2016 Ignition Grant Recipients

Learn more about this grant program. 

Arts Center East
Initiative: Marketing and Technology for a Diverse Community Phase II (Catalyst)
Award: $18,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2017
Arts Center East, formerly Vernon Community Arts Center, is a regional arts center dedicated to serving those East of the River and beyond by providing access to art through education, events, exhibits, and performances. After a successful re-branding campaign, Arts Center East will continue its efforts to build capacity to guarantee sustainability for years to come. By raising their organizational profile and increasing their outreach efforts through the use of technology and marketing they are able to meet the demands of a growing facility. The initiative will update technological efforts to track and increase donor, membership, and audience numbers.


Ballet Theatre Company
Initiative: Development and Implementation of Marketing Plan (Adaptive Capacity)
Award: $18,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2017
Ballet Theater Company offers professional dance education and entertaining dance performances to the Greater Hartford community by providing opportunities for participants of all ages and backgrounds. The marketing initiative will allow Ballet Theater Company to conduct market research and analysis to produce a marketing plan that supports the goals of their strategic plan.  The implementation of a marketing plan will expand outreach to the Greater Hartford community by implementing communications projects and increasing programmatic offerings.


Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra
Initiative: Audience Development (Incubator)

Award: $5,000
Date(s): January 2016 – February 2017
The Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra strives to promote musical excellence through performances and educational programs that foster an appreciation and knowledge for music. This initiative will allow FVSO to re-focus its brand image with the creation of a multi-media marketing strategy. With the development and implementation of online content the FVSO can expect to see an increase in audience engagement and subscriber contribution.



The Golden Thread Gallery
Initiative:Website Expansion and Improvements (Incubator)
Award: $5,000
Date(s): February 2016 – April 2016

Quite literally The Golden Thread weaves together a connection between the human spirit and the arts by exhibiting collections of art that illustrate the diversity of the human condition. This rapidly growing organization will expand its website design to reflect its dedication to innovation, vibrancy, and impact. An attractive website that is user friendly will not only increase the accessibility of artistic content to audience members, but will also help artists discover a portal in which to exhibit their artwork.



Hartford City Ballet
Initiative: Marketing & Website Advancement (Catalyst)
Award: $12,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2017

Hartford City Ballet uses its nationally accredited curriculum and reputation for excellence to offer students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to experience dance on various levels anywhere from preparation for professional careers to just merely a joyful hobby. The priority of this initiative is to modernize the website content and create a consistent brand for its services. Improved marketing strategies will increase recognition and appreciation for HCB’s unique mission among the dance community.



Hartford Performs

Initiative: Program Evaluation (Catalyst)
Award: $18,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2017

Hartford Performs ensures that all Hartford Public School students have access to quality arts education delivered by in-school teaching staff in partnership with the region’s vibrant arts community. The Ignition Grant funds will allow Hartford Performs to evaluate the impact of programs on student learning, engagement, creativity and habits of mind as well as educators’ effects on students. The assessment of Hartford Perform’s programs will lead to future improvements, increased recognition, and the ability to raise their profile for advocacy.



New Britain Youth Theater
Initiative: Educational Program Development, Promotion, and Evaluation (Catalyst)

Award: $9,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2016

The New Britain Youth Theater encourages children and young adults to foster creative thinking and collaborative teamwork habits by participating in high quality programs in the performing arts. In conjunction with New Britain, Plainville, and Bristol Public Schools the New Britain Youth Theater will develop, promote, and evaluate in-school literacy-based drama programs. The development of these drama programs will have a positive educational effect on students, promotion will increase institutional awareness, and evaluation will increase the Theater’s reputation for effective, entertaining, and high quality programming.



Newington Children’s Theatre Company

Initiative: Strategic Plan – Setting the Stage (Adaptive Capacity)
Award: $9,000
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2016

Newington Children’s Theatre Company offers quality theatre productions at affordable prices while encouraging its participants to develop self-confidence, self-discipline, commitment, and appreciation for the arts. Through the Ignition Grant Newington Children’s Theatre Company will develop and implement a 3 year strategic plan, providing the opportunity to “script their future.” The strategic planning process will provide the governing body with the tools needed to assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment.



Rough Edges Art Productions
Initiative: REAP Program Assessment (Incubator)
Award: $4,500
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2016

Rough Edges Art Productions serves as a unique portal to the work of emerging local artist of various and often experimental mediums, including visual artwork, music, dance, film, and poetry. The Ignition Grant will allow REAP to increase accessibility to Michael Border’s Connecticut Industry Mural by digitizing it into an application that will be utilized and assessed as a dynamic educational tool for Hartford and Bloomfield schools. The artistic, historical, and cultural significance of this project will pave the way for future digitization of panels in the Connecticut Industrial Mural.



Sea Tea Improv
Initiative: Business Process and Financial Management System Development (Catalyst)
Award: $18,000
Date(s): March 2016 – December 2017
Sea Tea Improv is a professional entertainment company that specializes in improve and sketch comedy and works to build, train, and lead a community of improvisers. The initiative will allow Sea Tea Improv to research, select, and customize a cloud-based Business Process Management system to efficiently manage staffing, scheduling, accounting, and audience data.  The development of a new technological system will increase the number of new paid performers, bookings, and performances, while also, providing a new and improved smooth ticket buying process and collection of audience data.



Spectrum in Motion Dance Theater Ensemble, Inc.
Initiative: Spectrum in Motion – Telling Our Story (Catalyst)
Award: $9,000
Date(s): January 2016 – June 2017
Spectrum in Motion works to demolish barriers that divide our community by race, language, gender, and economics through the use of the highest quality original, professional, contemporary dance and dance education  that celebrates the music and Movement of the worlds culture. The Ignition Grant will be utilized to improve Spectrum in Motion’s marketing and communication tools; including the development of a fully functional website, electronic newsletter, and social media enhancement skills. Having the resources to better tell their story, Spectrum in Motion will have the capability to increase opportunity and support of performance work and education. 



Trashion Fashion
Initiative: Relaunch of Trashion Fashion (Incubator)
Award: $6,500
Date(s): January 2016 – December 2017
Trashion Fashion is an organization that challenges contestants to reuse items from the waste stream to create one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable artwork. The clothing pieces are used for educational programs, shows and exhibits that promote the reduction of global waste in a creative way. The initiative will allow Trashion Fashion to re-launch itself through the creation of an updated business plan addressing ways to strengthen organizational capacity. The process of re-launching Trashion Fashion will help strengthen and clarify their message and the way in which it effects the eco-industry of supporters and beyond.



Unified Theater
Initiative: Evaluating Impact to Drive Excellence (Adaptive Capacity)
Award: $18,000
Date(s): January 2016 – October 2017
Through transformative, school based performing arts programming, Unified Theater dissolves typical barriers between youth. The organization’s initiative will support the evaluation of Spotlight School programs from the deliverance to the overall impact. The achieved outcome would be to ensure that all Unified Theater Spotlight Schools achieve the same level of quality education and that each student is learning to be a confident leader, advocate, and friend to people of all different abilities, interests, and backgrounds.  



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