City Receives Public Arts Grant

From Mayor Finch:

Mayor Bill Finch today announced that Bridgeport was one of seven cities chosen by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Office of the Arts (COA), as a recipient of the City Canvases Initiative grant. Bridgeport joins Hartford, New Britain, New London, Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury in the $1 million initiative to enhance public spaces through art. The grant will be used to execute a public art installation in a highly visible location within the community during the summer of 2012.

“I am thrilled that Bridgeport has been chosen as one of seven cities across the state to receive this prestigious grant award. Bridgeport has a thriving arts community, which has played a significant role in the revitalization of our downtown, and the entire City,” said Mayor Finch. “We are looking forward to collaborating with our artists to showcase their talents and create public art installations that will have a major impact on the landscape of Downtown Bridgeport.”

City Canvases is a one-time, $1 million initiative aimed at enhancing public spaces through the commissioning of large-scale works of public art and to connect urban regions of Connecticut with a statewide placemaking initiative. The purpose is to dramatically demonstrate the impact that art can have in building vibrant communities, and to create momentum for the larger shift in strategic focus in State arts funding.

The City of Bridgeport and its partners—the Bridgeport Arts & Cultural Council, Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District, and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County—were awarded $158,000 to create a three-month projection mapping film series and related downtown installation art enhancement projects.

For more information on the City Canvases initiative, please visit



  1. As Bridgeport’s largest City it is good to see the State Department of Economic and Community Development provided $158,000 for an arts project in Bridgeport. $1 Million was available to 12 cities from the State. Seven cities were selected. The role of arts, music, dance, performance, etc. in economic development has been promoted for years.
    Last week someone noted the For Lease sign on the Black Rock Bank and Trust building and asked what’s up? Last rumor was a developer was ready to sign a deal with the City for the property and significant parking lot. Did the deal go through? At what price? Is it back on the taxable Grand List?
    It has been about four years since the City took the property lease back from the Black Rock Arts Center that maintained an active and varied arts program, above and beyond the local “drinks and entertainment” bar scene. So the City has had maintenance and utility responsibility solely for this property for four years with no rent it seems and with no return on its nearly $650,000 purchase price years earlier.
    Meanwhile Joe Celli, former director of the Black Rock Arts Center, will receive $126,000 for the New London City Canvasses program as well as another $100,000 for a Creative Placemaking program submitted by arts and history grant writers there.
    What is the status of the Black Rock Bank and Trust building: for sale? for lease? not for nothing, paying taxes? Time will tell.


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