NEW BRITAIN – Community members of all ages and abilities are welcomed to participate in “Piecing Together a New Britain Story: The NBMAA Cityscape Project” at the New Britain Museum of American Art.
“We will be recreating this cityscape of the City of New Britain,” artist and creator Rashmi Talpade said. “It won’t be graphically accurate, but looking at it, it’s going to look like a well-made almost like a photograph of the city with all recognizable landmarks, neighborhoods and buildings. So anyone viewing it will say, ‘oh, it’s New Britain, but it looks different’ and then say, ‘oh, it’s a collage’. I’ve had this kind of reaction in the past and it’s fascinating.”
Residents are encouraged to go around and take photographs of the city or submit old photos previously taken. Historic photos mixed with the contemporary photos are also welcomed.
“We want people to look at their city in a different way, with pride, with happiness, and pick out their favorite location even if it’s their own house,” Talpade said. “Every place has its own value in the big picture.”
Talpade will get the photos printed for the 48x32-sized photo collage.
Everyone is invited to the museum in the allotted timeslots to help put the collage together.
“Most of the timeslots are on a Saturday morning when the museum is free to the public so people should not feel the pressure. We just want them to come down, view the gallery, enjoy the art and be hands-on with the project,” Talpade said.
The collage project is meant to motivate residents to take interest and pride in their community, develop an appreciation for the visual arts, and explore their artistic potential.
“The nice thing about such projects is people who normally would not meet talk to each other and exchange stories of their town and history. A lot of the history of these towns is oral, there is no written history,” Talpade said. “It has been proven that it brings a lot of enrichment, joy and unity to communities.”
This is Talpade’s seventh major project, previously working with the New Haven Library, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, Wallingford Public Library and Southington Schools.
Talpade and the New Britain museum would like people from all walks of life to participate and enjoy the exhibit.
“There is a reason why I was very excited about it being in New Britain; it’s such a diverse city, there are people of so many communities and there are so many different neighborhoods,” Talpade said. “It’s funny because each town I learn something new, no new places are the same, so I’m really curious and excited to what I’m going to learn in New Britain.”
Talpade migrated to Connecticut from India in 1990. She has a degree in Art, with a double major in Fine Art and Ceramics, from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Bombay, India and a diploma in Photography from the Photographic Society of India. She has been awarded the Artists Respond Grant by the Connecticut Office of the Arts for a city-wide community art project. The Artists Respond Grant funds art projects that provide access to the creative experience and engage the community in an innovative manner.
To participate, email photos to email@example.com, and you can also help assemble collages on the following dates: April 16, 12-2 p.m.; April 21, 5:30-7 p.m.; April 23, 10 a.m.-noon; April 30, 10 a.m.-noon; May 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; May 7, 12-2 p.m.; May 12, 5:30-7 p.m.; May 14, 10 a.m.-noon; May 19, 5:30-7 p.m.; May 21, 10 a.m.-noon; May 26, 5:30-7 p.m.; June 4, 10 a.m.-none; June 9, 5:30-7 p.m.; June, 11 10 a.m.-noon; and June 18, noon-2 p.m.
The New Britain Museum of American Art is located on 56 Lexington Street.