Courtesy of Artspace

Beginning this year, Artspace New Haven has decided to replace their annual Artspace Gala with a fundraising event called “Love Notes.” The event, which will take place from April 30 to May 2, includes a virtual and in-person reception on April 29. Tickets are $100 and $150, respectively.

“Love Notes” offers visitors to the gallery the opportunity to peruse and purchase artworks made by artists about the things, places and people that they love. These donated artworks, which adhere to dimensions of 5 inches by 8 inches, include photographs, oil paintings and collages. Each artwork is priced at $95. 

“[Love Notes] is a lovely invitation for the audience to take note of what kind of art they respond to, independent of price or name. It is an invitation to follow your passion. This fundraiser is about finding joy,” said Marion Belanger MFA ’90, an Artspace board member and donating artist. 

According to Shannon Blencowe, development assistant at Artspace and one of the event’s organizers, the format of the fundraiser was Artspace Director Lisa Dent’s idea. Blencowe said that Dent conceived of the plan after the gallery canceled its annual gala for the second year in a row. She added that the concept of commissioning many small artworks to generate gallery funds was inspired by fundraisers that other art galleries have hosted in the past. 

Tina Oyanguren ’23, an intern at Artspace who has assisted in the organization of “Love Notes,” said the works she has seen so far are “distinct” despite the dimensional requirements. 

“It’s called ‘Love Notes’ because the works of art are supposed to be inspired by something the artist loves and by buying it you are showing your love for Artspace,” Oyanguren said.

Attendees will be able to visit the gallery in-person to view artworks on display, and then purchase the works online at home or at the gallery. Additionally, the donated art will be presented to the public anonymously in order to dissuade visitors from only buying the works of renowned artists.

Lakshmi Amin ’21, an Artspace gallery assistant, said that the anonymity of the artworks “democratizes” the show. She added that the organic manner in which pieces will be added to the gallery’s walls ensures that pieces by more prominent artists are not prioritized.

“It creates this kind of interesting equalized playing field where we have some very well-known artists involved that maybe $95 is really a steal for their art but their names are kept anonymous, it’s a bit of a game who you might end up purchasing,” Blencowe said.

Even though Artspace is accepting submissions from all over the state, Blencowe said she suspects that most artist submissions will be from local artists that have an established relationship with the gallery, such as artists with work in Artspace’s Flatfile, or artists who have shown work at past exhibitions.

For example, Belanger is a part of an arts collective called “The Birthday Club,” a group that grew out of the Yale MFA program over 30 years ago. All group members, who are photographers, will be donating their work to “Love Notes.”

“We’re really trying to bring together a big swath of people, and it’s been really great to see how many people love this idea,” Amin said. “I love the fact that it invites anyone to contribute, and it’s kind of decentering the idea that you want a work by a well-known artist — anyone can contribute, and it’s really about what resonates with the artist members.”

Artspace is located at 50 Orange St.

Annie Radillo |

Correction, Apr. 1: A previous version stated that Amin is an intern at Artspace. In fact, she is a gallery assistant. This article has been updated.

Correction, Apr. 1: A previous version stated that Artspace replaced their annual Artspace Gala with “Love Notes” solely because of the pandemic, and only for this year. In fact, the gallery hopes to permanently replace its gala with “Love Notes.” This article has been updated.

Annie Radillo covers museums and visual art. She is a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in English.