Who’s who of creative community at Litchfield Hills Creative Awards

Litchfield Hills Creative Award winner Keith Paul and Northwest Con- necticut Arts Council Executive Director Rufus de Rham at the council’s award ceremony on Friday, Nov. 22.
Litchfield Hills Creative Award winner Keith Paul and Northwest Con- necticut Arts Council Executive Director Rufus de Rham at the council’s award ceremony on Friday, Nov. 22.
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TORRINGTON — It was a celebration of arts and artists throughout the Northwest Corner at the sixth annual Litchfield Hills Creative Awards, held at the Warner Theater on Friday, Nov. 22.
The awards ceremony celebrated the work of nine residents in the Northwest Corner who have all had an impact on the arts community.
Awards organizers Northwest Connecticut Arts Council chose the award winners from 120 nominations for 64 different individuals.
“We’re here to recognize the wonderful people, places, organizations, events and artists that make the Northwest Corner charming,” Executive Director Rufus de Rham said at the beginning of the event. “The arts represent $34 million of our economy and employ almost 2,000 full-time jobs in this area. It’s a huge force for all of our towns. We’re here to recognize everybody’s creative spirit. It doesn’t matter if you are a volunteer who’s retired and giving back to the community or you are a philanthropist who is helping the community do what we do. You are all the same. You are all part of this beautiful region and beautiful machine. Everything’s equal.”
Award winners included Alesia Maltz, founder of The Loom Room in Norfolk, Jessica Jane Russell, founder of Artroom Atelier in Bantam, longtime volunteer Bill Haygood of Torrington, Ed Jaffe who created Torrington’s Artist Relocation Program, Discover Litchfield Hills founder Evan Dobos, Five Senses Festival Executive Directors Itamar Kubovy and Kirsten Leon, and Desultory Theater Club founder Keith Paul.
Warner Theater Executive Director Lynn Gelormino was given a lifetime achievement award.
“I think it’s important to recognize the hard-working creative people in our region,” Arts Council Program Coordinator Maddie Stenson said. “There are a lot of great ideas and projects in this area, along with things that are going on along with a lot of innovation in this region,”
“Everyone who won tonight not only won for their innovation that they are bringing to the region, but also for supporting the community that they are helping to build here,” organization Manager of Outreach Steph Burr said. “I think we are all at a point where the creative community is starting to reach a critical mass and is about to explode. I foresee a lot of creative people moving here to be part of the community in the future. There’s a lot to do here. There’s a lot of culture happening in this area every night.”
“It’s a delight to win this award,” Maltz said in an interview before the event. “This arts community weaving itself together. Making these projects and then reaching out to other communities and people in need.”
Maltz is the main organizer of the Loom Room, which operates in the basement of the Church of Christ Congregational in Norfolk.
This year she set up a program for participants to weave blankets for immigrant children who were released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
“It’s important that we all come together, especially in these times,” Maltz said. “We need to find things that are important, like taking care of our children.”
As for award winner Keith Paul, in an interview before the ceremony, he said that he was feeling a variety of emotions.
“How do I feel? I feel silly,” Paul said. “It’s cool. I’m not denying that it’s an awesome thing and it’s great to be recognized. But this award is about the people who have helped me. The arts scene in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut is continuously changing. Sometimes it’s struggling, but it’s always surprising. I will remain ever faithful to it.”

Sixth annual Litchfield Hills Creative Awards
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