Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.
Bridgeport is brimming with upcoming exhibitions and performances of political and cultural importance with several visual, spoken word, and live theater shows.

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Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.

Bridgeport is brimming with upcoming exhibitions and performances of political and cultural importance with several visual, spoken word, and live theater shows including FOOTSTEPS OF MANDELA at The Klein. 

See the judicial classic "12 Angry Men" or soulful re-imagining of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" as "The Wiz" come to life on the stage.

Artists also explore the concept of "BLACK & WHITE" in City Light Gallery's new exhibition and related programming including an artist talk and poetry workshops.

Plus, we're happy to honor Iyaba Ibo Mandingo as our January featured artist who is creating a Reconciliation Tree for the "Footsteps of Mandela" production at The Klein Memorial Auditorium. He will exhibit and perform at City Lights and the NEST.

Learn more about these entertaining and thought-provoking events below!

-The Bridgeport Art Trail Team

For a year-round map/listing of area studios, galleries, and cultural organizations visit our Bridgeport Art Trail Program Guide.

Art attribution for image: Francesca Andre
Art atrribution: (left) Untitled by Herm Freeman
Art atrribution: (right): Unwelcome Release by Camille Eskell

EXHIBITION: Black & White
City Lights Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday January 29th, 5:30-8:30PM
Exhibition Run:  1/29/15 - 3/19/2015


City Lights, a nonprofit organization that serves the community through art will host this exhibit in the downtown gallery space located at 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport CT.

Black and white drawings, paintings, photographs, prints and installations address feelings of outrage, polarization and frustration rising from the recent fatal shootings and use of force incidents involving police and black men. Content and the visual syncopation created by a limited yet contrasting pallet offer a dynamic platform spurring discussion and reflection to better understand people from diverse backgrounds with the intention of harmony and community.

In conjunction with the exhibit City Lights will host a series of spoken word programs and the annual winter artists’ talk on March 1, 2015 when artists and patrons share stimulating discussion over a bowl of warm chili. A suggested donation of $5 will be accepted at the door.

Programs include” unFRAMED” a one man production written and performed by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo using poetry, prose, painting and song, on February 7, 6:30-9. Donations accepted at the door.

Fairfield and New Haven County artists include: Francesca Andre, Suzanne Benton, Will Corprew, Dave Coelho, Allan Dudek, Camille Eskell, Herm Freeman, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Gerald Moore, Gerald Saladyga, Rick Shaefer, Gordon Skinner, Nomi Silverman, Gustavo Torres, Jahmane West. Views expressed are those of the individual artists.

City Lights is located in downtown Bridgeport easily accessible from I-95, Route 8, the Post Rd and Metro North at 37 Markle Court Bridgeport  

More Info

Performance, Poetry, and Artists Talk at City Lights


POETRY WORKSHOP: Writer’s Group with Shanna Melton
Time: 2-4PM

Time: 5-6:30PM


Performance: UnFramed

Description: A one man production, written and performed by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo and directed by Brent Buell. "Using canvas, paint, poetry, prose and song, Iyaba tells us a story of his transformation… “Mommy Me No Wanna Go Merrica”- a prophetic piece that hints at the many trials he will face in a new land."
Time: View art from 6:30. Performance begins at 7:30

SATURDAY 2/21/15
POETRY OPEN MIC:  Featuring Writers Group New Works, hosted by Shanna Melton

SAT 3/7/15
POETRY WORKSHOP: Writer’s Group with Shanna Melton
Time: 2-4PM

SPOKEN WORD COLLABORATION INTERPRETING THE VISUAL ART OF GORDON SKINNER: Written and performed by Tenesi Davis and Attallah Sheppard, writing and direction by Gordon Skinner.
Time: 6:30-8:30PM

SUN 3/1/15
ANNUAL ARTISTS' TALK & CHILI PARTY: Comfort food for the body and food for thought. Suggested donation: $5 (SNOW DATE 3/8/15)
Time: 4-6PM

The Wiz
Jan 16 - 31, 2015
Downtown Cabaret Theatre/ Bridgeport Theatre Company

Book by William F. Brown, Music by Charlie Smalls
Directed & Choreographed by Frank Root
Musical Direction by Tony Bellomy
Featuring an electrifying and dynamic ensemble cast, this soulful modern retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz originally won 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The score by Charlie Smalls includes the beloved hits, "Ease on Down the Road," Brand New Day" and "Home". Great show for all ages.

More Info

12 Angry Men (Live Theater)
The Bijou Theatre
January 30th-February 8th

The drama depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not-guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt. The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in the homicide case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. As in most American criminal cases, the twelve men must unanimously decide on a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty”. (In the justice systems of nearly all American states, failure to reach a unanimous verdict, a so-called “hung jury“, results in a mistrial.)

The case at hand pertains to whether a young man murdered his own father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. These twelve then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities of their peers. Throughout their deliberation, not a single juror calls another by his name because the names are unknown by the jurors. Several of the jurors have different reasons for discriminating against the witness: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son.
Directed by Kevin McNair.

More Info

Footsteps of Mandela
The Klein Memorial Auditorium

February 8th, 3pm

Producer & Musical Director Joel A. Martin & Panacea Global Partners LLC have joined forces with The Klein & performing artists from around the globe to present the 2nd installment of an original musical production promoting reconciliation, forgiveness and peace through the arts.

Footsteps of Mandela is a full-scale musical and visual performance featuring an interfaith chorus, soloists, a visual artist live-painting an eight by eight foot canvas of Mandela, speakers, celebrities and drums. Orchestrated to raise the consciousness of people around Nelson Mandela’s themes of reconciliation and forgiveness, FOM will further promote these values with a portable “Reconciliation Tree” created by a local artist who will incorporate symbols of forgiveness donated by members of the community.

More Info

David Hayes: Modern Master of American Abstraction
Housatonic Museum of Art
December 3, 2014 through February 8, 2015

David Hayes: Modern Master of American Abstraction is a celebration of this important Connecticut sculptor whose career spanned six decades. David Hayes continued to paint, sculpt and exhibit until his death on April 9, 2013. The drawings and maquettes on view here are studies for his monumental sculptures and include the biomorphic and geometric forms that comprise his signature style.
Born in Hartford, he maintained a home and studio in Coventry, CT where dozens of his sculptures are situated throughout fifty-plus acres of bucolic farm and woodlands. The influence of his mentor David Smith and his friend Alexander Calder are visible in the playful welded steel polychrome works on display in the gallery. Hayes drew his inspiration from nature, translating delicate foliage into lyrical, brightly painted industrial strength sculptures.
Closing Date:  February 8th
EXHIBITION: Forever Young....In 2015
City Lights Gallery

City Lights is extending a call to all artists of the Baby Boomer generation and to artists of all ages who have reinvented themselves due to changes in work situations, economy and any developments or realizations that have occurred during the course of one’s life journey.
Artists are welcome to submit works based on their own interpretation of this theme which may include issues about aging or the reflection of the words of the iconic song by Bob Dylan, “Forever Young.”

Content may include but is not limited to the following:  
  • Reflection on the concept of age and one’s personal evolution; how ideas and expectations of youth have been transformed by life experiences.
  • Any expression about aging: Age discrimination, the breakdown of the body and mind, the social pressures to maintain a youthful appearance and performance. 
  • Sharing life experiences or insights with others of different ages.
  • The “Sandwich Generation”, a Baby Boomer phenomena, caregivers who tend to their children and parents simultaneously. 
  • The beauty and nobility in youthful, fresh ideas and attitudes that are unspoiled by negativity and the struggles that life presents.
  • A nostalgic look back from decades ago: how the American image, zeitgeist has evolved… from Baby Boomers to Millennials. 
  • A reflection on the lyrics of the iconic song “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
SEND SUBMISSIONS IN JPEG FORMAT, (no more than 8 images), 72 DPI, DUE BY March 3, 2015 TO:

Brief artists statement, itemized list of art submitted should include: title, size, medium, price of work, Works not for sale should include a value rather than a price. Also include artist's contact info: name, email, phone, mailing address and website if available.
Artists will be notified by March 9, 2015. Work must be ready to mount and dropped off on Thursday -Saturday March 19 -21, 2015. Exhibit opens Thursday March 26 and runs to May 1, 2015.
"I am a multi-disciplined artist from the Griot tradition. My objective is to use the material be it paint, ink, “garbage” found objects, words, acting, singing to tell the story of us…" - Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
Constellations-Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
Q. How would you describe your artwork/style?

A. I would describe my work as Neo-African Ar. It is the embracing or re-embracing of Africa the continent and the cultures as an aesthetic over European influences.

Q. What medium do you work in?

A. All of the above…I use everything, allow the material to tell me what it wants to do. This is also true for applying color, house paint w/ dirt, pastels n oil sticks, acrylics, markers and pencils all offer a different way to tell the story.

Q. What is your process like? 

It varies depending on the objective, but usually my senses are awakened by a particular thing, incident or moment. I then listen through which ever sense reacted most to hear how it wants to come and what it wants to say.  

Q. What inspires you?

A. Love of my people and my culture…truth and the ability to tell the story of those silenced by racism, sexism, slavery and any form of discrimination.    

Q. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as an artist?

A. Exploring and embracing Africa as and aesthetic has played a very important role in my growth as an artist…and understand my role as a storyteller in the tradition of the African Griot has also been a major factor in direction my works had taken.

Q. Can you tell me about your participation in the upcoming City Lights exhibit "Black & White"? What did you choose to exhibit and why?  

A. I am a colorist so using the values black n white in a composition always intrigued me…a few years ago I came across Norman Lewis’s Black n’ White series and was inspired to create a series of my own. That journey has so far manifested in my “Black Nude Drawings” series, the “Spirit Drawings” series and my “Black Nude in Tiles” series. This exhibit is really the first opportunity I’ve had to show them as a part of black and white show.  

Q. Can you tell me about your presentation at City Lights Gallery and your participation in the "Footsteps of Mandela" event at the Klein?

A. At City Lights we will be presenting my one man 11 character play "unFRAMED". It is an autobiographical story in paint, songs, poetry and prose of my journey from my childhood in the Caribbean to manhood in the U.S. [At the Klein] We will be creating the “Reconciliation Tree” as a part of the Footsteps of Mandela experience. It will be presented that night for those who wish to hang their written-down sentiments of reconciliation and forgiveness on its branches.

Q. Any other upcoming news you'd like to share?

A. In early summer we will be releasing my first collection of poetry “You Tongue Heavy Like 56”.
Black and Nude 6-Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
Artwork by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
 "I can feel a wonderful Art Renaissance happening in Bridgeport and I am ecstatic to be a part of it."- Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
Iyaba and Joel Martin, producer/composer of Footsteps of Mandela, with the Reconciliation Tree in process. 
Iyaba Ibo Mandingo will also be presenting unFRAMED at:
The Nest Arts Factory on February 21st and February 22nd.
The Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan on February 18th and 19th
Tickets are available for both locations at:
Copyright © 2015 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.

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