Real Public: Four new public art projects in Hartford's Parkville and Frog Hollow neighborhoods
Hartford, CT 06106
Four public art projects, each created specifically for Hartford, will make use of the existing culture, creativity, and vibrancy of the Parkville and Frog Hollow neighborhoods. Right now, they are all works in progress.
Photographer Margarida Correia has been working with members of Hartford’s Portuguese community. Her images, which include family heirlooms, domestic interiors, and portraiture, will bring private narratives into the public eye. Her work will be displayed on billboards as well as in stores and community spaces in the neighborhood.
Satch Hoyt will create a work that will take shape later in the spring. Hoyt uses sculptural and musical elements to create artwork that taps into the energy of popular and street culture.
Sofia Maldonado will focus on collaborating with young people in Parkville and Frog Hollow neighborhoods resulting in the creation of uniquely designed murals and events that celebrate youth culture.
Matthew Rodriguez will install a series collages and murals that use found materials, staged photographs, and paintings. The results will be playful “characters” residing in the neighborhood’s neglected spaces.
Kristina Newman-Scott, Real Art Ways’ Director of Visual Arts, explains the artist selection process:
“The world of contemporary art can sometimes be very insular, its audience limited to those who seek it out in galleries. The artists we selected for this program have a particular interest in working in the public realm, and their works simultaneously connect people to the art and to each other. Therein lies the magic.”
Margarida Correia was born in Lisbon, Portugal. Margarida's work explores the relationships that people from her generation develop with things they collect and care for. She is interested in how inherited objects are interwoven with personal stories to develop our understanding of history, how they can go beyond their simple physical existence by linking the cultural values of successive generations.
Satch Hoyt, born in London to a white British mother and a father of African-Jamaican ancestry, is currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. The sculptural trope in Hoyt’s work addresses the facts on the ground, so to speak, of black experience, while his drawings tap into a spirit of fantasy, refuge, and transcendence. Hoyt is also an accomplished professional musician and composer. His visual art often draws from his musical background.
Sofia Maldonado was born in Puerto Rico. During her undergraduate studies she painted numerous murals, with or without permission, in abandoned buildings, barrios and indoor spaces as a way to bring beauty to each site. Sofia's artwork is a blend of fashion trends, the Latina female aesthetic and various street culture elements, such as skateboarding, graffiti, public art, reggaeton and punk music.
Matthew Rodriguez was born in Houston, Texas. His childlike creations encapsulate urban anxieties while ridiculing them by standing out in stark contrast to their decaying surroundings. He draws out and celebrates the character of these overlooked spaces, asking the viewers to recognize the potential in the world around them.
Last summer, Hartford made international news as the site of a hit and run accident in Frog Hollow. The incident was caught on a security camera; the grainy black and white video appeared to show a chilling scene: bystanders staring at a man in agony on the street, idling while someone else suffered. The apparent lack of compassion by the residents of this Hartford neighborhood was discussed on the major national news networks. The Hartford Courant front page the next day read “SO INHUMANE.” While it was later revealed that four bystanders immediately called 911, the initial perception of apathy lingered.
During that same week, a long-time Hartford activist was mugged and beaten while walking to breakfast in Frog Hollow. The public perception of the Frog Hollow and Parkville neighborhoods became intertwined with two chilling incidences of violence.
At the same time, the Real Art Ways staff were well into the planning of the four public art projects. In this new context, the projects became an opportunity to confound and reverse public perception through the creation of innovative new work that draws directly from the communities in these two neighborhoods.
Will K. Wilkins, executive director of Real Art Ways, says:
“Frog Hollow and Parkville are two urban neighborhoods with a lot to offer. Real Art Ways is sponsoring this new art, but we are also trying to make people aware of what is already in the neighborhoods.”
Real Art Ways’ history of commissioning, organizing, and presenting public art projects exhibits the organization’s commitment to community and to excellent, innovative art. Since 1990, Real Art Ways has originated, commissioned and produced 27 public art projects. Past participants in our public art program include: Rachel Berwick, Mel Chin, Karin Giusti, Lillian Hsu-Flanders, Liz Miller, Pepón Osorio, Robert Peters, Carl Pope, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, James Luna, Jessica Diamond, Danny Tisdale, Steed Taylor, Harrell Fletcher, Verandah Porche, Pruitt.Early, and Ellen Driscoll, and others.
Major support for Real Public comes from:
The Ensworth Charitable Trust, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, The Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Art Campaign, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Sandy and Howard Fromson, Travelers, Robinson and Nancy Grover, The Wallace Foundation, and Real Art Ways' Members.