The first acts will soon take the stage to open the 2019 Guilford Performing Arts Festival—the second season of an entirely FREE, biennial event that in its inaugural year drew nearly 4,000 people to some 50 performances at just under 20 Guilford venues. More than 300 people performed.

We have a larger and more diverse festival planned for September 26-29, 2019. We’ll present a mix of internationally known, local and regional performers in almost every genre of music, theater and dance. We also intend to contribute to the community in a greater way—artistically, socially and economically. Stay tuned, as we’ll announce 2019 performers soon. In the meantime, we’d like to tell you about our plans and ask for your support. It’s only with your help that we can remain a strong organization, present an entertaining and innovative festival, and keep admission to every event free.

The 2017 festival succeeded largely because of the confidence and investment placed in us by the Guilford Foundation, the tireless work of a board and staff of volunteers, and the community spirit of the hundreds of artists who performed for free. Animated by that energy, we’ve been planning the 2019 festival almost since the lights went down on the last act in 2017. We were granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 2018 and set out to more explicitly achieve a vision that drove us from the beginning—that we not only put on a great festival but that we also serve the community and encourage the creation of new work by Connecticut artists.

To those ends, we created the Guilford Foundation/GPAF Artists’ Awards, which provide grants to professional, Connecticut-based artists who use the funds to create new work. Our first winners were jazz composer/pianist Noah Baerman and playwright Susan Cinoman. You’ll be able to see and hear premieres of their work at the 2019 festival.

With some of the most talented artists in world coming to town to perform, we wanted to leverage their presence by giving students and others a chance to learn directly from them. Thanks to a partnership with the Guilford Public Schools, members of a marquee-name dance company, a jazz quartet, a hip-hop violinist, a gospel singer and an innovative theater company will conduct workshops and master classes for students.

We’re also working on a partnership in which members of the dance company will work with a local population struggling with substance abuse. That program, details of which we plan to announce this spring, is intended to help participants access their creativity and imagination, expand their forms of communication so as to better understand and convey their feelings and experiences, and to channel their energy in positive ways.

We’ve just launched this new website and are about to issue a call for artists, and we’ll soon seek volunteers for roles in planning, marketing and production. Please do your part. Your financial support is vital. With a tax-deductible donation to the Guilford Performing Arts Festival, you’ll be part of a groundbreaking effort to:

  • Light up the Shoreline through the arts for four autumn days and nights
  • Present some 50 to 75 performances to the community for FREE
  • Introduce diverse performing arts to children, encouraging lifelong creativity
  • Nourish the development of Connecticut performing artists
  • Contribute to the economic vitality of Guilford and the surrounding area
  • Bridge diverse populations and build community, and
  • Address important societal issues.

Because we’re an all-volunteer organization, 100% of your donation will go to festival activities.

Donor Levels

  • Platinum ($2,500+)
  • Gold ($1,000+)
  • Silver ($500+)
  • Bronze ($100+)
  • Patron ($1-99)

The Connecticut Shoreline is a beautiful area to live and work. Help us make it ever more alive, exciting and vibrant. We appreciate donations of any amount. Follow this link to donate online or send a check payable to GPAF to 316 Little Meadow Road, Guilford CT 06437. We’ll acknowledge your generosity on our website, in the festival program and, for the highest donor levels, from the stage at our events. We can’t thank you enough for your support.

Yours Sincerely, William Boughton
Chairman, Board of Directors