan who was born without vision, described how she interprets color in a testimonial that is part of the display.

“The color red comes to mind, because I think about the sun,” she wrote. “For me, the sun and the color red means inclusion. The sun provides light and warmth to everyone in the world regardless of race, gender, religion and socioeconomic status.”

For more information visit www.weavingcenter.org.

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