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Community Art Project Represents Water Returning To Bushnell Park

'The Wave' Installation Is Part of EnvisionFest, City Celebration Sponsored By iQuilt Partnership


September 25, 2012

HARTFORD About a year ago, Connecticut artists Susan Hoffman Fishman and Elena Kalman were asked to create an art installation having to do with water for the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.

The artists, from West Hartford and Stamford, respectively, came up with "The Wave," an interactive community art project that has grown as it's traveled from site to site and was installed Tuesday at Bushnell Park for Saturday's EnvisionFest.

EnvisionFest is city-wide event featuring a variety of free activities, designed to celebrate what Hartford has to offer, "while offering a taste, for the first time, of the transformation of Hartford through the iQuilt plan," according to the event website.

The iQuilt plan is a collection of public and private projects designed to revitalize downtown Hartford, at a cumulative cost of nearly $100 million. A key component of iQuilt is the GreenWalk, a pedestrian walkway that connects the city's attractions from the Capitol to the river.

On Tuesday, Fishman and Kalman tied and twisted the long strings that held thousands of pieces of colorful translucent recyclable plastic, forming their vision for Bushnell Park's version of "The Wave."

The underlying theme of the project is that water connects everyone.

"The whole point of the installation is that we're all connected through a mutual need for water," Fishman said. But what the project represents changes slightly at each site.

At the museum in Salem, "The Wave" was an interpretation of water as part of an exhibit called "The Ripple Effect: The Art of H2O," which showed art inspired by water in different forms.

In Hartford, "The Wave" represents the returning of water to Bushnell Park. The iQuilt Plan includes a brook flowing throughout the park surrounded by walkways and crossed by nine bridges.

"The coolest thing is that none of this, we did," Fishman said. "It's all come from the community."

The Asylum Hill Boys and Girls Club, Hartford Young Professional Entrepreneurs and people visiting the Movies in the Park series this summer added their interpretations of a wave in teal, blue, yellow, green, white and red to the strings, joining the work of people of all ages from Boston, Salem, New Haven and elsewhere, Fishman said.

One man walking through Bushnell Park on Tuesday morning cut a wave out of red plastic, punching holes and stringing it on before the piece was strung between two trees.

EnvisionFest will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour. Entertainment will be spread throughout the city from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., on stages in Bushnell Park, on downtown streets, in Constitution Plaza and the riverfront, according to a news release.

"The idea is for people to come in and explore what's in our capital city," said Jackie Mandyck, the event coordinator. "There are so many assets, so many cultural venues here in Hartford and we're opening them up, all for free this Saturday."

Free activities include an attempt to break the record for the world's largest Zumba class, lawn games, pop-up art exhibits, a quilting workshop and open houses and tours of historical landmarks and museums.

For details on EnvisionFest, visit http://www.envisionfesthartford.com

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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