New Haven to celebrate 375 years with 'Night Rainbow' and more

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New Haven was founded in 1638 by New England Puritans. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Wednesday, April 24 marks the 375th anniversary of New Haven’s founding, and the community will celebrate throughout the week with a laser light show, festival, talks, food, and more.

Eyes will be on the skies across town starting around 7 p.m. on April 24, when Site Projects presents Night Rainbow | Global Rainbow New Haven, a laser light sculpture by American artist Yvette Mattern. Her art uses specially designed lasers to project a large-scale abstraction of the natural rainbow.

The laser show will be projected for four nights, Wednesday–Saturday, April 25–27, from dusk until 1 a.m. The beams will originate from the top of East Rock Park and cross above Timothy Dwight College, the Green, Interstate Highway 95, and West Haven, before finally diminishing to a colorful glow over Long Island Sound.

Organizers encourage the public to explore the city and its neighborhoods, as the form of the rainbow changes depending on where the viewer stands. Visit the Night Rainbow | Global Rainbow New Haven website for more information on the work, an educational guide developed for schools, and events, including bike tours, that have been organized in conjunction with the artwork.

The Green will be the focus of anniversary celebrations during the day on Saturday, April 27, with musical performances, films, dance, storytelling, and other activities. The events, free and open to all, run from 1–4 p.m. A schedule and other information can be found online at

The New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave., which just marked its own 150th anniversary, will offer a special gallery tour on April 24, at noon. That afternoon, the public is invited to a tour of the Grove Street Cemetery, the nation’s first chartered burial ground and a repository of local history. The one-hour tour, sponsored by the Friends of Grove Street Cemetery and the New Haven Garden Club, begins at 4:30 p.m. at the cemetery entrance, 227 Grove St. It will focus on horticulture, as the trees will be coming into full spring flower.

Diners can celebrate New Haven’s current-day culinary riches Sunday–Friday, April 21–26, during the spring edition of New Haven Restaurant Week. The promotion features $18 lunch and $32 dinner prix fixe menus at more than two dozen restaurants in downtown and the Ninth Square, Chapel West, and Upper State districts of town. Details on participating restaurants and their menus can be found at

Everyone is invited to join in the celebration and conversation about New Haven, its 375 years of history, its present strengths, and hopes for the future using the hashtag #NHV375 on Twitter; and to tag Instragram photos of the Global Night Rainbow and other anniversary events with the #NHV375 hashtag.

In celebration of the 375th anniversary of New Haven's foundinng, Site Projects will present "Night Rainbow | Global Rainbow New Haven," a laser light sculpture by American artist Yvette Mattern, April 24–27.
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