Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St
Hartford CT 06106-1222
Contact Information
Address 56 Arbor St
Hartford, CT 06106-1222
Telephone (860) 232-1006 x
Fax 860-233-6691
E-mail info@realartways.org
Web and Social Media
Mission

Real Art Ways is an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists and their work, facilitates the creation of new work, and creatively engages, builds, and informs audiences and communities.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1977
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Will K. Wilkins
Board Chair Dr. Harold I. Schwartz
Board Chair Company Affiliation Institute of Living & Hartford Hospital
Financial Summary
 
Projected Revenue $1,301,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,301,000.00
Statements
Mission

Real Art Ways is an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists and their work, facilitates the creation of new work, and creatively engages, builds, and informs audiences and communities.

Background

Founded in 1975, Real Art Ways began when a group of visual artists and musicians took over a ramshackle space in downtown Hartford, where they lived, worked, and presented the work of others. In 1989, Real Art Ways moved into its current Parkville location, giving new life to the building and recognition to the cultural significance of the neighborhood. Today, Real Art Ways is one of the United States’ most productive and dynamic alternative arts organizations. Artists and community are central to our work. We are open 7 days a week, presenting films, concerts, performances, readings, discussions, exhibitions, public art projects, and education programs while offering a welcoming space where artists and audiences gather before and after events. Our space contains 12,500 sq. ft. of flexible exhibition/performance spaces including a video room and a 155-seat theater. Real Art Ways has also been very involved in the community; we have participated in planning processes for a redesign of the central commercial district, neighborhood gateways, and George Day Park.

Impact

Real Art Ways is guided by its commitment to artists and community.

- Surpassed our total attendance Film Field Trips in 2013 within the first three months of 2014; this program serves students throughout the region with a youth-focused documentary film, engaging discussion on leadership, and interactive gallery tour. Our education programs strengthen Connecticut youth; we also offer ParkArt (summer arts workshops for neighborhood children), Eye on Video (a digital video program for area teens, part of the Neighborhood Studios Program), and Real Apprentices (a comprehensive workplace training and personal development opportunity for high school students).

- Selected as only one of 17 cinemas nationwide to produce “Science on Screen” for our third year; this series combines science-themed feature films with engaging community discussions led by local experts; participating organizations have included Yale University, University of Hartford, Travelers, Connecticut Science Center, University of Connecticut, Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, Trinity College, and more

- Commissioned over 30 public works of art since 1990; most recently, Adam Niklewicz’s “Charter Oak” and “Walking Around a Tree,” which have garnered media attention from around the world.

- Created nationally significant programs and exhibitions. Local foundations support is integral to our success, however our work has also been significant to national funders, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Leonard Nimoy Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation

- Collaborated often with WNPR, reaching people across Connecticut by hosting events and interviews for Where We Live and The Colin McEnroe Show, and featured or worked with other local organizations, including universities throughout the state, Hartford Public Library, Family Life Education, area restaurants and farms, and more.

 

 

Needs

1. General Operating Support: this funding is an essential part of our ability to grown and have an impact. It enables us to sustain our many programs, our incredibly dedicated staff, our facilities, and other operation expenses.

2. Community & Education Programs: We value programs that allow people to learn, discuss, interact, and exchange ideas; our programs serve everyone from young students to senior citizens.

3. Arts Programming: Not only do we showcase innovative art, but we prioritize supporting our visual and performing artists so they may continue to create impactful work and experience career successes.

4. Facility Improvements and Expansion: One of Real Art Ways’ goals is to eventually purchase our building and expand our facilities so that we may accommodate rooms for additional education programs and performance spaces. This would allow us to expand our education programs, reach more young students, and provide more uniquely innovative performances and contemporary art.

CEO Statement


Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts & Culture
Secondary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Visual Arts
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts Education
Areas Served
Ansonia
Bethany
Branford
Cheshire
Derby
East Haven
Guilford
Hamden
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Madison
Milford
New Haven
North Branford
North Haven
Orange
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Shoreline
State wide
Wallingford
West Haven
Woodbridge
National
International
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Programs
Description Real Art Ways' visual arts programs focus on contemporary art by innovative artists, and include exhibitions, publications, commissioned projects, public art, and artist talks.
Population Served General/Unspecified / K-12 (5-19 years) / Adults
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Our visual arts programs provide the community with exposure to contemporary art and exhibitions that are unique to the region. Real Art Ways is a cultural resource that showcases exceptional exhibitions and art works for everyone to enjoy. To continually offer innovative art to our visitors, we feature different works throughout four galleries and a video room on a rotating schedule; we feature new artists each month along with a multitude of engaging programs, discussions, talks, and tours.

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Real Art Ways has provided important exposure for many artists toward the beginnings or midpoints of their careers.  Past exhibitions have included work by The Atlas Group, Aziz + Cucher, Yinka Shonibare, Sam Taylor-Wood, Cornelia Parker, Shirazeh Houshiary, Hanne Darboven, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Mark Bradford, Panamarenko, Sue Williams, Sol Lewitt, David Salle, Charles LeDray, Kehinde Wiley, Jeanne Dunning, Mel Bochner, Tolland Grinnell, Tom Sachs, Shellburne Thurber, Olafur Eliasson, Josiah McElheny, Janine Antoni, Jocelyn Taylor, Joe Amrhein, Micah Lexier, Spencer Finch, Ana Mendieta, Carolee Schneeman, Mel Edwards, Ida Applebroog, Jenny Holzer, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, Bill Viola, Christo, Lorna Simpson, Nicole Eisenman, Louise Bourgeois, William Wegman, Nan Goldin, Ashley Bickerton, Mike Kelley, Grahame Weinbren, Jessica Stockholder, Fred Wilson, Terry Adkins, Carrie Mae Weems, and many more.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Real Art Ways surveys each artist and juror about his or her experience of working with us. Past surveys have been very informative and the results were overwhelmingly positive: 100% of our jurors and artists have rated their experience was "very good" or "excellent."
 
We conduct market research with our physical and virtual visitors. A recent visitor commented, “I really love Real Art Ways—it frees you up!” 
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

Step Up, our open call for emerging artists throughout the region, has generated considerable media attention (e.g. New York Times, Art New England, Hartford Advocate, Connecticut Public Radio, ARTscope, The Hartford Courant). Select artists have participated in extended residency activities via the National Performance Network’s Visual Artists Network (e.g. Kameelah Janan Rasheed worked for several months with the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios program in 2013).

Description

Featuring films that otherwise would only be screened outside of Connecticut, Real Art Ways presents first-run independent and international films seven days a week, the “Science on Screen” film and lecture series, “Meet the Filmmaker” nights, self-produced film festivals, and film discussions.

Population Served General/Unspecified / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Since we feature films that typically are not shown anywhere else in the region, we are able to produce a unique experience for our audience members. Our engaging social programs that take place before or after some of our film screenings add another layer of interest, allowing visitors to exchange ideas and come together as a community. We also prioritize partnering with other local organizations and individuals to produce special public screenings of films and community programs.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Real Art Ways tracks attendance for all programs and requests feedback from participants.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Real Art Ways was selected as only one of 17 cinemas nationwide for the "Science on Screen" program, for which we feature talks by local experts with science-themed films. Our 2013 films featured speakers from Yale University, UConn, University of Hartford, Travelers, and Wesleyan University.

In addition to screening a diverse array of independent films, we offer interactive cinema programs throughout the month. A few recent examples include:
- Screened the documentary "More than Honey," which chronicles the bee population crisis, and offering a honey tasting by local Stonewall Apiary
- Screened the film "Particle Fever" and featuring a post-film discussion by physicists Philip Mannheim (UConn) and Sarah Demers (Yale)
- Screened the documentary "American Promise" with a community discussion led by a panel of local educators, principals, and state politicians
- Screened the French film "Blue is the Warmest Color," followed by a discussion on gender issues by Dr. Mala Matacin and CT Girlcott
Description

Real Art Ways presents concerts, performances, spoken word and storytelling events, workshops, and discussions.

Population Served General/Unspecified / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Real Art Ways' Live Arts programs have provided important career exposure for many artists, musicians, and performers. We have presented John Cage, Phillip Glass, William Hooker, Allen Ginsberg, John Kelly, Eric Bogosian, Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich, Mark Dresser, Leroy Jenkins, Waldemar Bastos, David Cale, Blulips, Josh Kornbluth, Trilok Gurtu, The Text of Light Group, Gary Lucas, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Lisa Kron, Annie Sprinkle, Lee Ranaldo, Bob Ostertag, Elizabeth Hess, Faust, Dan Zanes, Cristina Branco, Bonga, Omar Sosa, Kepa Junkera, Amiri Baraka, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Martín Espada, Eliot Carter, Spalding Gray, Ethyl Eichelberger, Danny Hoch, Holly Hughes, Manny Oquendo y Libre, John Fleck, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Threadgill, Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, John Zorn, Sonia Sanchez, Marc Ribot, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and David Murray.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Real Art Ways tracks attendance for each Live Arts event.  We conduct market research with our physical and virtual visitors. Our staff is on-site to interact and collect feedback from visitors during each event.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
The following are a sampling of recent Live Arts events:
- Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet presented the world premiere of his "Prince Project" and debuted his new free-jazz recording"Navigation."
- Led by Joe Morris and Stephen Haynes, Improvisations is a monthly concert of non-commercial "free music," and features guest musicians from throughout the region.
- Speak Up is a spoken-word event that features a number of storytellers chosen for their literary expertise; each event features a common theme about the human condition.
- We collaborated with the Wadsworth Atheneum to produce "Voyeur" by Bridgman/Packer, which seamlessly blended dance and video, and was inspired by "Custom House" by Edward Hopper, which resides in the Wadsworth's collection.
- Spanning two nights, Crispin Glover (formerly George McFly in Back to the Future) performed dramatic narrations of eight profusely illustrated books that he wrote with projected images from each book. 
Description

Real Art Ways offers dynamic educational programming for people of all ages including:

- Film Field Trips: classes of students come to Real Art Ways to see a thought-provoking film, engage in a discussion about youth leadership, and take an interactive tour through our contemporary art galleries

- ParkArt: creative, hands-on summer arts workshops by practicing artists for neighborhood children in George Day Park

- Eye on Video: an intensive digital video summer program in which area high school students learn to utilize modern technology to create time-based art

- Real Apprentices: a workplace-training program for local teens to learn professionalism and hone their creative skills in our innovative, nonprofit environment

- Daytime Programs for Seniors: we feature monthly matinee movies with post-film discussions led by local film experts, lectures on film, and trips to art museums throughout the region
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) / At-Risk Populations / Elderly and/or Disabled
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
In the first three months of 2014, attendance for Film Field Trips surpassed the total for all of 2013. We prioritize education and are growing our programs.
 
Other recent statistics from student surveys include:

- 91% of students said that the film taught them something new
- 70% of students felt that the film helped them understand the role they have in their communities
- 77% of students believe the discussion was meaningful

 One of our Real Apprentices from last year also left the following feedback on a written exit interview:

“I am grateful to be exposed to so much wonderful art. I have also acquired more computer skills and I am able to do extensive research for any certain topic. I am very happy to call Real Art Ways my first job experience.”

In short, Real Art Ways prioritizes creating meaningful experiences for students of all ages. 
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Our education programs endure. ParkArt, our longest running program, began in 1990 and still is very popular among local children. Our Film Field Trip program started in 2006 and has served over 19,000 children to date. Several of our previous Eye on Video students have gone on to pursue art or video programs at the university level.
 
One local teacher who brought her class to our cinema for a Film Field Trip perhaps stated, "Hartford students generally cannot pay for field trips so they go nowhere. This was great on so many levels. It generates great discussions in the classroom and the learning really sticks.”
 
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Real Art Ways evaluates Film Field Trips using student and teacher surveys, as reflected by the feedback above.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council surveys our Eye on Video students since this program is part of Neighborhood Studios. Last year, 100% of students indicated that they were very satisfied with their studio experience. Parents are also given surveys.
 
We provide a written exit interview for our Real Apprentices, as indicated above, which asks about their experiences, if their expectations were matched, and if they learned to use new technology. 
 
Our ParkArt program is evaluated less formally by the instructor tracking attendance and obtaining verbal feedback from our young participants. 
 
Senior participants in our Daytime Programs are asked to complete surveys about the program quality, film choice, and overall experience.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Last year, a parent of a student in our Eye on Video program wrote, "This program has given my daughter the confidence to try new things. It has also promoted maturity and independence. Fabulous opportunity!”  Students also contributed feedback including, “my favorite thing was working with outside artists and learning some of their crafts.” Another remarked, “I absolutely loved being able to get up in the morning knowing I’d be doing things I love with people who are awesome!”
 
Students in our Film Field Trips program have also left the following feedback on surveys:

- “Just like in this movie, I live in the ‘hood’ where people don’t know what to do with their lives. I can set an example for the people in my community to follow like the leaders in the movie did.”
- “I can promote the moral way of things wherever I go, simply by behaving accordingly myself.”
- “I would like to be a leader to show that working hard can keep you out of trouble and help you achieve something in life.”

Description

Real Art Ways provides opportunities for people to come together, share ideas, converse, and connect as a community.

We present monthly social gatherings including GAZE, Real Board Games, and “Edgings & Inchings” open mic poetry readings; other events include the “Real Ride” biking event, The Odd Ball, and numerous community discussions (see examples below). Real Art Ways also actively participates in community development through opportunities including redesigning the neighborhood streetscape and Day Park, contributing to the design of Parkville’s strategic plan, and collaborating with the Parkville Senior Center.
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) / Adults / General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Real Art Ways tracks attendance to all programs and our staff is always on-site to obtain feedback from participants.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Engagement with the community is a central aspect of what makes Real Art Ways matter. We produce exhibitions that have specific relevance to many communities, and we bolster an environment of inclusiveness. The following includes a small sampling of programs and events we've produced for the community:
- Many local immigrants and community members for whom immigration reform is a crucial issue attended our interview between WNPR's John Dankosky and Congressman Luis Guiterrez; the interview was later broadcast on WNPR.
- We screened a documentary called A Girl Like Her, which was followed by a community discussion about the rights of adopted adults
- We partner with the organization True Colors to provide movie nights for sexual minority youth
- Works by artists connected to the English-speaking Caribbean were featured in the exhibition None of the Above
- We featured art works by Polish artists in the exhibition POZA
CEO/Executive Director
Will K. Wilkins
Term Start Jan 1990
Email wwilkins@realartways.org
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 8
Number of Part Time Staff 12
Number of Volunteers 20
Staff Retention Rate 88%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 3
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 French Canadian
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 13
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Board Chair
Dr. Harold I. Schwartz
Company Affiliation Institute of Living & Hartford Hospital
Term Oct 2008 to Oct 2014
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
James Bridgeman University of Connecticut
John F. Byrnes RC Knox and Company, Inc.
Sharon Churchill Cohn, Birnbaum, & Shea Law Firm
Audrey Conrad Essex Steam Train
Carol Fitzgerald The Metropolitan District
Deborah Goffe Scapegoat Garden
Mark Schreier Attorney
Ileen Swerdloff Swerdloff & Swerdloff Law Firm
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 5
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Oct 01 2013
Fiscal Year End Sept 30 2014
Projected Revenue $1,301,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,301,000.00
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Revenue Sources ChartHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$733,277$427,985$576,538
Government Contributions$218,412$275,784$309,047
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified$218,412$275,784$309,047
Individual Contributions------
------
$297,406$277,367$264,183
Investment Income, Net of Losses$839$1,386$2,751
Membership Dues$54,159$51,473$52,182
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Other------
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$951,259$899,730$856,167
Administration Expense$290,781$279,244$266,432
Fundraising Expense$83,162$82,382$62,710
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.980.821.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses72%71%72%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%12%7%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$1,190,337$1,257,140$1,336,279
Current Assets$555,390$579,810$593,799
Long-Term Liabilities----$22,500
Current Liabilities$296,900$342,594$171,872
Total Net Assets$893,437$914,546$1,141,907
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountCT Dept. of Economic & Community Dev. $201,412CT Dept. of Economic & Community Dev. $185,281CT Comm. on Culture & Tourism $207,390
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGreater Hartford Arts Council $144,036Greater Hartford Arts Council $113,735Hartford Foundation for Public Giving $125,767
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountHartford Foundation for Public Giving $113,200National Endowment for the Arts $59,979The Andy Warhol Foundation $76,785
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.871.693.45
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%2%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
Foundation Staff Comments

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.

Address 56 Arbor St
Hartford, CT 061061222
Primary Phone 860 232-1006
Contact Email info@realartways.org
CEO/Executive Director Will K. Wilkins
Board Chair Dr. Harold I. Schwartz
Board Chair Company Affiliation Institute of Living & Hartford Hospital

 

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