Hartford Public Library Programming and Events Manager Liz Castle shares about her love for the history arts, culture, and activity in Hartford.
LIZ CASTLE: I’ve been living and working in Hartford for about eight years. When I first moved here, I was expecting to be here for a year or two but I quickly fell in love with the city. I wanted to sink into everything that was going on, get to know the art and music scene more, and learn about all the incredible cultural communities that exist here in Hartford.
Hartford is a very vibrant and life-giving place and a place where people really support each other. I think that’s what attracted me to being—and staying—here.
What impact do you hope to make here in the region?
LIZ: In my role right now, I love supporting the arts in Hartford and in the region. There are so many amazing Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) artists in Hartford who have been here for a long time, and there are artists newly coming onto the scene as young people. I love the role of trying to highlight as many of those artists as possible and connect arts communities.
I’m lucky in my role at the library to be able to provide free programming. We offer all kinds of events and programs—music series, book talks, author talks, film screenings—and everything is free and open to anyone. I love supporting local artists, making learning experiences, and creating opportunities to connect with other people more accessible.
What makes Hartford unique?
LIZ: The mix of immigrant communities in Hartford continues to inspire and impress me. I see how they’re bringing their cultural practices and traditions from their home countries and rooting them in Hartford in a particular way. All the different people from around the world celebrating where they come from and celebrating this particular cultural mix in Hartford is it what makes it special.
There’s also this element of Hartford being a small city with a small community, where you can get to know what’s going on in throughout the city and get to know the people who have similar interests as you. It feels like a big city but with a small town feel that feels unique to Hartford.
How do you tell the story of Hartford?
LIZ: The library is in the third year of our summer program called Hartford Changemakers, which celebrates BIPOC leaders in Hartford’s history and tries to uplift all these different folks who may not have the spotlight on them throughout Hartford’s history.
Finding out more about Hartford’s rich, cultural mix that makes its history is something I like to mention to folks who may be thinking: What does Hartford have to offer? I haven’t been there before. I haven’t explored it before.
I’m an events planner, so I like to shout out all the amazing events that are going on in the city—the festivals, community events, performances, and music series.
One of the best parts of living in Hartford is being able to gather with other people, getting to know your neighbors, celebrating artists, and being out and about. It feels like there’s a life pulse to the city. I try to invite new folks to engage in these activities so they can experience it for themselves.