Bridgeport resident Tondrea Mabins is one of three locals who are in the midst of creating the Bridgeport Arts Alliance, a nonprofit with a mission of making Bridgeport a better place by elevating the City’s deep culture and art genres.
Mabins, an author and employee of Fairfield County Bank’s Westport Compo Road office, is the nonprofit’s executive director. She says she is eager to “shed a more positive light on the City of Bridgeport.”
On August 18 and August 19, she will host the Bridgeport Book Bash, a community event synergistic to the nonprofit’s vision for a better tomorrow.
Here, we talk with Tondrea, a busy mom and full-time Bank employee about what fuels her passion for the arts, her community, and how her literary prowess propels BAA’s mission.
Q: What is Bridgeport Arts Alliance and how are you involved?
A: The Bridgeport Arts Alliance (BAA) is in the development stages as we have yet to file for the nonprofit yet. We are trying to raise funds and get a better understanding of what it is to be a nonprofit before we dive headfirst into it, but we did not want to wait around before we started getting involved in the community.
I am one of three people that is involved in the idea of the brainchild that is BAA (read more about the founding team here). Jason Coombs, Sarah Beirne and myself feel that Bridgeport often gets a bad rap and has a negative connotation when it is mentioned. However, being products of the city, we see the forest through the trees. Through BAA we hope to bring more awareness of the culture that Bridgeport has cultivated through different types of art – film, theatre and literature being our main three focal points. I am the literature aspect.
Q: Tell me about the Bridgeport Book Bash planned for Friday, August 18 and Saturday, August 19 at Trumbull Marriott in Shelton
A: BBB is a multi-genre event that will be bringing over twenty authors together for a book signing. A lot of signings I’ve participated in are usually focused on just one genre, so I wanted to make sure to try to bring in poets, and children’s authors – every genre, not just one. There will also be workshops and a Q&A.
Q: How can the community support this important event?
A: By buying tickets and coming to meet our wonderful local authors!
Tickets can be purchased ($20) here.
If you are an interested author or vendor please fill out the interest form here.
Q: What do you do when not volunteering for the betterment of Bridgeport?
A: I’m a full-time employee at Fairfield County Bank, a full-time mom to three wonderful children and I squeeze in a little bit of writing here and there. I recently closed my brick-and-mortar bookstore (Reader’s Block) and operate solely online, but hope to reopen one day. I have a lot going on, but it’s a dream of mine.
Q: Future dreams and goals for Bridgeport teens?
A: To build writing workshops for young authors and to reincorporate the Young Author’s Awards. I did some research and couldn't find anything on it. I hope it’s still around, but if not, I hope to bring it back. I hope to start a scholarship fund for high schoolers that wish to pursue degrees in creative writing.
Learn more about BAA here and consider supporting their mission in any way you can!