Artworks Together; Indivisible; Louisa May Alcot; and Norwalk innovation

NORWALK, Conn. —  A “meaningful and positive experience for the special needs community,” the Indivisible Resistance, a living history presentation and a chance or Norwalk enterpreneurs to work on their elevator pitch, a kick off for Norwalk innovation.

ArtWorks Together: Building Community Through the Arts

Arts For Healing, a creative arts therapy center that services all of Fairfield County, has been working with the Norwalk Public Schools this year with a program titled, ArtWorks Together: Building Community Through the Arts, primarily funded through a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, organizer Susan Nisinzweig said.

“Arts for Healing, NPS and the special needs community invites ALL of Norwalk to celebrate the arts with us!” a flier for a Sunday fundraising event states. “Arts and Fun for All Ages and All Abilities!”

The event, held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Norwalk High School gym, begins with a square dance and features “performances by local music, art and dance teachers and some of their students as well as some performances from our therapists and the students they work with from NHS, Nisinzweig said.

“There will be interactive music and art experiences as well as games, food and of course the exhibit of the wonderful inclusive art projects made by the participating schools. We hope to and expect to have a great turnout on May 7th with several principals and art teachers encouraging their students to attend and by engaging local creative arts schools,” she said.

ArtWorks Together: Building Community Through the Arts “involves 4 levels of building community through the arts starting with Arts For Healing’s therapists  providing music, art, drama and dance/movement therapy to some of the special needs students at the High School and for the Norwalk Early Childhood Center which services 200 students with about 50% having some type of special needs,” she said in an email. “As part of the grant’s mission to ‘build community through the arts,’ we held a family event at NECC with 200 attendees in early March; We provided a music assembly at NHMS and CMS called ‘From Trash To Tunes’ (led by a CT Teaching artist Dr. Denis Waring) that reached over 1000 students and was very well received by students and staff; and we have engaged 10 Norwalk Public Schools (involving another thousand students from the Norwalk community) in creating large inclusive art projects that will be exhibited at the ArtWorks Together Community event.”

More info? Nisinzweig continued:

Among our goals for “building community through the arts”are:

1. To provide an opportunity for creative arts teachers/schools in Norwalk to present themselves to the community and to hopefully lead students in the community to sign up for music, art, dance and theater programs.

2. To offer a way for music, art, dance and drama teachers in Norwalk to learn more about the creativity and interest from the special needs community so they can either provide programing directly for them or by working with or referring families to Arts For Healing where we specialize in using creative modalities to help children, teens, adults and seniors with special needs to have fun while developing their language, social, emotional skills and improving self confidence.  (We have two sites in New Canaan on Grove Street and at Grace Farms, where we see private clients and work with groups and we also have done outreach programs in more than 45 locations throughout Fairfield County.  Our therapists work in many schools, community centers, senior living centers and other locations to provide the creative arts to individuals with physical, emotional and cognitive needs)

3. To raise $10,000 at this event to help offset the cost and hopefully expand the program for next year so we can provide therapies for children in more of the Norwalk Public Schools and we can offer the assembly to more schools in the district.  If this community wide event is a big success, we hope to replicate it next year.

4. Finally, we also hope to help find jobs for the special needs young adults who are 22 and aging out of school.  As we call businesses to ask if they’d like to put an ad in our program or have a table at the event we are also planting the seed of becoming an employer of a special young man or woman in their office, store, school, etc.

“The creation of this whole program and this May 7th event comes from a place of wanting to create a meaningful and positive experience for the special needs community with their Norwalk Community.  We hope to create more friendships, opportunities and understanding,” she said.

“If people are interested in supporting this Program for next year in the Norwalk Schools but they cannot attend the event they could make a donation at our website www.artsforhealing.org and specify that the donation is for the ArtWorks Together,” Nisinzweig said. “It’s been a fantastic first year and we hope to do even more in Norwalk next year.”

ArtWorks Together flyer May 7th event


The Indivisible Resistance

This Monday, at its monthly meeting, the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County (HFFC) is highlighting the resistance to President Donald Trump.

An email from the group said:

“Since the election of President Donald Trump, activist groups have sprouted up all over the country – including in Fairfield County – to challenge the new administration and hold political leaders accountable.

“Many of them have consolidated their efforts under the umbrella group known as Indivisible.

“Kaitlyn Shake, one of the founders of the Indivisible group Fairfield Standing United, will be the featured speaker at the May 8 monthly meeting of the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County. She will co-present with FSU co-founder and HFFC Steering Committee member Brandon T. Bisceglia at 6:30 p.m. at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk.

“The pair will discuss the history behind the Indivisible phenomenon, how FSU has become a model for other groups through its organization on local, state and national issues, and what kinds of resources and strategies are available for all citizens who want to get engaged.”

Living history at Lockwood Matthews

You may have seen Jan Turnquist portray Louisa May Alcott in Public Service Announcements currently running nationally on the FOX TV network, on several BBC productions, or on PBS.

On May 21, you can see Turnquist portray Alcott, an American author, in person at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.
The performance will be a blend of stage drama and “Living History,” a museum press release said.

Jan Turnquist asLouisa May Alcot. (Contributed)

“In a living history portrayal, an actor becomes a character, just as they do in a play, but, unlike a play, the audience may interact with the character and ask questions or make comments. LMMM’s audience will be invited to travel back in time to meet Louisa May Alcott who will enter the Mansion’s Rotunda after having had a minor accident and waiting for her carriage’s repair,” the release said.

Turnquist, an educator, actress, and historian, is the executive director of the historic house museum Orchard House, in Concord, Mass., where Louisa May Alcott wrote the novel, Little Women, the release said.

The performance is from 2:30 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 21, at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, located at 295 West Ave.

“This will be the second in a series of Sunday Salons by experts in the field of 19th and early 20th centuries’ material and cultural life,” the release said. “This Salon includes a living history performance, refreshments, and a tour of the first floor of the Mansion; $15 for members, $20 for non-members per session. Refreshments are courtesy of Best in Gourmet.  Please RSVP by Thurs, May 17, 2017. The chair of the Lecture Committee is Mimi Findlay of New Canaan.”

You can visit the museum’s website to buy tickets, contact [email protected] or call 203-838-9799, ext. 4.
Norwalk Now

You may have heard, Norwalk is one of seven finalists for a Connecticut Next Innovation Places Planning Grant, out of 12 applicants.

“On May 30 we will kick off our planned startup engagement with an event we are calling Norwalk Now.  It will take place at Factory Underground and will include an elevator pitch competition (cash awards), great food and networking,” Peter Propp of Northeast Community Innovation Corp. said in an email.

That’s “more than $3000 in prizes for the best local companies in the four key pillars of Norwalk’s Innovation Places proposal: Food, Making and Light Manufacturing, Digital Media and Marketing, Tech and Non-Tech Startups,” the event’s invitation states.

“If you would like to try your hand at a no-charts, 3 minute pitch on a business in these 4 areas or in a non-profit area, please give your information at the end of the registration process,” the invite states.

The $10 tickets will include beer, wine, soda and dinner from Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint.

“The goal of the Innovation Places Program is to invest in vibrant downtowns so that they build on strengths, encourage young artists, entrepreneurs and business leaders to create companies and put down roots in CT,” the invite states.


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