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By Nan Price, MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager

Katrice Claudio is an Admissions Representative at the University of Connecticut. She’s also a Writer and Photographer at The Brutally Honest Cook and on the Creative Team for the Artists of Color Accelerate program, an initiative of The 224 EcoSpace funded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Hartford is home for Katrice. Here she shares why.

Why Hartford?

KATRICE CLAUDIO: I grew up here! These are my stomping grounds. I live in Bloomfield, but we spent a lot of our time in the North End, attending things like the West Indian Parade, or North Main Street when there used to be the Roti House, which I wish was still there.

I find everything I need in Hartford. It feels safe, especially as an artist of color, because there are so many places where I find our community working hard to make Hartford a unique experience. I see us getting food, shopping, and chatting on the corner. The energy here belongs to us and you have to be around it to truly understand it.

There’s no place like home. If I could make everyone experience Hartford the way I’ve experienced it growing up, I think people would have a different attitude about what the city brings and the benefits of having a beautiful city in a small state like this—a big city with a small town feel.

How is Hartford a part of you and how have you become a part of Hartford?

KATRICE: I keep saying, this is my community. All of my friends are from Hartford. They all live here, grew up here, and have some connection to it. I have that fiery excitement about what Hartford can be because I’m always around people who see the potential of the city, who see why this place is worth experiencing. We want to be a part of that. We want to put an imprint on it.

Hartford became a part of me because the attitude of the people here is infectious, even though I was raised and living in the town adjacent to it. The people here are good, passionate, community-centered folk.

How do you tell the story of Hartford?

KATRICE: Authentically, with no apology. We need to share more stories about the work of artists like Jasmin Agosto, who throws these amazing inclusive productions, or people like Self Suffice, a performance artist who creates all these wonderful events for musicians, dancers, and singers. Our art community is rich here!

When I talk about Hartford, I let people know it’s one of those places where it may not be Pleasantville, but it is absolutely safe. It’s engaging and exciting, and it’s absolutely a space that can grow with us and our children if we treat it right.