Torrington, Connecticut Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Artists; Zoning Allows Artists to Live + Work in Same Space

City officials have put an "art blanket" over Torrington, Connecticut by removing restrictive zoning requirements. Professional artists can purchase a residential or commercial property anywhere in Torrington and have their home and studio in the same space.

​​​​​​​​​When 86-year-old Ed Jaffe (http://edjaffe.com) moved his home and studio from Virginia to Torrington last year, he brought with him more than his reputation as an esteemed artist.

The painter and sculptor had an idea that has caught on fire. Jaffe envisioned the already arts-rich Connecticut city as a sort of utopian magnet for his peers.

"Torrington is an affordable and attractive place for professional artists to live and work. Located midway between Boston and New York, the city has a strong arts community."

Ed Jaffe, Artist

​An ideal living and working arrangement

Torrington is an affordable and attractive place for professional artists to live and work. Located midway between Boston and New York, the city has a strong arts community.” 

Jaffe initiated the Artists Relocation Project (http://www.artistrelocation.com) with the hope that other professional artists will follow his lead and relocate to the area he now calls home. He has worked tirelessly with Torrington officials to change zoning laws that allow professional artists to purchase a property—residential or commercial—and adapt it to a live-work facility.

Early on, Jaffe found a kindred spirit in Martin Connor, Torrington’s City Planner. Working with the Planning & Zoning Commission, along with Mayor Elinor Carbone and other civic, business and community leaders, the duo of Jaffe and Connor led the initiative to throw what they call an “arts blanket” over the entire city.

City Planner Connor said the low price of properties in Torrington make it a buying opportunity for artists. But he also realizes the initiative is a two-way street, and the Artist Relocation Project presents opportunities for the city, as well.

​Economic opportunity for artists and community, alike

Citing a report on www.ct.gov that breaks down the economic impact of the arts in the State of Connecticut, Economic Development Director Erin Wilson points out many benefits, ranging from encouraging tourism to improving the overall quality of life. Ultimately, she says, artists create vibrancy in a community that leads to greater economic vitality. This initiative is consistent with the city’s attempt to designate Torrington as the center for creative economies.

“The recognition of the city’s arts and cultural assets is integral to the overall transformational process of Torrington,” she says.

​An Invitation

Connor and Jaffe, along with Mayor Carbone and others in the community, are rolling out the welcome mat to artists who work in all creative mediums—not just visual arts.

“We’re here to help those artists who are interested in purchasing a home where they not only live, but also have their work space,” says Mayor Carbone. “If you’re a working artist, consider this a formal invitation to relocate to Torrington.”

Connor is the initial point of contact for interested artists; he may be reached at Martin_Connor@torringtonct.org.

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The City of Torrington, Connecticut’s Artist Relocation Project has made it possible for a working artist to purchase a home or commercial property anywhere on the city map. Qualifying artists can live and work in that property and not be overly restricted as to how they use the space. It really is as good as it sounds. For more information, visit the project’s website at www.artistrelocation.com, and find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArtistRelocationTorrington

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Categories: Artists, Sculpture, Commercial Art

Tags: artists, artists studios, arts, arts studios