Middletown: a home for art?

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Today, we continue our deep dive into how Middletown, CT, already a way cool city, might become even cooler by developing its potential to be an arts destination. In case you’re unfamiliar with Middletown, it’s well-known for its excellent restaurants. It’s got the Connecticut River running alongside it. It’s got Wesleyan University. And a classic wide main street. And an excellent library. Plus, as I can’t resist pointing out, but which you seem to already know, since you’re listening to it: an amazing college radio station. In this second installment of the series, we talk to Middletown artist Pierre Sylvain, the executive director of the Buttonwood Tree arts venue on Main Street, and last but not least, the mayor himself. What’s he think of the idea of artifying Middletown? In an upcoming episode, we take our portable mic for a walk downtown with the head of the Downtown Business District and the director of the city’s arts commission.

Haitian-born, self-taught Middletown artist Pierre Sylvain and some of his work
Anne-Marie Cannata McEwen, executive director of The Buttonwood Tree
Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim

Making a cool city cooler

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Great restaurants. That classic wide main street. Wesleyan. Excellent library. Way-cool college radio station. Middletown’s got it all, right? Well, except for visual art. In the first of a series about how to make Middletown an art destination, Open Studio talks with an artist, a former arts administrator, and a Realtor. They consider the sad proposition that maybe the city just isn’t into art.

Upcoming episodes will feature the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, the executive director of The Buttonwood Tree arts venue and other smart, creative people. We’ll even go for a downtown walking tour with the head of the Downtown Business District and the current city arts administrator.

Listen to Part One.

Artist Chris Mathison, who helps create exhibits for Kid City, has visions of a gallery/music venue/movie theater downtown. Find him and his work on Instagram @kissytunnel and at IMNOTJOEY.BANDCAMP.COM
Stephan Allison headed the city arts office for nearly 20 years.His late wife, Susan Allison, was the founder of The Buttonwood Tree and the city’s first poet laureate.
Realtor Trevor Davis, in front of a building he owns downtown, has been promoting greater support for the arts in Middletown for years.
Trevor Davis wearing his other hat!

A free LIVE-STREAMED concert Trevor Davis helped bring to town: TOMORROW!


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