Each year, City-Wide Open Studios adopts a theme that prompts artists and visitors to reflect on and engage around issues that impact our community. This year’s theme of Older but Younger mobilized intergenerational collaborations between artists who seek to explore a range of topics related to the questions longevity, renewal, where memory resides, and how it might be passed from one person to the next. Many of these artists live in the same city, but are connecting for the first time through these collaborations. Visitors will find responses over three weekends, including:
Private Studios: Oct 12-13 features artists in their private studios throughout New Haven, West Haven, North Haven, and Hamden. Artspace offered guided bike tours to many of the studio locations.
Westville: Oct 12-13 is home to a bustling community of artists who live and work in private studios and shared work spaces in the Westville section of new Haven.
Erector Square: Oct 19-20 Visit a unique creative ecosystem, where some of New Haven’s most established artists work alongside an array of wellness practitioners in what was once the Erector Set toy factory.
Alternative Space: Nov 2-3 A record number of 230+ artists, collectives, art departments and more will show their work alongside 9 major commissions on the theme of Older but Younger, from visual art, to performance-based work and social practice.
Creativity is the Key
Creativity is the Key is a project by the Concepts Group, a collective of ten women artists ranging in age from 60 to 92, who were all students of Constance Kiermaier. Constance is one of the oldest living alumnae of the Yale School of Art, having graduated in the 1940’s, and has dedicated her life to making art and teaching. Before moving to an assisted living home in Maine at the age of 90, where she started an art program, Constance presented her students with an antique key that offered each individual personally crafted words of advice, insight or encouragement. This project presents these keys alongside the artists’ recent work, showing the ways in which Constance’s belief inspired her students to trust their instincts and forge their own paths. To pay this act forward, the Concepts Group is mounting a wall of keys with blank tags that visitors may take, write upon, and gift to another artist who they believe in. The Concepts Group includes: Donna Collins, Carol Conze, Karen Neems, Cate Leach, Pam Lindberg, Jane Lubin, Mary Manning, Lisa Thoren, Meg Tweedy, Cynthia Whalen and Mary Whalen.
Underwriting provided by Janine Brown and Peter Weinbach, and Riaz Lalani and Jane Lubin.
Memory Edit: I will never forget
Memory Edit: I will never forget is a participatory project and installation by Megan Craig, Ralph Franklin, Nick Lloyd, and Kyle Goldbach that invites four residents of the Whitney Center retirement home and life care facility to collaborate on the production of four quilts that tell their stories. Craig will interview the residents, asking them to recall details of their past, which will serve as the basis for the quilts’ designs, gestures, and phrases, and the content for a sound score. During the festival, local quilters and visitors will work side by side to stitch these memories in place, evoking the histories of quilting and sewing bees. At large, the project explores the phenomenon of how memory can be preserved through touch, sound, and movement, and examines ways in which memories are formed, altered, changed and secured over time by both individuals and coordinated collectives.
Underwriting provided by Cathy DeMeo and Greg Futoma.
The Body is an Archive
The Body is an Archive is a dance film and live performance by Angharad Davies that explores how memory lives in our bodies. Whether we are young or old, the vocabularies of social dances such as the Hitchhike, the Watusi, the Waltz, the Floss, the Dougie, the Prep, the Stanky Leg, and more recently, the the Macarena, the Electric Slide, and the Cha Cha Slide, the Harlem Shake and the Wobble, stay with us, and we make them our own. Davies will interview and record 30+ people of all ages, who live across the city of New Haven, inviting them to share the stories and movements of their youth. She will edit these interviews into a 30-minute video, art installation, and a live original performance, which will be performed at 1pm and 5pm daily.
Strange Fruit is a collaboration between Howard El-Yasin (b.1957) and Dymin Ellis (b.1997), two artists based in New Haven who are meeting for the first time through this project. El-Yasin makes conceptual sculpture using materials that reference the body (dried banana skins, brown paper bags and drier lint), and Ellis is a poet, singer, healer and painter. They share a mutual interest in exploring the intersectionality of queer identity and the contemporary Black experience through an engagement with everyday materials and language forms. Over the course of four months, El-Yasin and Ellis will develop a plan for an installation and a series of movement-based scores and experimental speech acts that will be presented and performed over the 2-day festival. Through the addition of participatory elements, their work will raise the questions: "What happens when someone or something is erased?” “Are people and their stories ever really erased?” “and, “Where do these erased souls go?”
The War Experience Project
Iraqi War Veteran Rick Lawson created The War Experience Project in 2008 as a way for veterans to share their stories about their military experiences without relying on language alone. After returning from active duty, Lawson found that many friends, family members and acquaintances who had never served in the military, asked him questions about his experience. While these people were genuinely curious, their conversations frequently broke down, usurped by the desire to judge, feel shock or talk politics. Lawson began to feel isolated, and instead of shutting down, started to paint on the back of his uniform to tell his story. Realizing the socio-emotional and health benefits of this act, he opened this project up to others. For the festival, Lawson will invite local Vets from the West Haven VA Errera Center, recent recruits, and active duty officers to tell their stories through a painting workshop that will be held early in October. Lawson will install these new uniforms aside 25 uniforms from past iterations of this project. Festival viewers will be invited to donate satchels of fabric to the installation, which Lawson will quilt into garment bags and hang alongside the uniforms. As the installation grows, it will symbolize a community coming together to support multiple generations of Veterans.
Underwriting provided by Jennifer Davies and JL Scott.
Artspace is commissioning our 2018-2019 Artist-in-Residence, Erin Lee Antonak, to develop a Land Acknowledgement that will permanently adorn the front doors of our gallery. The land that Artspace currently occupies is the traditional and sacred homeland of the Quinnipiac people, decedents of our indigenous ancestors, who occupied Connecticut for over 8,000 years before European settler-colonizers arrived in the early 1630’s. The concept of private land ownership was foreign to the Quinnipiac, who formed an early alliance with the English, fighting on the same sides of many wars, even as the Europeans established treaties that stripped the indigenous people of their rights to occupy and steward the land, and practice their economic, religious and social traditions. By 1774, only 71 Quinnipiac people remained in the region, and in 1850, the final remaining Quinnipiac moved elsewhere. Antonak’s acknowledgement will commemorate this invisible history and respond to an installation by William Stone which was installed on Artspace’s front doors in 2003 for the exhibition Territories, and still remains. This is a collaboration between artists working across the generations to raise awareness around location, as well as a collaboration between Antonak and our region’s indigenous ancestors.
Underwriting provided by Ellen Eisenberg and Neal Feigenson
Generations of Rhythm
Generations of Rhythm is a tap dance performance conceived and choreographed by Alexis Robbins that brings together racially diverse dancers on opposing ends of the age spectrum. The 25-minute performance will debut on the opening night of the festival, Friday, October 4 at 6:15pm, on the street outside Artspace, and include duets between older and younger dancers, improvisations, stories shared, and variations on the Shim Sham Shimmy and the BS Chorus. The piece will primarily be performed a capella, but some sections will be accompanied by live musicians. To choreograph the piece, Robbins will pull from the dancers’ memories, life experiences and the movements they create rehearsing together. Following the performance, festival goers will be invited to dance with each performer, testing out their tap skills on small wooden boards.
Underwriting provided by Jody Ellant and Howard Reiter; William and Betsy Sledge.
Ages of Life: Inhabiting the Fossil Record
Ages of Life: Inhabiting the Fossil Record is an immersive installation by Leila Daw (b.1950) and Alexis Musinski (b.1994) that will allow visitors to experience themselves within the strata of the Earth as part of the fossil record, and alludes to Planet Earth as our greatest inheritance. This work merges the artists’ mutual concerns for the health and delicacy of our planet, and their shared use of sewing, embroidery and mapping to create large scale works. They decided to collaborate for the first time to see how they might learn from one another. Their installation will feature an immersive installation of panels hanging in space that overlap and surround observers like rock faces in a canyon. Fossil-like images will emerge, evoking the idea that differences in the ages of living humans are negligible in comparison to our planet’s 4.5 billion year-old lifespan. The work will also address and complicate the word fossil, as it is used by scientists to define proof of ancient life, and pejoratively to describe older people who are set in their ways.
Underwriting provided by Phyllis and Joseph Crowley; Hull's Art Supply & Framing; Feury Image Group.
Searching for the Fountain of Youth: A Feminine Perspective
Searching for the Fountain of Youth: A Feminine Perspective is a collaboration between a multigenerational group of women artists who seek to cultivate a creative space for addressing the beauty industrial complex and aging. The project takes the form of a guided ritual where the artists will lead participants through five-stages designed to release, renew, and awaken one’s inner goddess. The final stage opens into a fountain and seating area where the artists will organize daily talks, including a conversation on gero-protective interventions led by Morgan Levine PhD. Artists include: Lee Walther, Roxanne Faber Savage, Kate Henderson, and Kenechukwu Okeke with support from Carlos Garica, Jessica Dugan, and Patricia Tilstam.
Vagina Chorus is a performance by multimedia artist Althea Rao that she is developing over the course of her one-year residency at Artspace. The piece imagines a choir for 6-10 players of various ages, identities and walks of life, who will produce a symphony of notes via the use of a bio-feedback enabled personal kegel trainer. These popular devices, readily available online, allow users to measure, track and strengthen their kegel muscles, an exercise that has been scientifically proven to increase bladder control and incontinence, speed up recovery after childbirth, enhance intimate health and alleviate anxiety and depression. Rao will collaborate with computer programmers and musicians to develop two notes that each user can play-- one low (generated through a medium squeeze) and one high (generated through a harder squeeze). Through its playfulness and humor, the performance is meant to break down the stigmas and social taboos that stop us from talking freely about pelvic and sexual health. For City-Wide Open Studios, Rao will debut an early prototype, distribute information about Pelvic Health, and begin to recruit Vagina Chorus participants.
The Million-Petaled Flower of Being Here
The Million-Petaled Flower of Being Here is a writing project by author/artist Jacquelyn Gleisner, who will interview a range of artists from different backgrounds and ages to present a nuanced picture of how artists change over the span of their careers. Artspace will print excerpts from these interviews in a section of the printed City-Wide Open Studios guide, and the full interviews will be available on Gleisner’s online art blog, the Connecticut Art Review.
READ IT: at connecticutartreview.com
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Artspace is partnering with Unidad Latinos en Accion (ULA) and Guatemalan artist Pedro Lopez to organize a 10-day Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition, which will be installed in our galleries after the final weekend of the festival. Day of the Dead celebrations are a way to commune with, and celebrate ancestors. The exhibition will feature giant kites made of paper and bamboo, floats memorializing the dead, exquisite masks of all shapes and sizes and photographs of the parade, created over the past ten years. ULA will open its doors to the public before the parade, inviting community members to participate in the making of floats, masks and costumes for this year’s parade.
Co-produced by Unidad Latina en Acción.
Underwriting by an anonymous donor.
Sponsored by the International Association of New Haven and Progreso Latino Fund.
Older But Younger Pecha Kucha
Older But Younger Pecha Kucha is a high-energy evening of twelve 6-minute and 40-second slide- shows, presented by a group of local speakers who are invited to share their personal takes on this year’s festival theme. This event has taken hold of the imaginations of cities around the world, and New Haven has produced it quarterly for the past ten years. It’s part Ted Talk, part Moth Storytelling event, with beer, prosecco, and a food truck to keep viewers energized. For its second iteration within the context of City-Wide Open Studios, the format will feature a multigenerational range of perspectives, sharing stories that relate to memory, inheritance, longevity, front-line care, gerontology and evolution. Location/Date: Long Wharf Theater Stage II, Wednesday, October 23, 6-9pm.
Sponsored by CareMore Health. With additional underwriting provided by Barbara Pearce and Norm Fleming.
West River Arts
Sideways & Askew
City Lights Gallery
Bridgeport Arts Trail
Claudine Burns Smith
SCSU Art Department
Ely Center of Contemporary Art
UARTS Chapel Haven
d'Ann de Simone
Francisco Del Carpio
Kehler Liddell Gallery
People Get Ready
Yvonne Gordon Moser
Joseph Gorneault Jr.
Artists for World Peace Inc.
Dooley O Jackson
Earl Grenville Killeen
Irene K. Miller
Lunch Money Print
The Tyler Morris
M.O.S.S. & Women's Art Connection
Art of Aging
Joy Kene Okeke
Craig Weyler & Phoenx Photo
Roxanne Faber Savage
Mark St. Mary
Kevin Van Aelst
Penelope Van Grinsven
Martha Savage with Active Wellness