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The Arts in our City

Mission Statement

The City of Middletown Commission on the Arts (MCA) is a municipal agency. Recognizing the essential value of the arts and artists in the cultural, educational, social and economic vitality of Middletown, the Commission supports artistic excellence, fosters cultural development through the arts, and increases public understanding of, participation in and support for the arts in Middletown, contributing to an improved quality of life for all citizens, enhancing the image of the City and meeting the needs of its varied constituencies.

Overview of Commission

The City of Middletown Commission on the Arts and Cultural Activities was established by City Ordinance in March of 1972 and revised in 1992. It is known today as the City of Middletown Commission on the Arts (MCA). It is now comprised of thirteen Commissioners - two ad hoc members of the Common Council and eleven citizens from the community who are appointed for three-year terms by the Mayor - plus one or more high school student representative(s).

The Commission conducts its business through monthly meetings generally held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall or other locations within the City.

The administration of the Commission’s business is conducted through the Mayor’s Arts Office by Stephan Allison, Coordinator. Mr. Allison has over 25 years of arts administration experience having developed and operated the non-profit community-based arts organization NEAR Inc./The Buttonwood Tree for 10 years in addition to more than 15 years as the City Arts Office coordinator.

For more than thirty-five years, the Commission has maintained a program of encouraging interest and participation in the arts by providing services, resources, information and events to and for artists, organizations and the general public.

Today, the Commission is an active and effective participant in City life. Middletown was the first in Connecticut to be named one of the “100 Best Small Arts Towns in the United States”. This distinction is made possible by a broad base of community support from the City, volunteers, businesses, institutions, corporations, organizations and artists.

Maintaining close links with local arts and culture organizations, Connecticut agencies and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts (formerly the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism); the Middletown Commission on the Arts seeks to enhance and support development of artistic and cultural endeavors in the community with programs and services. These programs and services are made possible by City tax dollars as appropriated by the Common Council and supported by government grants and contributions of local businesses, corporations and individuals.

Summer programs include/have included Kids Arts Camp Program; Summer Sounds Concerts at Harbor Park (formerly held at South Green); the Tastes, Sights & Sounds of Middletown Festival/4th by the River Festival as well as other special arts activities.

Arts organization/artist grants are available through a grant-making program.

Commission Members

  • Jennifer Hawkins Lecce, Chair
  • France Biales, Vice-Chair
  • Julia Faraci, Secretary
  • Barbara Arafeh
  • Cassandra Day
  • Fran Ganguli
  • Lee Godburn
  • Jay Hoggard
  • Joyce Kirkpatrick
  • Sara MacSorley
  • Charlotte McCoid

Council Members

  • Robert Santangelo
  • Sebastian Giuliano

Poet Laureate

  • Susan Allison

Student Representatives

  • Anthony Moran
  • ALexandra Porczak