Image of Jasmin Aug 2021

Jasmin Agosto: Hartford History Center Education and Outreach Manager by day and Sageseeker Productions founder by night.

Artist always.

Congratulations on being named a 2021 Connecticut Arts Hero!

Thank you!

I think this means you get a superpower. What’s yours?

Well, if I was given this superpower as a kid it would have been to be able to fly or, by holding a book, gain all the knowledge inside it. But now? Now it would be to just by touching folks they gain all the resources and skills they need to build a good life. That’s my superpower.

It’s obvious how much you care about your community. We see it every day at the library.

My love for our community goes back to my childhood and my love for Hartford’s history was strengthened during my time at Trinity College. While I was there, I took a film class and in it we studied the films saved by Hartford activist Butch Lewis about Hartford in the year 1969. The films captured the politics, the diversity, the protests and the culture of that time. It was in that class I discovered the history they did not teach us in school, one where Black and Puerto Rican folks were at the center of it all. Years later when I began working at the history center at the library, one of my first assignments was to work on the Butch Lewis collection. I felt like I came full circle. Like I was right where I was supposed to be.

You started Sageseeker Productions to build community creative space for the Black and POC artists. What does art mean to you in your world?

Art for me is a space to break free from the systems, like capitalism, that we live within. Art allows us to think creatively, to ask questions, to push boundaries, and to express joy. It is powerful to share all of that with our community.

Is there any art recently you experience that has moved you in all those ways?

I’ve been reading a great novel Daughters of Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa. It was given to me by my mom and it follows several generations of Puerto Rican women descending from Africa. I was particularly moved by the character Mati – a healer who uses her superpowers to free herself and her fellow community while gaining the land they were enslaved on and transforming it into a free collective commune. 

Reminds me of you. Speaking of superpowers. I believe there is a cape involved with this award?

Purple. Definitely purple.

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