Heaven Skate Park
A few years ago I was at a meeting where this location was described as “welcome to gangland” by someone who did not approve of the graffiti. Every time I visit and see an artist’s interpretation of a whale or various pop culture figures, I have to laugh. Rich Uncle Pennybags hardly comes off as threatening.
On a dull day, what you find here are just scribbles. For me, it’s the equivalent of looking at knockoffs of Jackson Pollock. On a good day, you can find entire murals, cartoon characters, and even holiday-themed work. The gallery is always changing. There are recent messages wishing people a Happy Independence Day.
Not technically outside, but you can easily view everything from the Pearl Street sidewalk when the doors are closed. Exhibits change every couple of weeks. Right now, there are pictures of goats.
The 224 EcoSpace
Go to the rear of 224 Farmington Avenue to see one of the more interesting murals around Hartford. It’s vibrant, got a message that’s right on time, and was painted by members of the community. When the building is open, go inside for more art. It’s everywhere, from the light fixtures to the actual art gallery.
See Twain, Hepburn, and Colt spray-painted over the patio by the train station.
The mural of a bear might seem random if you don’t know that this formerly housed Bear’s.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
The older sections — where you won’t awkwardly happen upon a funeral-in-process — are filled with fairly elaborate monuments. Be sure to check out the stained glass windows on the mausoleums.
Sculpture Walk by the Connecticut River
I know that’s not the proper name, but this is more descriptive. Go with it.
There is a giant metal horse on the East Hartford side.
During the Segarra administration, the City of Hartford — through its Livable Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative and Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division — offered stipends to artists living in the Greater Hartford area. That was $500 apiece to paint utility boxes along Franklin Avenue.
Look up when you walk around.
BONUS: Bushnell Plaza Sculpture Garden
This gets tacked on at the end as an afterthought for one reason: the space is barricaded more often than not, including at times when it is expected to be open — Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm. Why? Why is it so impossible for anything to happen to this space on the southwest corner of Main and Gold? You can see some of the sculptures okay enough when the barricades are in place, but you can’t see them all and you don’t get to stand close enough. For awhile, some of these items were moved near Front Street. But now, they’re back. It’s confusing. Really. Why put something cool out there, just out of reach? You’re not actually activating a space if you’ve prevented people from walking into it.