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The ‘hARTford love’ neighborhood art initiative works to amplify beauty on Albany Avenue

Hartford's neighborhood art initiative will allow local artists to bring colors of the rainbow to the bus shelters and electrical boxes of Albany Avenue

HARTFORD, Conn. — There are new efforts to enhance the beauty of Albany Avenue in Hartford. Gray skies are no match for hARTford love

"Which includes everything from building community gardens to asking the community what project would make a difference in making your neighborhood and your block greener, cleaner, and more beautiful," explained Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. 

The newest project in the making is a neighborhood art initiative. It allows local artists to bring colors of the rainbow to Albany Avenue, painting nine bus shelters and 24 electrical boxes along the road for all to see. 

The mastermind behind this initiative is Janice Castle, who worked with other city leaders to make this a reality. 

"We hope this will help instill neighborhood pride and add a little more visual appeal to the neighborhood," explained Castle.  

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Castle explained that out of 60 applicants, 33 artists were selected for their skills and sample artwork. 

To set this project apart, each artist has connections to the Clay Arsenal and Upper Albany neighborhoods. 

"I was born and raised in the community, and I think this community has a lot of potentials, and I think art is a way of telling our stories," explained Lashawn Robinson-Nuhu.  

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Robinson-Nuhu was selected as one of the bus shelter artists and said this is a one-of-a-kind experience. 

"It's not something I've seen in other cities so far," said Robinson-Nuhu. "So, I think that's what I'm most excited about. And then to see lots of it and learn other people's stories through their artwork." 

Lead artist Andre Rochester said that's precisely the point. He added that the project has a diverse group of artists ranging in age, gender, race, ethnicity, and style. 

"We have professionals, we have hobbyists, we have students, we have folks who do digital work, we have folks who do photography, we have painters, we have drawers, there's even a group of poets who are a part of this," listed Rochester. 

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As an artist advocate, Rochester said it's also important to note that artists are being paid for their work to help amplify the beauty of Albany Avenue while putting the art in Hartford. 

All selected artists will receive $500 per design, and their artwork will be printed and installed at the bus shelters in spring 2022. 

Click here to learn more about the artist of hARTford Love – a Neighborhood Art Initiative. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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