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A yearly tradition, Wadsworth gets creative on MLK Day

“MLK Community Day” is a collaboration and celebration

HARTFORD, Conn. — A tradition at the Wadsworth Atheneum seems to get more creative every year. The famed downtown Hartford museum calls the event The Wadsworth Dr. Martin Luther King Community Day and invites the public to take part in a variety of art projects to honor King's legacy.

The Wadsworth partners with the “Rise Up for the Arts” group, the Amistad Center for Art and Culture, and “Public Art for Racial Justice and Education” to make MLK Day happen. Matt Conway, the executive director of the Rise Up Group is one of the people involved in a public mural project where kids and adults picked up paint brushes inside the Hartford Courant Room at the Wadsworth and lent a hand. 

“This is a day for kids to really take action and hopefully it defines part of their future,” said Conway.

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Lead artist Emida Roller helped kids create self-portraits on paper that will be joined to the bigger mural which is set to go up outside the Mahoney Center in Manchester sometime this Spring. 

“We’re coming together here in this room and we’re going to paint self-portraits…and it’s going to be a collage of everybody together all around Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,” Roller said. 

Ann Rice, the director of learning and engagement at the Wadsworth noted that MLK Day at the museum is typically the busiest of the year. 

“It’s typically our highest attended day of the year so we are so happy to be able to welcome people back today, it’s been a little dicey since the pandemic hit so today is really special for us,” Rice said. 

Overall, Conway, who is part of a 39 MLK mural project across the state said the day is about honor.

“This is really special artwork,” said Conway. “Celebrating a great man.”

To learn more about Rise Up for the Arts click.


Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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