Clinton Arts Council Debuts New Website; Movie series

The Clinton Arts Council (CAC) has launched a new website aimed at promoting the arts in Clinton, as well as a new winter film series.

Anyone interested in Clinton’s artistic and cultural endeavors can now visit www.experienceclinton.com for new content and a constantly updated calendar of events.

CAC President Steven Van Ness said the site features videos from a variety of hosts in fields such as visual arts, culinary arts, performing arts and spoken word art, which will be updated monthly with new content.

The site was originally supposed to launch in the summer, but Van Ness said the CAC wanted to make sure the site had content to draw people to it.

“We needed more, constantly changing content,” Van Ness said. The site currently has a calendar showing March events and videos highlighting Chow Restaurant, poetry and spoken word readings.

The website was partially funded by ARPA funds, although Van Ness said the project was under budget. “This was made possible by the grant CAC sent to the city when the ARPA COVID-19 funds became available. Clinton and several other coastal cities offered to give 1 percent of ARPA funds to the arts, which the city did. The initial cost to build the site, working with an agency in New Haven, was under budget at just under $4,000,” Van Ness said.

The idea for the site, and especially the calendar, came from a survey done by the CAC that showed residents and non-residents alike have one common complaint: no one has a clue what’s going on in Clinton.

“When we were working on the ARPA grant, we did a survey to learn what was the top thing that Clinton residents were frustrated with about cultural events in Clinton; the number one response was ‘nobody knows what’s going on in town’ you’re nowhere to be found’ that was true of people from other coastal towns when asked about Clinton, Van Ness said.

To remedy that, Van Ness said he hopes people will become regular visitors to the site and that event organizers will upload content to help keep people informed.

“We need everyone in Clinton next year to learn about the site, start using the site, go to the site to find out what’s going on, upload themselves or contact us to add events that we can miss, watch their fellow Clintons in the videos, learn more about the city’s culinary options,” Van Ness said.

First event

The new Winter Music Film series is one event Van Ness said the CAC is eager to showcase. Over the next three months, CAC will present three acclaimed musical films.

“Our goal is to present as wide a variety of film and music genres as possible and to create showcase opportunities for regional filmmakers to generate greater exposure and feedback for their work,” said Van Ness.

On Saturday, January 6, at 7:00 p.m., the CAC will present a screening of Sloane: A Jazz Singer, which tells the story of one of Carol Sloane, an unsung hero of 20th century jazz. The event will feature a conversation with jazz fan and owner of Side Door Jazz Club, Ken Kitchings.

On Saturday, February 10, the series will include a screening of Carlos: The Santana Journey, a film about the rock ‘n’ roll superstar.

On March 16, the series will air three short films and a conversation with Connecticut-born filmmaker Colton Harris.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by searching for “Clinton Winter Films” on Eventbrite.com. Cost is $5 for students and $10 for everyone else. All three performances will be in the theater at Andrews Memorial Town Hall in Clinton.

Van Ness said there are several reasons the CAC is excited about the new series.

“We wanted to create a program that was a serial format that could be repeated every year and grow in size and cultural impact for the city year after year. We also want and need to increase the volume of programming in the city’s beautiful art deco theater at City Hall, continuing to bring more people to the venue,” Van Ness said.

“Finally, post-film talks create a unique art element in educational programming that engages audiences,” said Van Ness.

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