They Skipped The Pub Crawl

Lucy Gellman PhotoAt Creative Arts Workshop, Evie Lindemann took a deep breath and launched into an explanation of her one-winged “Urban Angel II,” a heavenly being who walked “between worlds, and needed to adapt in some way.”

Just down Audubon street, Project Storefronts’ Elinor Slomba greeted Yale public-relations official Mike Morand at Building Hope Through History, a pop-up gallery populated with models of historical New Haven homes created by local teens.

A little up Whitney Avenue, Curator Jason Bischoff-Wurstle took a step back from the light boxes recently installed for Value Systems to see how they were faring in their stacked format.

The venue? Many, actually, all bound by the power and joy of creating – and viewing – art.

Welcome to the first annual Audubon Arts Crawl sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and held Thursday in New Haven’s Audubon Arts District. From 5 to 8 p.m., visitors popped in and out of galleries, museums and creative not-for-profits between Audubon street and nearby Whitney Avenue, embarking on an odyssey for the senses.

“What’s so cool about this is that they’ve gotten everybody in the neighborhood to participate,” said Lindemann (pictured), who teaches in the Yale Summer Bioethics program and at Albertus Magnus College when she isn’t making art. “I’m having a wonderful time. It’s a wonderful event for the area ... New Haven needs more apertures, more openings into places like this.”

“It’s a fantastic idea, a great way for people to discover that there is an arts district in New Haven. There’s just a lot happening in our own city every single day. It’s good to walk around and visit these places,” added Stephen Grant, director of communications and the Arts Council and curator of enjoy the silence:work by gonzalo zuniga-vergara at Katalina’s Bakery, also participating in Thursday’s event.

Grant’s enthusiasm was palpable up and down the road, where one-night-only, get-it-while-its-hot exhibitions sprang up between established – and more newly established – institutions like the Silk Road Art Gallery, Creative Arts Workshop, John Slade Ely House and New Haven Museum.

Particularly bubbly and bright – literally – was The Energy Love: A Site Specific Installation by Insook Hwang, a pop-up show that the artist (pictured below) said allowed her to experiment with depth and color. 

“This opportunity was just perfect for me because I wanted to experiment with my idea in a new space. When I entered this space I loved the structure, and the structure gave me the inspiration to create this kind of drawing. My work is about creating different space in a certain space, and a pop-up ... is great.” she said.

Socially engaged and acerbically funny, meanwhile, was the hit of the evening, Paintings by Dooley-O and Jahmane at 55 Whitney Avenue. The artists (check out their work here and here) are pros: with a mere two days to prepare, they remolded an empty storefront into something packed and compelling enough to rival any contemporary gallery.

The reason? The two, who work in several media each, had fun doing it.

“As long as the people show up, I like it” said Dooley-O (pictured above) of the pop-up idea. “You need exposure, and this was a great idea for the Arts Council.”

“I’m never afraid to experiment,” added Jahmane (pictured), whose “vintage poster” of Mickey Mouse was hung prominently at the gallery.

Between a tangle of legs, a small girl danced and giggled in front of Mickey. Did she have any idea of the slow, sinister visual history from which the talking rodent came?

Probably not. But her laughter and smile were contagious, and a sort of sated-by-art, grinning satisfaction settled on the district before nightfall.

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