Celebrate Our Regional ARTS HERO, René Soto

Celebrate our Regional ARTS HERO, René Soto, at a special awards event in Hartford May 1. The Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) in 2016 created the Connecticut Arts Hero Awards to honor and celebrate individuals who are doing extraordinary things in, for, and through the arts. The awards are presented in conjunction with COA’s annual Connecticut Arts Day, (which will be held this year May 2 in New Haven). Each of 9 regions, represented by the 9 Regional Service Organizations that work with COA, of which the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is one, nominates candidates for this award.

René Soto has been announced as the ARTS HERO for our region of coastal Fairfield County and he will receive his award at a new ceremony and evening event in Hartford, on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 6 pm at Infinity Music Hall. Join us for this free celebration that features performances by singer Thabisa, violinists John Randolph and Corey Staggers, Hip Dance Artist Michael Okoasia & Crew, Connecticut State Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson, and Connecticut State Troubadour Nekita Waller! Please register here.

René, born 1986 in La Libertad Peten, Guatemala, is an artist who arrived in the United States eight years ago. After the death of his brothers and mother, he used painting as a way of releasing the pain. He understood that if art could make this great impact on his life, then others who felt alone could also benefit from the arts. Even when working multiple jobs, René found the time to volunteer at many nonprofits, giving art lessons to the elderly, children, and families of cancer survivors. He has also donated his work to organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Stamford Senior Center, Caring with Grace, Domestic Crisis Violence Center and others.

For many years René put his passion aside to teach others and to help out other up-and-coming artists. Finally, after many struggles, in May 2018, he inaugurated the René Soto Gallery at 1 Wall Street, Norwalk. In less than one year, the Gallery has become a home to local and international artists, poets, dancers, and many other nonprofits that had been looking for a place to express and share their love for the arts.

René has also helped promote the arts by having displays in Norwalk Town Hall, Stamford Old Town Hall, and by beautifying the City of Norwalk with paintings on electrical boxes. His love for teaching continues with “Kids Draw Free,” an art activity in Stamford for children and families. His commitment to the arts is not only a personal matter to him. He shares it with young and old alike, creating exhibitions throughout CT and NY. René Soto lives for and shares his love of art with all. We join with his friends and colleagues in congratulating René on this honor.