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Programs & Exhibitions

The Library offers free public classes, programs, and exhibitions at its 10 locations throughout the City of Hartford. Below is a selection of upcoming events.

For a listing of events in our Center for Contemporary Culture, please click here.


HPL Celebrates Romare Bearden

Art, History and Social Activism

Art, History and Social Activism: CtFAC Honors Romare Bearden

Date: On display December 17, 2014-March 13, 2015
Location: Downtown Library 3rd Floor Gallery

In honor of the recent arrival of two spectacular Romare Bearden murals at Hartford Public Library, The Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective (CtFAC) presents a special exhibit that pays homage to the stylistic works of Bearden, his commitment to civil rights and his contributions to the African-American jazz and art communities. CtFAC has created a collection of works in textiles, fiber, mixed media and surface design celebrating and recognizing one of the greatest visual artists of the 20th century.
Click here to a video of the installation and commentary by the CT Fiber Arts Collective
Bearden Murals

Bearden Murals on Display at HPL Downtown

Romare Bearden, whose richly textured paintings and murals are now held in the most important museums in the United States, was commissioned to create two large murals for the Hartford Civic Center in the early 1980’s. They have lived there ever since, until the XL Center, which the building is currently known as, was scheduled for major renovation.

The size of these two murals, approximately 10 feet by 16 feet – has proven a challenge to transporting and housing these works. Hartford Public Library has had the extraordinary honor of housing and displaying these Bearden works for all to enjoy; a public setting and safe home that will be accessible to Hartford residents in perpetuity.
Bearden Art

Bearden Works in the Hartford History Center

Date: On display through April 15, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center

Throughout his life, Bearden depicted many rituals and social customs of twentieth-century rural Black America. The images of spiritual ceremonies, baptisms and burial, industrial hardships, musical arrangements and daily life have become the themes that critics and collectors most frequently associate with his work.
These six works are on loan to the Hartford Public Library through the generosity of Bill Katz, owner of Jubilee Fine Art of Hartford.
On display until April 15, 2015 during Hartford History Center hours. Works may be available for purchase. Artwork inquiries should be directed to



Doc Hurley
Doc Hurley

The Making of a Legend: The Life and Times of Walter J. “Doc” Hurley Book Launch

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 , 5:30 p.m. (NOTE NEW DATE)
Location: Downtown Library

A new book on the life and legacy of legendary Hartford coach Walter "Doc" Hurley will be celebrated at our Hartford History Center with a special reception honoring book author Charles A. Teale, Sr., a former chief of the Hartford Fire Department. Free and open to all. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
David Mills

Shakespeare in Harlem: The Poems and Stories of Langston Hughes

Date: Monday, February 2, 2015 (two shows!)
Locations: Mark Twain Branch, 4:00 p.m.; Downtown Library, 6:00 p.m.

In recognition of Black History Month, Hartford Public Library presents actor and writer David Mills as Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, in two special performances at two HPL locations.

Mills takes the audience on an odyssey spanning five decades—from the 1920s-through the 1960s, of Hughes’ writings, notable characters and excerpts of the iconic poetry collection Montage of A Dream Deferred. Join us as Mills brings the voices of Hughes’ characters to life!
Bernard Lafayette

Nonviolence in a Time of Civil Unrest: A Conversation with Legendary Civil Rights Leader Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr.

Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Listen as the civil rights strategist who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to the issues of ongoing conflict throughout the country, and discusses peaceful approaches to reconciliation. The event is free and open to the public.

This Black History Month event is a part of the MLK Nonviolence Leadership Institute Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation Training, presented in partnership with the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence and the City of Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation. For information about the MLK Nonviolence Leadership Institute, please email or call 860-567-3441.



Bound to Mountain

“Bound to Maintain Them”: Prisoners of War and Humane Captivity in the German Empire, 1916-1917

Date: On display January 8 – March 31, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library and The Watkinson Library at Trinity College present this unique perspective on the organization and operation of prisoner of war camps in Germany during the Great War. On display January 8 -March 31, 2015 at the Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, 3rd floor.


Sculptural book

The Sculptural Book with Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz: An Arts & Archives Workshop

Date: Saturdays, February 28, March 7, March 14, March 21, and March 28, 10:00 AM
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor

Transform an old or discarded book into a new piece of art by sculpting the pages, adding pop-ups, sewing, and altering words to create new meanings. Artists Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz will teach techniques.

Materials and books will be provided. Attendees are invited to bring decorative items and books. Students should plan to attend all five progressive sessions. Space is limited. Register in-person or on-line at


Peace Diann Cook

"And My Journey Continues" by E. Diann Cook

Date: On display through April 10
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor Youth Department Gallery

View original art works by Connecticut artist, author and musician E. Diann Cook. Most of the works are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds benefit Hartford Public Library. On display through April 10, 2015.



ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library offers one of the largest and most stunning exhibition spaces in greater Hartford and the opportunity for Hartford residents and others to view art in a magnificent setting in our city.



The Center for Contemporary Culture hosts lectures, readings, musical performances and other events for people of all ages.