The multimedia exhibit ‘Inspiring Equity’ is on display at West Hartford Town Hall.
By Ronni Newton
Stories of people in the West Hartford community – a diverse patchwork of young and old, rich and poor, people of all colors, ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds, educators, faith leaders, students, and more – come alive through the “Inspiring Equity” exhibit currently on display on the third floor of West Hartford Town Hall.
The exhibit was unveiled Thursday evening with hundreds attending the opening night reception, including many of those whose portraits are included in the 61 images of individuals and groups that form the exhibit.
By using the Live Portrait app on a smart device, those viewing the exhibit could bring the images to life – watch and listen to video of the stories of the people behind the images, told in their own words.
The exhibit was made possible through a $50,000 Inspiring Equity grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, applied for and received by West Hartford Public Schools directors Roszena Haskins and Kerry Jones last fall.
Michelle Tremblay Lacroix, a special education teacher at Norfeldt Elementary School and an experienced and passionate community organizer, was selected as the coordinator of the project, with the goal of weaving together the tapestry that is West Hartford’s diversity through the lens of individual and collective stories.
Lacroix interacted with members of the community in order to draw out those who play a key role in inspiring diversity and equity in West Hartford. She videotaped and edited the stories, with the assistance of Jennifer Evans from WHC-TV. Photographer Jamie Kaminski created the striking black and white images, and Amy LaRose from West Hartford Public Schools did the graphic design for the project.
Lacroix said she was inspired by hearing and gathering the stories, and melding them together into a multimedia exhibit which will have an enduring legacy and become part of the town’s history. In addition to the exhibit, the images and the stories are captured in a beautiful 77-page book entitled “Community: Voices Toward Equity, West Hartford Listens.”
“West Hartford is so much more than just The Center,” Lacroix said at the opening night of the exhibit. “This is just part of a continuous story.”
A second reception will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium, but can also be viewed by the public whenever Town Hall is open. Lacroix said she hopes to keep the images on display through the middle of January, so that they can be used as part of the town’s Martin Luther King Day celebration.
She also hopes to find a permanent home for the exhibit.
The books, which will be used by West Hartford Public Schools and at the library, will be available for sale during the exhibit for $35 hard cover and $25 soft cover, while supplies last.
[Editor’s Note: I am thrilled to have been chosen to be included in this exhibit for my role in giving voices to those in the community, including unsung heroes, through stories on the we-ha.com website.]
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