By Rob Glidden
Southington Community Cultural Arts (SCCA) is matching up artists with local businesses to decorate bikes that will eventually be on display in the Apple Harvest Festival parade.
The organization is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise enough funds to convert the vacant Gura Building into a new arts center. The building was leased to the town last year and the terms of the arrangement gave the group 18 months to raise the necessary funds.
“We can’t get over how well it’s going,” said Town Councilor Dawn Miceli, who has been at the forefront of the effort. “It’s amazing to have individuals come up and ask how they can help. Amazing, but not surprising. The Southington community can be counted on to step up for a good cause.”
SCCA president Mary DeCroce said the idea came from similar parades in other areas, including the “ducks on parade” event in Bristol. Artist Kyle Haines, who participated in the Bristol parade, suggested the bike theme for Southington’s event.
“I had been thinking of doing apples for Southington, but then he had the idea of using donated bikes,” DeCroce said.
The group enjoyed the recycling aspect of this idea and has begun soliciting used bikes from the community. The Police Department donated over a dozen that had been sitting in its evidence room.
“The interest in this has been unbelievable already,” Miceli said. “There are a lot of artists interested. It’s a lot of fun and something different for the town.”
Businesses who are interested in participating will be paired up with a local artist to help come up with a design for their bike. Once completed, the mobile works of art will be displayed together at the Apple Harvest.
Those who attended the SCCA’s April reception at the Governor’s Mansion saw some early examples of the bikes, including one covered entirely with yarn. This event was viewed as a major success and has led to a number of donations from local organizations and businesses. The group is also expected to receive a $257,000 grant from the state.
“It’s been great and I’m so excited,” DeCroce said. “We got a lot out of that Governor’s Mansion event. The grants and donations keep coming in.”