As a child, Jamie Hulley was fascinated by butterflies, the whole notion of metamorphosis, of evolving into something bigger and more beautiful than a caterpillar and cocoon. She especially loved the Monarch and frequently incorporated it into her own drawings and art work. How appropriate it is, therefore, that the butterfly is the symbol of the foundation created to honor and pay tribute to her memory.
Talented artistically, as a writer, actor, comedian, singer, dancer, songwriter, artist and photographer, Jamie was a junior at Wesleyan University, just home from a spring semester in Italy, when she died two weeks before her 21st birthday from an aggressive form of lymphoma. To keep her memory and spirit alive, a Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation was established fourteen years ago by family, neighbors and friends who wanted to do something.
As her mother Judy Primavera, president of the Foundation and a professor of psychology and head of the department at Fairfield University, explains it, “We knew a road race was not Jamie’s thing. Contributing to the arts that Jamie loved was our answer.”
The first fundraiser featured a local band with 200 people attending and it has grown like Topsie to 700 by last year’s count. This year the Quick Center at Fairfield University will be opening its doors again, doing the honors on Saturday, September 10 at 6 p.m., with light food and drink, a silent and live auction of 150 items and a 7 p.m. performances by "FOUR by FOUR-A Tribute to the Legendary Music of the Beach Boys, Beatles, Bee Gees and Motown.” These headliners are coming straight from Las Vegas with the iconic musical stylings from the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. For tickets ($45 in advance, $50 at the door), call the Quick Center box office at 203-254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396. For information call 203-891-8869 or online to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since its creation, the Jamie A. Hulley Foundation has raised $700,000 to provide opportunities for young artists to pursue their dreams and develop their talents, in the community as well as in elementary, middle and high schools. As Jamie herself often said, “What would I want with small dreams?”
To that end, the non-profit organization endows scholarships, supports educational programs and provides assistance to the arts all over the state but especially in the greater New Haven and Fairfield counties. Jamie lived in Orange with her mom Judy, her dad Fred Hulley and her younger sister Kari.
Among its dozens of programs are fourteen children who are attending the same summer theater camp Jamie went to, nine who are receiving partial college scholarships for art, ones that will increase over their four years, year-round voice lessons for students who would otherwise not be able to afford them and support for a whole year of full-scale theater productions-one a month.
Jamie was a “relationship person,” one who knew now to make everyone feel special, a girl with a laugh that could be heard all the way down a school hall. How appropriate is it that the foundation named for her supports community groups like the Square Foot Theatre in Wallingford, with its directors Jared Brown and Patrick Laffin, with Brown serving as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies on September 10.
Another innovative partner that has blossomed under the Foundation’s wing is the Amity Creative Theatre and its directors Andrea and Rob Kennedy who will serve as co-hosts and auctioneers. Also intimately involved in the evening will be Connor Deane and J. Scott Handley from Fairfield’s Broadway Method Academy who will provide a bevy of young aspiring stars to perform as will the Square Foot Theatre and the Amity Creative Theatre.
Whether it’s encouraging a young filmmaker, putting ballet shoes on a budding diva, funding a class project with a published author to help students write their own books, providing a social studies class with lessons in Latin American ballroom dancing or opening a Magic Storybook for second graders to develop their own storytelling skills, all the dollars raised at events like the one at the Quick Center at Fairfield University are immediately plowed back into deserving projects, investing in young people, planting seeds so the arts will grow and flourish.
Come help this finely tuned organization harvest even more “artistic crops.” Come on Saturday, September 10 at 6 p.m. for “An Evening for the Arts," to honor the memory of a girl who believed in beauty and butterflies and making the world a better place. Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, bid on auction items like tickets to a Broadway show, the Boston Red Sox or a taping of Jimmy Fallon and be nostalgically entertained by the legendary group FOUR by FOUR. Who could ask for anything more?