In 2019 an Art Exhibit & Experience originated in the Galleries @ WORK_SPACE as part of the Town of Manchester’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. “PERSPECTIVES: We Are All Different…We Are All One.” A true creative collaboration, this 8-wk exhibit was made possible by support from the Office of Neighborhood and Families, the Manchester Art Association, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, & Connecticut Office off the Arts, (which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).
In August 2019, WORK_SPACE Manager, Stacey Zackin and Exhibit Coordinator, Patricia Johnson invited artists in the Greater Hartford area “to submit artwork that is expressive of the uniqueness, distinctiveness, creativity, and ingenuity of the group, or groups, with whom they identify.” They quickly realized that displaying artwork from a diverse array of artists does little to forward the Town of Manchester’s initiative to better understand, respect and honor the diversity of the community and make strides towards greater equity, inclusion, and accessibility. It was important to bring these artists together with other community members to share in common experiences and have an opportunity to discuss the many ways in which our experiences differ.
By the opening event on November 7th over 100 works by 60 artists were selected by a jury of art professionals and displayed in 2 of WORK_SPACE’s 3 gallery spaces. In addition, a calendar of 14 events led by 25 artists and educators was created to expand perspectives and foster positive social change via poetry, movement, body art, mindfulness, technology, conversations on identity and ritual, folk, indigenous & rap
music. Manchester Mayor Jay Moran spoke at the opening commenting on how the show represents the best of Manchester, “a collective of diverse people with different life experiences, varied point-of-views, and a wide array of talents coming together to create a shared experience that celebrates our differences, expands our perspectives, and helps us to move forward united.”
Curated by members of the Manchester Art Association and WORK_SPACE’s in-house curator, Christiane O’Brien, the show ended December 26th. Although hundreds of people have had the opportunity to see the artwork and even more have experienced the programs, Coordinator Patricia Johnson felt the show was too dynamic to disappear. She reached out to Gil Martinez, Executive Director of Hartford Public Access Television
who eagerly agreed to install the show in their newly renovated Community Art Gallery at 20-28 Sargeant Street in Hartford. Pat Johnson and Christiane O’Brien will continue their roles as Coordinator and Curator (respectively). All though this version of the show comes down in March, it won’t be the end of PERSPECTIVES which is slated to become an annual affair at the Galleries @ WORK_SPACE in Manchester.