Alyson Fox is going to have more maps to hand out.
That’s because her art project, I Map New Haven, has received a $1,000 Mayor’s Community Arts Grant Program Award. That money, said Fox (at right in photo), will go a long way toward buying the maps that she distributes to New Haveners, who turn the maps into artwork representing the places and moments that matter to them in New Haven—from pizza preferences to sexual histories.
That award was one of 25 announced by Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and the city Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism at a ceremony held Tuesday at Arte Inc., a Latino arts organization and one of the grant recipients. The program awarded more than $23,000, in amounts ranging from $500 to $1,200, on the condition that the recipients and their funded projects be based in New Haven.
The recipients said the money will go far; some of them lack the non-profit status to qualify for other arts grants. I Map New Haven, for instance, hasn’t received any other outside money.
“It’s huge,” Fox said of the award. “It’s the materials for the maps.”
Her organization, which Fox described as a “pet project” she runs with co-founder Eric Epstein, distributes cards with a mostly-blank map of New Haven. (The maps can also be downloaded here.) People decorate them however they want: labeling public or private landmarks, writing commentary, turning the maps into vibrant color mosaics or three-dimensional sculptures. Then they mail the personalized maps back to Epstein and Fox, who post them on the project’s website.
“There is no end to people’s creativity,” said Fox. “People map where they live, where they work, go to school, walk their dog, where they got proposed to, eat pizza, have sex.”
Another artist who will get a major boost from the award is Carl Testa (pictured), a musician who runs the Uncertainty Music Series, a monthly concert series focused on experimental, improvised and electronic music. Testa, who since 2007 has funded the concerts through donations at the door, plans to use his $1,080 grant to offer performers a guaranteed payment for the first time.
“A hundred percent of the money will go to the musicians,” Testa said.
Other grant awards included a film-making program run by Consultation Center and Hill Youth Action Team; a summer community theater program for children, run by Bregamos Community Theater; and a series of “instrument petting zoos” at the Neighborhood Music School.