Interim Sites Hosts Urban Art Happening

On Friday, June 26, 6-8 p.m., Interim Sites will stage an event at 1156 Chapel Street, former home of the Jewish Community Center and future home of the Yale School of Art. To accommodate the celebration, two lanes of Chapel Street will be closed. The event will include live music, food and celebratory speeches by representatives of the neighborhood, Yale University and the New Haven Jewish community. The event, in conjunction with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, is free and the public is welcome.

Interim Sites is an urban art and architecture initiative, founded in 1994, that seeks to expand the concept of public space to sites that are underutilized, vacant or in transition. At 1156 Chapel Street, the installation is called “The Progress Wall” and is a collaborative project by architect Dean Sakamoto, visual artist Todd Ayoung, graphic artist David Reinfurt, lighting designer Kevin Owens, and photographer Marianne Bernstein. This project was initiated and directed by Sakamoto.

For the first time since the site was fenced, the gate to its lower terrace will be opened to unveil an installation by visual artist Ayoung. Music from the 1950s through the 1990s and food from Upper Chapel Street restaurants will accompany a brief program. Artist Michael Wilson will stage a boisterous “progress performance” prior to the event.

Situated at street level, the Progress Wall stands 8 feet tall and 150 feet long. Made of blackened wood studs, stained plywood, translucent acrylic panels and chalkboard sections, it was designed and fabricated by Sakamoto and Ayoung. The 4-foot-square, translucent acrylic panels encase a visual narrative, designed by Reinfurt, tracing the JCC’s rise and New Haven’s simultaneous urban renewal during the 1950s and 60s; New Haven’s social, economic and physical decline and the JCC’s closure in 1986; failed development plans which kept the site vacant; and Yale’s recent acquisition of the property. Images presented on these panels come from archival sources and recent photographs by Bernstein.

Information presented on The Progress Wall questions the meaning of the term, “progress,” by considering the role of the individual citizen in relation to his/her own conception of the equally problematic term, “community.” Ultimately, this project serves as a record of individual interpretations of the past, present and future of the site and the city. Passersby can respond to the installation on the chalkboards and panels and through ongoing audio and photographic documentation by the project team.

For further information, please call Dean Sakamoto at (203) 432-8355 or (203) 562-5558 or visit the website at

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein:, 203-432-1325