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The first week of July is already a busy start to the month for arts and culture in Bridgeport! 

Thursday, July 9th Downtown Bridgeport will be a hub of activity with Downtown Thursdays and City Lights Gallery's SAMESEX 2015 Exhibit and Pride March!. Plus, The 2015 Bridgeport Arts Fest takes place on Saturday, July 11th
 
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BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL NEWSLETTER

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

The first week of July is already a busy start to the month for arts and culture in Bridgeport! 

Thursday, July 9th Downtown Bridgeport will be a hub of activity with Downtown Thursdays and City Lights Gallery's SAMESEX 2015 Exhibit and Pride March!.

The gender inclusive art exhibit of painting, photography, wigs, head dresses, fiber art, and projected art opens Thursday, July 9th with a street party and live music!  

Downtown Thursdays, McLevy Green’s summer concert series continues this week with Season One Winner of The Voice- Javier Colon followed by Cosmic Jibaros!

The 2015 Bridgeport Arts Fest takes place on Saturday, July 11th. Don't miss this free one day celebration of LOCAL + ORIGINAL art, artists, crafters, community organizations and performers at historic McLevy Green. And stay after the event for the after-party featuring outdoor concerts!

Plus, the POEMobile, Fame the Musical at The Bijou Theatre, The Gathering of the Vibes Festival, and more!

We’re also happy to feature artist Ricky Mestre as our July Artist of the Month!

Ricky Mestre of Stratford CT is a Puerto Rican artist who studied Illustration at the University of Bridgeport where he received his Bachelor's Degree. Some of his work is inspired by religious icons and stained glass windows from the Catholic Church.  It also draws upon urban Latino culture and its people and themes relevant to the LGBT community.  His style ranges from dramatic and emotional images to more childlike and cute cartoons.

In addition to his individual work as an artist, Mestre is the chairman of the SAMESEX exhibit at City Lights Gallery.
 
Be sure to check out all the details below!

-The Bridgeport Art Trail Team

Check out the full calendar of Bridgeport Art listings at the Bridgeport Art Trail Website.

VISIT THE BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL WEBSITE

LIVE MUSIC: Downtown Thursdays
McLevy Green
Thursday’s in June & July, 5-8pm
Thursday, July 9th

 
Event Description: Downtown Thursdays is a FREE weekly outdoor summer concert series that happens every Thursday at McLevy Green (5:30-9PM) in Downtown Bridgeport from June 18 to July 23.
 
Downtown Thursdays features local and area musicians. Lawn chairs and leashed pets are welcome! Invite your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors, and visit some of the fantastic downtown restaurants and businesses.
 
Javier Colon & Cosmic Jibaros
July 9th


Javier Colon, American singer-songwriter, musician and WINNER of season 1 of The Voice takes the stage in Downtown!

His stunning soulful voice will take your breath away. Javier has created his own unique style of music that can be described as an eclectic blend of R&B, Folk, Soul, Rock and Country.

Opening act, Cosmic Jibaros is a not your typical Latin band, blending Latin and Caribbean rhythms, rock guitars and World music influences for a sound that’s both cross-cultural and highly danceable so bring your dancing shoes!

NEW TO DOWNTOWN THURSDAYS!
We will be hosting an after party to this year's summer concert series after every show at one of our Downtown locations! This show's after party at Two Boots of Bridgeport

More Info

Lenticular Image by Miggs Burroughs, "SPARE PARTS"

ART EXHIBIT: SAMESEX 2015
City Lights Gallery
Opening Recption, Thursday, July 9th, 5:30-9:00PM

Description: The 5th Annual Exhibit, SAMESEX 2015 at City Lights Gallery is a gender inclusive art exhibit and event of painting, photography, wigs, head dresses, fiber art, and projected art. Featured work includes photographic and audio documentation of individuals expressing their thoughts on gender identity by “Gender Projected”, fiber art by Nancy Moore and Ellen Schinderman and lenticular images by Miggs Burroughs that change as the viewer walks by.

OPENING RECEPTION THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2015, 5:30-9:00 p.m.  $10 Suggested Donation.
The exhibit and opening festivities celebrate gender equality for all, discrimination for none and the creativity of the artist community. SUPPORT City Lights with a $10 admission fee and receive 2 drink tickets courtesy of or neighbors, TIAGO's restaurant. Enjoy food, live music and activities.


EXHIBITING ARTISTS INCLUDE: Miggs Burroughs, Patte Corcoran, Chris Crouch, Sue Czark, Mina de Haas, David Enriquez, Daniel Eugene, Thomas Evans, Arthur Gerstein, Kenn Hopkins, Cassandra Mendoza, Ricky Mestre, Cherish Minor, Nancy Moore, Stefan Novotny, Joe Radoccia, Sassie Saltimboca, Santiago Sanchez, Ellen Schinderman, Richard Taddei
, Lee Walther

SAMESEX Drag Contest & Pride Parade
As a part of the Annual 2015 SAMESEX Art Exhibit at City Lights Gallery "Opening Night Festivities" there will be a "DRAG CONTEST for QUEENS & KINGS"!! THREE $100 PRIZES for the categories of "BEST HAIR", "BEST MAKE-UP" & "BEST OVERALL LOOK"! The 2015 theme for the SAMESEX Art Exhibit is "Gender Identity". Contestants must register the day of the event by 7pm & participate in the PRIDE PARADE as part of the evening events. Pride March begins at 8pm. 

 

More Info

SPECIAL EVENT: Bridgeport Arts Fest
McLevy Green
Saturday, July 11th 10-6pm
After-Party 6-11pm

Event Description:
The Bridgeport Arts Fest is a one day celebration of LOCAL + ORIGINAL art, artists, crafters, community organizations and performers that takes place in downtown Bridgeport at historic McLevy Green on July 11, 2015 from 10am to 6pm, and is followed immediately by the After-Party (6-11pm). The Arts Fest is a family- and community-friendly affair and is FREE to attend. In addition to artists, you’ll enjoy live entertainment, activities, demonstrations and area food and drinks.

Bridgeport Arts Fest After-Party:
Join us for fun, music, dancing, and an outdoor Craft Beer Garden while we celebrate the success of another Bridgeport Arts Fest with the annual After-Party Concert featuring performances by: Bad Rabbits, Ceschi Ramos and Anonymous Inc, Snooty Garland, and Mr Council! Music starts promptly at 6pm immediately following the day's activities and will be held right on the main stage on McLevy Green!

Bad Rabbits
www.badrabbits.com
Like some kind of sonic Pulp Fiction, Bad Rabbits fuse futuristic R&B and post-rock for a slick one-two punch.

Ceschi Ramos and Anonymous Inc
http://fakefourinc.com/artist/ceschi
Experimental post-psych-rock-hop-jazz-fusion outfit

Snooty Garland
https://www.facebook.com/snootygarland
Snooty is a decadently molten, soul jam confection.

Mr Council
https://www.facebook.com/mrcouncilmusic
Mr. Council delivers original R&B with authentic groove and a rock edge.

 

More Info

SPECIAL EVENT : POEMobile: Live Poetry and Projections
Saturday, July 11th, 8-10pm
State Street and Broad Street

Event Description:
The Housatonic Museum of Art and CityLore proudly present the POEMobile at Arts Fest. Bridgeport’s best and brightest poets perform along with projections & music.
 

More Info

THEATER : Fame The Musical
The Bijou Theatre
July 17th - July 26th


Event Description:
An unmistakable title from the unforgettable film & television franchise, Fame The Musical inspired generations to fight for fame and light up the sky like a flame! Conceived and developed by David De Silva – now known affectionately to the planet as “Father Fame,” this high-octane musical features the Academy Award-winning title song and a host of other catchy pop numbers.  The show follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts from their admission in 1980 to their graduation in 1984. All of the struggles, fears, and triumphs – from prejudice to substance abuse are depicted with razor-sharp focus as the young artists navigate the worlds of music, drama, and dance.

This production is being presented by our Summer Stock Theater Troupe who range in ages from 14 through 22.

Doors open one hour prior to showtime, and guests are invited to order meals and beverages from our table menus prior and during the show.

07/17/2015 – 7:00pm
07/18/201 – 7:00pm
07/24/2015 – 7:00pm
07/25/2015 – 3:00pm and 7:00pm
07/26/2015 – 3:00pm

More Info

SPECIAL EVENT : Gathering of the Vibes Festival
Seaside Park
July 30th-August 2nd


Event Description:
Vibes Celebrates it's 20th Year!

Gathering of the Vibes is an annual music, arts and camping festival now in its 20th year. Vibes has grown into a four-day festival that has featured such world-class talent as Crosby, Stills and Nash; all original members of the Grateful Dead; the Allman Brothers Band; Jane's Addiction; James Brown; the Black Crowes; Buddy Guy; Elvis Costello; George Clinton and P-Funk; Bruce Hornsby; Les Claypool; and many, many more big names, while continuing to showcase extraordinarily talented, young, up-and-coming bands to the 20 thousand people who attend each year.

Held in six different venues over its eighteen years, Vibes 2014 marked the festival's tenth return to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT, making Seaside Park the Vibes venue more than any other place.

Vibes 2015 promises to be even more spectacular!
Visit the website for this year's lineup and ticket details.
 

More Info

"Plegaria" by Yolanda Vasquez Petrocelli

CALL FOR ART : City Lights Annual Members Exhibit
City Lights Gallery
Exhibit on View: 8/13-9/19
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 7/25/15


Event Description: The purpose of the Annual Members exhibit is to build community, show new work and present a diverse sampling of regional art . It is the one time a year that City Lights requests a $50 contribution in the form of an exhibiting members fee. (Most events and programs are free admission.)  Exhibiting members receive a 70% commission rate, and the guarantee to exhibit in a minimum of one show per year.

AN ADDITIONAL BENEFIT: Join us at our annual fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 at Captain's Cove.
Exhibiting members who contribute $50 are invited to attend this City Lights event as our guest. To participate please make a donation to City Lights & Company, or go to our website www.citylightsgallery.org  and contribute via PayPal.

For more info or to send art for submission email us at
clgallerybpt@gmail.com  by July 25, 2015. Please use “Art for submission” in the subject title. Submit images of work in jpeg form, an artist’s statement, and price list that includes title, size, medium.

More Info

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS ON VIEW

ART EXHIBITION: Bridging the Gap
Read's Ground Floor Gallery, Read's Artspace
On Exhibition: July 3rd-August 5th


Event Description:
Graffiti-inspired and fine art meet in this multifaceted exhibit featuring work from both resident and guest artists.

Gallery Hours:
Fridays 4-9PM
Saturdays 12-6PM
Sundays 12-6PM

More Info

ART EXHIBIT : Remythologies: New Inventions of Old Stories
Housatonic Museum of Art, The Burt Chernow Galleries
On View: June 11 through July 24, 2015


Event Description:
The Housatonic Museum of Art presents Remythologies: New Inventions of Old Stories curated by Stephen Vincent Kobasa. This exhibit will be on view in the Burt Chernow Galleries, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT., from June 11 through July 24, 2015. The Burt Chernow Galleries are free and open to the public. Click here for gallery hours.

How do we account for the survival of stories? Poets and cultures die, but their necessary and remarkable lies still continue to be accounted for. Although the forms these works are given also have a history, it is what they contain that is the most accurate measure of our defining memories.

There is no art-making that does not confront the past, but there is art which reinvents that past without abandoning it. A struggle against tradition still depends upon what it opposes. As the writer Berger Evans once noted, “We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.” This exhibition is meant as a study of what our past still demands that we must either embrace or defy.

Artists included in this exhibit: Jason Buening (New Haven), Susan Classen-Sullivan (Canterbury), Jaclyn Conley (Brooklyn), William DeLottie (Pomfret), Kevin Harty (West Haven), Will Holub (Mystic), Brian Huff (New Haven), Nathan Lewis (Seymour), Phil Lique (New Haven), Nomi Lubin (New Haven), Willard Lustenader (New Haven), Margaret Roleke (Redding), Joseph Saccio (New Haven), Kyle Staver (Brooklyn, NY) and Mark Williams (New Haven).
 

More Info

 FEATURED ARTIST: JULY
 RICKY MESTRE
ARTIST STATEMENT
Ricky Mestre of Stratford CT is a Puerto Rican artist who studied Illustration at the University of Bridgeport where he received his Bachelor's Degree. Some of his work is inspired by religious icons and stained glass windows from the Catholic Church.  It also draws upon urban Latino culture and its people and themes relevant to the LGBT community.  His style ranges from dramatic and emotional images to more childlike and cute cartoons. His work can be seen rendered through acrylic paint, pastels, pen and ink, mixed media or digitally. Over the years he has been recognized and awarded for his talents. Galleries and museums across the state featuring his work include the Discovery Museum and City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport, Knights of Columbus Museum and the Small Space Gallery in New Haven and the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.

To see more of Ricky Mestre's work and read more about his story visit rickymestre.com
 
"To Russia With Love" - Ricky Mestre
They are usually emotional pieces with a strong message of something important to me. There's a heaviness to some of the themes that many people have related to. 
"Indian Pride" - Ricky Mestre
Q. How would you describe your artwork/style?
A. I use a few different styles in my art but people seem to notice a trait in my pieces that they immediately recognize as my work. I think what stays consistent is the fact that the subject matter is almost always people. And those people almost always have a very strong young, Latin and urban feel about them. They notice the outline around the figures which connect both to the cartoon art I grew up doing as well as the stained glassed windows I came to appreciate growing up in the Catholic Church. They are usually emotional pieces with a strong message of something important to me. There's a heaviness to some of the themes that many people have related to.  

Q. What medium do you work in?
A. All of my paintings on canvas are done in acrylics, and I also work with pastels, charcoal, watercolors, ink and digital media.

Q. What is your process like? 
A. Typically I'll write a list of themes I want to work with and do a number of very rough sketches of stick figures for them. Next I'll look for a friend to photograph to use as a reference shot. We'll usually start with a pose that mimics the stick figures and then we'll build from there trying out different positions that can connect with the theme. Once I've selected the picture to work from I'll transfer the outline of it on to the canvass with a projector and begin the painting process. Sometimes  it will be all mapped out from the beginning but often I'll add details to it along the way that are completely random. Music plays a part in my process as it helps me get into the mood of the painting I am creating so I can feel what I am making.  

Q. What inspires you?
A. Inspiration can come from different sources and sometimes strike at odd times. I've found inspiration in sadness and pain. Sometimes it's my own or it can be from someone close to me. People's struggles and conflicts can be very inspiring when there is passion in their fight.  Other times inspiration can come from the face of a total stranger. 
"It’s a frustrating thing to try to create what is in your mind and censor yourself at the same time to accommodate other people who may not understand it. I stopped letting the fear of being rejected dictate what I make."
"Spiritual Awakening" - Ricky Mestre
Q. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as an artist?
A. I feel I am still developing as an artist, but I can look back and see a growth--a growth not so much in style and technique, but one in the freedom of my expression. It’s a frustrating thing to try to create what is in your mind and censor yourself at the same time to accommodate other people who may not understand it. I stopped letting the fear of being rejected dictate what I make.  

Q. Can you tell me about your role as the chairman for the SAMESEX exhibit at City Lights Gallery?  
A. It’s been challenging and rewarding at the same time. A lot of time and effort went into arranging this show.  I felt it was needed to bring visibility to the LGBT art community and to show things they could identify with.  I also needed to create new works for it as well. Scheduling time to paint in my studio was important, so I'm thankful that the staff of the City Lights Gallery were so helpful in the process.
Q. What are your thoughts on the gender identity theme of this year's exhibit and why do you think it's an important topic to address and explore through the arts? 

A. We live in a society where people try to understand things by categorizing them with labels and words to help them better define it for themselves. The theme of gender identity is one that I think many people are still pretty unclear about. It can be very complex but I think when we use a creative tool like art we can educate ourselves about it. It’s necessary to address themes like this because it’s the only way people can begin to understand it better. 
 
"When Will it Get Better" - Ricky Mestre
Q. The exhibit is especially timely with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on marriage equality. How do you think the developing political climate has influenced you personally as artist? How do you think it has impacted/will continue to impact art on this subject in general? 
A. I guess we can say it’s one giant leap for mankind. But while we celebrated that victory we understood that there were still a lot of challenges that we still have to work through. Our nation was pretty split on this issue so half the people in the country are unhappy about this ruling. Those same people will continue to reject us, harass us, beat us and even disown us. The irony of people who use God's name to defend their bigoted views always amazes me. But since conflict and pain seem to inspire many artists, including me, I suppose we'll still be able to draw from that and make art. On a lighter side, we should expect to see more choices of wedding cards catered to same sex couples. Artists will be needed for that.
"A Scout is Proud" - Ricky Mestre
*All event descriptions and artist interviews are presented as provided.
Copyright © 2015 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.


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