BRISTOL â€“ A new nonprofit has recently formed to support Bristolâ€™s culture and arts scene both financially and organizationally. The hopes are to further welcoming creators looking to improve the cityâ€™s quality of life.
â€śThe arts community in Bristol has always been strong but it hasnâ€™t gotten a lot of recognition or maybe hasnâ€™t expanded as quickly as it could because of a lack of financial support,â€ť said Board President of the Bristol Arts and Culture Fund Greg Hahn. â€śAs far as picking up something that youâ€™ll hold onto for a lifetime experience, (something like playing) music is a great thing.â€ť
Hahn said that a strong arts and culture community contributes to a robust business environment.
â€śAlong with the Arts and Culture Commission and the efforts of the Bristol Arts and Culture supervisor, the Bristol Arts and Culture Fund completes the three legs of the culture support for the city,â€ť said Hahn.
Hahn likened the three organizations to the legs of a stool. The commission was one leg that helped with arts and culture project planning, the supervisor as an action executing entity and the fund to help and support the other two organizations with resources.
â€śThe intent of this organization is to strengthen the organizations within Bristol and give them another avenue for financial assistance and support. What I mean by support is to also provide grant writing support or planning support if an organization wants to have an event and they need help putting it on,â€ť said the board president. â€śWe want to provide all the kind of support that a small organization may be lacking so they can get more exposure. It could be an art gala or music an organization might not be able to support on a shoestring budget.â€ť
Hahn said board members were getting a lay of the land and learning a better understanding of how funding and grants worked at the state level.
â€śWhen I was asked to come on the board and support the City of Bristol through this nonprofit, I was elated. Bristol has always been my home base and I am excited to see what we can give back to the city,â€ť said Board Director Ken Lundquist, Jr.
Board Secretary Lea McCabe said the nonprofitâ€™s first initiative was to raise funds in the form of installing a custom engraved brick paver patio at the new Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School, formerly known as the Memorial Boulevard School. The group wants to install around 1000 pavers into the patio with graduation years of specific individuals, classes or having those pavers engraved in memory of a person as examples.
â€śHaving been an educator in the City of Bristol for 15 years, I know how important the new magnet school is to not only the students but to the entire city,â€ť said McCabe. â€śThis patio will allow people to memorialize the stories past of that building while literally paving the way for the future of Bristol Public Schools.â€ť
Board Treasurer Ken Bagley said he felt now was an integral point in time by â€ślifting up the voices of artists in our community who otherwise would not have the support to continue their work.â€ť
Hahn said it felt good to see the cityâ€™s arts and culture efforts grow throughout the years.
â€śBristol is full of talented artists and arts organizations that are seen and appreciated and some that are new and need assistance creating their platform,â€ť he said. â€śIt is exciting to work with such a dedicated board of directors and contribute to the health and expansion of Bristolâ€™s cultural environment.â€ť
For more information, follow the Bristol Arts and Culture Fund Facebook page or visit www.bristolacf.org .