To close out the annual Stamford Innovation Week, community members say they had to get creative in COVID times to bring people together safely to celebrate. A group of 30 transformed three floors of a parking garage into a drive-thru interactive art exhibit. 

Stamford Innovation Week included conferences around innovation technology and entrepreneurship. The finale usually includes a community event filled with food trucks and live art. This year, Dan Stolzenbach, building manager of Stamford Town Center, helped organizers create Auto-Adventure, which allowed people  to drive through an exhibit while social distancing.

“We take you back [in] time, we give you a current vision of what is going on today and what will be in years to come,” said Stolzenbach.

Fog machines sprayed out at cars entering the garage. Each floor had flashing lights to signify a time warp.

“As people arrive through their time warp tunnel, they will see an obstacle course which is very representative of 2020,” said Stolzenbach.

Men in hazmat suits represented the first COVID-19 testing sites. Fire jugglers stood for the wildfires out West. The floor above was dedicated to the 1980s, while the floor below was a nod to the future.

Jessica Bacigalupi, program director for Stamford Innovation, said although organizers had to abandon their usual celebration, they knew they couldn’t skip a year because of the pandemic. 

“We are about entrepreneurship,” said Bacigalupi. “We are about innovation. If we took a year off, what would that say about how innovative we are?”

Bacigalupi said the group considers art one of the finest innovations and a great way to bring the community together.

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