HARTFORD – State Representative Kathleen McCarty (R-38), a long-time advocator for the arts, was recently named as one of Connecticut’s Strongest Women, along with House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, by a local educational non-profit called Positive Expression.
Since 1993, the mission of Positive Expression’s volunteers has been to promote random acts of kindness and the concept that everyone – regardless of experience or skill – has the ability to express themselves and their feelings through art. In 2007, Positive Expressions began building a sustainable green space and sculpture garden, called Cedarpalms, on Route 6 in Chaplin. Cedarpalms is constantly evolving, with a purpose of inspiring visitors from the public by “telling and teaching time,” says co-founder Brian Cohen. Positive Expression has also donated works of art to Camp Harkness, Connecticut’s premier safe place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Rep. McCarty, the legislative adopter of Harkness Memorial State Park, has done a great deal of advocacy for the preservation and support of Camp Harkness.
For the second year in a row, Positive Expressions is hosting an art exhibit in the concourse between the Legislative Office Building and the Capitol in Hartford. Among the artwork is a tribute to Rep. McCarty, which displays her answers to the following questions: “What is one of the most important leadership skills to possess?” and “What does art in society mean to you?”
Her responses are as follows:
“A leader learns how to inspire and empower others to reach their fullest potential in meeting a common or desired goal by gaining their trust, having patience and integrity, doing hard work and leading by example. Hence a leader must possess many qualities, but one of the most important and must-have skills is the ability to be a good listener. A leader shower respect and earns the respect of others; is honest and fair, is transparent in actions and is accessible to others. A leader can compromise and can make difficult decisions. all of which are heightened by being a good listener.”
“Since the beginning of civilization, men and women have had the need to communicate their innermost feelings of the world around them through the medium of art. It is precisely through art that man distinguishes himself from the animal kingdom. Art is capable of giving voice to the oppressed and marginalized in society. It can express inequalities in gender and race, and evoke powerful emotions in order to create social change. Thus since recorded history, art has been at the heart of society. Aristotle believed that the soul possesses truth through various means, one of these was and still is, through the pursuit of art.”
Last week Rep. McCarty met with two high school students and constituents, Meg Nurnberg and Amber Hall, who contributed artwork to the exhibit in the concourse. Rep. McCarty will sign their artwork before they leave the exhibit in honor of the meaningful connection our leaders have to the community. The pieces she signed last year are now on display at Camp Harkness.