Are You Ready for Night Fall?

Poet Matsuo Bashō describes the scene perfectly, “On this road, where nobody else travels, autumn nightfall.” The first Saturday evening in October. Art, music, dance, theater, Anne Cubberly’s famously majestic giant puppets. A celebration of diversity, artistic talent, nature, community, and change. The end of the fall season, a welcome to a winter season on the horizon. Night Fall.

Thanks to $5,000 in grant funding from the Richard P. Garmany Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, free public workshops are being offered across the city of Hartford in the weeks leading up to Night Fall.

Painting and sewing workshops will engage members of the Hartford community through costume building. Sculpture workshops at Grace Academy will teach students to make sculpture from repurposed materials; and Cubberly will lead a series of Lantern Building Workshops with the members of the Pope Park community to create lanterns out of repurposed materials for the final scene of the performance – a celebration of the Winter Solstice featuring audience volunteers and their lanterns. 

Xan Ellis, a 22-year-old professional sewer, attended the sewing workshops last year. Interested in doing stage work in the entertainment field, Ellis volunteered to help make costumes. “The sewing workshops gave me the opportunity to be around other creative people. It was so helpful for me to participate with them and be a part of something larger.” Because of her experience and expertise, Cubberly dubbed Ellis the “Costume Goddess” and ended up hiring her to be the costume/wardrobe supervisor and prop organizer for the 2017 show. Ellis recently had the opportunity to have some input on the design of one of Cubberly’s new puppets and shares, “Being able to see how the puppets are put together is so interesting. I can’t wait to see how that new one turns out and I’m excited to be part of this year’s show!”

While past workshops have engaged members of the community solely through visual art projects, this year the support from the Richard P. Garmany Donor Advised Fund expands these offerings to include performance workshops that teach participants how to operate the giant puppets.

“We at Night Fall are truly grateful for the support and opportunity that the Richard P. Garmany Fund provides to connect us to the community in this artistic way,” shares Anne Cubberly, Night Fall’s Artistic Director. “Expanding our workshop offerings allows for a deeper connection with the community and for more residents to get involved with Night Fall. We love getting to work with everyone from the community, from the guys at Open Hearth to our families and friends who attend workshops at the Dirt Salon. The workshops are a great way for a lot of really wonderful people in the community to come together.”

These free public workshops in the park’s immediate neighborhood allow community members to not only become familiar with Night Fall, but also to become more directly connected to the heart of Cubberly’s work, as well as to develop the skills needed to audition for the production. For the 2018 schedule of workshops visit

Night Fall is a free celebratory performance held annually in Hartford’s public parks, featuring dance, music, and giant puppets under the artistic direction of artist Anne Cubberly. This year the production will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m. in Pope Park, and will continue to be inspired by the diversity, culture, and history of each neighborhood and park it visits.

You too can give almost anywhere, anytime, to any charity of your choice. To start your own donor-advised fund, contact Deborah Rothstein, J.D., Hartford Foundation’s vice president for development at 860-548-1888, x1019.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.