KRISTINA XIE ’16
While students tend to think of Trinity as non-artsy compared to other liberal art institutions, Hartford is filled with a vibrant and inviting art scene. Unlike major cities where exclusive art exhibitions and galleries are only opened to a select few, Hartford’s art scene is open to all. From students to senior citizens, art is a freedom of expression and a manifestation of creative imagination. Thus, anyone is allowed to witness great art.
Most Trinity students do not take part in the art scene available in Hartford. Hartford may not be New York City, but it still boasts a unique collection of artists and artistic institutions.
For all the students on campus buried under mountains of lab reports and assginments, take a break and travel to the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, the oldest public art museum in the United States. Their current exhibition, “An Artificial Wilderness: The Landscape in Contemporary Photography” will be showing until February 23. Featuring over sixteen photographers, the exhibition displays modern images of man’s destruction of Mother Earth. These photographs will take you to places all around the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Iceland and Mexico. One of the great things about large museums like the Wadsworth is its college-friendly budget admission fees. The first Thursday of every month is free for visitors from 5-8 p.m. Additionally, visitors with a valid student I.D. pay a meager $5 admission fee instead of the hefty $10. Located less than a ten-minute drive from campus, the Wadsworth is a great trip to take with your science buddies and friends during the weekends.
In addtion to large museums, like the Wadsworth, the city hosts a variety of small galleries and cinemas that stray from the traditional norm. This provides students another outlet to get off campus and explore the city around them.
Another upcoming event worth checking out is called the “Be Mine Valentine’s Event” at the Art Cinema. This holiday event will take place on Saturday, Feb 8 at 7 p.m. What is exceptionally unconventional about this movie theater is that it is one of the last remaining classic movie houses that shows X-Rated features in North America. Another unique feature to the Art Cinema is its couple’s only balcony, ensuring an intimate space for couples to enjoy the movie. Couples and even singles celebrating Valentine’s Day will have a rare and erotic experience at this movie screening. Spectators will walk out with a new appreciation for nudity and love scenes! Your Valentine’s Day will not just be another mundane date with dinner and cheesy roses. This event will spice up the night!
If an X-Rated movie screening is not your cup of tea, check out the Charter Oak Cultural Center. Located less than ten minutes away, the center showcases and produces art that creates social change through its youth arts institute and professional and social justice programming. While we tend to think of art solely in tangible outcomes of a finished painting or sculpture, the process and its purpose of creation is equally as important as the outcome. The Cultural Center educates and teaches children and adults about art techniques and empowers them through art multi-media. An example is their upcoming event, “The Vagina Monologues,” a series of talks about women and their bodies. Opening on Valentine’s Day, all funds from the $5 student admission fee will be donated to groups working to end violence against women. Another event to check out is their Jazz Night every Monday at 8p.m. at Black Eyed Sally’s. Listen to some melodic tunes, while enjoying buttered cornbread and smoked BBQ ribs. If that does not satisfy your artistic cravings, check out the art exhibit, “The Wall: Jennifer Wroblewski, Don’t Stop Mountain.” This installation features work from local and regional artists. Charter Oak is a hub of creative and vibrant energy for Hartford’s art community. All are welcome to explore the work generated in this revenue to advance social change and empowerment.
There is more to Hartford than shopping in Westfarms Mall and dinning out in Blue Back Square. There is an exciting art scene thriving in various parts of the city. While it may be easy to stay on campus and stick with your circle of friends at Mather or at Vernon Social Center, remember that college is about exploring and discovering something new about yourself and the area you are living in for four years. When you make the effort to try something new, not only does it brighten your day, but also refreshes your perspective on why you’re in college. Take a break and enjoy the art scene in the immediate neighborhood.