Bridgeport Art Trail Newsletter : May 2015 – Part 1

The month of May is brimming with great arts, theater, and dance events in Bridgeport!


Welcome to our Bridgeport Art Trail newsletter, providing a listing of arts and cultural events.

The month of May is brimming with great arts, theater, and dance events in Bridgeport!

Visit City Lights Gallery for a special talk by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo about his artist residency in South Africa. Entitled Mayibuye, it means “bringing back what was lost” in Zulu. Later this month the gallery’s exhibition “A Lifetime Making Comics” will also open on May 28th!

The Bijou Theatre and Bridgeport Theatre Company continue to offer fantastic film and theater productions. This month’s Reel Law series film is The Rainmaker, scripted and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Stay after for a discussion on the legal issues addressed in the film. And the Bridgeport Theatre Company closes the jazz age classic “Thoroughly Modern Millie” this weekend.

The Nest Arts Factory hosts a weekend of exciting programs with it’s Spring Buzz! event including open studios. Plus, a curated art, craft + design fair, plant sale, honey tasting and more!  Two shows will be on display: the encaustic themed show Encased Exhibit and photography exhibit by Catherine Conroy – Sidewalks of Bridgeport.

Comedy fans can spend an evening with the “Queen of Mean”, Connecticut native Lisa Lampanelli as part of a Benefit for the Housatonic Museum of Art.

Don’t miss upcoming calls for art. The deadline to be a vendor for the 2015 Bridgeport Arts Fest is May 15th! And City Lights Gallery is also extending a call to all artists for its 4th annual Same Sex exhibit.

Don’t miss Read’s Ground Floor Gallery solar/lunar themed exhibition “Here Comes the Sun…By the Light of the Silvery Moon”, City Lights Gallery’s “Forever Young” exhibit, and the Discovery Museum’s “Father Sky & Mother Earth” exhibit, all closing this month.

Lastly, join us in celebrating The New England Ballet Company’s (NEBC) Kenneth Hopkins as our May Featured Artist!
Hopkins discusses how the NEBC has developed over the years, their new downtown Bridgeport location, and the transition from dancer to Executive Director

Be sure to check out all the details below!

-The Bridgeport Art Trail Team

Check out the full calendar of Bridgeport Art listings at the Bridgeport Art Trail Website.

SPECIAL EVENT : MAYIBUYE with Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
MAYIBUYE with Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
City Lights Gallery
Friday, May 8th, 6:30-9:30pm

Event Description:
The talented visual artist, poet and performance artist Iyaba Ibo Mandingo will present his poetry and a slideshow of his recent artist residency in South Africa that he calls Mayibuye which in Zulu means “bringing back what was lost”. Doors will open at 6:30. Join us as we celebrate his continuing success and artistic growth.

Admission is free and open to the public

More Info

THEATER:  Reel Law Series-The Rainmaker
The Bijou Theatre
Thursday, May 7th at 7pm

Film Description: Francis Ford Coppola is both scripter and director of this drama adapted from the John Grisham novel about broke, inexperienced Memphis law-school graduate Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), ready to take any job he can find. Signing on with slimy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke), he learns ambulance-chasing tactics from Bruiser’s leg man Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito) and meets battered teen Kelly Riker (Claire Danes), abused by her husband (Andrew Shue). Baylor has his own clients — friendly Miss Birdie (Teresa Wright), who has a large estate to dispose of, and desperate Dot Black (Mary Kay Place), whose son Donnie Ray (Johnny Whitworth) has terminal leukemia. Medical intervention could have spared his life, but the Great Benefit Insurance Company denied coverage, preventing Donnie Ray from getting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Rudy finds a place to live in the apartment behind Miss Birdie’s house. Deck and Rudy split from Bruiser to start their small firm. When they take on the Blacks’ case, they go up against the insurance company’s high-priced law firm and are continually thwarted by slick lawyer Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight).

Event Description: Stay after the film for a discussion on the legal issues raised.

More Info

MUSIC: WPKN’s 4th Annual Bluegrass & Roots Concert
The Acoustic
Friday, May 7th
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Event Description:

Join WPKN at The Acoustic in Black Rock, Bridgeport for this benefit concert featuring:

Lisa Furman & Friends
Goodnight Blue Moon
Five in the Chamber.
The Acoustic is located at 2926 Fairfield Avenue, in Bridgeport.

More Info

THEATER: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Apr 24 – May 9, 2015

Music by Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Book by Dick Scanlan and Richard Henry Morris
Directed by Christy McIntosh
Choreographed by Emily Frangipane
with tap choreography by Eli Newsom

Show Description: The winner of six TONY Awards including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film,  takes us back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when “moderns”—including a flapper named Millie Dillmount—were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce, and rewriting the rules of love. This high-spirited musical romp is a delightful valentine to the long-standing spirit of New York City and the people who seek to discover themselves there.  Great for audiences of all ages, young and young-at-heart.

More Info

Spring Buzz! Open studies, Encased Exhibit, Factory HandMade, and more!

The NEST Arts Factory
Saturday and Sunday, May 9-10th, from 10 am to 4 pm
The NEST Arts Factory is buzzing with activity this Mother’s Day weekend!


Sponsored by Red Bee Honey, Weston CT
Including demos, workshops, and tastings

Visit the artists and musicians of the NEST
See art, listen to music, and discover the buzz

A curated independent art, craft + design fair just in time for Mother’s Day!

An invitational encaustic exhibit in the NEST Gallery.
Reception: Saturday, May 9, 2-4 pm

Get your bloom on with the Black Rock Garden Club. Sunday, May 10, 10-4 pm

Catherine Conroy, photographer
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 9 at 3 pm in the West Hall Gallery

Sidewalks of Bridgeport is a photographic series by Catherine Conroy. The exhibition will also feature Catherine’s photographs of musicians, the Majestic Theater, and the Remington Arms Factory.

More Info

Photos by Catherine Conroy, Sidewalks of Bridgeport

VISUAL ART: Figure Figure Drawing and Painting
City Lights Gallery
Wednesday, May 13th & 20th, 6-9pm
Saturday, May 30th, 3:30-6:30pm

Event Description: Figure drawing sessions for May at City Lights are scheduled for Weds. May 13, & 20, 6-9 p.m. and Sat May 30, 3:30-6:30 p.m. Please bring drawing materials and drawing board. The Wednesday evenings will be a long pose.

Sessions are designed as open studio time for drawing and painting from life. Without instruction. $15 model fee, $12 for City Lights members, $10 for students. Instruction available upon request.
Please RSVP at

More Info

SPECIAL EVENT: Lisa Lampanelli Comedy Show
Benefit for the Housatonic Museum of Art
Housatonic Museum of Art
Saturday, May 16, 8:00-9:00pm

Event Description: Housatonic Museum of Art will host a benefit stand-up comedy show starring the Lovable Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli, on Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. in the Events Center in Beacon Hall. The show will follow a VIP champagne reception and special exhibition of artwork by Leonard Lampugnale, Lisa’s father and an alumnus of Housatonic Community College, in the Burt Chernow Galleries at 6 p.m.

The VIP reception in honor of Leonard Lampugnale will include a meet-and-greet and exclusive one-on-one photographs with the comedian. This special evening will benefit the Museum’s general operating fund, educational programs and the care, study and exhibition of the collection.

Lisa Lampanelli is known as Comedy’s Lovable Queen of Mean. This equal opportunity offender is known best from her appearances on the Comedy Central and ESPN roasts, Howard Stern’s Sirius Satellite radio shows, and the “Celebrity Apprentice, Season 5.” She has also appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” NBC’s “Today” show, “Chelsea Lately,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” and “Good Morning America.”

More Info

ART EXHIBITION: “A Lifetime Making Comics”
City Lights Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 28th, 5:30-8:30pm
On Exhibition: May 28th-June 27th 2015

Event Description:
SHAZAAM! Look up in the sky… it is a bird, a plane… No, it’s the City Lights banner at 37 Markle Court… heralding the new exhibit, “A LIFETIME MAKING COMICS” featuring the creators and artists of Beetle Bailey, the Flash, Superman, DONDI, Wonder Woman, Dennis the Menace, the Green, Lantern, Hi and Lois, Batman and more. Enjoy cartoon show theme songs played by pianist Walter Duda at the opening reception on Thursday May 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public  and will run to June 27, 2015. .

View original art, working sketches, prints and original copies for sale.  Local artists include, Chance Brown, Frank McLaughlin, Mort, Brian and Greg Walker and Irwin Hasen.  This exhibit is in memory of Irwin, who recently passed at 96, after a long lifetime of making comics, which included the comic strip DONDI. Special Thanks to Frank McLaughlin for his assistance with the coordination of the exhibit which will also include chosen work of his students from Paeir School of Art in Hamden.

More Info

Art Attribution: Beetle Bailey by Mort, Brian and Greg Walker  Dondi and All Star Comics illustrations by Irwin Hasen

CALL FOR ART : 2015 Bridgeport Arts Fest!


Be a part of the Bridgeport Arts Fest! Artists, musicians, performers, and creative people of all types are welcome.


The Bridgeport Arts Fest is a one day celebration of LOCAL + ORIGINAL art, artists, crafters, community organizations and performers that takes place in downtown Bridgeport at historic McLevy Green on July 11, 2015 from 10am to 6pm, and is followed immediately by the After-Party (6-11pm). The Arts Fest is a family- and community-friendly affair and is FREE to attend. In addition to artists, you’ll enjoy live entertainment, activities, demonstrations and area food and drinks.

More Info

First Pride Parade in Downtown Bridgeport for the opening of SAMESEX exhibit 2014

City Lights Gallery

DESCRIPTION: “SAMESEX”, City Lights Galley’s 5rd annual gay-themed art show, opens July 9, 2015, with work that reflects the current LGBTQ zeitgeist.

City Lights is extending a call to all artists for our 4th annual Same Sex exhibit, scheduled to open Thursday, July 9, 2015.

SameSex explores LGBT themes, same-sex attraction, related feelings and issues of 2015.  This year’s suggested theme is “gender identity”. However artists can choose their own subject matter and need not be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to participate.

All artists are invited to submit jpegs of their work for consideration by June 5. 2015.
Artists will be notified by June 13, 2015.

For more info email

SUBMISSION DETAILS: There is no size limit to the dimension of art submitted, however larger works, over 60″ will be subject to space limitations.

SEND SUBMISSIONS IN JPEG FORMAT, (no more than 8 images), 72 DPI, DUE BY June 5, 2015 TO:

Brief artists statement, itemized list of art submitted should include:  title, size, medium, price of work, Works not for sale should include a value rather than a price. Also include artist’s contact info: name, email, phone (evening and daytime numbers), mailing address and website if available.

ACCEPTED ART TO BE DELIVERED BY: JUNE 25, 26, 27, 2015 Gallery hours, W-FRI 11:30-5, SAT 12-4, TH open ‘til 7. Art should be in excellent condition and ready to hang.

ABOUT: City Lights is a nonprofit, community based art organization located in downtown Bridgeport CT., easily accessible by Metro-North, Port Jeff Ferry, I-95 and the Merrit Parkway via the Route 25 Connector.

For more info please email us at:
Visit Our Website:

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Friday:  11:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11-7
Saturday:  12- 4:00 p.m.
By appointment

City Lights Gallery, 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport.  203-334-7748.
For more info: .

More Info

Mixed Media by Karen Kalkstein

City Lights Gallery

Exhibit Description:
Celebrate artists of all ages who have reinvented themselves. Art on view addresses the aging process, nostalgia for youth and artists’ individual interpretation of the theme inspired by the song by Bob Dylan, “Forever Young.”

Exhibiting artists include: Jim Chillington, Ann Hodgson Cyr, Allan Dudek, Tracey Dinkin, Steve Gerber, Mark Hannon, John Favret, Karen Kalkstein, Michale Kozlowski, John Lawson, Beth Lazar, Karen Loprete, Allison Margo, Janice Mauro, Amy Oestreicher, Hilary Opperman, Lori Petcher, Michael Quirk, Colleen Reilly-Rees, Ann C. Rosebrooks, David Rosenberg, Marianne Schmidt, Ellen Siegel, Jodi Strmiska, Charlie Walsh and Al Coyote Weiner.

Read more about this exhibit in The Connecticut Post here.

City Lights Gallery is located at 37 Markle Court, Bridgeport CT. (203) 334-7748, .

More Info

ART EXHIBITION: “Here Comes The Sun…By The Light of the Moon”
Read’s Ground Floor Gallery
On View: April 23rd-May 16th

Thursdays/Fridays: 6-8pm
Saturdays: 1-4PM

Exhibit Description:
The sun and moon have been inspiring artists of all mediums since the beginning of time.

Drawing on the poetic inspiration of these heavenly bodies in the exhibit title, “Here Comes the Sun…By the Light of the Silvery Moon” is a solar/lunar themed showcase.

The Ground Floor Gallery at Read’s is a private arts space located on the first floor of Read’s Artspace Lofts, a redeveloped live/work artist community based in Downtown Bridgeport.

More Info

ART EXHBITION: “Father Sky & Mother Earth”
The Discovery Museum & Planet

On View Through May 18th

Exhibition Description: From purple mountains to the vanishing prairie, an eclipse and blue moon, artist MIA celebrates our natural world with her oil paintings in this solo show. The exhibition features reflective landscapes rendered in a colorful, creatively-charged montage.

More Info

Executive Director of The New England Ballet Company
New England Ballet Company, founded in 1990 by Artistic Director Kenneth Hopkins, is committed to the belief that experiencing the performing arts is a vital element in the education of our children working under the initiative Dance:  Developing Appreciation and Nurturance in Cultural arts Education.  It exists to promote arts education and to serve the community by giving performing opportunities to dancers of all ages and levels.The dancers benefit from the experience of working with professional faculty, choreographers and guest artists, as well as professional directors, dancers, lighting, costume and set designers.  The community benefits from having its own ballet company whose local school and public performances enhance arts awareness and showcase local talent.  New England Ballet Company performances integrate the participation of students, parents, community and professional performers, civic groups, businesses, school administrators and dance enthusiasts.
From the recent “Birds of Ballet” performance at The Klein Memorial Auditorium.
Photographer: David Kent
This year for our 25th Season we hired our first professional contracted male dancer…I am quite proud to have this part of the “dream” become reality. Imagine how thrilled I was to discover Nicholas Franco was a Bridgeport resident, attended the MACH program in high school and graduated from The Hart School at University of Hartford with a BFA in Ballet Performance!.”-Kenneth Hamilton
Firebird Dance images
Photographer: David Kent
Q. How would you describe your artwork/style?
A. Performance Art through Classical Ballet.Q. What medium do you work in?   
A. Dance, Choreography, PerformanceQ. What is your process like? 
A. Teaching many weekly ballet technique classes & hours of rehearsal for existing works or creating new choreography.Q. What inspires you? 
A. Mainly the NEBC mission statement inspires me. “Bringing Children to the Arts & Arts to the Children”. Next would probably be Artistic Collaboration: Bringing different dancers, choreographers, scenery, costume & lighting designers together to create new works or perhaps bring fresh life to existing works. I find bringing this process to downtown Bridgeport to be very exciting & inspirational.

Working with talent inspires me! Our newly appointed Artistic Director Victor Trevino served as our main choreographer for the past 22 years. We have known each other for over 30 years having met while dancing with Ballet Florida in the 1980’s.  NEBC has taken a major leap forward with his taking on a more active role.

Q. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as an artist?
A. The obvious is the 35 year transition from Dancer to Teacher to Founder/Artistic Director to now Executive Director as my skill set in the Arts has continued to change and grow.  My early training was in drawing/painting & photography.  The performing arts took over my life in college but that early training has served me well in creating & visualizing new productions.  Photography remains my preferred medium outside of dance.

Q. Can you tell me about your role at the New England Ballet Company?
A. The vision for NEBC has been mine since its inception. My role continues to be one of inspiring others to participate in making that vision a reality.

Q. I see you founded the New England Ballet Company in 1990. How do you think the company has evolved since then?
A. The quality of the productions has grown tremendously. My goal has always been a professional ballet company that also has a strong school, training dancers to a professional career level. This year for our 25th Season we hired our first professional contracted male dancer. We have paid dancers per production for many years. Having a professional male company dancer full time has been a game changer for NEBC. I am quite proud to have this part of the “dream” become reality. Imagine how thrilled I was to discover Nicholas Franco was a Bridgeport resident, attended the MACH program in high school and graduated from The Hart School at University of Hartford with a BFA in Ballet Performance!

NEBC New Location Grand Opening with Mayor Bill Finch.
Photograph by  David Kent
To me, it became clear all roads were leading to Bridgeport. Honestly it did not feel like relocating. It has felt like coming home! New England Ballet Company has a wonderful new dance facility & HOME downtown Bridgeport at 130 Elm Street!
.”-Kenneth Hopkins
Q. What was one of your favorite projects/performances to be a part of?
A. A full length production of Romeo & Juliet to the Prokofiev score.  I hope to revive this production with new choreography for the Spring of 2016 at The Klein bringing in area high school students.Q. You’ve just moved to a new location in Bridgeport. Why did you decide to relocate? Why base the company in Bridgeport?
A.  The evolution of NEBC making Bridgeport home began with performances of Nutcracker at The Klein several years ago which included a special performance for 1400 of the after school Lighthouse program students. That led to annual performances for Curiale School through our relationship with the CT Post. NEBC has worked with Diane Wyckoff of the Bridgeport ABCD programs teaching dance to the young children & bringing live performances to them for over 10 years. We received a grant and ran a 10 week program at Roosevelt School & merged our company dancers with the Roosevelt dance classes for a performance of the Nutcracker.We formed a relationship with The Bijou Theatre two years ago and began teaching dance classes’ downtown as well as creating a Children’s Series of Ballet performances.  NEBC was given the honor of the title “resident ballet company” at both theatres.To me, it became clear all roads were leading to Bridgeport.  Honestly it did not feel like relocating.  It has felt like coming home!  New England Ballet Company has a wonderful new dance facility & HOME downtown Bridgeport at 130 Elm Street!

Q. What are some plans for the future of the New England Ballet Company?
A. We are currently writing grants in hopes of establishing a scholarship program to allow our 5 year old ABCD students who age out of that program to attend classes at our new studio.  We have statistics showing that those children who participated in our dance programming consistently have tested higher going into 1st grade.  NEBC will hold its first Summer Ballet Intensive Program this summer & plan to extend this to bring out of state dancers in the future.  We will increase the number of contracted professional dancers & create new ballets to perform.  Collaboration with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony on a production of Peter & the Wolf for area school children is definitely on our wish list!


  • NEBC participates annually in the CT State Open House Day, June 13, 2015
  • Bridgeport Juneteenth Parade, June 13, 2015
  • Barnum Festival Wing Ding Parade & Great Street Parade
  • Registration for Fall Classes
  • Community Nutcracker Auditions in September.
  • Fall performance of Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
  • 24th Annual Nutcracker performance at The Klein in December

For more information please visit:

*Newsletter Editor’s Note: All event descriptions and featured artist profiles are published as provided.

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