Hartford, CT

Contact Name
Tricia Haggerty Wenz
Project Dates
November 2016- June 2017
Tags
Event, Design
The Golden Thread Gallery commissioned and produced an innovative and meaningful community art project titled "Pivotal Hartford; Faces of Change." This multi-media, interactive installation tells the story of the City of Hartford through the voices of extraordinary people, some known and some quietly working to bring positive change to the City of Hartford. Pivotal Hartford includes; photography, film, and spoken word, combined in an exciting way where, through technology, photographs come alive, moving and speaking to the viewer. Pivotal Hartford celebrates a diverse collection of people while showing the power of one; collectively their efforts create a powerful force of good for Hartford. Pivotal Hartford opens March 9, 2016 at The Bushnell in Hartford.
Project Goals
What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
Project Goals include:
• Build a strong sense of community identity and pride
• Bring people together who might not otherwise come into contact with each other
• Further the conversation on the dynamics of community
• Inspire others to help make Hartford safer, stronger, and more vibrant
• Draw visitors from around the region to the City of Hartford
• Create a shared artistic experience that will become a powerful uniting force for the City of
Hartford
• Introduce an innovative art form yet to be seen in our region
Numerous studies show the arts greatly enhance the quality of our lives. They make us richer, not only financially but also culturally and creatively. Pivotal Hartford will:
• Help preserve our cultural heritage and support ethnic diversity
• Help establish community through the sharing of arts and culture
• Provide a creative outlet and a means to engage our youth
• Create and inform civic dialogue
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
What has been an unexpected surprise is the connections that were made within the project of various people and groups who were featured. Also once people saw the promo there has now been a huge positive response and community excitement surrounding the project and we have had multiple requests to move the project to different locations within the City after the run at the Bushnell..
Link to promo here:
https://vimeo.com/195015222
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Project Partners:
Ruedi Hofmann, Photographer
Daniel Salazar III, Filmaker
Tricia Haggerty Wenz-Producer
Kate Wilson Producer
Raine Ramse, Sound
Community Solutions, Inc
Stakeholders and Sponsors include;
The Bushnell
Mayor of Hartford
Max Restaurant Group
ENRGM
Laz Parking
Marshall Rubin, LLC
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Through the Greater Hartford Arts Council's leadership a key strategy of Hartford is to utilize the power of the arts to improve the City, celebrate the unique cultural diversity, educate families, create an economic “ripple effect” to make Hartford a vibrant, wonderful place to live, work and visit.
We believe creating a unique and innovative project such as PIVOTAL HARTFORD seamlessly fits into the larger community goals around the arts by celebrating amazing people in the City and creating a project that encourages tourisms, and hopefully begins a new conversation around Hartford, one that talks about hope and possibilities.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
PIVOTAL Newburgh inspired PIVOTAL Hartford.. being a part of that project I was able to witness some amazing things happen. It was the largest art opening I ever attended in Newburgh with the most diverse crowd.. when premiering the Newburgh film people cheered at what was on the screen and were inspired to help make a difference in their community! Everyone matters.. everyone has something to give back and that is what this project showcases through amazing art. We did PIVOTAL HARTFORD because we believe in the transformative power of the arts, and the power each of us has to make a difference in our community. Through Pivotal Hartford we are so excited to combine these beliefs in such an beautiful, inspiring and innovative way.
Project Specifics
Please list the steps taken to implement the project:
Technical Details: PRE PRODUCTION
• In depth community research: meet/discuss, create research document, compile a select list of Pivotal Hartford individuals, notify/confirm, schedule interviews and portraits.
• Hire local contractors and volunteers, confirm studio space
• Website designed and connected with The Golden Thread Gallery and
Ruedi Hofmann sites
PRODUCTION
• Shoot, edit print/video, essay’s written, design of gallery/promos/event
• Crew: DP, Sound Engineer, Digital Tech/Still, Digital Asset Manager/Film, 2
assistant
• Studio/Sound Stage Minimum studio requirements -2000 to 4000 square feet
Ample Electric for strobes, 6000 watts tungsten light, computers
Edit: Still and Film-Selection of choices/Retouching / Compositing Image Prep, Film Edit: 20 to 30 minute film plus “teaser”
Design of Promotion Materials, Mailers etc -Exhibition Design of Gallery/Prints Web Site/Book Designs, Paper back and coffee table legacy book
POST PRODUCTION
• Photos printed and exhibit / film planned and designed. Promotional pieces and press releases distributed.
• Creation of Book
• 2 to 3 Essay’s written, regarding “Pivotal”, Gentrification, Social Change,
essay’s written by people from Hartford community from different social
positions
• Gallery finished and exhibit hung
• Table in gallery for community discussion space
• Books printed, invitations distributed, signage and invites
• food vendors scheduled
• Inside and outside space prepared for event.
• Opening
If the project steps changed over time, please describe how:
We had hoped to have 60 photographs in the exhibit, but ended up with 75 as there were so many individuals and groups we wanted to included and we began with a list of 200 and could not get it any less than 75 portraits. This increased our budget to some significance.
Obstacles
What were your major obstacles for the completion of the project?
First obstacle was fundraising, getting donors to see the value of this project for the City of Hartford. We also had to convince participants to be included, once we got people on board like the Mayor of Hartford and the CEO of the Wadsworth it became easier to get others to agree to be filmed and photographed. While photographing and filming we hit many obstacles including: theft of the studio and loss of equipment, an additional theft and dog bite!
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Both Kate and I have a glass is half full approach to our work and life, and with each obstacle we found the opportunity within that challenge to refine the project and to make it better.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
When choosing to use art to make a social impact on your community we would suggest the following;
1. Spend as much time as you can prior to the project to really get to know the community members who are doing amazing things, certainly the known people are easy to discover but dig deep and find those who are making a difference quietly and highlight their efforts as well.
2. When putting a team together look first to the community and see who has the skills there first to help implement project, you would be surprised to discover some amazing talent within your own backyard.
3. The more you believe in the project and your work , the more easily you can sell its merits to potential donors.

and NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
Project Impact
How has this project strategically connected arts and cultural activities to social, economic, and cultural issues in your community? What is different in your community as a result of this project?
By focusing on what is good in our community through an innovative art form, Pivotal Hartford will be relevant to our community by building a strong sense of community identity and pride and bring people together who might not otherwise come into contact with each other. Pivotal Hartford will improve the community's image and help to promote neighborhood cultural diversity. Because this project will highlight a diverse group of individuals and organizations in Hartford, it will also help eliminate barriers preventing residents from attending art exhibits and increase community engagement.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
Our opening is March 9th.. so we can determine our major successes after that- but to be able to photograph and oil over 100 people in five days and have an incredible film and moving pictures to show for that week- we already feel super successful!
How did you measure this success or progress?
Through this project, by giving a voice to diverse individuals who have a deep belief in what it means to be a part of a community, we are documenting an important moment in time. Through Pivotal Hartford we hope to better understand the City of Hartford, celebrate what matters in our community and open up conversations about important subjects in Hartford to include; poverty, pride and place, food desserts, racial equality and gentrification. We hope that Pivotal Hartford will attract those seeking to understand a broad range of the human experience in our community and spark new ideas and new conversations, and allow new people to become a catalyst for future change in the City of Hartford. In hearing other people’s stories in a challenging and exciting way, we hope the viewer will learn more about themselves, their own humanity, and their role in their community. Ethnicity, culture, history, sociology, and woman studies will all play an important role in this project. We will assess our success with Pivotal Hartford by creating a visitors log where we ask for emails, response to installation. We will also follow up with a brief survey of questions that will include; 1. Do you have a greater understanding of the City of Hartford? 2. Does this project inspire you to make a positive difference in the City of Hartford? By helping to define a critical moment in the history of Hartford in a unique way we hope to help set a path for future innovators, leaders, and citizens that will work towards becoming an important part of the fabric of the City of Hartford and their community.
Please describe any unexpected impacts:
Currently the impact is on the people who were featured, they connected with one another and began new conversations around collaboration. After our March 9th opening we will be able to measure the broader community impact.
I encourage all panelists to please review our promo:
https://vimeo.com/195015222