Urban Art Project to Open with "Progress Wall" Installation

“Interim Sites,” an urban art initiative created by Yale University graduate students, will open May 16 at 1156 Chapel St., former home of the Jewish Community Center – JCC – and future home of the Yale School of Art. The opening coincides with a city-wide celebration of the visual arts called “Open Studios.” Interim Sites seeks to expand the concept of public space by placing site-specific installations in transitional or underutilized locations.

Titled “Progress Wall,” this first installation will look at historic, contemporary and future aspects of urban development in New Haven, with a focus on the JCC site. The wall will be a series of transluscent panels containing archival and current images, written and recorded text and specially designed lighting. It will be constructed progressively beginning in May and continuing through the summer, based on input from the community. Public response to the project – oral narratives, recollections and visual images – will be gathered at 1140 Chapel St. by volunteers during “Open Studios,” May 16 and 17.

With a facade by Louis Kahn and the remainder designed by Abramowitz & Weinstein Architects, the JCC building was a vital non-sectarian cultural, educational, social and physical-fitness facility from 1954 to 1986. From 1986 to 1996, the building was vacant, and a fire during the winter of 1993 caused serious damage to the northwestern portion of the structure. Yale purchased the property in December 1996 and will renovate and expand it, with generous help from Holcombe T. Green Jr., a 1961 graduate of Yale College. The building will be named Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall and will contain classrooms, studios, offices and exhibition and performance space. The renovation is part of Yale’s larger plan for the enhancement of its many-faceted arts programs.

Interim Sites was founded in 1994 by architecture student Dean Sakamoto – M.E.D. candidate, 1998 – with artists Todd Ayoung – M.F.A., 98 –and Melissa Brown – M.F.A. ‘99, graphic designer David Reinfurt – M.F.A., 99, lighting designer Kevin Owens – M.Arch., 98, architect Won Chang – M.Arch., 98, and New Haven photographer Marianne Bernstein. It is jointly funded by the University’s Deputy Provost for the Arts, School of Art, School of Architecture, Office of New Haven Affairs and Office of University Planning, along with New England Fine Arts, Chapel West Special Services District and private donors Murray Lender, Barry Herman, C.A. White Realtors and the Colony Inn.

For further information, contact Dean Sakamoto at 432-8355.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325