Connecticut’s ethnic artists will share their craft and receive honors November 14, 15 and 17 at the Connecticut Historical Society

November 4, 2015 · Press Releases

Somaly Hay

[HARTFORD Conn., Nov. 3] – Two November events at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) will showcase and recognize the talent of artists and craftspeople representing several ethnic groups in the state. The CHS is located at 1 Elizabeth Street, Hartford.

November 14 and November 15 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, the CHS will host Open Studio Hartford as part of the 26th annual city-wide self-guided tour. Free to the public, Open Studio at the CHS will include a traditional arts marketplace featuring carpet weavers, knitters, lace makers, embroiderers, woodcarvers, and decorative artists demonstrating their crafts. Meet artists from Somalia, Burma, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan, Romania, and Bosnia. Many of the artists are members of the Sewing Circle Project, a successful initiative that encourages preservation, production, resource sharing, and marketing of traditional arts among immigrant and refugee communities. The Sewing Circle Project is coordinated by the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CHAP) at the Connecticut Historical Society.

On November 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the CHS, CHAP and the CHS will honor four extraordinary traditional artists and Connecticut residents who recently received significant awards.

Daniel Boucher (French Canadian fiddler), Paul Luniw (Ukrainian pysanky artist) and Jampa Tsondue (Tibetan painter) have received the Connecticut Office of the Arts 2015-16 Artist Fellowship in Folk and Traditional Arts. Somaly Hay has been awarded a Special Citation from the Connecticut General Assembly and the Governor.

Daniel Boucher grew up in a French Canadian family in Bristol, Conn., absorbing cultural traditions such as maple sugaring, French language, and music. Fascinated by songs and tunes heard at family and community gatherings, Daniel became an excellent fiddler, singer, and composer. He organizes regular music gatherings and celebrations of French Canadian holidays through his organization Jam Français.

Daniel Boucher (Bristol)

Daniel Boucher (Bristol)

Paul Luniw is a master of the Ukrainian decorative art tradition called pysanky.  Learning the craft as a boy from his mother and Ukrainian community members, he has continued to “write” the intricate etched and dyed designs on ostrich, duck, hen, and quail eggs throughout his life. Father Paul is an expert in Canon Law, and serves as the parish priest at St. Michael’s Ukrainian Church in Terryville CT.

Jampa Tsondue was born in India to Tibetan parents who had fled the Chinese occupation in Tibet. He became an apprentice to a famous painter at the Gyudmed Tantric University, studying techniques of Buddhist thangka painting with this mentor, who lived with the family, for fifteen years. Some of their thangkas are in the Dalai Lama’s collection. Jampa is a leader in the Tibetan community in Old Saybrook.

Somaly Hay began to learn traditional Cambodian dance from the age of four at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. From 1975, when the brutal Khmer Rouge began to devastate Cambodia, Somaly helped her family to survive, although only five escaped to refugee camps in Thailand. Somaly came with them to the US in 1981, settling in Waterford where she has raised her two daughters. Somaly’s life has been devoted to performing and teaching Cambodian culture across the US. She was designated a Master Teaching Artist by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and is beloved by generations of students and fellow artists.

The evening is free and open to the public; please RSVP at For more information contact Lynne Williamson at (860) 236-5621 x235 or at The reception is presented by the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the Connecticut Historical Society, in conjunction with the Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD.


About the Connecticut Historical Society

A private, nonprofit, educational organization established in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society is the state’s official historical society and one of the oldest in the nation. Located at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford, the CHS houses a museum, library, and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center that are open to the public and funded by private contributions. The CHS’s collection includes more than 4 million manuscripts, graphics, books, artifacts, and other historical materials accessible at our campus and on loan at other organizations. The CHS collection, programs and exhibits help Connecticut residents connect with each other, have conversations that shape our communities, and make informed decisions based on our past and present. For more information, visit

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