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West Hartford Town Hall to be Lit Up for Pride

Rendering of magical dance projection mapping planned for West Hartford Town Hall. Courtesy image

The Bushnell will use magical dance projection mapping on the front of West Hartford Town Hall following the Pride Festival on Saturday, June 22.


Connecticut’s largest arts organization, The Bushnell, has been central to life in Greater Hartford for 90 years as a unique gathering place for arts, education, and community activities. The Bushnell has always been committed to finding ways that the arts can be creatively and strategically used to engage and support the community. One of their newest efforts to do so has been through their innovative use of technology for presenting the arts as part of a Digital initiative led by the award-winning creative team of Digital Producer and Director Ryan Glista and Theatrical Producer and Choreographer Carolyn Paine. These digital performance spaces engage and excite audience members on show nights throughout the season.

Both Glista and Paine share the same overall passion as The Bushnell, constantly striving to develop new ways to use arts and this technology to not just entertain, but to enrich the community. They recognize the unique power of the arts to strengthen and re-energize CT arts. Glista and Paine are excited to use this platform this month to highlight and celebrate the LGBTQ.

As part of West Hartford’s large Pride Festival, they have re-imagined their Telly Award-winning “Stories of Queer Love” dance piece that premiered in 2023 as part of the Bushnell’s Local Arts Stage. The video will be part of an eye-popping and magical projection mapped installation on West Hartford’s Town Hall Auditorium building facade in the evening on June 22, 2024.

“Stories of Queer Love” features different choreographers representing diverse styles of dance each telling a story of queer love. The choreographers joining Paine in creating original works were aerialists Stacey Strange and Dani Bobby Lee of New Haven’s Air Temple Arts, Garet Wierdsma of Garet & Co (a CT-based contemporary dance company), and LA-based Hip Hop and Latin Choreographer Lyrik Cruz, who is part of the creative team for legend Debbie Allen and has choreographed for TV and film.

Working with the same piece of music edited by Glista, the stories the choreographers chose to tell represent the many facets and journeys of love from tentative exploration, to passionate polyamory, to dynamic and agonizing conflicts.

For the choreographers, it was a very personal experience. Local choreographer Garet Wierdsma said “My identity as a queer person is not something I’ve explored as an artist yet, so this was nerve-wracking, exciting, and very meaningful. I’m super honored to be a part of this project.”

Choreographer Lyrik Cruz also felt the weight of getting to put his personal experiences and voice into this work, especially as a gay Puerto Rican. Cruz says “Being able to tell stories from my POV and how it was to hide love from everyone in our neighborhood and our families…finding those moments where you could escape to be partners and boyfriends – that’s the story I wanted to tell.” But more than just telling stories of queer love, Cruz acknowledges that all patrons viewing this project on the screens and the wall will connect deeply with the performances because “At the end of the day, these are not just gay love stories, these are human love stories. Kudos to The Bushnell for doing this.”

Paine and Glista are thrilled with the project’s continued success and love seeing this work reach new places and audiences in so many different iterations. The project won the Telly Award for Immersive Dance and a People’s Choice Telly. It has been presented as a live performance, along with projections, at Hartford Pride and the 5×5 Dance Festival. It has also been featured on The Bushnell’s traveling screen installation at Hartford’s Inaugural Ball and other events. And this month it is also being featured in a 180 degree large screen in the main exhibit hall at The Museum of Science in Boston.Learn more about the Bushnell’s digital arts projects at bushnell.org/digital.

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1 Comment

  • I would like to ask if West Hartford Pride welcomes gay conservatives like Mary Fay or other generally fair-minded people who oppose transgender surgeries for persons under 18. Or can you only partake if you go all in, “full scalpel” ?

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