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CT Checkup: ‘Happy Things’ art exhibit spills onto Main St. in Manchester to help community, small businesses amid COVID crisis

Hartford

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Art and photography depicting joy are bringing smiles to Main Street in Manchester during the COVID crisis.

The walls at the Workspace Gallery in Manchester are filled with photos documenting moments of joy submitted by local residents.  

The exhibit is called ‘Happy Things’, and was meant to bring life back to Main Street. 

“We feel that through art and bringing people together around these images and highlighting the goodness and happy things definitely brings vibrancy back to Main Street,” said Workspace Manager Stacey Zackin. 

The photos came from Better Manchester Magazine’s virtual campaign which called for people to send in photos of things that make them smile even in the toughest of times–like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Manchester resident, Sara Crissy says seeing these photos lining Main Street is a welcomed reminder. 

She told News 8, “There’s always something to be happy about. We have to look at those things that are good and right and just.” 

And right outside the gallery, Main Street is being reimagined in the time of COVID-19. 

Christiane O’Brian is the art curator at Workspace and uses chalk to bring awareness to local businesses still open during the pandemic, decorating the store’s sidewalks with hearts, flowers, and words like ‘hope.’ 

She says she wants these drawings to bring some much-needed positivity to those walking downtown. 

“It just gets people talking and gets their mind off of ‘I’ve been locked up in the house for 3 months,’” she explained.  

And if you take a look at some storefronts, you might find work from local artists. 

“It drives business and attention downtown and it’s nice for the artists to get that recognition,” says Zackin. 

It’s all part of a collaboration between Workspace and the community group Imagine Main Street to revitalize downtown Manchester. Something Zackin says is needed now more than ever. 

“We’re only going to get through this together,” she explained. “People need to share their thoughts and experiences and art is a great way to do that.” 

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