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Meet the Artspace Team: Lani Asuncion

Lani Asuncion is our brand new City-Wide Open Studios Associate Producer. If you have any questions or need help with any aspect of City-Wide Open Studios, Lani can help. Her email address is

1. What drew you to New Haven? If you could change one thing about the community, what would it be?

I first came to New Haven in 2012 for a job. Shortly after found a studio at Erector Square in Fair Haven, where I’ve been for the past four years. Not so much change but encourage connection. I would like to create a critique group that meets 1-2 times  a month. These meetings would give all interested artists the chance to share their work and get feedback from peers of different practices.

2. You’ve had the opportunity to experience several artist residencies. If you were designing your own, what elements would you incorporate to offer the ideal experience? What is the most valuable insight you’ve taken away from other artists who were with you?

It has been wonderful to gain the experience of making work at different residencies over the past  five years, nationally and internationally. If I had the financial support and creative freedom, I’d like to design a residency that is mobile. Instead of the artists going to a location the residency would come to them as support. It would connect artists working in a variety of backgrounds (video, performance, sculpture, sound & audio, architecture, and literary arts). Allowing them to collaborate on common ideas working on projects that contribute to the local community in some form or function. The public would have meetings with the artists voicing their needs and give feedback on preliminary project proposals. All artists must be local and work with a non-for-profit organization or community run group.

3. You have a night on the town in New Haven and out of town friends: where do you go and why?

A night of adult puppet theater at Three Sheets because it is fun and corky, and who doesn’t love puppets! Then karaoke because I love to sing with friends.

4. What advice would you give to an artist who is new to City-Wide Open Studios and planning to participate this fall?

Prepare your work and studio ahead of time, don’t rush to install. Post signs outside and around your studio so visitors know who you are and where you are located. Use social media to spread the word about your participation and let everyone know! It also helps if you can get a friend to help you watch your space periodically so you can take breaks and see other artist’s spaces. Greet and welcome everyone who comes to your studio, this is the time to meet new people and share your work.

5. Best show gallery or Museum show you’ve seen this past year? And why?

I recently was impressed with the exhibit ‘Telling Tales – Excursions in Narrative Form’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Syndey. One section of the show I remember well was by Sydney based artist from Indonesia Jumaadi, showing his work ‘The Life and Death of a Shadow’  which displayed a large series of wayang kulit or shadow puppets made of hand cut buffalo hide and watercolor. He developed his work around observing an impoverished blind man and his son in his village who he recalled ‘transformed their simple hut into a place of magic: Spirits filled the living room, witness to this enchanted performance.

6. What artists inspire you?

Artists who use life as a means to make work, making no distinction between making and living. Who take the viewer into account as an equal and participant versus a patron who equates to financial gain.