Feet to the Fire



MAY 9, 2015

For Festival details, please visit the event page and the Facebook page.

For the past decade, Middletown has been exploring ways to draw attention to its riverfront; to connect the Connecticut River to the community on its shores, despite the fact that access to the river is greatly impaired by Route 9. For years, Wesleyan faculty and students have studied the biology, environmental conditions, history and sociology of the river as part of ongoing faculty research and class curricula. Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and College of the Environment, in partnership with the City of Middletown, the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center have created the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter Festival a project designed to bring the Wesleyan and Middletown communities into dialogue with its River using the arts as a catalyst.

Riverfront Encounter Festival will be held on Saturday, May 9 in Harbor Park in Middletown. The City engaged Project for public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit organization based in New York dedicated to creating and sustaining public places that build communities to conduct community meetings to inform a plan for public spaces that will be in place as anticipated development activity takes place along Middletown’s riverfront. At more than one of these meetings, both the City and PPS suggested that area organizations plan ways to begin to bring people down to the river to begin testing engagement strategies. The Nile Project will begin the engagement and reflection on campus, and Riverfront Encounter will bring people to the river for an afternoon of activities and environmental education.

Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter will be an afternoon at Harbor Park filled with live music, plein air painting, university student performances and projects, a kid's activity zone, an environmental action area and much more that raise awareness of the culture, history and environmental status of the Connecticut River. A planning committee of Wesleyan students, faculty, staff and Middletown community members has convened to assist in planning the event. We hope that this event will help in changing the community's perception of Harbor Park so that they start seeing and thinking of the riverfront as a public space to be used and enjoyed.

The project will be supported by funding from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s Arts Catalyze Placemaking program, the Middletown Commission of the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Upcoming Events

Creative Campus

The Creative Campus Website is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Contact: Andrew Chatfield