We've asked venues and participants to share about their Bridgeport Art Trail expereince. Learn more about their insights below.
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As the year comes to a close we want to thank all of our readers for their continued support of the Bridgeport arts community! 

We've asked venues and participants to share about being part of this citywide celebration of arts and culture. Learn more about their insights below.

We hope you enjoyed your Art Trail experience and will continue to join us at future events in the new year.

Happy Holidays,
The Bridgeport Art Trail Team 

Visit the Bridgeport Art Trail Website


Working with the artists and arts organizations, City Lights organized the 8th Bridgeport Art Trail, coordinating events and securing funds for advertising. Support from Mayor Ganim and the city of Bridgeport and the collaborative effort of Bridgeport artists, arts organizations ensured the city-wide art celebration is a success, attracting double the attendance from regional arts patrons and Bridgeport-lovers. 

City Lights also coordinated events in their 855 Main St. gallery space, including a poetry workshop, an open-house reception and the breakfast meet-up for the Bridgeport Art Trail annual bike-ride. The exhibit on view was "The Fabric of her Being, The art of Karen Loprete." We coordinated an alternative pop-up space as well at 1103 Main St. Programs there included the following: an exhibit of the photography of Jay Misencik featuring his theatre project and Bridgeport Portrait project. Iyaba Ibo Mandingo debuted his latest work  "AFRIKA" 360 an installation of sculpture and performance.. 

City Lights also coordinated the annual .Thursday Night Downtown Bridgeport Art Trail Kick-Off and  Artist Party.  Through the help of all collaborating partners and individuals, especially the Read's Art Space group, we estimate 650 people attended over the course of the night. This doubled our attendance from last year. The local artisanal food/drink/ music was a hit and complimented the art and community being showcased during the city-wide open studio weekend. Special thanks to John Torres of Oh, Cassiuis! for curating and organizing the line up for a new Bridgeport Art Trail tradition, "The Park City All Stars."  Local musicians were featured all night long to share a sampling of their music and participate in the kick-off celebration.   

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the Bridgeport Art Trail?

Strength in numbers. To create a presence we need to work together, demonstrate our impact on the community... hopefully this will attract support for the arts.  

Bridgeport Art Trail Bike Tour photographs by Catherine Conroy
Bridgeport Art Trail photographs by Suzanne Kachmar
1. Live body painting by Alicia Cobb at the Bpt Art Trail Kick-Off Party
2. *Bridgeport Baroque  at the NEST Arts Factory: Acclaimed musicians Owen Burdick and Richard Wyton lead an evening of “Bridgeport Baroque”, an evening of classical music from the 17th and 18th centuries on harpsichord, recorder, and transverse flute, with special guest Nina Stern.
3. Iyaba Ibo Mandingo performs AFRIKA 360
4. The studio of Emily Larned at American Fabrics

Any upcoming events at the venue you’d like to promote? 

City Lights is excited about 2 upcoming exhibits about women amd perception. The first will open in January with a public reception in Feb 2, 2017. The exhibit is called "HOW WE SEE YOU:  The perception of Black women through the art of Black men".  Featured artists are Iyaba Ibo Mandingo and Olivier Kpognon. The March exhibit will feature the art of Sam Morrow. All are Bridgeport artists.

Thursday Night Downtown
Bridgeport Art Trail Kick-Off
and Artist Party. 

We estimate 650 people attended over the course of the night. This doubled our attendance from last year. The local food/ drink/ music was a hit and complimented the art and community being showcased during the city-wide open studio weekend.  We estimate over 6000 attendees for the weekend long event.

Bridgeport Art Trail Kick-Off and Artist Party Photos courtesy Fairfield HamletHub.
View the full album here
Oh, Cassius! had a fantastic time performing at the Art Trail. We are so privileged to be part of such an amazing artistic community. It's always wonderful when we can show surrounding communities and even some people and Bridgeport who aren't aware what a glut of talent and passion is housed within Bridgeport city limits. I'm especially thankful to Suzanne Kachmar and everybody at the reeds building for hosting the event. O,C! has an album coming out this spring so it was great to get out there and perform in front of other creative's to let them know we're still very much a thing. -John Torres, Oh, Cassius! 
Photo Caption: Carlos Davila Studio

The NEST Arts Factory

The NEST Arts Factory had a broad assortment of programs during the Art Trail this year. Some of the highlights were a live, free baroque concert with harpsichord, flute, recorder, and cello and 4 talented, well-known musicians (Owen Burdick, Richard Wyton, Nina Stern, and Arthur Flacco); a performance by NEST artist Iyaba Ibo Mandingo about his sojourn in Africa last year; a participatory community drumming circle led by Asher Delerme; many art demonstrations by NEST artists (always a big draw for visitors!); a Latin fusion music concert by NEST artist Rick Reyes; and of course our famous Sunday morning brunch.

Nearly a thousand people visited the NEST throughout the weekend, more than even last year, and everyone was excited to meet the artists, watch the demonstrations, listen to the music, and view all of the art in the studios and all of our different exhibits. We had visitors from as far away as Hartford and New York City.

Nest Studios: Iyaba Mandingo (Left), Phyllis Lee (right), Kristin Merrill (center)
Was any program or event especially successful/of interest?
We hosted our second 10 x 10 fundraising exhibit this year and sold 25% of the show the first night! The exhibit, all works 10” x 10”, is by NEST and local artists and all sell for $100. It’s the perfect opportunity to start or add to an art collection at a great price. Unlike many fundraisers, the money raised is divided equally between the participating artists and the NEST. The funds allow the NEST to present interesting free programs throughout the year.

Why do you think it’s important to participate in the Bridgeport Art Trail?
The Bridgeport Art Trail is an outstanding event and we eagerly look forward to it every year! It’s really well run by Suzanne Kachmar, the organizer extraordinaire, and it gives the city, its venues, and its artists an opportunity to show off the wealth of talent and creativity that is at work here. It gets better and better and draws more and more people from a wider region every year.

Would you describe Bridgeport as a creative city?
There is an energy here and a sense of collaboration between the artists, musicians, craftspeople, etc, that is creative and inspirational. Historically every city that artists thrive in, thrives itself. Artists show the potential in spaces, they allow the public to see the beauty and viability in neglected or quirky spaces and neighborhoods. Artists have always paved the way for revitalization and rebirth. A city, like Bridgeport, that is smart enough to support its artists and art community can’t help but to prosper. The artists of Bridgeport are passionate about our love for the city and our desire to see it succeed.

Any upcoming events at The Nest you’d like to promote?
The next event at the NEST is Friday, March 10 when we host our second annual Bridgeport Artist Networking Party. Last year nearly 300 artists and creative people got together to share, collaborate, inspire one another, and forge connections. The first of the new Artist2Artist peer professional development series will be held right before the party kicks off and will be free and helpful to all artists and those with creative businesses. The day after, Saturday, March 11, will be our first event of our Spring season, with Open Studios and an invitational exhibition in our gallery.
I am a fiber artist and printmaker working from a studio at the NEST Arts Factory. I teach workshops there (and around the world) and also mentor artists on the business side of being an artist.


Design Night Out was back just in time for the Bridgeport Art Trail! Guests joined for a truly URBAN evening at the new mixed-use Harral Security Wheelerbuilding on Main Street. Along with our compelling panel discussion, there was an awesome performance by Oh, Cassius, art installations, SASD student work, local merch including Hartford Prints!, Dixie Doughnuts, snacks, drinks and an after-party catered by Urban Eats Culinary Program.

Liz Squillace of Paradox Ink
David Kooris of Resilient Bridgeport
Rahz Branch of I Luv Bridgeport and BeautifulCrime GalleryShow
Cristina Sandolo of Green Village Initiative (GVI)
Jonathan Hopkins of Urbanismo

More Information:

Was any program or event especially successful/of interest?
Design Night Out: URBAN was a panel discussion hosted by the Bananaland & Hartford Prints at the newly renovated Harral Security Wheeler building on Main St. I think this event was so well received because Design Night Out has a history of presenting different themes in Bridgeport & Hartford therefore building an audience & interest.

It is also so well produced with a slideshow of the panelists art & photographs of what they do, great sound system, live music, wonderful food. I had the pleasure of being one of the panelists this year & really enjoyed speaking about my city, Bridgeport, and the public art I create in it and other cities with great public art. It was also super fun collaborating with, and learning from, the other panelists.
-Liz Squillace, Artist, Paradox Ink

Artists Choose Artists
Arcade Mall Storefronts

What were some of the programming you hosted for the 2016 Bridgeport Art Trail? 
I, along with the Read's Artspace Ground Floor Gallery Committee, hosted Artists Choose Artists with curatorial assistance by David Green of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. Our opening reception coincided with the kickoff party for the Bridgeport Art Trail. I also hosted open studios in my screenprinting & painting studio, Paradox Ink, in the Arcade Mall, where I demonstrated screenprinting on t-shirts & hoodies.
How was your experience?
The experience at Read's Artspace was amazing. The turnout at the opening of Artists Choose Artists & the Bpt Art Trail Kickoff party was huge! We had live music, food, art, and great people. The Arcade open studios was less populated, but still activated with screenprinting, weaving, and art shopping,
Why do you think it’s important to participate in the Bridgeport Art Trail? 
Because, as an artist, I feel a responsibility to show my work, and the galleries that I represent, in the best light.
It's important to highlight the depth & diversity of the artists in Bridgeport, especially because collectively, as a community, we are trying to expand Bridgeport into a truly creative, livable, vibrant city and right now is the time to see the artist pioneers of the city doing what we do best, making art!!!

I am a painter and screenprinter. I paint public art & murals, and screenprint t-shirts out of my studio-storefront, Paradox Ink in the Arcade Mall. I describe my public artwork as creative illusion, as can be seen on utility boxes in downtown Bridgeport, and a mural in the Bridgeport Train Station. I've also painted oil paintings such as Paris Window and a Window in Bridgeport, which play with the illusion of looking through window panes into urban landscapes. 


I had the pleasure to welcome the Dean of Education at Sacred Heart University, who is also a Bridgeport local and purchased a medium size artwork themed after the recent presidential election results.  I also welcomed my friend and local interior designer Robert Valle who is a continuous supporter of the studio.

Our studios are located on the second floor of the Arcade Mall, we offer weaving group classes and fine art made with textiles.

Sign up for the Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter and visit the Bridgeport Art Trail website throughout the year to find out about the current arts and cultural events.

Save the date for 2017 Veterans Day weekend for the annual city-wide open house arts celebration!

Photograph, Main Street Bridgeport by Julia-Rose
Copyright © 2016 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.

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