Student-Run Suffield Arts Festival a Huge Success

In mid-July more than 30 local artists, individuals and organizations, as well as residents from Suffield and surrounding towns, gathered on a beautiful summer Saturday at Bruce Park in celebration of art in all its forms at the Suffield Arts Festival – the first ever hosted by the Suffield Youth Theater.

Thanks to $3,250 in grant funding from two donor advised funds at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Astrid and Fred Hanzalek Fund II and the David L. Coffin, Jr. Memorial Fund, local musicians, dancers, actors, and other artists convened for a day full of performances,  activities and workshops, all free to the public.   

The Suffield Youth Theater is a small nonprofit organization that was founded in May of 2015 by a group of 8th grade students with a dream of producing a full-length show all on their own.  After writing, casting, directing, producing and performing Sleepless in Camelot for an audience of 140, the official troupe was formed. Still completely student-led, the Suffield Youth Theater aspires to create and provide quality theater for all who seek it. The theater hosted the Suffield Arts Festival to provide an opportunity for the vibrant, yet sometimes hidden artistic community within and around Suffield to flourish, come together and take their well-deserved spotlight.    

Dominic Colangelo, founder and artistic director of the Suffield Youth Theater, shares, “We are very grateful for the support we received from the Astrid and Fred Hanzalek Fund II and the David L. Coffin, Jr. Memorial Fund. As a small, student-led nonprofit we have a hard time reaching a large audience with such a limited budget. These donor-advised funds from the Hartford Foundation helped us to create our first large-scale project, something we have been unable to accomplish before. We were able to pay for lighting and equipment rentals, permits, food trucks and advertising to get the word out. The funding went a very, very long way to help us achieve our dreams and bring our community together for a truly spectacular event.”

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.