The mission of the Bridgeport Arts + Cultural Council (BACC) is “to strengthen Bridgeport’s cultural sector’s capacity with leadership, funding, and marketing to advance the City’s quality of life and prosperity.”
Founded in 2010, the BACC is the City’s cultural umbrella organization, serving Bridgeport and the surrounding communities. The BACC fosters cultural development by supporting artists and organizations and leading arts and cultural initiatives to re-image and promote Bridgeport to spark and sustain economic growth.
Bridgeport enjoys a historically active and vibrant creative community. The BACC partners with a broad array of private and municipal organizations. Collaborations signal a shared commitment to the rejuvenation of Bridgeport: arts and cultural constituents, including artists and organizations, the City of Bridgeport, the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD), the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, and varied other groups with the like-minded goal of bettering Bridgeport through the arts.
The Mayor’s Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grants, which the BACC administers, provide the BACC the opportunity to work with our Citywide arts and cultural constituents. The grants have enriched the quality of life in the City by providing financial support for arts and heritage projects and underserved individuals and organizations. Artists, artisans, craft makers, musicians, and organizations from Bridgeport are eligible. The Spring and Fall 2011 and 2012 grants were awarded to 24 individuals and 25 arts organizations. Recipients included Bridgeport-based Bridge Academy, Bridgeport Theatre Company, Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program, Slant of Light Theatre, WPKN Radio, Barnum Museum, Cardinal Shehan Center, City Lights Gallery, Connecticut Ballet, Connecticut Free Shakespeare, Jazz Guild of Fairfield County, McGivney Community Center, Over 50 Society, Velocity Inc., and the World Artist Network. Individuals received grants to support their art projects in all media, musical compositions and recordings, music and dance performances, an ArtCart to bring art to the streets, children’s projects, art therapy workshops, and heritage research and website production.
Bridgeport artists and cultural organizations are promoted through our website, highlighting Artist of the Month and programs, Facebook, email announcements and newsletters, display of posters and literature, and distribution of flyers.
The BACC champions artists and organizations with such varied programs as hosting Brown Bag Lunches, artists’ presentations, and musical performances; creating summer art-related event for Mayor’s Office of Education of Youth; and supporting projects of other organizations, including CT Free Shakespeare and the Congressional Art Competition (promoted program to after-school arts classes and schools to elicit entries by Bridgeport high school students).
The BACC hosts exhibitions at its space to feature individual Bridgeport artists and community groups; recipients of Mayor’s Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grants; City Canvases Bridgeport artists; community groups, including Kennedy Center (rehabilitation organization for persons with disabilities), Bridgeport Police and First Responders, and Cardinal Shehan Center high school after school art class, among others.
The BACC promotes and partners with organizations for their success, including Art Trail, Arts Fest, and What’s Cooking.
The BACC organized free arts and cultural programming on the second Thursday of every month, from July-December 2012, in Downtown Bridgeport, to engage residents of Bridgeport and surrounding communities to visit and enjoy the City. The B2 events were successful in their outreach and community involvement; each month was themed and brought an array of activities and participants. The BACC worked in partnership with the City of Bridgeport, the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and was funded by the City and DSSD and a grant from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development. Participating organizations included the Housatonic Museum of Art, City Lights Gallery, the Bijou Theatre, CT Free Shakespeare, the Girl Scouts of America, the Discovery Museum, the Kennedy Center, the Barnum Museum, Connecticut Humane Society, Bridgeport Public Library, World Artists Network, Arena at Harbor Yard, and WPKN radio, among many others. Plans to continue B2 in 2013 are underway.
Through Operation Re-Store, community organizations were invited to decorate vacant storefront windows with materials relating to their projects. An interactive map was distributed and posted on the BACC’s website and Facebook page and on the InfoBridgeport website. The community cast votes for People’s Choice and the organization with the most creative display was awarded a donation of $250 (summer and fall 2012). Operation Re-Store will continue in 2013.
City Canvases Bridgeport brought a twelve-week, video projection program that highlighted week-long, digital shorts by twelve Connecticut artists/filmmakers. Based on the theme of Change, the short videos were looped and projected on key buildings in Downtown Bridgeport throughout summer 2012. Additionally, a public art mural was created by a team of Bridgeport artists at the Bridgeport Train Station, transforming a tunnel into an inviting experience for commuters and visitors. The BACC worked in partnership with the City of Bridgeport and the DSSD and was funded by the City and the DSSD and a grant from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development.
The BACC is continually grateful for the generous support of our donors: The Werth Family Foundation, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the City of Bridgeport, the Fairfield County Community Foundation, Downtown Special Services District, People’s United Bank, United Illuminating, The Ernest & Joan Trefz Foundation, Aquarion, the Kreitler Foundation, and Bridgeport Landing, among others.