What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
City-Wide Open Studios aims to give an opportunity to artists, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to exhibit, a chance to show their work in the community. It provides those interested in the arts to meet artists inside their workspace, see their new, old and in process work, make conversation and interact on a deeper level than they might if solely experiencing the work in a gallery of museum setting. The Alternative Space weekend in particular gives artists, who don’t have a studio workspace the opportunity to show their work in a setting that facilitates the creation of new site-specific work. Artists have the chance to engage with the Connecticut community as well as interact with fellow artists both on their weekend and on any other weekend that they are interested in visiting. Building a network for artist is the bones of what makes CWOS successful. An alternative community is made during the month of October that continues on throughout the rest of the year.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
While the goals didn't change the certainly evolved throughout this years festival. We were able to engage with the local community and with artists all over CT fostering a deep connection between them that they may never have had the chance to establish. CWOS continues to develop and change each year, building new paths through communities of artist and visitors.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
The City of New Haven’s Office Economic Development.
The Goffe Street Armory Planning Committee
Elm City Cycling
Town Green Special Services District
New Haven Public Schools District, and Hillhouse High School in particular
Erector Square (Real Estate developer of factory turned into arts studios)
350 Participating artists from Greater New Haven.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
New Haven’s greatest challenge lies in its great income inequality. As measured against 365 other metropolitan areas, New Haven ranks 301st among communities where disparities are the starkest, according to a new report from think-tank Data Haven. This determinant of individual well-being is accentuated by the segregation of our residential neighborhoods, perpetuating polarization and distrust. Though the GSA is in a high-poverty neighborhood, it has many distinctive assets that offer the promise of bridge-building and eventual mixed-use redevelopment: the large public Hillhouse high school (prized for its Marching Band even as a low-performing school with 73% of students eligible for Free/Reduced lunch); a park with a modern bandshell and popular horseshoe pit; the busy City-Wide Field house (site of the Special Olympics); a cluster of active churches, including one with an award-winning Steel Pan ensemble; senior housing; and proximity to a new public-private effort to develop a business corridor two blocks away. The site is less than 1 mile from the Yale campus, and historically relevant: It housed the Governor’s 2nd Company Foot Guard from 1929 till 2007. More than half of all CWOS artists will exhibit at the Armory; its breathtaking Drill Hall will serve as entrance meeting point for local food carts, musicians, and the Our Town guided tours. We believe CWOS at the GSA, illuminated with outdoor projects in the weeks leading up to the public opening, will bring residents from both poor and more affluent areas together to take pride in local talent, improve perceptions about the site, and build bonds between audience and artists.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
San Francisco’s Art Span was the original inspiration in its multi weekend format in which different parts of the city are showcased on different weekends. Also the food/cycling tours offered in New Orleans which promote heightened understanding of alternative transport options and the safety of artist neighborhoods. Finally, we continue to admire the 4Arts festival on Governor’s Island NYC which annually and temporarily activates the former army barracks there with art installations.