Eileen O’Donnell: Bringing the Arts to Clinton


In a community like Clinton, Connecticut, where artistic talent often goes unnoticed, one person has taken it upon herself to bring the arts to the forefront. Eileen O’Donnell, a passionate advocate for the local arts scene, has spearheaded the Clinton Arts Council and the annual Arts Festival, aiming to showcase the town’s artistic talent and create a lively, culturally vibrant community. In this interview with Bobbianne Elizabeth, Eileen shares her inspiration for bringing the arts to Clinton and highlights the importance of art in building a thriving community.

Fostering Local Talent:

Eileen’s journey into the arts began with her involvement in the Hollycroft Foundation’s sculpture shore, where she helped bring sculptures to Clinton. Recognizing the need for a more visible and dynamic arts scene, Eileen sought to get more involved in the local arts and make a difference. She firmly believes that a thriving arts community can attract people, boost the local economy, and create a sense of community pride.

Bringing Business and People to Clinton:

One of Eileen’s primary motivations for bringing the arts to Clinton is to boost local businesses and attract visitors to the town. She believes that art has the power to draw people in and create a lively atmosphere. By organizing events like the Arts Festival, Eileen aims to showcase the town’s artistic talent and encourage visitors to explore the local businesses and attractions. Through her efforts, she hopes to change the perception that residents need to travel to larger cities to experience culture and art.

Learning from Experience:

Reflecting on her first Arts Festival, the turnout exceeded their expectations, with 17 artists participating and a vibrant atmosphere throughout the day. The positive response from the community reinforced Eileen’s belief in the power of the arts to bring people together and create an enjoyable experience. Buoyed by this success, she has worked tirelessly to expand the festival, now featuring over double the number of artists and various engaging activities for both children and adults.

Empowering Emerging Artists:

Eileen is dedicated to supporting emerging artists and fostering a multicultural arts community in Clinton. Alongside showcasing established local artists, she has also invited 3 artists from the University of Hartford Art School. The student artists will show and sell their artwork. By providing a platform for diverse talents, Eileen seeks to create an inclusive environment where artists can thrive and contribute to the community’s cultural landscape.

Engaging the Community:

Eileen understands the importance of engaging the entire community, including children, in artistic activities. This year, the Arts Festival will feature a Japanese Children’s Day Festival, where children can create carp streamers out of various materials. Additionally, Eileen has organized interactive experiences like face painting, mural painting, paper-making demonstrations, and even a unique recycled art installation with flattened soda cans. Through these activities, she hopes to spark creativity, inspire young minds, and foster a love for the arts.

Photo by 尾 賀: https://www.pexels.com/photo/waving-flags-against-blue-sky-5336559/


Thanks to Eileen O’Donnell’s dedication and vision, Clinton is emerging as a vibrant arts destination. Her commitment to showcasing local talent, attracting visitors, and fostering community engagement has breathed new life into the town. By bringing the arts to the forefront, Eileen has inspired residents, empowered emerging artists, and created a sense of pride in Clinton’s artistic identity. Through the annual Arts Festival and other initiatives, Eileen continues to shape Clinton into a cultural hub where creativity thrives and the arts flourish.

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