Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Changes at Artspace

50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709

There was a press preview at Artspace this past Monday, led by Communications Director Jemma Williams and Artspace Executive Director Leslie Shaffer, both of the shows that have just opened and of some of the changes being introduced by Shaffer. The changes concern both the configuration of the space for the display of shows and programming. And both moves seem like they have a lot of potential.

Williams noted that there is a new color-coded and numbered gallery layout. Gallery One, which has been the main gallery, will continue to be the venue for the larger themed shows. (I plan to write about the new exhibit—Unnameable Things, a selection of abstract painting curated by local artist Clint Jukkala—in the near future.) The other galleries, in the spaces formerly designated as the Flatfile Room, the Project Room, etc., will feature smaller shows. The plan is to turn over the Main Gallery shows every three months while the smaller shows will change on a monthly basis. However, according to Williams, this three-month/one-month schedule will not go into effect until the fall, probably after City-Wide Open Studios. The current shows will be installed through March 29.

According to Shaffer, there are a couple of reasons for the switch. In their discussions with artists, they learned that, unsurprisingly, they would like more opportunities for solo exhibitions. And, by rotating the smaller shows more regularly, "it allows us to have a lot of different audiences coming through."

"By carving out little niches in the small galleries, it increases the number of artists we can serve in this way," said Shaffer. The plan is also to display larger works in the spaces with strong street visibility, with smaller works in the rooms where viewers need to come in.

The second major change, and one that is going into effect immediately, is the start of a weekly Thursday night programming schedule. Williams says that programming will range from "general fun events" like next week's "Valentine's Day Death by Chocolate Evening" and a "Winter Warmer Soup Swap" on Thurs., Feb. 28, to educational events, artist talks, forums for collectors, poetry open mics and semi-annual artists' networking receptions.

Diverse regular programming can feed off and into the growing reputation of the Ninth Square as an entertainment district. Check the revamped Artspace Web site to keep up to date with upcoming events.


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