Though Yale students may not be aware of it, New Haven has far more culture to offer than Thai food and indie films at York Square Cinema.
ArtSpot, a Yale-sponsored monthly happy hour for citizens involved in the New Haven arts scene, launched “Start with the Arts” last Friday in a reception that took place at the Neighborhood Music School in the Whitney-Audubon area. “Start” is a monthlong program designed to spotlight arts around the city.
“The idea is to bring people to arts venues who might not otherwise come,” said Betty Monz, part of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. “Rather than creating something new, [“Start”] uses something that already exists to highlight and promote.”
Nearly 100 exhibitions, lectures, performances, concerts and other outings are planned from Sept. 11 to Oct. 13. Such vibrant artistic activity is not a singular event in what organizers call “the cultural capital of Connecticut.”
“All we did was focus on one month and promote it, but this type of activity happens all year long,” said Monz.
Faculty of the Creative Arts Workshop, part of Start with the Arts, put on an art show in the Hilles Gallery next door to ArtSpot. Other events will include a three-hour sail on New Haven’s Flagship Quinnipiack around the Long Island Sound and shows at the Long Wharf Theatre.
Additional programs will include tours at the Peabody Museum, gallery talks at the Yale University Art Gallery and special shows at the Yale Center for British Art and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale will become more involved later in the year as more of the productions and programs get under way.
“What’s interesting is that Yale is just gearing up and not in full swing yet,” said Barbara Lamb, the director of New Haven’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. “They will have more art programs and music shows and concerts.”
The publicity push is a joint effort among the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, City of New Haven Department of Cultural Affairs, Market New Haven Inc., and the Town Green Special Services District. The campaign works to bring all the offerings of the city into the public eye at once and to connect many portions of the artistic offerings of the city that are otherwise not in contact.
“The Arts Council is functioning as a glue to bring us all together,” said Larry Zukof, executive director of the Neighborhood Music School. “It is an effort to not be so segregated in our own world. It’s an effort to really raise the visibility of the successes of New Haven. New Haven really has a lot to be proud of.”
The launch also coincides with many students registering for art, music and dance classes, including some at the Neighborhood Music School, which boasts 3,000 students.
“Our program — which has hands-on, active programs, largely — has registration in September,” Zukof said. “During September so many programs are starting up, so this is a great opportunity.”