The 7th annual "Business Supports the Arts" Awards Breakfast, hosted by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut on Thursday morning, October 17th at the Crowne Plaza Danbury, marked a significant 'tipping point' for the organization. Attended by more than 300 influential leaders from Greater Danbury business, arts, public service, and philanthropic communities, the appreciative gathering celebrated an expanded regional presence for the Cultural Alliance; new offices at 287 Main Street, Danbury; new and sustaining program efforts planned for 2014; and and an enthusiastic fellowship of long range giving in support of the organization. Executive Director Lisa Scails and Lew Wallace, President, brought together an impressive range of speakers and awardees that made the annual "Business Supports the Arts" Awards Breakfast a must-attend 'meet up.'
The event honored the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission's "Healing Newtown" project and recognized three significant community and individual efforts. The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra & Danbury Hospital were jointly awarded the prestigious 2013 “Business Supports the Arts" Award, presented to mid-sized to large businesses for exemplary giving practices. Their significant collaboration to produce “Sweet Dreams,” a CD of lullabies from around the world, led to the distribution of 1000 copies of the CD to patient families cared for in the Spratt Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Danbury Hospital. Steven Greenberg, Chairman of Ives Concert Park, received the 2013 "Arts in the Community" Award, given for sustaining creative communities that focus on economic development. The 2013 "Heart of the Arts" Award spotlighted Barbara Manners, Ridgefield selectwoman, for her outstanding volunteer efforts to nurture arts and culture in and to increase quality of life. Ms. Manners, an ardent arts leader, has dedicated sixteen years to promoting the arts in Ridgefield and throughout Connecticut.
Keynote speaker, TV host and best selling author Mar Jennings, who offered a private champagne tour of his Westport gardens as one of many spectacular raffle prizes (the winning tickets were pulled from a garden basket by Kate and Grace, daughters of Cultural Alliance Board member, Elizabeth Durkin), echoed a sense of 'tipping' point' when he used an exercise with Legos to emphasize that "no limitations" must be at the fore of an organization's mission. A lot of chatter and laughter ensued as he asked those in attendance to piece together Lego bricks - with their non-writing hands. Adam Battelstein, principal of Litchfield County's Catapult Entertainment, now world famous for its touching Visual Tribute to Newtown School Children seen on "America's Got Talent," addressed the notion of business and arts working together, a prime tenet of the Cultural Alliance: "No matter how mundane a business may seem, it has human stories. No matter how quaint the arts may seem, they have human stories. Working together - 'no limitations' - is powerful." The Cultural Alliance strives to join those human stories, living creatively, energizing the economy.
Other notable participants included Mayor Mark Boughton, The City of Danbury; Nicole Blackburn, philanthropist and transnational artist who donated her most recent mural project to the Newtown Youth Academy, which provided a media-free safe haven to Newtown families following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December; Andrea Gartner, Executive Director, CityCenter Danbury; Joanne Hunter, Owner, Arts Spot; and Melissa Eigen, Marketing Director, Danbury Fair.
The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, based in Danbury, Connecticut, is a leader in supporting a vibrant arts and culture community in Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties. The Cultural Alliance promotes and advocates for arts, history, and culture as a primary driver of the economy and as an enriching influence for communities and people. It understands and believes that the arts sector is a critical engine for growth through creativity, innovation and collaboration. Supported by public funding, corporate and private contributions, and by its members.The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, a 501c-3, is the largest and only regional service organization working to ensure better access to arts and culture for all residents and visitors in the Housatonic Valley region. For more information, call 203-798-0760 or visit www.artswesternct.org