The Rural We: Amy Wynn
Photo: Nancy DePecol
Amy Wynn is the Executive Director of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, based in Torrington. It’s a job she relishes because it allows her to combine her experience in arts administration with working in the community she loves. She acknowledges many people have questions about what the council does, because it’s a behind-the-scenes job that aims to assist and unite artists, more so than highlighting their work.
I came to Falls Village after living and working in the city as an arts administrator for many, many years. My husband wanted to live in a rural area because that was something he had already experienced and I was up for a change. Because our third child was about to be born, my only specification was our move be close to family, so it’s really my brother-in-law in Sharon who discovered this area and pulled us here. When we moved here, it felt like home right away. When I woke up that first morning, even with no furniture and our children’s voices bouncing off the walls, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. Being surrounded by a beautiful environment was a great feeling. We were welcomed by bears and neighbors within 24 hours of our move.
When I realized there was so much to do culturally here, I was really excited to be amidst that. I was looking for something to do with my background in arts. I had previously worked for Dance Theatre of Harlem for seven years, behind-the-scenes producing, and then in Long Island with a major performing arts center where I worked in marketing and promoting. I volunteered a lot when I first got to Falls Village and eventually connected with the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and the Chamber of Commerce. They had long envisioned an arts council because there was nothing here, not even to the south in Waterbury or Danbury. The idea was brought to me in 2003, we were incorporated 2004 and moved to our location on Main Street in Torrington five years ago.
My job at the NWCT Arts Council is very different from my prior work in art because our mission is service based; it’s not about promotion or even the product itself. Many people ask why we don’t put on art shows or performances, but our constituents don’t need that since they’re already doing it. They’re incredibly busy working on their art and what they need help with is promoting what they’re doing, making it visible to the public eye and connecting with other artists. We want to encourage people to go beyond their town and enjoy what other people are doing. We’re a central hub for all things cultural in the community.
We have a lot of programs brewing here. That’s what makes this area so special; it provides experiences on the human scale. I’ve lived in cities and I’ve spent my time in line at The Met. But you’re not in a crowd of millions here when you experience an art show or attend a performance at Infinity Hall or even enjoy the beauty of nature. It’s an up-close experience. That element makes people feel so at home here, both residents and creatives, because we can connect and experience things in different ways.