Game On For City Wide Open Studios

DAVID SEPULVEDA PHOTOSJust outside Artspace, the City Wide Open Studios (CWOS) arts hub on Orange Street, a group of artists cast their collective gaze to an upper window of a building on Crown Street.

From her vantage above, photographer Judy Rosenthal prepared to take a “Total Jump Group Portrait” of artists who will be exhibiting their art over four October weekends, during the 19th iteration of City Wide Open Studios.

A bright pink banner held by a row of cheering artists spelled out the words GAME ON! — this year’s CWOS theme that explores the role of games and sports in contemporary art and culture, inspiring many game-themed installations and commissioned events that will provide interactive opportunities, including a city wide scavenger-hunt style game called Find it-Friend It! during Private Studio Weekend, Oct. 22 and 23.

Commissioned by Artspace and created by Site Projects, the game will offer numerous prizes, including cash, as it encourages public visits to open studios, providing an opportunity for teams of players to collect points and post their successful ventures on a Facebook Event page.

Behind the wall of artists that had gathered streetside, tables and tents were packed with diners, part of Noodles On9, sponsored by the Town Green District and featuring the growing number of restaurants featuring popular noodle cuisine, including Duc’s Place, Pho & Spice, 116 Crown, C’viche 181, K2 New Haven, Kumo Sushi, Hibachi Lounge, and Royal Palace. Wine was offered by Fornarelli’s Restaurant with Trinity Bar providing a selection of beer.

An obstacle course of planks and platforms laid out in the temporary plaza outside Artspace proved irresistible to the young…

…. and the young at heart.

Inside the Artspace gallery, hundreds of works of art were listed for sale as an elbow-to-elbow crowd worked its way through the gallery; the challenge of movement grew as the evening progressed.

Two and three dimensional pieces on display were emblematic of the creative work of individual artists and the reservoir of works that will be available for viewing in artists’ studios and exhibit spaces during CWOS weekends. Hundreds of these works will continue to be available for sale at Artspace through November 10th.

Artspace Executive Director Helen Kauder stood atop a desk to welcome gallery visitors and thank the many staff and volunteers who have participated in the monumental undertaking that is CWOS.

Sarah Fritchey, Artspace curator and gallery director, moderated an artist’s talk-back in an enveloping, full-room installation by multimedia artist and 2015-2016 Artspace artist in residence Eben Kling.

The Artspace mission of “catalyzing artistic activities” and “connecting contemporary artists, audiences, and resources” was on full display Friday evening. With the first weekend of City Wide Open Studios Westville, now complete, art lovers can look forward to more art at Armory Weekend, Oct. 15 and 16, in the Goffe Street Armory; Private Studio Weekend, on Oct. 22 and 23, and Erector Square Weekend, on Oct. 29 and 30 at 315 Peck Street. Wear comfortable shoes.

For more information on CWOS weekends, visit the Artspace website or Facebook page.

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posted by: LorcaNotOrca on October 11, 2016  7:32am

This isn’t to disparage all the fine folks and artists involved, but I still think we blew it by snuffing out the L.A.M.P. light installation event that coincided with the start of CWOS. By far one of the coolest things I used to look forward to; it made an interactive and immersive exhibit out of the entire 9th Square. I still wonder why we don’t have more of that throughout the year anyway, but particularly during city-wide arts festivals.

It was independently operated, yes, but a golden opportunity for CWOS to take it over or make it a part of the proceedings was surely wasted. Why keep it all confined to the gallery when you can make the city itself the gallery?

posted by: Chef Nadine of Global Local Gourmet on October 12, 2016  6:19am

As people ask why don’t things happen in New Haven and sit on the sidelines and critique, you can do something about it. I loved L.A.M.P too and I am sure they were not paid for making the installations and people did not pay to enjoy their work. Doing events like this in this city is not sustainable if people and projects are not funded. I wish people would really be more thankful for what does go on in New Haven by supporting it because more of the cool experiences are being funded by the artists themselves and I myself want nothing to do with the stereotype of “starving artist”  and would hope that the “powers at be” understand creating compelling experiences influences tourism, livability and economic development.

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on October 12, 2016  5:04pm

@Chef Nadine,
I agree 100%. Lest that was an incomplete thought, I’m thankful for every bit that we have here. And one of my main gripes is that the city should invest more in things like this ... frustration at wasted potential. I’ve been here a little while, and really, there’s only so much a person can do, especially when self-funded.