Art Exhibit

A_Balkun_Grocer's Dilemma


We’re excited to announce the December 5th opening of UPcycled Sampler, an exhibit by Anita Gangi Balkun, at our Downtown ArtWalk gallery! The exhibit includes a large hanging installation piece designed specifically for the ArtWalk, and will be on display during regular Library hours through January 9, 2015.

A celebratory reception with the artist will take place on the night of December 5th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Visitors to the 25th Annual Open Studio Hartford Weekend will be able to view a sneak peek of the exhibit on Saturday and Sunday November 15 and 16 from 1:00-3:00 p.m., and have the opportunity to take part in the completion of the installation.

“My work reuses stuff headed for the recycle bin or trash and transforms it into unexpected forms,” Balkun explains. UPcycled Sampler contains materials such as packing peanuts, construction fencing, and newspaper. The artist says she “often search[es] for content within the history of the object – its use or its journey – and use[es] that information as a springboard to the form.”

Anita Gangi Balkun

Anita Gangi Balkun

A resident of West Hartford, Balkun received her M.F.A. from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford and a B.A. from Central Connecticut State University. She has been featured in various exhibits throughout Connecticut and is the recipient of several awards, most recently earning 2nd Place in the West Hartford Art League’s 2014 CT+6 Regional Juried Exhibit.

The ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library is located at 500 Main Street, Hartford. For more information, please visit

February is just around the corner, and we’ve got a great lineup of Black History Month programs and events to educate, inform and entertain. Join us!

Black History Tree



Youth: History Makers

Monday, February 3, 3:30 p.m., Mark Twain Branch

Ages 8 and up. Join us in a celebration of Black History month as we create a History Tree with quotes from people who inspired others through their words and actions.

More info: 860-695-7540



American Promise Poster

 “American Promise” Film Screening and Community Conversation

Saturday, February 8, 2014, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library

Hartford Public Library hosts on of the first screenings in the nation of the PBS documentary “American Promise,” a rare and compelling exploration of race, class and opportunity in America. Following the film, a conversation moderated by Fox CT’s Stan Simpson will engage a panel of local educators, community leaders, and attendees in a dialogue surrounding issues of race and education in local communities.  Panelists will include Adam Johnson, Director of Secondary Education at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), Milly Arciniegas, Executive Director of the Hartford Parent University , and others. “American Promise” debuts on PBS Monday, February 3rd.

American Promise is an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 12 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious–and historically white–private school on
Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris Brewster and Oluwaseun (Seun) Summers of Brooklyn were two of the gifted children who were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.

This event is a collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS. For more info: View the“American Promise” trailer



Native Son by Richard WrightNative son

Sunday, February 9, 2014

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Kitchen @ Hartford Public Library

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.


Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Mudbound

The Kitchen @ Hartford Public Library

In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

For copies of the book or questions, contact book club leader Sarah Pelletier at 860-695-6377

February’s Book Club is made possible in part thanks to the generous donation of books by CT Humanities.




Black PanthersA Conversation with Butch Lewis: The Black Panther Party in Connecticut

Sunday, February 23, 2014, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library

Hartford Public Library and the Hartford History Center, in partnership with the magazine Connecticut Explored, presents a Black History Month discussion recalling the Black Panther Party in Connecticut during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s featuring Butch Lewis, 1960s activist and co-founder of the Hartford Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Featured scholars will include Dr. Stacey Close, Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Dr. Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Vice Provost for Diversity at University of Connecticut. Connecticut Explored also celebrates the launch of its newest publication, African American Connecticut Explored.  Books will be available for purchase.




The People That Could FlyFamily Poetry Night

Wednesday, February 26, 5:30 p.m., Downtown Library – Youth Program Room

Ages 4 and up with adult friends. Bring your whole family to celebrate Black History Month! Come recite your favorite poems and enjoy a night of music, soul food and poetry.

More info: 860-695-6330


People That Could Fly

Friday, February 27, 3:00 p.m., Camp Field Branch

All Ages. Celebrate Black History Month with a read aloud and discussion of Virginia Hamilton’s tale, The People That Could Fly, then enjoy a soulful treat afterwards.

More info:860-695-7440


Amistad Photos

Amistad Center Historic Photo Collection

Throughout February, Library visitors will be able to a view a kinetic “exhibit” of historic photos of important events and figures of the Civil Rights Movement, courtesy of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, projected in a giant display in on the wall of our Downtown Atrium. Exhibit is visible from all floors, and will be projected during afternoon hours.


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