We work with local and regional arts communities to help connect our students to external galleries and job opportunities. Gain priceless work experience during your years as a student, then transfer that knowledge to a meaningful career. It’s always the right time to build your network–and we’re here to help you get your foot in the door.

Civic Design is a student-based communications group established to provide professional communication solutions to area nonprofit organizations. It benefits students with real-life job experience by working on print, web, social media and digital projects.

Also offered as a course, Civic Design fosters group critique, creative thinking and problem solving, research, preparing creative briefs, and client presentation skills. It operates as a realistic professional design studio. The course is open to designers, painters, photographers, illustrators, and creative writers.

Clients include The New Britain Museum of Art, The Children’s Museum of West Hartford, The New Britain Youth Theater, The Ron Foley Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, The Canton Public Library, and The Hartt School.

Students in Assistant Professor Cat Balco’s Arts in Healthcare course use art therapy to engage residents at Wintonbury Care Center in Bloomfield, Conn. Students apply skills gained from professional artists and art therapists to help them connect with Wintonbury residents, bringing out their artistic sides.

The Koltenuk Art and Healthcare Lecture series began in 2015 supported by a generous gift from then Regent and Hartford Art School Endowment, Inc. Board Member, Deborah Koltenuk in honor of her sister. The purpose of the series is to explore the interdisciplinary connection between the arts and healing.

The 2021 Koltenuk Lecture was presented by Susan Frampton. With more than 30 years of experience, medical anthropologist Susan Frampton understands how health care is shaped and experienced by a variety of forces and how those forces can be restructured to create better health, better care, better cultures, and lower costs. She has traveled the world, bringing her vision for improving health care quality through compassion and partnership to more than 30 countries.

When available, vacant retail spaces in nearby locations (i.e. Blue Back Square, West Hartford) are used by HAS to coordinate pop-up shops featuring the work of faculty, staff, alumni, and students for fundraisers.

The Launchpad program, a partnership between the Hartford Art School and the highly regarded Five Points Gallery, has expanded its footprint in downtown Torrington, Conn., and energy is at an all-time high.

At its inception, the program offered a painting studio that doubled as an art installation space, a mixed-media studio, and a ceramics area for sculpting. Feverish excitement fills every square foot of the space, and as the program develops, so do the benefits to the artists selected to participate.

“We’ve shown about 400 really good artists, and there’s a database of 400 more waiting to be accepted,” says Judith McElhone ’88, M ‘94, a Hartford Art School alumna and founding executive director at Five Points Gallery. “Those who apply all cite the sense of community as a motivating reason for them to be a part of the program, but it’s branched out from that in so many ways.”

Beyond interpersonal support, Launchpad artists cultivate valuable experience in all facets of show production, including press releases, curation, food services, and social media marketing – skills which fortify their careers when the two-year residency concludes. In addition, artists are often able to sell more work at Five Points than at other galleries in the region due to the fact that the gallery takes no commission.

“At Five Points Gallery, we look for excellence,” says McElhone. “But we also look for artists from different geographical locations, because it brings feet into downtown Torrington. That has become an important part of the revitalization of the downtown community.” Launchpad artist Aaron Flynn ’95 says that he moved to Torrington to be part of the gallery and Torrington’s growing downtown area. He says he’s glad the studio space costs just $65 a month for 24/7 access. “Just being able to work and paint here, and do what I do as an artist without having an expensive studio is quite wonderful,” says Flynn, who majored in ceramics and teaches ceramics and photography at Post University in Waterbury, Conn.

The search for Launchpad and Five Points Gallery artists is ongoing. For more information about the program, gallery, and upcoming events, visit the Five Points Gallery website.

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