When I was growing up, I resolutely, definitively, without question believed that one day, I would move out of Connecticut and never return. This is by far not a reflection on my family life, or my memories of growing up in CT, but rather I didn’t see the potential of the state. There was a lack of culture, a lack of excitement, and just too many people not willing to take risks and make change. Connecticut was a “vanilla” state. A nice place to live a quiet life with your family, but not a place for adventure.
Little did I know, just a few years later, I’d be back.
I came back to Connecticut partly out of financial necessity, but mostly out of the need for a change. I wanted to jump off the blocks again into something new. And I did just that, only instead of jumping into something new on the West Coast (or Costa Rica, for that matter), I stayed within the state’s boundaries. I was given the amazing opportunity to help a start-up contemporary art gallery make its name in the area. It was a big risk: to move to Stamford where there were no real NYC-quality contemporary art galleries in the area, and to try to virtually create a market for contemporary art. So, for the past two years, I’ve been doing just that, living and working in my home state.
Working in a creative field, I was eager to meet those “just like me!” And the good news is, I now see the potential. Connecticut is rife with creative individuals and intelligent minds. There are designers, writers, artists, photographers, playwrights, actors, ad men, entrepreneurs, and tech mavens all within a 2-block radius of the gallery. However, the more and more of a fixture I become here, the more and more frustrated I become with the lack of a unified front for creative individuals.
Connecticut, despite its wealth and ingenuity, is still very much an apathetic and closeted state. It is a populace of people entrenched in their habits. Well, perhaps that’s a little harsh. But the frustrating thing is the lack of unification and communication. There are no “bloggers meetup” or “creative networking” groups (with select exceptions). The groups I have been able to find don’t seem to meet up regularly, or aren’t very active. What the area needs is a vibrant, committed group of people whose main goal is to foster and grow the creative community in the state. This, I think, is Connecticut’s biggest failing point in relationship to culture. We seem to have resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re a giant lame duck when it comes to the Arts. Caught between NYC, Boston, and Providence, the state seems to be OK with the idea that those seeking culture can go to these other cities. This needs to change and the gallery can only do so much.
So, if you are a Connecticut blogger, or know or follow one, I’d love to hear from you! Maybe we can get something going in this state– begin a design movement, start a blogger meet up, visit creative companies throughout the state. Or, maybe you think I’m wrong and can provide me with a few examples of who to contact/how to get involved. Feel free to comment back or email me.