HealingNewtown Arts Space, a project of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission and supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and Connecticut’s Office of the Arts, will officially open its doors on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14 with an open house from 3 to 6pm. HealingNewtown was formed following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December in response to the overwhelming support for Newtown in grassroots arts initiatives. The Arts Space, located at 5 Queen Street, aims to coordinate arts-focused efforts and funnel resources of all kinds into a child-focused arts program that will facilitate healing for the entire community.
A highly visual program featuring remarks by Governor Dannel Malloy and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and performances by local singer-songwriter Jim Allyn, the Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet, a Newtown children’s chorus, the Wiffenpoofs of Yale, and acrobat Li Liu of Cirque du Jour will take place at 4pm.
The Arts Space is occupying a donated vacant storefront with the hopes of becoming a permanent fixture in the community. In addition to the performances and remarks, art created specifically for Newtown will be exhibited at the opening, and interactive arts activities will be available for all Newtown families. Activities include bell making with Ben’s Bells, and organization that represents the power of kindness to heal, connect, and spread hope. Ben’s Bells played an important role in helping Tucson come together after the tragic shootings in their community. An art word collage, “Love Here Now” by artist Peter Yanowitz, will be on display, and screen-printing and jewelry making will also be offered.
The purpose of the Valentine’s Day event is both to celebrate the opening of the center and to begin fundraising so that HealingNewtown can find a permanent home and continue the much needed work of healing through the arts. Newtown and Sandy Hook’s arts community is in a unique position to leverage and organize local, national, and global arts resources to facilitate the healing process for a community in mourning. The program will allow artists from Connecticut and beyond to share their gifts in the form of teaching or with their own art. In addition to handling and displaying donated works, the program will encompass art therapy, performances, and workshops. HealingNewtown has been designated as the official body to coordinate memorial submissions and planning.
The HealingNewtown Arts Space will be open daily. For more information and a schedule of events, visit healingnewtown.org.