Pick your own public art tour of Hartford and beyond with this interactive website
From Paul Wayland Bartlett’s 1932 sculpture “Equestrian Monument to the Marquis de Lafayette”, to Alexander Calder’s 1973 installation “Stegosaurus” next to City Hall, downtown Hartford is brimming with public art. An interactive website run by Trinity College offers scholarly information about those works of art, and generates curated walking tours based on the user’s preferences.
PublicArtCT.org is the brainchild of Trinity College Professor of Fine Arts Alden Gordon. Back in 1981, he and a group of students identified all of the public sculptures on display in downtown Hartford, and then wrote an exhibition catalog, complete with scholarly information about the works and their creators.
“It was a lot of fun, and gave the students practice on how to write a catalog entry,” Gordon said. “It got them out in the field and in direct contact with original works of art.”
That 1981 exhibition catalog became the genesis of PublicArtCT.org.
“I thought why not go back and take this idea of creating a catalog of public art, works of art that anybody can see for free, and turn it into a website, and make it immediately available virtually anywhere,” Gordon said.
The interactive website generates walking tours of downtown Hartford around certain areas of interest – things like a tour of public art created by women, or art related to the Revolutionary War. For instance, if you are interested in sculpture, Alden Gordon said look no further than the state Capitol.
“The building itself, on its exterior, is an entire sculpture museum,” Gordon said. “And there’s a very elaborate program which narrates the history of Connecticut from its founding, which you can see by simply walking around the building.”
The project has expanded to New Britain and South Windsor. Gordon hopes the project will eventually cover the entire state.