A Restored Pratt Street
Through improved and restored retail storefronts, renovated residential spaces, and curated programming, Pratt St is being rediscovered.
This winter, three artists created original works that illustrated what Hartford means to them. Lauren Clayton, Amber Lewis, and Alexander Ogbonna, all artists in Connecticut have close ties to the City of Hartford, and seized the opportunity to showcase their work in one of the vacant storefronts on Pratt Street!
Lauren Clayton is the founder and head designer at Studio 162, located in Stamford. Lauren began specializing in designing family heirloom books at the start of her business, but now offers many different creative solutions. She is inspired by Paula Scher, Frida Kahlo, and Hundertwasser, all for their use of bold color and symbolism. Lauren is active in her community and mentors design students, offers internships, and makes an effort to provide discounted design rates to non-profits. She is also a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar alum.
Her piece, titled “Opportunity Lives Here,” aims to mimic Hartford’s artistic landscape:
“Murals cascade the walls, barriers, and even columns in Hartford. They are hidden and prominent, small and massive, awe-inspiring and colorful. Painted by spirited citizens and crazy talented artists, the larger-than-life art reminds me of both the city’s diverse community and the opportunities that live here.”
As a child art was Amber’s passion, but it was also something that flowed effortlessly for her. Art was so limitless and allowed her to explore infinite bounds of creativity. When she was pregnant with her daughter, some of that passion and fire burned out. Amber felt that it was time for her to stand up and enter “the real world.” Seven years later, she began to rediscover herself. She fell in love with her femininity, knowledge, growth, and simply romanticizing her everyday life. As her discoveries grew, that passion began to spark back up. Art for Amber is more than a fun afternoon hobby, but it is really who she is. It is a part of her purpose, and through her art, she hopes to inspire black women to be their true authentic selves—to bask in their femininity and embrace the grace and peace of being a woman.
When asked to describe the meaning of her piece, Amber states:
“What does Hartford mean to me?
When someone asks me about the significance of the town I live in, I think about my journey through life. I moved to Hartford just a month before the pandemic hit. Outside of the pandemic, life was quite hectic for me. Hartford is the rebuilding chapter of my life. I have curated new friends, eliminated unhealthy relationships and discovered some amazing Hartford gems. I know that one day this chapter will come to an end and a new chapter will start, but while I’m here, I plan on leaving my mark everywhere I go.”
Alexander is a realism portrait artist and mainly works with acrylics. He creates unique pieces of work featuring his favorite characters, villains, animals, and strong women. His influences come from his family, and says “they’re a huge part of me being me and continuing to inspire me to grow as an artist.”
When asked about his two pieces, Alexander said:
“The image in ‘Winnie’s Harlow’ spoke to me. I wanted to show how I saw her beauty. This is the piece that taught me to have fun again, to not over think and let the art flow naturally.
‘Dark Eden’ is another image that caught my eye—it portrays a beautiful black woman who creates all living things, an ‘Eve,’ you can say. This piece showcases my growth as an artist after creating ‘Winnie’s Harlow.’”
Be sure to stop by Pratt Street to see all of these artists’ pieces showcased!Go Back