How do you take your art?

Earlier this fall, we conducted an online survey on arts participation in greater New Haven. More than 300 individuals responded. Not surprisingly, many of the respondents are arts mavens, individuals who self- identified as arts supporters (51%), artists (36%), and arts professionals (26%).

Some highlights of the findings:

Over 90% of respondents rate the New Haven region as either a good or excellent place to live. 96% believe that New Haven has a vibrant arts and culture scene and 98% think that arts and cultural activities make New Haven a better place to live and work.

When asked about the types of arts activities they participated in within the past year
77% attended an art exhibit
75% attended a live musical concert
70% attended a live theater performance

Arts education is valued by this group of people. Those respondents who are parents, responded that their children have taken courses in music (62%), visual art (51%), and dance (45%).

When asked about a recent arts event that made a significant impression on them, the responses covered a wide range of experiences—Van Gogh at Yale Art Gallery, Long Wharf’s production of The Bluest Eye, courtyard concerts at the International Festival, jazz at Firehouse 12, Passion Play at Yale Rep, the Westville Art Walk, even our own Arts Awards luncheon. While most responses were from an audience perspective, some people mentioned learning experiences—Flamenco lessons, a sculpture class at CAW. Others noted the experience as participant, such as singing the Brahm’s Requiem as part of a large choral ensemble.

New Haven is perceived as a good place for artists. 95% responded that there’s an active artist community here. 87% indicated that New Haven is supportive of artists.

We also asked about what’s lacking in the arts in New Haven. Among the most frequently mentioned missing assets were more venues for live music, particularly blues and jazz; the need for more commercial galleries; and contemporary dance. Several individuals lamented the loss of the New Haven Film Festival.

And finally, why don’t folks participate in more arts activities? Lack of time (75%) and money (44%) were the main reasons.


Arts in Transition

The presidential election has finally come to a close, but many are wondering what the election of Barack Obama will mean for the arts. Many arts and culture leaders got excited during the campaign, as Obama released a relatively detailed arts policy statement. To view the statement, click here.

But now with inauguration day drawing near, arts leaders want to make sure that the Obama administration doesn't forget about its promise to make arts, culture and the creative economy a priority. With that in mind, 16 arts service organizations recently submitted a detailed list of arts policy recommendations to the Office of Presidential Transition. To view the policy brief (and to see which organizations sent it), click here.

For another interesting take on what an Obama presidency might mean for the arts, check out this blog posting by Ian Moss.

And let us know what you think. What does a new Obama administration mean for the arts? What ideas/policies would you like to do instituted or changed?


On September 16th, the Arts Council kicked off the fall arts season with a preview of what’s happening in New Haven. There were over 30 arts organizations highlighted on the screen with a projection performance created by the New Haven Theater Company along with a band of their actors helping. This networking and informational event happened on the historic Shubert Theater stage and even backstage tours of the Shubert were available.

This was a fun night, sort of like a reunion – it was great to see the arts organizational leaders together after the summer break, and also many of our tried and true old ArtSpot! attendees came plus many new faces from the community joined us.

It was neat having the event backward – we were on the stage networking and then looking out into the audience and up into the balcony for the performance.

Click here to see photos of the event!

Bobbi Griffith


MFA as the new MBA

I recently spoke at a brunch celebrating the Alliance Theater’s 30th anniversary. My remarks centered on the best selling book, A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. After hearing Pink speak last spring at the national Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, I eagerly read his book.
According to Daniel Pink, “the MFA is the new MBA.” He claims that left brain skills (skills that focus on logic, analysis, mathematics) are necessary, but no longer sufficient in this rapidly changing world. Today, we are moving from an Information Age to a Conceptual Age. Pink argues that in the past century, so-called “knowledge workers” have ruled—lawyers, doctors, accountants and engineers who got paid for putting to work what they learned in school.
But now, US knowledge workers have intense competition in China, India and other countries. Big corporations are outsourcing computer programming, tech support—even accounting services. Hospitals are sending CAT scans to be read by radiologists overseas.
This new Conceptual Age requires more adept right brain functions: understanding the context around the facts, the relationships between ideas. . . the BIG picture. When I was growing up there was great stress on focus and specialization, which created angst for generalists like me. But according to Pink, this in-depth knowledge of a single area no longer guarantees success. In the future we will need those who can see beyond the individual puzzle pieces to envision the whole picture. People must learn to see connections between things that may seem diverse and separate, linking uncommon elements to create something new. And now more than ever, there’s a widespread search for meaning and purpose, something that people discover through the arts.

Not surprisingly, Daniel Pink is being enthusiastically embraced by those of us who value the arts, who know in the deep core of our beings that there is an intrinsic value to the arts which has gone unrecognized by mainstream society. Here is a respected author who not only gets it, but who has appeared on CNN and NPRr, who is going around the country declaring his message of innovation and change.
With our lives overflowing with information and data, knowledge alone is no longer enough. Communication, persuasion, and the ability to turn facts into a compelling story is the key to success.



A Trip to the CT Children's Museum

Last week I took my daughter, Jocelyn, to the Connecticut Children's Museum located on Wall Street in New Haven. We had a wonderful time. The museum is a great place for imaginative play consisting of eight "thematic and community inspired rooms".

Our favorite was the musical room.

In the spatial room we enjoyed blocks.

In the "Great Green Room" from Goodnight Moon, Jocelyn took a very important phone call.

And of course everyone enjoys the bees in the naturalist room.

For more information about the Connecticut Children's Museum go to http://childrensbuilding.org/index.htm

-Winter Marshall


Seeking Nominations for the 2008 Arts Awards

The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is currently seeking nominations for the 2008 Arts Awards. This year, the annual awards luncheon will celebrate "Ground Breakers" in the community-visual, performing and literary artists, arts educators, arts organizations, advocates and administrators-whose creative, colorful thoughts enrich our community in countless ways. This year's Arts Awards will be held on Friday, December 5, at the New Haven Lawn Club.

Deadline for nominations is Friday, September 19. To download a nomination form,
click here. Forms can also be picked up at the Arts Council offices at 70 Audubon Street, New Haven. You may also email your nominations to info@newhavenarts.org. For more information, please call the Arts Council at (203) 772-2788.


How do you take your art?

In an effort to better understand how our community participates in the arts, we're conducting a simple online survey—and we need your input! Tell us about your favorite arts pursuits--concerts, plays, visits to musuems--and where you go to hear live music or catch an exhibit. And let us know what's lacking--what would make for a livelier arts community? To take the short survey, Click Here. Thank you for your help!


Pilot Pen Happenings

From left to right: Ginny Kozlowski, President and CEO of the Greater New Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB); Cindy Clair, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven; Daisy Abreu, Acting Director of the Town Green Special Services District and Linda Telier-Smith, Board Chair of the Greater New Haven CVB greeted Senate President Don Williams (Brooklyn, CT) at a recent legislative luncheon held at the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament. The luncheon, co-hosted by the Arts Council, the CVB and Pilot Pen, gave arts advocates an opportunity to thank the legislative leadership for their support. The New Haven region is fortunate to have strong legislative champions who have vigorously supported state arts funding.

A panel of legislators advised arts supporters about how to best advocate for the arts in the upcoming legislative session. From left to right: Senator Toni Harp, Chair of Appropriations; Senator Donald Williams, President Pro Tempore of the Senate; House Majority Leader Chris Donovan; and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney.

For the second straight year, the Arts Council teamed up with Pilot Pen to provide a stunning exhibit of local artwork for the pro tennis player's lounge. The display included work from local artists Barbara Hocker, Clint Jukkala, Claudia Cron, Keith Johnson, Hank Paper, Cham Hendon, Willard Lustenader and Rachel Hellerich. A special thank-you to Rashmi Talpade for curating the exhibit.


Public art for New Haven

Last week, I got a sneak peak at the finalists for a public art project that New Haven's Office of Cultural Affairs plans to present next summer. Artists from throughout the U.S. were invited to submit proposals for a public art installation highlighting the nine squares of the City of New Haven. The four finalists are all well seasoned artists who have created large scale public art projects throughout the country. There are some wonderfully innovative ideas proposed, projects incorporating bells, video, and light. Some are interactive, others involve performances. From now through the end of August, the public is invited to view the final proposals at Artspace. Here's your chance to weigh in on what should be an exciting addition to the cultural scene next summer.



Audubon Arts on the Edge Festival Report

The thirteenth annual Audubon Arts on the Edge festival was a huge success this year! Audubon Street was transformed into a music and art venue with a variety of activities including musical and dance performances, hands on activities, children’s performances, and nine coordinated gallery openings. A couple thousand people attended to enjoy the free events. Join us next year for an even more fun-filled day!



Favorite Route

We hope you've already visited the Parachute Factory Gallery, an exciting new collaboration between the Arts Council, the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) and the Community Services Network of Greater New Haven. But just in case you haven't, we wanted to share a special part of the show with you. Several members of the PRCH staff wrote pieces in response to the current exhibition Routes, and we hope you'll join in the fun. Add a comment and let us know what you think of the show. What pieces stood out to you-and what pieces really made you think?

For more info on the current exhibit Routes, click here. To learn more about the Parachute Factory, click here.

The arts, in some fundamental way, are about choice. Looking at the works in Routes, I began to think about the choices these artists have made. "...it is an exploration of possibility and choices, made along the way," writes Jonathan Waters of his wood and pipe sculpture that greets us at the door. I've driven north and south along I-95 many times. What vantage points did Lawrence Morelli choose for his dramatic highway series? In Morelli's paintings, I don't see a single car.
Lucile Bruce
Co-Founder, The Parachute Factory

From Where I Sit
As time moves forward to reveal more of the past, there are pieces in this exhibit that appear to have no beginning and no end. The circuitous route, the pathwork design and the textured layering of color all demonstrate the organic and dynamic nature of living in, recovering from and moving through experiences.
Timothy Schmutte
Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health

A friend once told me that life is all about making connections. The multiple ways and levels on which to do so is brought to life in Routes-networks, connections, each imply change to me. The route itself changes when you change. Taking the same path and not seeing it anymore, until someone else puts fresh eyes on it for you, as Larry Morelli's paintings of 95 transformed my view of the road. Often we don't realize how the route we take can change us, and how the route inself can change.
Becca Miller
Co-Founder, The Parachute Factory


Reflections on community arts

I've been reflecting on several of the Ideas talks I heard during the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Dancer Liz Lerman, who was in residence here during the past year, spoke about Art in a Democratic Society. Liz is an artist I've admired for many years. She has worked in communities throughout the country, engaging citizens of all ages, from all walks of life, in communicating stories of their lives and communities. In her talk, she pondered why a dance she performs on stage at the Kennedy Center in D.C. is more highly regarded than the dance she does with residents of a nursing home. She explained that her Dance Exchange strives to shift this way of thinking, elevating the importance of art created in and with community.

I think Liz is right on. While I love the opportunity to experience accomplished artists performing in a venue with professional lighting and sound, there is something profoundly powerful about art that is of the people-real people expressing themselves through singing or dancing. So why are the so-called community arts relegated to lesser status?

In another Ideas program, I heard Jude Kelly speak about the Creative Economy. Jude's comments echoed those of Liz as she lamented that culture has become "something you go to in the evening." Both Liz and Jude affirm the ability of art to tell real stories, to make meaning and create identity.

We hear alot of talk about the achievement gap between students of affluent school districts and those in poorer inner city districts. As the arts have become more professional, as arts organizations have morphed into institutions, have we perhaps created a cultural divide?


The Creative Capital of CT

Last night, AC Executive Director Cindy Clair and I attended the Town Green Special Services District 10th anniversary bash (a fantastic evening to honor an unbelievable organization). Included in the evening's festivities was a rare presentation by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli. In the Q&A following his talk, Cesar was asked how living and working in New Haven has influenced his art (his office is located right downtown). Cesar said that is his view, New Haven is the perfect place to foster creativity. He can walk to the office, engage in stimulating conversations, find space for real reflection. So I pose a question to our readers: Do you think New Haven is the ideal city for creative thinkers/workers? Why or why not? And what place in New Haven seems to spark your creativity the most? -Kara



Artwork by Pamela T. Dear

Gallery 195 is currently featuring the works by local artists Claudine Burns and Pamela T. Dear. The exhibit runs from January 8 to March 28. Gallery 195 is located at the New Alliance Bank, 4th floor.