Consider what Steve Campo, who resigned this week for health reasons as executive director of TheaterWorks, has accomplished.
He founded a second nonprofit theater company in downtown Hartford, where the renowned Hartford Stage Company was already established, a daunting task. Since 1985, TheaterWorks has produced more than 130 plays, drawing thousands of people downtown each year.
He acquired, preserved and restored a historic Moorish Revival building on Pearl Street and has otherwise enhanced the area, giving life to what had been a dead zone in downtown. He's turned the building into an incubator for small arts groups, bringing more artists and arts-buzz into the city.
Mr. Campo, 59, didn't set out to be an urban planner, but everything he's done -- enhance the arts, preserve historic buildings, add health density and partner with the business community -- has enhanced downtown. He's been a one-man urban renewal project.
When an arts organization is closely associated with one person, it's sometimes been difficult for it to survive the loss of that person. TheaterWorks has a strong board and an able interim artistic director in Rob Ruggiero. With the arts an increasingly important selling point for Hartford, it's essential that the public and private sectors come together to keep this marvelous institution alive. We wish Mr. Campo well.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at