The Lot

Through the Trees: An Interactive Memorial for Victims of Gun Violence

Curators: Hannah Plotke, Nick Pfaff

December 1—December 30, 2013

Artspace will unveil a public, interactive art exhibit in The Lot on Dec. 4. The Lot is situated near the corner of Orange and Chapel Street in Downtown New Haven. The exhibit entitled Through the Trees will include 8 tree sculptures that will be decorated with ornaments created by New Haven public school students. The public is also invited to paint, draw, write and adorn the trees. Local artists Hannah Plotke and Nick Pfaff have conceived the project and will be present in the space every Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday this month, from 11-3PM, to facilitate artistic collaboration and provide materials to invite the community’s participation.

The goal of this exhibit is to bring attention and provide a public space for New Haven residents to reflect on the heavy toll that violence takes on our community. This project is both an affirmation of life, the healing power of art and an unconventional memorial for those we have lost to violence in our community.

The exhibit will consist of eight chrome tree sculptures built by artist Nick Pfaff. The sculptures are reconstructed trees made from cedar trunks and mountain laurel branches. The installation will also feature prints by Connecticut artist Josh Rowley.

Hannah Plotke and Nick Pfaff are both local artists who have been working to develop public art projects that focus on the healing power of art. In the spring of 2013, they curated a show at the State Legislative Office Building in Hartford Connecticut in conjunction with HealingNewtown, an art center which became a hub for artwork sent from across the world following the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Connecticut school superintendents and principals also contributed artwork by their students. This was intended to allow young people in our state to have a voice and an opportunity to react and reflect on what the tragedy meant to them. It is Hannah and Nick’s hope that Through the Trees will function in an urban environment that experiences violence on a regular basis with the aim to create a platform for dialogue.

Nick Pfaff and Hannah Plotke are recipients of a Community Engagement Grant from the New Haven Arts Council. Through the Trees is also made possible thanks to the backers of their successful Kickstarter campaign. Artspace programs at the Lot are supported by the City of New Haven, and the National Endowment for the Arts.