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Hartford's EnvisionFest: A Day Of Fun Downtown

Music, Dancing, Shakespeare, Art, Bicycling, Comedy, All Within Walking Distance


September 27, 2012

Hartford-area residents, it’s time to get out of your car and walk. Or bike.

EnvisionFest, a one-day celebration of the cultural attractions available in downtown Hartford, comes to the capital city on Saturday, Sept. 29, for a full day (and into the night) of music, art, dancing, comedy and activities for kids and adults.

All 100 events will take place in the 34 venues in the downtown area. The idea came from the “iQuilt” plan, a movement to emphasize Hartford’s walkability by pointing out how close many of the city’s cultural attractions are.

So while that leaves out the Twain and Stowe houses, Franklin Avenue and Cedar Hill cemetery, it includes a variety of walkable destinations including Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Old State House, Connecticut Science Center, Bushnell Park, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and pop-up performance spaces and art venues along Main Street, from the riverfront, Charter Oak Avenue, Stilts building plaza (Main and Church streets), Jazz on the corner (Gold and Jewel streets) and Community Crossroads at Constitution Plaza.

“We really want to celebrate walking culture and innovation,” says Jackie Mandyk, who helped organize EnvisionFest. “It all goes back to the iQuilt plan ... It addressed how to connect the cultural venues of Hartford so each is less of an island and they’re all more connected by public and private space?”

It isn’t just the standing attractions that will take part in EnvisionFest, but also some enticements presented for the occasion. One of the most innovative is Walter Wick’s globes, a series of reflective globes set up along Main Street and designed by Hartford resident Walter Wick, creator of the “Can You See What I See?” book series.

“There are globes, 22 inches wide, in five different locations. He has created riddle for each one,” Mandyk says. “You have to find what he is trying to have you find by finding its reflection in the globe.”

Another bit of street entertainment is Break-Dancing Shakespeare’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

“The goal is to get kids interested in Shakespeare,” Mandyk says.

People attending EnvisionFest can get “passports” and get them stamped at all the venues they visit.

Mandyk says the organizers of EnvisionFest hope that some remnant of the day’s activities will remain after the day is over. “Tony Falcone is doing a Discovery Mural with 147 pieces. It’s sort of a large paint-by-bnumbers,” she says. “The blocks will go up one by one, and eventually they will create a rather large mural on a wall ... near the Atheneum.” But it will not remain there. “We’re hoping it will find a home somewhere.”

Many events will take place all day (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All events are free. However, a series of bicycle rides all around the city, organized by Bike Walk CT, is $45 a person. Those begin as early as 9 a.m. For details and to sign up, visit www.bikewalkct.org. The day ends with a free concert at 6:30 p.m. by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra at the band shell in Bushnell Park.

Some Activities

>>Art exhibits: Pop-up pod galleries of work of Anita Gangi Balkun, James Duval, Jenni Friedman and Rita Valley, at Main and Asylum streets, installation of “The Wave” by Susan Hoffman and Elena Kalman in Bushnell Park, G. Fox-themed show at Capital Community College, and Hartford Art School alumni art show at 38 Prospect St.

>>A map and bridge design exhibit at City Hall.

>>Musical performances, dominoes, voter registration, language learning, Billings Forge Cafe at the main branch of Hartford Public Library.

>>Free guided tours of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, Wadsworth Atheneum, Ancient Burying Ground and Travelers observation deck.

>>Free rides at the Bushnell Park Carousel.

>>Kids’ fitness activities, Frisbee contests, YMCA fitness stations and lawn games in Bushnell Park;

>>Dancing at the Clear Channel tent in Bushnell Park.

>>Bike Walk CT, other bike-related activities at Wells and Trumbull streets in Bushnell Park.

>>Living Chess by Shakespeare Connecticut at Bushnell Plaza.

>>Art-making at the Wadsworth Atheneum and Burr Mall.

>>Open house/free admission at Connecticut Science Center, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Wadsworth Atheneum and Old State House.

>>Pipes in the Valley’s Celtic Music Festival, with highland games, step dancing, birds of prey, kids’ games and food, at Riverfront Recapture, until 10 p.m.

Scheduled Events

Other events are scheduled by the hour. Here’s the lineup. For details about all events, and a map and activity grid, visit www.envisionfesthartford.com.

>>9 a.m.: Discover Hartford bike tour.

>>11 a.m. Hartford Stage presents “Breakdancing Shakespeare: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.” Church & Main Plaza.

>>11 a.m. Lift Every Voice and Sing Choir. Community Crossroads Stage behind the Hartford Club

>>11 a.m. Sea Tea Improv performance of historical vignettes of Hartford’s Civil War history. Butler McCook garden

>>11 a.m. Children’s songs and stories by K. LaRue, and Bulkeley High School marching band. Children’s Stage, Bushnell Park.

>>11 a.m. Farmer’s market, Old State House.

>>11 a.m. Goza, Jazz on the Corner, between Bushnell Park and the Ancient Burying Ground.

>>11:30 a.m. Drummer Bob Bloom. Old State House.

>>Noon: HSO Instrument Petting Zoo. (until 4 p.m.) Bushnell Carousel tent.

>>Noon: Harpsichord and organ music. (Every 15 minutes from noon to 2 p.m.) Center Church.

>>Noon: Vibrational sound massage. Butler McCook garden.

>>Noon: Khaim Kelly the Rapoet: Hip Hop Spoken Word. North Atheneum Square.

>>Noon: Light and sound show. Hartford Stage.

>>Noon: Cirque Le Jazz. Church & Main Plaza.

>>12:15 p.m.: Artists Collective. Jazz on the Corner.

>>12:30 p.m.: Trinity Samba Ensemble and YMCA Zumba class, attempt to break world record for largest Zumba class. Bushnell Park Pavilion.

>>12:30 p.m.: Jazz Spoken Word by Richard McGhee and Margaux Hayes. Community Crossroads Stage, Travelers Plaza.

>>12:30 p.m.: Drummer Bob Bloom. Old State House.

>>1 p.m.: UConn Puppets: Peter and the Wolf. Children’s Stage, Bushnell Park.

>>12:30 p.m.: Khaim Kelly the Rapoet: Sidewalk Chalk. North Atheneum Square.

>>12:30 p.m.: Sea Tea Musical Improv. Church & Main Plaza.

>>12:30 p.m.: Cirque Le Jazz. Hartford Stage.

>>1: 15 p.m.: Umoja, Jazz on the Corner.

>>1:30 p.m.: Drummer Bob Bloom. Old State House.

>>2 p.m.: Hartford Steel Symphony. Bushnell Park Pavilion.

>>2 p.m.: UConn Puppets: Peter and the Wolf. Children’s Stage, Bushnell Park.

>>2 p.m.: Open House & Talent Showcase, “American Idol”-style. (2 to 4:30 p.m.) Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

>>2 p.m.: HartBeat Ensemble’s Flipside. Church & Main Plaza.

>>2 p.m.: University of Hartford’s “20/20.” Community Crossroads Stage.

>>2:45 p.m.: Greater Hartford Academy of Jazz, Jazz on the Corner.

>>3 p.m.: Hartford Children’s Thearter: “How I Became a Pirate.” Children’s Stage, Bushnell Park.

>>3 p.m.: Sea Tea Improv. Butler McCook garden.

>>3 p.m.: Live and Local Music: Heirlooms Sidewalk Chalk. North Atheneum Square.

>>3 p.m.: “Chasing Your Dreams Wearing Sneakers.” Church & Main Plaza.

>>3:30 p.m.: Paul Brown. Jazz on the Corner.

>>3:30 p.m.: Cirque Le Jazz. Hartford Stage.

>>3:30 p.m.: Mixashawn: Native American Spoken Word. Community Crossroads Stage.

>>4 p.m.: Hartford Children’s Thearter: “How I Became a Pirate.” Children’s Stage, Bushnell Park.

>>4 p.m.: Labyrinth and Music. Butler McCook garden.

>>4 p.m.: Capital Community College Music Ensembles. Church & Main Plaza.

>>4 p.m.: Light and Sound Show. Hartford Stage.

>>4:30 p.m.: Sidewalk Chalk. North Atheneum Square.

>>4:30 p.m.: Boubacar Debate: African Senegal Music. Community Crossroads Stage.

>>4:45 p.m.: Paul Brown. Jazz on the Corner.

>>5 p.m.: Hall High Jazz Band. Jazz on the Corner.

>>5 p.m.: Sea Tea Improv. Butler McCook garden.

>>5 p.m.: Glow Stick Art. North Atheneum Square.

>>5:30 p.m.: Conga Bop. Jazz on the Corner.

>>6 p.m.: Winterpills: Live Music. North Atheneum Square.

>>6:30 p.m.: Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Bushnell Park Pavilion.

For more information, go to http://www.envisionfesthartford.com/festival-performance-grid/

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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