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JULY 2020-1
IN THIS ISSUE
Your guide to OUTwork art exhibit and Greater Bridgeport Pride Celebration - July 16, Bridgeport Pride over 10 Years, a message from OUTwork organizer Ricky Mestre, Bridgeport arts news and events. 

JULY 16
OUTWORK AND GREATER BRIDGEPORT PRIDE

Greater Bridgeport Pride Celebrates 10 yrs on THURSDAY JULY 16!!!

Thank you to sponsors, Aquarion, John Brannelly & Dave Ivanko, New Haven Pride Center. A mix of virtual, recorded and on-site activities include the art exhibit ‘OUTwork’ on view at City Lights gallery and the annual Pride Variety show produced by Ricky Mestre, broadcast on Stream Yard and Soundview Media Inc, public access TV.
MORE INFORMATION
OUTwork exhibiting artists include: Xavier Alvarez, Mario Baez, Carlos Bautista Biernay, Lester Blum, Marianna Calvao, Lilia Calvao, Marietta Capoblanco, Darron Copeland, Kevin Cox, Luis Dominguez, Daniel Eugene, Dolores Degage Hopkins, Don Houston, Max Kali, Luis Lopez, David Messner, Ricky Mestre, Victor Pigoretti, Valerie Rhodes 
“Quarantine” by Dolores Dégagé Hopkins in the exhibit OUT-work-IN: Greater Bridgeport Pride Online Artful Celebration is a 30” x 30” selfie depicting the sense of loss from seclusion that this transwoman experiences during the emotional process of gender transition compounded by self-isolating. Evoking the surrealist photography of Man Ray, the self-portrait was taken while light through a window blind created striated shadows that follow the contours of her face, suggesting prison bars. A dramatic tension is created by the expression and position of her face and the artistic choice to meld black and color, abstraction and volume.

GREATER BRIDGEPORT PRIDE CELEBRATION

PARTY SCHEDULE  FOR THE 10 YEAR CELEBRATION ON JULY 16, 2020

6-8:30 pm On-site OUTwork exhibit reception, limited admission, face mask required. Guests can wait on the patio area and enjoy live acoustic Saxophone by Marc Esposito. Physical distancing required outside too.
City Lights Gallery 265 Golden Hill St Bridgeport, CT 06604

5:30-10 pm Join us on Facebook Live @GreaterBridgeportPrideCT

10-11 pm Pride Variety show TV broadcast from Sound View Media Inc. Public Access TV and Stream Yard, Click here to find local stations.

Watch Party at TREVI Lounge, opens at 8:30pm

Here's where you can watch the show...
Public Access Channel
Bridgeport, Stratford, Fairfield
Channel 88 Cablevision
Channel 6016 Frontier
Milford, Orange Woodbridge
Channel 77 Cablevision
Channel 6078 Frontier

Live Streaming
www.soundviewtv.org (click WATCH SV TV LIVE)
Facebook LIVE
and TREVI Lounge in Fairfield CT

BRIDGEPORT PRIDE OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS

A MESSAGE FROM OUTWORK ORGANIZER RICKY MESTRE

Looking Back Over 10 Years
Looking back and realizing we are in our 10th year is an amazing thing. When I first approached Suzanne Kachmar at the City Lights Gallery about an LGBTQ themed show I really didn't think it would become an annual thing at the time. After an incredible opening reception for the first SAMESEX exhibit I can remember a delighted Suzanne telling me "We gotta do this again next year!". I realized I helped start off something very special in the Bridgeport area that meant so much to a large group of people. After doing it again for the next couple of years I felt a sense of responsibility to not only continue this, but see how we can make it grow. 

Blocking off a street for an outdoor fair, arranging an organized Pride March and concluding the march with a variety show of local talent  became an extended part of the gallery's opening reception for the art displayed. This whole evening would later be known as "Bridgeport Pride". People credit me with starting this, but it really couldn't have continued this long without all the amazing volunteers who believed in making Bridgeport Pride a worthwhile event. That in itself has meant a lot to me.  

Looking Towards the Future
With a global pandemic cancelling events, Suzanne and I had to think about how we can celebrate our 10th year and do so safely.  We agreed it was important to provide this for all the supporters who were looking forward to it. We kept our "call for artists" information out there to be able to host another year of queer art in the gallery but the exhibit opening will be handled virtually this year on July 16. The variety show will be a televised special on the same night (the time has still to be determined) played on the Public access channel (88 for Bridgeport, Stratford & Fairfield and 77 for Milford, Orange and Woodbridge) For those in other cities it can watched on soundviewtv.org on their live streaming link. The Pride March and outdoor fair parts of the opening reception, unfortunately, have to be canceleld. 

Ending a Decade of Celebration with a New Name 
When we first decided to do this exhibit we actually had a team of people brainstorm different names. At the time, same sex marriages had been recently legalized. Writer Lee Steele suggested SameSex as the name of the show and we all liked it. We kept the name for years even when some people questioned it and thought it might be time to call it something different. I was open to a name change but nobody really could come up with something to replace it with. With the success of SameSex I wondered how a name change would affect what it was we had been doing all this time. SameSex was already a bit of a brand for this show and we always made it clear that the art displayed contained themes relevant to ALL members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Two years ago it was brought to my attention again, but this time it was by a member of the transgender part of the community. She explained how the title SameSex didn't feel like it pertained to her. A replacement for it didn't come up in time so we called it SameSex again. I didn't like that members of the community didn't feel like they belonged in this artful celebration so last year we agreed to make it a point to change the name and again had brainstorming sessions. I came up with OUTwork one day. Changing it to OUTwork felt more inclusive and everyone involved liked it and felt it would be a good way to start up our 10th year.

Pride Month in Bridgeport 
In the last couple of years the City of Bridgeport has been hosting celebrations to raise the rainbow flag over the Margaret E Mortan Government Center to commemorate Pride Month. On the morning of June 6, for this year's raising of the rainbow flag, a reporter for the Connecticut Post approached me to talk about OUTwork and Bridgeport Pride. 
One of his first questions was, "Are you a leader?" For some reason I felt confused by this question. I paused, then told him, "That's not really a title someone can give himself." Local entertainer, Mark Rohrig was nearby listening to the interview, jumped in, "He's a leader" and nodded his head. Soon after I was asked to join Mayor Ganim and a small select group of people to the roof to help raise our Pride flag. In that moment I thought about where this all began and where we are now. I walked in as an artist and came out as a leader. I was proud. - Ricky Mestre
CONNECTICUT POST ARTICLE: As Pride flag flies over Bridgeport, activists say more work still needed in America

BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL NEWS

WE WILL MAKE IT WITH YOUR HELP
RECENT CROWDFOUNDING CAMPAIGN RAISES $12,000!
City Lights programs reached 6000 students in 2019, enriching the learning experience for youth and providing work opportunities for artists. Your contribution is critically needed now. Young people need to be increasingly engaged as they stay home, away from school and summer programs to avoid Covid19. Teaching artists are gig economy workers who have lost their steady flow of income due to the pandemic shutdown.

THANK YOU!!!!
The cancellation of City Lights public events has resulted in the loss of grants and sponsorships. This impacts our ability to support programs and keep the City Lights shining. To demonstrate our constant willingness to be resourceful and leverage the generosity of the community we applied for a matching grant with Sustainable CT that doubled contributions. Thank you!

See City Lights Outreach programs.

Sustainable CT is an initiative of the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University meant to assist communities in becoming more resilient and sustainable. The Community Match Fund provides a dollar-for-dollar match to donations raised from the community, doubling local investment in projects. Sustainable CT and Community Match Fund Sustainable CT is funded by the Hampshire Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and Connecticut Green Bank. Contributions of any amount are always gratefully accepted.
Please make a contribution at www.citylightsgallery.org
Or send a check made to City Lights & Company
Mailing Address: City Lights 130 Elm St Bridgeport, CT 06604
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
CITY LIGHTS RELEVANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY DURING COVID-19
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING

*Advocating for artists and arts organizations
 Learn More

*Producing the Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter collaborating on public art.
 Learn More 

*Working with artists to create engaging online programs for students.
Art, Play, the Circus of Alexander Calder, How to Juggle

 Learn More

*Collaborating to Write a Song
 Learn More
CITY LIGHTS MARKS 16 YEARS!
WHAT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED, THE NUMBERS:

Over the past 10 yrs our small nonprofit has reached
10,000 student attendees.

Over the past 6 yrs we have supplemented artists’ income through facilitating art commissions, sales and teaching artists fees
in the amount of $350,000.
Musicians took the students of Beardsley school on a musical journey of the development of genres oriiantien traditional African percussion to Gospel, Jazz, Rockn'Roll and Hip-Hop.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS:
Fairfield's County Community Foundation, Band Central, Spread Music Now, Bridgeport Rotary, Trumbull Rotary, Pitney Bowes Foundation, People's United Bank
DONATE

COMMUNITY UPDATES AND PROGRAMS 

The Writer's Group with Shanna T. Melton 
MORE INFORMATION
City Lights Vintage - Now Open by Appointment and Online Shopping 
City Lights Welcomes Summer Intern Luis Lopez. 
Thank you to CT Office on the Arts for sponsoring this summer employment 
through an Artists' Workforce Initiative Grant.
City Lights first met Luis as a student in 2012, when we collaborated with Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County, Their summer program ended with an art gallery recption at City Lights and Suzanne Kachmar, executive director of City Lights taught the visual arts program for several years. He's been involved with City Lights programs over the years, and now he is our intern! 
Luis shares his experience with City Lights
City Lights has been a foundational influence in my development as an artist. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been creating art. When I was younger, access to art education was rare and expensive. My parents and I being first-generation immigrants meant that they did not have time or money to invest in my artistic endeavors, even if they wanted to. Around the time I started high school I also started attending Neighborhood Studios, a local art organization for children. That's where I met Suzanne. Although the people around me always saw me as the “artistic kid” no one ever took an interest in pushing my abilities the way Suzanne did. 

Eventually, I started doing figure drawing at City Lights and then helping out with receptions and sometimes showing artwork, however, a conflicting career path caused me to put the brush down for four years until I realized that art-making was the thing that truly gave my life purpose. Looking back, I'm grateful to Suzanne and City Lights because if it wasn't for that formative experience back then, I may not have had the courage to pursue a career in art. 

Today I am a recent college graduate and once again City Lights has reached out to help me. Currently, I am working with them as an intern, helping with graphic design as well as learning about the things that go on behind a non-profit art organization. My favorite thing about this experience so far is taking on a problem and finding creative solutions and becoming a better designer and artist because of them. City Lights is deeply tied to my experience as an artist and I will forever be grateful. 
HCC Virtual Student Art Show
From Apr 29 to Sep 30, 2020
For the first time in its history, the Housatonic Community College (HCC) Student Art Show adopted an online-only format. Typically held in the school’s Burt Chernow Galleries each spring, the Art Department created an innovative virtual exhibition while the college’s campus is closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The show features over 75 paintings, drawings, pastels, digital images, sculpture, ceramics and more produced by 40 of HCC’s talented student artists, providing an opportunity for art to not only offer comfort but also a chance to come together.

“I could not believe the speed and enthusiasm of the students’ response to a virtual show,” said HCC Art Professor Tom Brenner. “It was like opening a floodgate. I quickly realized that it was not simply a matter of wanting their work displayed, but that the idea fulfilled a need for connecting with their friends and fellow students in HCC’s artistic community.”

“Now, more than ever, people need the arts,” said Dr. Thomas Coley, Acting President Housatonic Community College and Regional President, CSCU Shoreline-West. “The arts feed the soul, and this show is not only a testament to the talent of our students, but also the commitment of our faculty. Bravo!”
VIEW THE HOUSATONIC COMMUNITY COLLEGE VIRTUAL STUDENT ART EXHIBIT
WPKN Community Radio Podcasts 
WPKN is a nonprofit, freeform, community radio station (arts organization) that is more than 50 years old. The vision of WPKN is to build community, a loyal and growing audience, and an engaged and educated citizenry by providing the highest quality of free-form programming that broadcasts entertainment, music, news, thoughts, sounds, ideas and event listings that support free speech, diversity, and the interests of the local and global communities WPKN serves. MORE INFORMATION 
SUPPORT DOWNTOWN BRIDGEPORT 
Read the Guide Here
SUPPORT THE BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT

Stay safe, be prudent, and kind to others and yourself. Stay in touch with us on the Bridgeport Art Trail Facebook Page where we post frequently. 
SAVE THE DATE 12th ANNUAL BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL
CITY-WIDE ART CELEBRATION WEEKEND, NOV.12-15, 2020
Artists above, L-R: Marcella Kurowski, Rick Shaefer, Richard Kileaney, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
SUPPORT THE BRIDGEPORT ART TRAIL
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Copyright © 2020 Bridgeport Art Trail, All rights reserved.


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