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Bridgeport launches B-Squared (B2) and City Canvases Bridgeport

By Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council

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Downtown Bridgeport will be fully charged on Thursday, July 12, with the kick off of B-Squared (B2) and City Canvases Bridgeport programs, starting at 5pm at McLevy Green. B2's A Circus Among Us! will celebrate Bridgeport's famed former citizen P.T. Barnum's birthday with a wide array of activities from 5-9pm, running in tandem with Downtown Thursday's music performances by the Rick Reyes Band (5:30-7:30pm) and Orquesta Afinke (7:30-9pm). City Canvases Bridgeport will spotlight a video projection onto McLevy Hall by Bridgeport artist Dustin DeMilio at McLevy Green from 9-11pm, which will be kicked off by celebrations of light with the BULB, the Bridgeport United Light Builders, LED-lit parade.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch shares that "Downtown Bridgeport has recently become a center of excitement and culture thanks to the influx of new residents and businesses and the success of our Downtown Thursdays and Arts Fest programming. B2 and City Canvases are welcome additions, which will bring an even greater interest in Bridgeport's thriving arts scene throughout the entire year. Our arts venues draw thousands of visitors annually, creating a positive image for the City throughout the region. We are very thankful to Kip Bergstrom, the Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and his staff for recognizing the role that the arts and tourism play in creative placemaking and Bridgeport's contributions to the State's efforts to attract visitors and tourists."

This "New Direction" in arts-related funding was rolled out by Kip Bergstrom to stimulate partnerships between the arts and culture sectors and other public and private community constituents to expand Bridgeport's position as a local and regional center for culture, entertainment, and residential activity. Bergstrom cites that, "Great art makes great places. Great places attract great talent. Great talent creates great jobs."

B2 will feature free arts and cultural programming on the second Thursday of every month, year-round, in Downtown Bridgeport, engaging residents of Bridgeport and surrounding communities to visit and enjoy the City. Future B2 second Thursdays will also be themed and bring an increasing array of activities and participants.

City Canvases Bridgeport is a twelve-week, large-scale, video projection program that will highlight week-long, digital shorts by twelve Connecticut artists/filmmakers. Based on the theme of Change, the short videos will be looped and projected on key buildings in Downtown Bridgeport throughout the summer.

The videos may be live-action, animated, or abstract films. This public art program will feature artists from throughout Connecticut, including Dustin DeMilio as well as Holly Danger, ES Barraza, Kelly Bigelow Becerra, Shawn Corvino and Peter Konsterlie, Adger Cowans, Mary Jo Lombardo, Lauri MacLean and Lisa Seidenberg, Joe Malfettone, Lori Petchers and Faith Baum, Ernst Weber, and Yves Wilson.

B2 and City Canvases Bridgeport are creative placemaking initiatives to further the growth and vitality of Bridgeport's arts and cultural sectors and the City's creative economy. Bridgeport is one of three cities in Connecticut to receive a pilot-program Creative Placemaking grant and one of seven cities in Connecticut to be awarded a City Canvases grant by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts. Partners in the program are the City of Bridgeport, the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD), the Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council (BACC), and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC).

These projects are a boon to Downtown Bridgeport and the City at large. DSSD President and CEO Mike Moore shares that "the DSSD welcomes its partnership with the City of Bridgeport, the BACC, and the CAFC to implement B2 and City Canvases. The DSSD and the City will utilize these events to build upon the success of Downtown Thursdays and Arts Fest and to highlight the Downtown's cultural assets while helping drive revitalization in the Park City."

"We at the BACC," explains Marianne Brunson Frisch, Executive Director, "are excited about these programs that foster our leadership of cultural development initiatives to re-image and promote Bridgeport to spark and sustain economic growth in the City. We are grateful to the State and the City and others for their ongoing encouragement and support, including the Werth Family Foundation, the Fairfield County Community Foundation, the Trefz Foundation, People's United Bank, United Illuminating, Aquarion Water Company, the Kreitler Foundation, and additional generous donors."

For further information on B2 and City Canvas events, visit www.bridgeportarts.org and www.downtownthursdays.com for music programs.

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