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State budget, NCC and a call for artists

NORWALK, Conn. —  Here’s a roundup of Norwalk happenings: 

  • Dathan schedules State Budget discussion
  • A $1 million donation to NCC
  • Artspace looks for resident artists

State finances to be discussed

A virtual “State Budget Roundtable” in advance of the 2022 legislative session is planned for Wednesday Jan. 26 from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. according to a news release.  State Representatives Lucy Dathan (D-Norwalk/New Canaan) and Sean Scanlon (D-Branford/Guilford) will lead a discussion of  such topics as revenue, expenses, and local impact.

Dathan, who is the Appropriations Committee vice chair, said “I look forward to this informative budget discussion with my colleague, Rep. Scanlon and encourage our residents to join us. Many constituents have approached me about the budget process, and this is a great opportunity to learn more about it.” 

Scanlon, who chairs the Finance, Bonding & Revenue Committee, said “The budget touches so many aspects of our lives, so there will be ample opportunities this session to go through our state budget and find ways to provide long-term support to low- and middle-income residents and families.  I look forward to discussing this with our constituents next week, and I thank Rep. Dathan for putting this forum together.”

To take part, you must register at https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_YQfq16HyQW66g70R2bxcVA   Facebook event link is https://fb.me/e/1QZY4MdPj

 

NCC gets $1 million donation

A $1 million anonymous donation was made to Norwalk Community College Foundation (NCCF) over the holiday season, contingent on the money being used within two years for the school’s most pressing needs.  In a news release, the donors said, “We are passionate believers in the human potential, and we believe that an investment today in Norwalk Community College amplifies the opportunity to improve outcomes for thousands of NCC students. The strength of the NCC Foundation, the dynamic and innovative leadership of CEO DeVonish, and the strong support of President Cheng have us ‘all in’ on NCC. We couldn’t be more excited to provide support to NCC’s vision and strategic priorities and to see the enhancement and expansion of programming enable the realization of the highest potential for its students and community.”

The donation’s usage is expected to include

  •         Targeted programs for student parents, women, and students of color
  •         Enhanced STEM offerings
  •         Hiring of student navigators, job coaches, and peer mentors to support student retention and guide graduates entering the workforce

 

NCC CEO Cheryl DeVonish reportedly said “We know that our students are resilient and highly capable, but many of them face increasing challenges with childcare, transportation, housing, access to technology, food insecurity and mental health.These are all circumstances that must be addressed in conjunction with a full complement of academic support services if our students to be successful.  We are extremely grateful for this donor’s generosity and understanding of our needs, and we thank the Foundation and (NCCF CEO) Carrie Bernier for their part in making it possible.”

Bernier is quoted as saying “The costs associated with providing these services to students over the course of their academic journey is high, and this generous unrestricted gift will provide much needed seed money to truly be able to bring to life the vision for holistic student services that CEO DeVonish has long-championed. We hope that other philanthropists, be they individuals, foundations, or corporations, will look at this as an opportunity to join in the vision of this generous donor to truly create the support needed so students can reach their academic goals.”

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system President Terrence Cheng said. “Even before the pandemic, too many students, particularly at community colleges, faced external barriers which made academic success all the more difficult. This generous donation will make a real difference in the lives of some of Norwalk’s most vulnerable students, removing barriers to completion and creating future opportunities. We owe this anonymous donor a debt of gratitude.”

 

Resident artists wanted

The Norwalk Art Space is now taking applications for four 2022-23 Resident Artist positions.  This year-long gig entails teaching three 8-week after-school courses, mentoring students, helping with installations, and supporting the other Resident Artists. In return, the Art Space provides:

  •         Free studio and exhibition space.
  •         Inclusion in curated exhibitions, professionally produced exhibition catalogs and press packages.
  •         Free access to visiting artists’ lectures and programming.
  •         Critiques and guidance from the Art Space’s Korry Fellows (established artists).

 

Outgoing 2021 Resident Artists look back fondly on their experience.  Lorena Sferlazza said “It’s been a privilege and an honor to collaborate in teaching and creating here.  I’m so grateful for the honest community that’s been developed here. You see it everywhere: from the hardworking café staff to the volunteers who greet you with a smile at the front desk and the eager, talented high school students who take our free classes”   Emily Teall said “My residency at the Art Space transformed my artistic outlook,  I’ve learned practical and technical skills surrounding showing and selling work, and have received insightful critiques and support with materials.  Collaborating with students pushes my own work further. The greatest asset of the Art Space is the powerful community it provides. The genuine kindness and passion of everyone involved transformed my artistic mindset and gave me confidence and joy.” 

 Apply no later than Tuesday Feb. 1 at  https://www.thenorwalkartspace.org/artists.  Successful candidates will be announced on Tuesday March 15, and their studios will be ready on Friday June 3.

The Norwalk Art Space and Art Space Café are located at 455 West Ave., Norwalk (corner of Butler St.).    Hours are  8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, and 9 a.m. until  3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  The building is handicap accessible, with a ramp and elevator. There is on-site parking, plus an overflow lot across the street at 370 West Ave. (lot entrance on Maple St.).  Or park in the back lot at Mathews Park, 295 West Ave.  Art Space admission is always free.  Their phone is (203) 252-2840.

 

www.thenorwalkartspace.org

 

One comment

Piberman January 25, 2022 at 3:14 pm

Puzzling City leaders over the decades haven’t shown any interest in elevating our 2 year CC into a full fledged 4 yr college. Especially when most Norwalk high school grads never secure a 4 yr college degree. (See CT Edu Dept website for details).
Norwalk remains CT’s City without a 4 yr college (public or private). A 4 yr college would be a big economic boost to our City and by living at home make it much easier for our high schools to get the important 4 yr college degree.

Some years ago there was a private effort to generate City interest in siting a 4 yr public college in Norwalk focused on hi-tech subjects. We called the proposal a “Senior Technical College for Norwalk”. CEO’s of high tech firms in Norwalk and CT generally have long complained about the lack of hi-tech employees.
It’s a national problem. Relatively few minorities have significant careers in hi-tech.
At the time the CEO of a Norwalk hi tech global firm had interest. As one of the nation’s are minority CEO’s he was long aware of the scarcity of minority hi-tech talent.

But is an old story in Norwalk. Doing something “different” is challenging. After all we do have a 2 yr CC. And if most of our students never secure 4 yr college degrees well that’s a “different story”. Bridgeport, CT’s largest and most impoverished City, has long had a 4 yr privately funded college with graduate programs. Norwalk needs make do with just a CC funded by CT.

Years ago Stamford residents many of whom worked in NYC agitated for a MBA program in their City. UCON heard their pleas and set up a MBA program that soon had more students than the one in the Storrs countryside. I taught part time in the Stamford program for some years. A real success story. Stamford residents know how to “rattle the chain”. And get results. Norwalk results remain comfortable with their CC. Students who want a 4 yr degree need drive to one in another City. Just another obstacle to those students whose lives would be most improved by a 4 yr college degree.

Maybe some day a City Mayoral/Council/BOE candidate will run on a platform for securing a 4 yr college in Norwalk – CT’s 6th largest City with a population of almost 100,000. Nationally we have about 300 cities as large if not larger than Norwalk. And we have over 3000 4 yr colleges. That the 6th largest City in the nation’s wealthiest State doesn’t have even one 4 yr college is an embarrassment. And speaks volumes. Just think of the City residents that would most benefit from local access to a 4 yr college.

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