A look back on a year of art, created by artists of diverse abilities, was celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the City of Bridgeport’s Margaret E. Morton Government Center.

A Unique Perspective: The Kennedy Center 2020 Calendar was officially unveiled at an annual reception in downtown Bridgeport. The Kennedy Center Calendar, made possible by People’s United Bank and People’s United Community Foundation, highlights 16 artists who are part of programs at the Trumbull-based not-for-profit.

Nearly 200 people attended the Calendar Reception, celebrating the 16 artists in the calendar and the work of dozens of other Kennedy Center artists on exhibit at the City of Bridgeport’s Gallery@999.

“We have 78 artists represented in this show tonight, which is an all-time high,” said Wendy Bloch, The Kennedy Center’s administrator of program and business development. “It’s hard to believe this is our 36th year creating A Unique Perspective Calendar and each year we say, ‘this is the best ever’ and I am certainly hearing that again tonight.”

Bloch also praised People’s United Bank for collaborating with The Kennedy Center to increase diversity, make community connections and build “acceptance, joy and the possibility of unexpected outcomes.”

Karen Galbo, vice president and executive director of the People’s United Community Foundation, said the annual Calendar partnership is an important one to People’s United.

“The unveiling of the calendar, and celebration of the artists, has been a time-honored tradition for People’s United Bank for more than 30 years,” said Galbo. “Our employees and customers look forward to receiving their copy each year, which provides inspiration to us all throughout the year.”

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim helped present each calendar artist with special recognition and called the reception one of his favorite events of the year. Mayor Ganim praised the talents of each artist.

“We applaud your abilities to take what you have in mind, put it down, and allow it to be a message and something that people can enjoy,” Ganim said. “We are honored to wear, if you will, some of your great art of our walls.”

State Rep. Antonio Felipe (D-130) echoed a similar sentiment.

“What the artists have done this year has blown me away and I think it is one of the best we have seen,” Felipe said. “I am looking around because I want to take something back to Hartford with me.”

The 2020 A Unique Perspective Calendar also highlights the power of art in building career and life skills, an announcement said.

“The Kennedy Center’s commitment to expressive arts and our artists creates environments for self- expression, confidence, skill development and, above all, gives voice to each individual,” said Kennedy Center President and CEO Rick Sebastian.

In total, the 2020 calendar artists hail from eight Connecticut towns. This year’s calendar artists are: Bridgeport residents Debbie Willis, Cloresa Francouer, Aisha Joyner and Shantel Gilbert; Derby resident Alexis Dobbins, Fairfield resident Mickey Daly, Hamden residents Krysten Tong and Jasmine Edwards, Milford resident John Mitchell, Shelton residents Molly Hauser and Chelsea Dolny, Stratford residents Ryan Gall and Alice Dubois and Trumbull residents Johanna Vecchione and Michael Donahue.

The work of longtime Kennedy Center artist Marc Iaizzi of Bridgeport is posthumously honored in the 2020 calendar. Iaizzi, who passed away last spring, was a beloved artist and long-time member of the Kennedy Center community.

People’s United Bank branches in Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. are giving out copies of the calendar to customers through the new year.

Notecards featuring 2020 calendar artwork are available for sale, benefitting The Kennedy Center’s programs. Visit TheKennedyCenterInc.org for more information.