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Programs & Exhibitions

The Library offers free public classes, programs, and exhibitions at its 10 locations throughout the City of Hartford. Below is a selection of upcoming events.

For a listing of events in our Center for Contemporary Culture, please click here.


HPL Celebrates Romare Bearden

Bearden Painting

Hartford Renaissance: Celebrating the Art of Romare Bearden

Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Location: Downtown Atrium

In celebration of Black History Month “Hartford Renaissance - Celebrating the Art of Romare Bearden,” is the first in a series of community conversations on art and culture. This free event is designed to honor the artist Romare Bearden and to provide a forum for public dialogue about his importance as an influential fine artist and his relationship to Hartford. Program includes a panel discussion with local artists and arts administrators, small discussion groups with event attendees, and a performance by The Iron Poets. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Presented in partnership with the Hartford Commission on Cultural Affairs. Register today!

Art, History and Social Activism

Art, History and Social Activism: CtFAC Honors Romare Bearden

Date: On display December 17, 2014-March 13, 2015
Location: Downtown Library 3rd Floor Gallery

In honor of the recent arrival of two spectacular Romare Bearden murals at Hartford Public Library, The Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective (CtFAC) presents a special exhibit that pays homage to the stylistic works of Bearden, his commitment to civil rights and his contributions to the African-American jazz and art communities. CtFAC has created a collection of works in textiles, fiber, mixed media and surface design celebrating and recognizing one of the greatest visual artists of the 20th century.
Click here to a video of the installation and commentary by the CT Fiber Arts Collective
Bearden Murals

Bearden Murals on Display at HPL Downtown

Romare Bearden, whose richly textured paintings and murals are now held in the most important museums in the United States, was commissioned to create two large murals for the Hartford Civic Center in the early 1980’s. They have lived there ever since, until the XL Center, which the building is currently known as, was scheduled for major renovation.

The size of these two murals, approximately 10 feet by 16 feet – has proven a challenge to transporting and housing these works. Hartford Public Library has had the extraordinary honor of housing and displaying these Bearden works for all to enjoy; a public setting and safe home that will be accessible to Hartford residents in perpetuity.
Bearden Art

Bearden Works in the Hartford History Center

Date: On display through April 15, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center

Throughout his life, Bearden depicted many rituals and social customs of twentieth-century rural Black America. The images of spiritual ceremonies, baptisms and burial, industrial hardships, musical arrangements and daily life have become the themes that critics and collectors most frequently associate with his work.
These six works are on loan to the Hartford Public Library through the generosity of Bill Katz, owner of Jubilee Fine Art of Hartford.
On display until April 15, 2015 during Hartford History Center hours. Works may be available for purchase. Artwork inquiries should be directed to



Salsa Social

Salsa Socials

Date: Every Third Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library Atrium

Salsa socials are back at HPL! Join us for an open session welcoming dancers of all levels, free of charge! No partner or experience needed. Dancing and teaching for over twenty years, Rey Bermudez will share his passion for salsa at these open dance sessions.


Bound to Mountain

“Bound to Maintain Them”: Prisoners of War and Humane Captivity in the German Empire, 1916-1917

Date: On display January 8 – March 31, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library and The Watkinson Library at Trinity College present this unique perspective on the organization and operation of prisoner of war camps in Germany during the Great War. On display January 8 -March 31, 2015 at the Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, 3rd floor.


Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo and the Four Freedoms: Global and Local Implications

Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library
Recent terrorist attacks in Paris heightened passions and concerns around freedom of speech and religious sensitivity. Join us as we explore our fundamental freedoms and what they mean to us in 2015. Susan Campbell will moderate the evening panel discussion.

Moderator: Susan Campbell, Writer and Teacher, former Hartford Courant Columnist


Dr. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair, American Muslim Peace Initiative & Mayor of South Windsor

Chris Doucot, Co-Founder, The Hartford Catholic Worker & Adjunct Professor of Sociology and Religion at Central Connecticut State University and University of Hartford

Dr. Reza Mansoor, Founding President, Muslim Coalition of Connecticut & President, Islamic Association of Greater Hartford (Berlin Mosque)

James H. Smith, President, Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information & Retired Newspaper Editor  


Explorers & Adventurers

Explorers & Adventurers Connecticut: a special collaboration between Hartford Public Library and The Connecticut Forum

Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Join us as we partner with The Connecticut Forum to bring you an exciting evening of discovery, exploration and inspiration with Connecticut’s own explorers and adventurers! Stay tuned for panelist announcements. Space is limited, register now!


Sculptural book

The Sculptural Book with Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz: An Arts & Archives Workshop

Date: Saturdays, February 28, March 7, March 14, March 21, and March 28, 10:00 AM
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor

Transform an old or discarded book into a new piece of art by sculpting the pages, adding pop-ups, sewing, and altering words to create new meanings. Artists Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz will teach techniques.

Materials and books will be provided. Attendees are invited to bring decorative items and books. Students should plan to attend all five progressive sessions. Space is limited. Register in person or by calling 860-695-6300.


Peace Diann Cook

"And My Journey Continues" by E. Diann Cook

Date: On display through April 10
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor Youth Department Gallery

View original art works by Connecticut artist, author and musician E. Diann Cook. Most of the works are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds benefit Hartford Public Library. On display through April 10, 2015.



ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library offers one of the largest and most stunning exhibition spaces in greater Hartford and the opportunity for Hartford residents and others to view art in a magnificent setting in our city.



The Center for Contemporary Culture hosts lectures, readings, musical performances and other events for people of all ages.