Bridgeport, CT - Everyone’s perspective on life is different and this year’s Kennedy Center Calendar, “A Unique Perspective,” showcases the artistic talent of 18 artists with disabilities. This year’s beautiful calendar includes the amazing work of ten new local artists.
A greatly anticipated annual holiday tradition for more than 30 years, the calendar was initially supported by People’s United Bank. People’s United Community Foundation now continues the tradition. A total of 25,000 calendars are printed annually.
As one parent of an artist commented, “The calendar reception represents an annual celebration that brings families and friends together. The burst of colors on the walls of Bridgeport City Hall and the enthusiasm of all the artists brings joy to all of us.”
A crowd of 250 enthusiastic supporters recently gathered at the calendar kickoff party that was hosted by Gallery@999 on the second floor of the Margaret E. Morton Government Center in Bridgeport. Each artist was recognized, cheered and provided with a keepsake framed rendition of their artwork. The opening coincided with the kick-off of the Bridgeport Arts Trail.
Gallery@999 at the Margaret E. Morton Government Center has been transformed into a massive art gallery representing over 40 Kennedy Center artists and more than 50 paintings. The artwork will be on display for public viewing until the end of January.
“For over three decades, we have supported and funded the much-anticipated Kennedy Center Calendar, as it uniquely demonstrates the remarkable abilities of the Kennedy Center artists,” said Armando Goncalves, Southern Connecticut Market President, People’s United Bank. “This popular calendar is widely circulated throughout the bank’s branches in Connecticut and Westchester County, New York.”
Richard E. Sebastian, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center said, “We extend our sincere thanks to People's United Bank and People’s United Community Foundation, who annually underwrite The Kennedy Center Calendar. This vibrant calendar motivates us to be touched, moved and inspired (my acronym for TMI) by the many abilities of our artists with disabilities."
As The Kennedy Center's Expressive Arts program has grown and expanded over the years, the works of visual artists have evolved beyond the mediums of paint, pen and ink, and collage typically found in past calendars. This year a piece of transformational art was selected for the 2019 “A Unique Perspective” Calendar cover. An old bicycle discovered at the local recycling center has been deconstructed and reconstructed into a work of art using the various parts such as chains, reflectors, pedals, nuts and bolts, hubs and spokes.
Six artists at The Kennedy Center’s Project Twenty, a community experience program, were collectively inspired by the abandoned “trash” they had found. Originating without a preconceived plan, the artwork unfolded organically as the artists sorted through a big pile of bike pieces. Through the exploration of new mediums and tools, they collaborated to rearrange the bicycle in a completely different configuration. Several artists cut wires, while others bent, twisted, and molded existing structures. One artist enjoyed stringing the washers together like beads and tying them onto the spokes. The possibilities were endless. As the bike, aptly named “Big Mike,” began to transform, it emerged as something beyond what they could’ve imagined. It became a “symphony” of parts moving and working together as one.
These artists challenge the public’s perception of art. By continually reaching out to broaden our audience, more and more people experience the “unique perspective” of an artist with a disability. “Big Mike” on the cover gives a glimpse into the transformative power of creative expression and the positive effect that it can have not only on the artists, but on the viewer as well.
The calendar was designed by Meghan Gerety, a freelance artist in Brooklyn and former Connecticut resident, and was printed by GHP Media in West Haven.
About The Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center, founded in 1951, is an internationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves over 2,000 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service opportunities to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years. The Kennedy Center operates 31 community experience programs, 17 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs. Visit www.thekennedycenterinc.org for more information.
About People’s United Community Foundation
Established in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life for citizens in the communities that People’s United Bank serves. Founded in 1842, People's United Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of People's United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: PBCT), a diversified financial services company with approximately $47 billion in assets. People’s United Bank is a premier, community-based, regional bank in the Northeast offering commercial and retail banking, as well as wealth management services through a network of more than 400 retail locations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
*Denotes new artist
2019 “Unique Perspective” Calendar Artists
Front cover artists for “Big Mike”:
*Alexander Supernois, Stratford
*Zachariah Noble, Ansonia
*William Rios, Bridgeport
*Marisela Valentin, Bridgeport
*Aisha Joyner, Bridgeport
*Jessica Foss, Milford
January – *Christian Delgado, Stratford
Title: “You Can’t See Me”
February – Alice Dubois, Stratford
Title: “Lighthouse Pier”
March – Cloresa Francoeur, Bridgeport
April – Charles Best, Bridgeport
May – *Maria Santiago, Bridgeport
June – Rebecca Inwood, Fairfield
July – Christina Bevans, Stratford
Title: “Disney Celebration”
August – John Mitchell, Milford
September – *Barbara Cobb, Bridgeport
Title: “Rainbow Circles”
October – *Mary Wood, Shelton
November – Krysten Tong, Hamden
Title: “Uruguayan Fruit Market”
December – Molly Hauser, Shelton
Title: “Nightlight Glow Sparkle Stars"