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Arts Community Receives $137,000 From Cultural Alliance

Making “another special trip to Newtown,” the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut’s Executive Director Lisa Scails presented a check for roughly $137,000 to First Selectman Pat Llodra Monday afternoon.

On behalf of the alliance, Ms Scails transferred the HealingNewtown Arts Support Fund money to The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC). The charitable fund had been established by the alliance to support Newtown, specifically through the arts and in partnership with NCAC following 12/14. In addition to financial contributions, the alliance reports that it received more than $90,000 in-kind donations and material donations, including music and electronic equipment, art supplies, and furniture for the HealingNewtown Arts Space, which has been relocated to the Newtown Congregational Church at 14 West Street and renamed HealingNewtown Through the Arts.

Contributions were primarily received through the HealingNewtown Project, founded by the NCAC, the cultural alliance, and the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Connecticut’s Office of the Arts. The cultural alliance was the fiduciary agent for HealingNewtown and had managed the fund from December 2012 through May 31, 2013.

Ms Scails told a small group gathered at the Newtown Municipal Center on July 8 that the support fund “is for long-term support for all kids and families in Newtown.”

Mrs Llodra said that when “many immediately came forward to help heal through the arts” after 12/14, the NCAC at the time was not set up to accept funds. “It was a great help to Newtown” to have the alliance “step in to partner,” she said. The alliance helped with HealingNewtown, an organization under the NCAC umbrella that is devoted to healing through the arts. Mrs Llodra said, “We would not have been able to do this without the alliance.”

She said, “When one thinks about how we express hurts and hopes, it’s through the arts.” The NCAC plays an important role, and regarding the alliance, Mrs Llodra said, “We are grateful for the partnership.”

The alliance is “happy to be a part of the collaboration,” Ms Scails said. “Now that the investment is made,” the organization will be available as needed.

Thinking past the time period of healing, Mrs Llodra stressed the dream and vision of forming a permanent home for the arts in Newtown. “We want to be sure we have a home for the arts; I think we can do that. This could be the springboard.” She said, “If you are a dreamer like me you can think ten years ahead…” She is among many in town who hope to see some form of a cultural arts center in the future.

Sharing that hope is HealingNewtown Secretary Robert Rabinowitz. He spoke of HealingNewtown’s new location at 14 West Street where he wants to resume regular classes. “Our ultimate goal is a permanent presence in Newtown.” He also agreed that the important thing is to move through the healing and toward “our goal of an arts center.”

A housewarming party for HealingNewtown to welcome guests to its new space will be on July12 at 5 pm. Including a family dance party, the afternoon offers demonstrations from the Newtown Juggling & Circus Arts Club, live music, a pot luck dinner, dancing, and fun. The evening offers fun for all ages. See HealingNewtown.org for details. The website is also set up to receive contributions for continued support.

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