Tag Archive: renovation

  1. 100 Starlit Years, a Bright Tomorrow

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    I’ve memorized their faces without having to try. The cowboy with the under-bite, two guns pointed upwards; the curly-haired, pensive woman, frowning a toad-like frown and wringing her hands; the protruding, heavy brow of the man hovering above her; the pleading girl; the smoking clown; the tiny explorer. Though I’ve never given them much thought, these black-and-white cartoons have loomed on the wall of my playroom for what seems like forever. Under their grotesque gaze I learned to walk and read, to gather my stuffed animals and leaf through teeny bopper magazines.

    Twenty-five years ago, my mother had one of her first adult jobs working in the development office of the Shubert Theater, the New Haven landmark that stands next to the Taft Apartments on College Street. When she moved away from New Haven, and from her temp position at the Shubert, she took with her a poster — a commemoration of the theater’s 1984 reopening — and has held onto it ever since. Now, the caricatured faces on that poster are permanently etched in my memory.

    “I imagine, after 100 years, it might be pretty run-down by now,” my mom said about the Shubert when I called.

    In some ways, her suspicion is right: in the lobby one sees exposed pipes and ancient concessions. Just last Sunday at the Shubert, a 500-600-pound box fell and crushed someone — who was subsequently hospitalized — an event that has generated no follow-up report.

    Still, my mom’s nostalgia for the theater peeks through in her voice. “It was definitely the most fun job I had in New Haven,” she told me.

    * * *

    “I have to hug you,” Anthony Lupinacci, the director of marketing and community relations for the Shubert, tells me when we first meet. “I still remember when your mom took us out to lunch at IHOP before she left. We saw the last name, but didn’t think it could ever actually be the same family.” When he first started working here, we ascertain, my mother had just started working here. Time flies, he says.

    The two of us are standing in front of the Shubert’s new “gallery,” a timeline of some of the biggest stars and performances the Shubert’s seen over the last century. The lights go up on the framed posters, illuminating the young faces of national dramatic treasures: Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Mary Martin, Sidney Poitier and Robert Redford, to name a handful. We start at the beginning.

    It’s December 1914, and the Shubert Theater, a new branch of the New York-based Shubert brothers’ company, is preparing to open. A Dec. 3 article from the News boasts of the incoming attraction: “New Theatre Most Modern in United States — New Haven Assured of Best Theatrical Season it Has Ever Had — New Theatre Practically Fireproof.”

    Over the next several decades, the Shubert would be christened “the birthplace of the nation’s greatest hits.” It functioned as a premier “tryout theatre,” or a venue for nascent shows to run trial performances before making their debut on Broadway. The stage has played host to the world premieres of quite a few now-canonical shows, like “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1947, which launched the career of a young, then-unknown Marlon Brando.

    This “golden age” at the Shubert spanned the 35 years that it was owned by a certain Maurice Bailey. Bailey took it over in 1941, when the Shubert Foundation, which had become a national theater monopoly, was forced to transfer its ownership, and held onto the theater until it closed in 1976.

    Rachel Alderman is a producer for A Broken Umbrella Theatre, a local company that is currently in rehearsals for “Seen Change,” an original musical about the Shubert Theater and New Haven that will premiere Feb. 18 at the Shubert. She noted the venue’s storied history.

    “Frankly, you can’t talk about the history or the legacy of the American theater scene without talking about the Shubert in New Haven,” she said. “One birthed the other.”

    A show’s try-out period at the Shubert was truly raw and led to notable changes: “Oklahoma!” was named “Away We Go” when it played at the Shubert in 1943, and the responses of New Haven audiences contributed in large part to the addition and subtraction of songs before the final Broadway debut.

    In a video she recorded for the Shubert’s centennial in November, Julie Andrews recalled a crippling attack of stage fright by a then-inexperienced Rex Harrison on the opening night of “My Fair Lady.” The performance was called off, but due to a record-breaking blizzard, word did not reach audience members, who filled the seats anyway. The Shubert crew then scattered, gathered the cast members from around New Haven, and put on the show.

    “Everything about it was high drama,” she says in the video, holding the original 1956 playbill. “And great fun.”

    Andrews’s is one of 44 “shout-out” Youtube videos uploaded by former Shubert stars to commemorate its anniversary. A quick scroll through the playlist makes it clear: The stars remember the Shubert as fondly as the Shubert remembers them, and its legacy has stretched well beyond the local.

    “The whole thing kind-of went viral,” Lupinacci said about the shout-out project, which began with staffers reaching out to just a handful of familiar faces. “We started getting emails and submissions from people we hadn’t even contacted.”

    A selfie-angle video of Perez Hilton, lying in bed, saying one day he’d feel so honored to act in a play at the Shubert, stands out as a potentially unsolicited submission. Marie Osmond, Jane Fonda and Kristin Chenoweth have posted their own tributes. James Earl Jones recalls spending his 26th birthday at the Shubert performing in the world premiere of “Sunrise at Campobello.”

    Lupinacci nods his head in affirmation when Andrews praises what is perhaps the Shubert’s most noteworthy attribute. “Congratulations,” she says, “for surviving all the other theaters that come and go.”

    * * *

    Survival has not been easy.

    During an economic downturn in New Haven, the Shubert closed its doors in 1976, and remained shuttered for seven years. A 1983 project to revitalize downtown brought it back to life.

    Funds were poured into renovations and the theater’s mission was reimagined. It would no longer exist as merely a tryout theater and a Broadway junction, though those ties were to remain strong. It would become a community resource and a more versatile venue.

    “Since reopening, there’s been an increased diversity in the programming, and an increased functionality,” Lupinacci said. The last season, for example, has seen everything from local high school productions to stand-up comedians to a Gospel act to ballets to, of course, Broadway musicals.

    Alderman says that this versatility is so much of what makes the Shubert, and New Haven as a whole, special. She recalled watching her young niece’s recital in the Shubert, where she also saw the Tony-award winning “Peter and the Starcatcher” last week.

    “If a three-year-old tap dancing in a bumblebee costume in the same space as that Broadway production is not a beautiful symbol for what’s possible when a city is alive with the arts, I don’t know what is,” she said. “It’s like the whole birth-life cycle right there on stage.”

    In 2001, the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts took over management of the theater, though the city still owned the building. Around this time, a new movement emerged that sought to re-create — and update — the tryout theater golden age. The Shubert’s executive directors and board undertook an effort to debut the national tours of Broadway plays. Now, before travelling across the nation, Broadway productions hunker down in New Haven for several weeks to build their sets and — just as in the old days — to test out their performances.

    “We have this wonderful past that we love to celebrate, but we’re constantly looking to the future,” said Lupinacci. “We like to remind people that this is not a museum.”

    The initiative has landed some huge names: in the past three years, “Jersey Boys” and “Peter and the Starcatcher” made their national tour debuts at the Shubert, and “Matilda” will do the same this May. These big fish not only inflate the Shubert’s credibility, but also pump money into the city. For six weeks at a time, Lupinacci pointed out, creative teams are staying in local hotels, ordering supplies for their shows and patronizing local shops and restaurants. Every year, the Shubert brings in $5 million in revenue and, according to a Quinnipiac University study, generates $20 million of economic impact for the city.

    As the centennial approached, the Shubert underwent further changes. Although being owned by the city had its benefits for many years (protection from demolition, for example), converting to a not-for-profit model would allow the Shubert to apply for grants and save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

    In a unanimous vote in November 2013, the city elected to transfer building ownership to CAPA, a move that, entirely by coincidence, was finalized on the 99th anniversary of the Shubert’s opening night in 1914.

    Lupinacci waves his hands and smiles. He says he can only attribute such a happenstance to the spirit of all the old stars who at one point have called the Shubert home.

    * * *

    “If you look closely enough, you can see the gerbils running through!”

    So says a woman cleaning the newly expanded Shubert lobby, referring to the large and exposed mechanical pipes on the ceiling. By the end of the $14.8 million renovation period in October 2016, Lupinacci says, they’ll be covered, but the renovation is being executed in phases.

    More dire woes than gerbils — the falling box comes to mind — have befallen the Shubert during the renovation. These oversights are symptomatic of a general state of disrepair in the theater, which hasn’t undergone any substantial renovation since reopening in the 1980s.

    In 2013, the board of directors, the staff and the city all agreed: It was time. The first phase, completed from May to October of 2014, addressed the antiquated heating and cooling systems, dressing rooms, lobby and hospitality suite, as well as general maintenance problems.

    Lisa Sanborn, who has been artistic director of the New Haven Ballet for the last 14 years (and has consequently worked on 14 productions of the Nutcracker at the Shubert), said that the “single greatest change” has been the implementation of more bathrooms throughout the building. Previously, there were only bathrooms in the basement, which proved challenging for casts as well as audience members.

    “It’s a lot easier to implement plumbing now than it was decades ago,” Lupinacci said, adding wryly, “We’re committed to ‘seats where there’s seating.’”

    In spite of millions of dollars’ worth of changes, CAPA and the board of directors are committed to preserving the theater proper — which is essentially the same as it was on its opening night in 1914.

    Indeed, the 1914 News’ description of the theater rings true 100 years later: “The interior design is in New England Colonial style, the entire effect being of old ivory, with golden brown velvet hangings, seat upholstery and carpets. The Curtain will also be of the same rich tone of brown velvet.

    Lupinacci says he’s proud of the theater’s “classic elegance,” and its avoidance of the “overly extravagant, gingerbread style” that many other 20th-century theaters adopted.

    He does concede they might like to expand the space, in order to accommodate some larger and more complicated musicals, like “The Phantom of the Opera” or “The Lion King.” But it can’t happen, he explained, because the theater is sandwiched right in between the Crown Street parking garage and the Taft Apartments.

    But according to Sanborn, the theater’s design could not make for a more optimal audience experience. She argued that it has the same, or even better, acoustics as the most technologically advanced theater, and that no matter which of the 1,600 seats you get, there’s a clear and intimate view of the actors.

    Not only does the theater create intimacy between performers and the audience, it also fosters intimacy between the audience members themselves. When crafting the conceit for a centennial painting for the theater, New Haven-based artist Tony Falcone asked Shubert staff members what they most wanted to capture about their beloved theater. According to Lupinacci, “It was that feeling of anticipation as the curtain goes up and the audience — who come from all different racial, socio-economic and personal backgrounds — are all united in their excitement about what’s to come.”

    That feeling is precisely what Falcone captures in the painting, now hanging at the end of the gallery timeline at the Shubert. The picture is pink and exuberant, reminiscent of Chagall. In it, beams of light emanate from beneath the curtain, which has just started to rise, and shine onto a full house.

    When I look at it, I remember the old Shubert poster in my playroom, the histrionic black-and-white expressions of the figures. I can’t help thinking that these two images are indicative of the Shubert’s shift in focus: from the drama of its star-studded past to the joy of giving back to its own community.

    For Shubert patrons and performers, these images are complements.

    Describing the experience of setting foot into the theater and onto the stage, Sanborn says, “You stand there and think to yourself about all the incredible, world-famous performers that have been backstage, and have performed there, and it really does give you goosebumps.”

  2. Art is Here

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    On the corner of Chapel Street and High Street, the familiar vacancy that was the entrance to the Yale Center for British Art has been boarded up. The gray plywood anticipates the 14-month renovation, which began last week, and, more importantly, indicates the temporary loss of one of Yale’s most unique artistic spaces.

    Students and administrators alike will miss the YCBA, which houses works by canonical British artists, such as Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. “I’m probably just going to cry a little,” said Daniel Leibovic ’17, who works at the YCBA as a student tour guide.

    He explained that the YCBA provided an important space to think and study and fostered a strong sense of community among the student workers. Leibovic will miss his fellow tour guides, as well as his favorite exhibition, “Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention,” a collection of Victorian statues.

    However, despite this cultural vacancy, there are other spaces in New Haven that serve similar artistic purposes. The museum belongs to a long tradition of public art that has strong ties to Yale and a strong presence in the New Haven community. The YUAG, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Lipstick statue in Morse — all are historic components of the New Haven arts scene.

    In many ways, the YCBA’s renovation is an opportunity: Students who have yet to visit museums on campus and in New Haven may choose to finally visit the YCBA upon its reopening. And, alternatively, those in search of another art space will have an incentive to explore during the coming year.


    Since 1974, the YCBA has been one of New Haven’s most popular artistic institutions. Paul Mellon ’29, a British art enthusiast, purchased and installed around 95 percent of the pieces displayed today. The vast and impressive collection attracts an equally vast and impressive audience: graduates students, undergraduate students, professors, young artists and many locals.

    While the museum is home to the largest collection of British art outside of the United Kingdom, the building itself is also a work of art — it was given the Twenty-five Year award by the American Institute of Architects in 2005.

    The principal goal of the renovation is to preserve this work of art: the historic Louis Kahn building that houses the collection. After 10 years of researching the history, design and construction of the building, the project is finally underway. The renovation will include updated fire safety code compliance as well as restorations that better service the public. The lecture hall, for example, will now adhere to American Disability Act standards, and a new seminar room will be built upstairs.

    Mark Aronson, chief conservator for the YCBA, is enthusiastic about improvements to the building’s physical accessibility. As an art restorer, however, he is more interested in the accessibility of the artwork itself — he looks forward to working on some of the better known paintings during the renovation. In many ways, his work with individual pieces parallels the restoration process the museum will undergo for the next 14 months.

    “We can almost never get our hands on ‘The Allegory of the Tudors’ Succession’” he said, alluding to a Lucas de Heere canvas. “Every third grader knows what it is, so whenever a school group comes, they park in front of Henry VIII.” With the restoration, Aronson and his team will finally get to look at it.

    Before the YCBA closed, he was reluctant to deprive students of such historical pieces, which present unique learning opportunities. He sees education as one of the YCBA’s most important services to the community and said that museum staff are very conscious of how viewers will benefit from their displays.

    Cassandra Albinson, chief curator of the YCBA’s collection, also emphasized its role as an educational institution.

    “I really like portraiture of women, so when I’m working on something I’m always hoping it will be of interest to, say, feminist groups on campus,” she said. She hopes that the new seminar room will bring undergraduate art courses into the building, particularly those courses that involve the collection.

    Despite her interest in engaging campus groups, Albinson said she wants the YCBA to be a space where both Yale students and younger schoolchildren can learn about British art. She drew attention to the museum’s location — just off Old Campus — which puts it literally and figuratively on the border between the Yale and New Haven communities. The majority of patrons are not associated with Yale, and, as one of nine public museums in New Haven, the YCBA plays a central role in the city art scene, for students and non-students alike.

    While the manifold services provided by the Center would be difficult to replicate, other Yale institutions exercise equal influence over the city’s artistic community. For instance, the YUAG’s presence and influence most closely approximate those of the YCBA, its neighbor.

    The YUAG, unlike the YCBA, has pieces from all over the world and all ages of art history. But despite these differing collections, the two institutions occupy similar spaces in the arts scene: Both are free and both place special emphasis on their accessibility to the larger community. Pamela Franks, curator at the YUAG, speaks of many programs that resemble those of the YCBA: lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions and programs for school kids.

    Franks believes that the YUAG helps young students learn to think differently. She, too, emphasizes the interactive nature of art education — she believes that students learn “visual literacy” and the ability to think of history in pictures.

    However, most importantly, the Gallery broadens schoolchildren’s sense of belonging to the Yale community. Franks encourages high school students to familiarize themselves the YUAG’s resources and hopes that they come to see it as their museum.

    “The fact that we’re free and open to the public is the main part of our identity,” she said. “We’re part of Yale, but we’re here for the University as well as for the public.”

    In this way, though private donations constitute the majority of the YCBA’s and the YUAG’s collections, both are cornerstones of New Haven’s art scene.


    Mauricio Cortes-Ortega ART ’16, thinks that before he shows his own art, he has to perfect his technique — in private. No matter how grand a student’s ambitions, school is the place to develop as an artist, cut off from the surrounding community. Cortes-Ortega is trying to learn what he wants to say, and how he wants to say it, before engaging with art in public.

    In other words, though Yale’s two major galleries connect the University to the greater New Haven area, Yale students have a different experience of this relationship. New Haven is rich with artistic opportunities — public studios, galleries, murals and classes — and yet, students don’t always participate in this artistic world.

    Téa Beer ’17, an Art major, said time prevented her personally from exploring the local arts scene, but she added that her department didn’t encourage a relationship between art students and New Haven.”

    “I don’t think [the Yale Art major tries] to incorporate interaction with the town community in the art major curriculum,” she said. “Art is inherently pretty elitist, to be honest.” She didn’t condone this elitism, however, and she hopes to learn more about the art New Haven has to offer this semester.

    In fact, most undergraduates interviewed expressed some interest in the local arts scene. They seemed almost apologetic when explaining that they weren’t familiar with many artists, and, like Beer, cited intentions to get to know the community in the coming semester. Some even would like to work on their own public art installations in New Haven.

    When asked whether she’s done any public art here, Sam Vernon ART ’15 said she had not, though she has been commissioned to do public installations in the past: Before coming to graduate school, she worked on the Transform Neighborhoods Initiative in Prince Georges’ County, Maryland. Alongside participants from all parts of the neighborhood —the youngest was only three — Vernon painted a mural at a local library.

    “It was truly incredible how many kinds of people came together,” she remembered. “I think local governments can and should work to create such dynamic, polyrhythmic environments.” She expressed regret that she hadn’t been able to participate in such collaborative projects in New Haven.

    To counter this lack of dialogue between New Haven and Yale artists, Emily Hays ’16 has started the student organization Blue Haven. Hays hopes to create projects similar to the cross-generational cooperation Vernon experienced in Maryland. The group pairs Yale performance artists — slam poets, dancers, singers — with high schoolers who are interested in the same field. The pair then works together to create a new piece together.

    “There’s definitely an egalitarian, social justice component — if we’re both creating art together, we’re erasing challenges that we both may have experienced,” she explained.

    Though Blue Haven primarily focuses on performance art for the moment, it’s only in its first semester, and Hays intends to incorporate the visual arts in the future.

    The collaborative nature of Hays’s project speaks to a new form of interactive public art. While museums such as the YCBA and the YUAG may attract visitors with free admission and student programs, this is a more passive approach. Hays, on the other hand, promotes active involvement, the conscious creation of an even vaster body of New Haven art.


    Kwadwo Adae is a local painter with ideas like Hays’ and a studio on the corner of Orange and Chapel. (Orange Street is kind of a hub for art business — almost every other storefront near his apartment is a studio.) Adae believes firmly that art should be accessible to everyone and appreciates the presence of Yale’s museums in the city.

    “We are spoiled here because we have resources like the YUAG, which has an enormous collection of art and is free,” he said.

    As a public artist, he feels that he has a duty to create equally accessible spaces. He is even upset by the stairwell leading up to his own studio, as it prevents disabled persons from experiencing his art.

    This passion for sharing art inspired him to teach, and today, he works in assisted living centers and retirement communities across the county. In other words, his artistic contributions to New Haven extend beyond his personal creations.

    He recounted one of his most memorable teaching moments: “There was one woman who used to be an artist and had suffered a stroke. She lost use of her right hand, her painting hand. I was teaching her to draw again with her left hand. To do that, I used my left hand as well. So we struggled together.”

    Adae spoke extensively about his students and clearly considers teaching one of the most meaningful aspects of his work. He and other non-student artists seemed sure of their niche in the community, expressing a commitment to active public services: teaching drawing technique, inspiring others to create and providing spaces for artistic appreciation.

    His work is not public in the traditional sense; instead of just making art for people, he makes art with people. After all, public art is a changing field: Yale College Dean of the Arts Susan Cahan said, “Public art used to be just art, but outdoors. Now, it’s art that actively engages a broad community of people.”

    Both types of artists thrive in New Haven, from those who teach in their studios to those who make outdoor installations.

    Jonathan Waters, for instance, does not limit himself to the white walls of a gallery. Most of his creations are geometric abstract sculptures, gray and black stainless steel sheets welded into unique shapes and placed outside. Everything he makes is enormous; no passerby could possibly miss it. That’s why he loves the scale of his work: His pieces aren’t just public, they’re aggressively public.

    “I like doing work outside because theoretically, it has a wider audience,” he said. “The casual guy on the street who might not walk into a museum will be able to experience it.”

    Adae is also committed to New Haven’s public art. He praises pieces that aren’t in museums or galleries and believes that beautiful objects contribute to a high quality of life. To him, simply seeing something bright on your way to work can make you do your job better.

    He is especially proud of an interactive mural he worked on in a mental health clinic. The bus windows are painted with chalk paint, so children in the waiting room are invited to make their mark on the piece.

    Still, some New Haven artists are less invested in active audience participation. They would prefer that viewers meditate on the meaning of a work.

    Matthew Feiner is multimedia artist and bike shop owner who has participated in City-Wide Open Studios, an initiative to support the visual arts in New Haven. He said his installation was so popular that on the second day of its exhibition, over a thousand people came. There was only standing room in the gallery. Though popularity would indicate success in the art industry, he was not satisfied.

    “People just passed right in front of it; they didn’t have time to even see it!” he said.

    This is why some prefer to show pieces in private settings: They don’t just want people to see their art. They want people to look at it.


    Yet the private New Haven arts scene is not nearly as developed as its public counterpart. While locals and students have access to many free museums, they encounter far fewer private vendors and galleries.

    Fred Giampietro, the owner of the new Giampietro Gallery on Chapel Street, considers himself a pioneer. Since opening in early January, Giampietro has tried to develop lasting business relations with Yale and the community; he has exhibited the works of several art graduate students. He dedicates himself finding up-and-comers, and his favorite thing about owning a gallery is discovering new talent.

    His belief in these budding artists brought him into the private arts industry, and he thinks that collectors can build relationships with paintings on their walls.

    “A lot of time people don’t think about how they can live with art and how that can enrich their lives,” he said.

    The idea of living with a painting brings into question the spiritual value of art as well as the financial one. Before consumers can form intimate connections with a painting, they must spend.

    Christian Ammon is a painter, graduate student and waiter from Trumbull, Connecticut. Though he is very busy, he prioritizes his art, and he is determined to make a career in the field. He expressed discontent that public art dissociates art from its monetary value. He showed recently at New Haven City-Wide Open Studios, an opportunity for which he was grateful, but he had reservations about the program.

    “I want to be exposed to different social classes and races, but obviously, I want my art to sell, “ he said. “At Open Studios, there were a lot of lower class people kind of bumming around. I think my art would mainly target the middle- to upper-class people.”

    To this end, he said he would advertise for Open Studios in the area surrounding Yale, instead of the outskirts of New Haven. He also feels that, as a graduate student, he can identify most with other young people.

    It seems particularly difficult for New Haven artists to navigate the industry, to balance artistic vision with financial need. Ammon is still struggling with this, and though he is young, many older artists also spoke about sacrificing accessibility to large audiences in order to profit from their artwork.

    To address these issues, the city’s public art institutions sponsor local artists. The YUAG, as part of its community outreach services, employs artists-in-residence for four-week periods several times a year. The artists do research, work on their projects and work with Yale School of Art students as well as undergraduates.

    Right now, the artist in residence is Chris Ellis, who goes by “Daze.” Daze said he is enjoying his residency and feels lucky to have the opportunity to focus only on his artwork and his teaching.

    When his residency began, he started a mural in the basement of the YUAG, accessible to museum visitors and students, in the same style as his earlier pieces. The mural has been and will be collaboration: Art students will help him with the design and creation.

    And he doesn’t limit his students to marginal contributions. A large crowd scene in the middle of the wall, he explained, was an undergraduate’s idea. Daze considers art to be both an educational tool and a means of self-expression, and he didn’t mention any of the monetary concerns that worried Ammon.

    The YUAG artist-in-residence position combines the many aspects of a public arts career. Daze has the financial support of a gallery as he engages with the local community through classes and workshops. And, of course, he’s able to create his own art. While there is certainly an artistic separation between Yale and New Haven, this program is a step towards long term collaboration.


    Cahan, in speaking about public art in New Haven, cited “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks” — the Morse lipstick statue. In 1970, it was still at Beinecke Plaza, and the red centerpiece wasn’t metal. Instead, it was inflatable — every few days, the tube would deflate and become flaccid. When this happened, the artist, Claes Oldenburg, would send somebody, or come himself, to re-inflate it, and, voilà, the lipstick was again erect.

    “The piece was made right after Yale became coeducational,” Cahan said. “Obviously, these were gendered references; the blending of the symbol of femininity with the phallic symbol was a direct reference to coeducation.” She then mentioned the protests following the Black Panther Party trials, and the military tanks lining the streets of New Haven — hence the “caterpillar tracks”.

    Several students said that all public art is, inherently, political. One even compared it to various news sources.. Another believed that the artist’s understanding of the political issue at hand is just as important as her technical skill.

    By all of these definitions, “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks” is an excellent example of “good” public art. It represents a whole host of intersections, intersections between Yale, New Haven and a wider political climate. Today, the Morse lipstick is divorced from much of its significance, but just outside the walls of the YUAG, the YCBA and the residential colleges, a vibrant arts world awaits exploration. In fact, it’s not an art scene; it’s an art web.

    Correction: Feb. 6

    A previous version of this article incorrectly named public artist Matthew Feiner as Michael Feiner.