The grand and stately 68-year-old Bushnell Arts Center in Hartford, CT, which is undergoing extensive renovations, recently received a hefty Christmas present from the State of Connecticut: a $10 million grant to be used toward its estimated $25 million face-lift bill.
The grant is the largest single contribution ever given to The Bushnell, which houses touring companies of large-scale Broadway shows like The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon as well as local arts groups including the Hartford Symphony, Hartford Ballet and the Connecticut Opera.
The renovation includes an addition to the center to be constructed on the southeast side of The Bushnell's current building, at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Clinton Street.
The new wing will include a 750-950 seat theatre to be used for smaller-scale events.
The Bushnell may also start to produce its own presentations, such as children's theatre, cabaret festivals, "Off-Broadway type" productions and chamber music programs. Nearly half a million people attend musicals, concerts and dance events each year at The Bushnell; the new facility is expected to attract an additional 150,000 people.
"This expansion project will enable us to continue our growing mission to use the arts to advance education, promote economic development and help build a sense of community in central Connecticut," said Douglas C. Evans, executive director of the center, in a recent interview.
-- By Rebecca Paller