>> At an opening ceremony held Thursday, March 17 in Torrington, Mayor Elinor Carbone cut the ceremonial red ribbon officially opening Connecticut Academy For The Arts’ (CAFTA’s) newly purchased location at 100 Prospect St.
CAFTA, a 501c3 non-profit creative arts education organization, found a permanent home after leasing three previous locations in downtown Torrington over the past six years.
Carbone joined CAFTA’s founders, Teresa and John Sullivan, and its board of directors, including Roger Newbury, Jeremy Schaller, Tim Van Dusen and Deirdre Houlihan DiCara and about 40 guests including city officials, business owners, attorneys, students, parents, friends and supporters.
”I’m so grateful to be asked to participate in this ribbon-cutting,” Carbone said. “I’m looking at board members, which I would like to say are believers in that they believed in the dream that John and Teresa had for CAFTA. This is just the beginning, and I look forward to seeing a true campus and what CAFTA can bring to the community,” Carbone continued. I’m grateful and looking forward to a successful future for CAFTA.”
In a statement at cafta.info, the founders said it achieves its mission by “providing a unique and inspirational environment which is specifically designed to heighten the awareness and appreciation of the visual arts. Within this environment to offer classes, programs, workshops, lectures, seminars, internships, films, art exhibitions and special events that foster a high level of understanding of the principles of art, design and filmmaking. CAFTA aims to achieve international standards of excellence in both the education of K-12 students in their preparation for undergraduate admissions and studies, and the continuing education of adult artists, designers and related practitioners. CAFTA aims to achieve these goals through the quality of its teaching, research and practices and through it’s relationships with institutions, industries and technologies associated within the disciplines of art and design. CAFTA is unique in that it continues to mentor students as they transition to productive professionals and remains an accessible resource in helping them learn to manufacture and market their products and services.”
Most recently, Torrington High School senior Leslie Tapia Bernal, 17, of Torrington, was awarded a $60,000 scholarship and first place gold key honors in sculpture and the CAEA Judges Award in the 2016 Regional Scholastic Art Awards sponsored by the Connecticut Art Education Association (CAEA) and the Hartford Art School. 3000 students, grades 7-12, from 145 schools, from across the state. (Update: Leslie has received in excess of $388,000 in scholarship awards from numerous Colleges and Universities) She has been a student at CAFTA since the age of 12.
The Sullivans also work with other students, provide workshops, teach classes and host community events.
“As CAFTA moves into this new headquarters, they are now in a better position to take a greater role in the economic educational and cultural life in Torrington and beyond,” said resident John Kissko, a former Board of Education member.
John Sullivan added, “We are very excited by the possibilities of our new facility and are very pleased to continue our presence in downtown Torrington,” John Sullivan said. “We thank the numerous friends and supporters of CAFTA who have made this moment possible and we look forward to making new friends and expanding programs.”