Fatima Vejzovic squats in front of the çilimi weaving loom. She’s being asked questions about the process, but does not have enough English vocabulary to respond. She motions in a way that indicates everyone should kindly shut up and just watch. No interpreter needed. She shows with her hands how she counts out to thread the thick yarn to create patterns. Above the loom, a completed rug shows what this piece-in-progress will generally look like when finished.
Vejzovic, a Bosnian refugee, is only one of the artists whose work is currently on display at the Institute for Community Research as part of the New Lives/New England touring exhibit. The artists are refugees and other new immigrants living in Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont. Tapestries, bags, mittens, and lace are among the works from members of the Assyrian, Bosnian, Burmese Karen, Somali, and Somali Bantu communities.
Lynne Williamson, Director of the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the ICR, said that handicrafting can be therapeutic for those who have experienced trauma. Having their works on display and creating opportunities for the public to interact with artists, she said, encourages people to view the creators in ways other than just “women in headscarves.” Continue reading 'New Lives/New England, Traditional Art'»
Although Tuesday night’s Hartford Board of Education special meeting had only two agenda items for public comment, you would have never known it from the hundreds of people, especially Weaver students, who packed into the Fred D. Wish Elementary School gymnasium. It was a sea of forest green hoodies. Proudly emblazed on the hoodies was the rallying cry of the night: “Weaver Strong.” In addition, Weaver students greeted every attendee with a handout celebrating the school’s achievements. Thundering drum beats in the school’s lobby foretold of a battle. Handheld placards proclaiming “Weaver Forever” were placed on every seat. Ironically, the presumed fight over the future of Weaver High School was the least contentious event of the night.
The massive turnout of Weaver students, parents, alumni, and staff was the dissatisfaction with the Board’s communication with the school’s community. The show of force was to ensure the survival of Weaver, including its traditions, history, and legacy. The issue at hand was the future move of Weaver Culinary Academy to a temporary location at the Lincoln Culinary Institute on Sigourney St. Weaver High School is slated for a $100 million rehabilitation and the entire school must be relocated to Lincoln while construction occurs.
Rumors had been swirling over the future of Weaver, but the real issue, as the school’s principal Tim Goodwin explained, was the glacial pace of the project and the numerous unanswered questions over the school’s future. The leadership of the Blue Hills Civic Association also peppered the board with questions over the developer of the Weaver site and lack of communication with the neighborhood. Continue reading 'Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns: Hartford BOE Edition'»
For its preschool-through-eighth grade, the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts has a permanent location on Van Block Avenue, in the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. It has expanded to create a high school, currently located temporarily on Locust Street, one mile away in the South Meadows, a predominately industrial area of Hartford.
The Hartford Board of Education had planned to vote Monday evening on a permanent site for this high school but the vote on this and approval of a lease agreement for the Weaver Culinary Arts Academy with Lincoln Culinary Institute were tabled until the meeting next week. City Council already approved $33 million for construction of a new Kinsella high school facility.
The Superintendent’s suggestion that the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts High School be built on City-owned property adjacent to SAND Elementary School (America’s Choice at SAND) on Main Street did not go over well. Continue reading 'Superintendent’s Pick for Kinsella Site Opposed'»
Now that we have completed our three trips to each neighborhood, we wanted to share our absolute favorite pictures from this series.
(Blue Hills) This one was taken at the Watkinson Community Garden on Bloomfield Avenue, behind the Unitarian meetinghouse. This is more like a farm than a community garden. We have no idea why this wheelbarrow was perched in a tree; on other trips here, all equipment was stored in places one would expect it to be. The weather was changing from “vaguely Autumn” to “there’s frost”.
(Clay Arsenal) A friend tipped us off to some artwork in an area we were about to visit, but did not give an exact location. We do not even know if this was where he found the painting of a peacock. What we found — portraits — were more interesting than the simple scribbles that are common.
Continue reading 'Best of Your Neighborhoods'»
Sometimes, we find dead critters. Usually this is unpleasant — roadkill. Other times, we encounter something we are not entirely convinced has died. An example of that is below the fold. Found on Charter Oak Avenue on New Year’s Eve.
Continue reading 'Scenes from the Sidewalk: Installment 81'»
Paved section of path, south of the Riverfront Plaza
It’s expected that the State Bond Commission will approve funds on Friday to finish paving the walkway between Charter Oak Landing and the existing path that crosses railroad tracks. Continue reading 'Access Along River to be Extended'»
For the second year in a row, the late Roberto Clemente was commemorated in Colt Park for his work as a humanitarian and civil rights leader. Clemente, who died on December 31, 1972, was remembered yesterday with flowers, remarks, and a poem.
Pedro Bermudez, Jr., in his welcome message, described Clemente as “a person who was completely selfless.”
Participants were led in the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “La Borinqueña.” Continue reading 'Remembering Roberto Clemente'»