Arts education center to expand free programs for students in Hartford, Connecticut

Posted on: May 25, 2021

“A Hartford arts education organization announced plans Monday to double its programming by expanding into a neighboring property and renovating the historic temple it’s called home since the 1970s,” writes Rebecca Lure in Tuesday’s (5/25) Hartford Courant (CT). “The Charter Oak Cultural Center will spend about $4.5 million to restore its classroom and performance space at 21 Charter Oak Ave. … and to turn an adjacent, historic property into an education annex…. The Charter Oak Cultural Center, which is still holding virtual classes only, has long been ‘bursting at the seams’ in its 145-year-old building, executive director Rabbi Donna Berman said… The center’s free Youth Arts Institute now annually serves 1,000 Hartford kids ages 6 to 18. After the expansion, it will serve 1,500. Daily camps this summer are teaching piano, hip-hop dance, theater, yoga, creative writing and more. The center also runs an all-city youth orchestra, a music partnership with Hartford police, and an after-school instrumental program…. High demand … has resulted in waiting lists … according to Susan Mazer, director of the Youth Arts Institute…. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin [said] arts will be an important part of kids recovering and healing ‘from this devastatingly difficult year.’ ”