Hartford couple getting creative to keep their arts businesses open amid coronavirus shutdowns


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There isn’t a single business that hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and that includes the arts. A Hartford couple that runs a popular Parkville creative space, naturally, has had to get creative with how to keep business going.

“We had just moved into this 500,000 square foot space in September and since the launch of this new space we’ve just been rockin’ and rollin’,” said Steve Cusano, who runs Parkville Sounds. His fiance, Jillian Foley, runs The Hartford Dance Collective. Both operate in the same Arbor Street space.

All that activity came to a halt last month when the coronavirus pandemic hit Connecticut and the governor ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

“There were literally multiple things happening here nightly,” said Jillian, “so it’s really sad for us to be in this space without anyone else.”

Now they’ve shifted to online classes and even virtual private lessons in music and dance. They said shifting their business model has helped them stay afloat.

The couple works together but they rarely get to create together — now, with their newfound free time, they’ve started collaborating and making videos.

“It kind of is a little blessing-in-disguise to be able to work on these fun projects between the two of us,” Jillian said. That creativity has been their release.

“The only time we truly don’t think about this stuff is when we’re creating art, when we’re making music or dance and working in the studio, it’s truly the only moment we forget what’s happening outside,” Steve explained.

The Hartford Dance Collective offers classes from $5-$15, plus private lessons by request. More information at www.thedancecollective.org.

Parkville Sounds also offers lessons. More information at www.parkvillesounds.com.

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