Celebrating Life Through the Lens of
May 27 - June 25, 2005
Opening reception and street
festival: Sunday, May 29, 1-5pm
Featuring music, dance, food and visual art demonstrations representing
a variety of cultures. FREE
Art on the Edge Coordinated Gallery Openings
A second reception in concert with seven local galleries,
plus more street festivities throughout the day. FREE
Break for Art!
Wednesdays, June 1, June 8 and June 22, 12:15pm
Special noontime presentations by the curators and artists
of Cultural Passages. FREE
Cultural Passages is sponsored by
NewAlliance Foundation, Inc.
Artists are storytellers, whether they use words, images, movement
or music, and the artists of Cultural Passages have an amazing
collection of stories to tell. Stories of immigration and assimilation.
Stories of mothers, fathers and grandparents. Stories of religion,
spirituality and humor. Stories of oppression and stories of triumph.
Cultural Passages blends their stories together
into a fascinating portrait of the people of Greater New Haven,
celebrating the richness and diversity in our cultural heritage.
It brings together artists who identify themselves as African
American, Guatemalan, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Native
American, Puerto Rican, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese and more. Professional
artists, students and people who have never before considered
themselves “artists” display work together. Contemporary
art and folk art appear side by side.
group of artists interpreted the theme of the show in many different
ways. Some chose to focus on familial images and memories, incorporating
family photographs or using traditional craft techniques, like
quilting and woodcarving, which have been passed down through
generations. Others were inspired by ethnic, religious or spiritual
heritage, reflecting on their relationship to their country of
birth and exploring religious symbols and iconography. A smaller
number of artists explored urban and political cultural influences,
both contemporary and historical.
Committee composed of curators and community arts advocates Mary
Kordack, Ann Langdon, and Benjamin Ortiz selected works representing
a range of races, religions, ethnicities, and histories. They
noted the importance of this event to the community as a means
of reopening and reexamining the complex issues of multiculturalism
and diversity. In a time when society often feels fragmented and
disjointed, Cultural Passages works to strengthen and build connections.
A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
One of the greatest strengths of this region
is its cultural diversity. Within a relatively small geographic
area live people whose roots can be traced to countries around
the globe. Each community has brought its unique art forms, music,
ceremonies, clothes, dance, stories and cuisine. The sounds, colors
and smells of our city have become increasingly complex and rich.
Cultural Passages celebrates this diversity and honors the enduring
and evolving traditions of the people of Greater New Haven.
Since the creation of the position of Program
Director and the hiring of Kate Paranteau in January 2004, Creative
Arts Workshop has been able to work more closely with the various
communities that comprise Greater New Haven. Cultural Passages
is the culmination of two years of work and is the first of what
we hope will become a regular exhibition on our gallery schedule.
We thank the three members of the community
who helped with the selection of work for Cultural Passages: Mary
Kordak, the former Jan and Frederick Mayer Curator of Education
at the Yale University Art Gallery, Ann Langdon, the former Director
and Curator of Erector Square Gallery and Gnossis Gallery in New
Haven, and Benjamin Ortiz, an independent curator and former Curator
of Art and Collections at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport.
It was a difficult task, and they did a wonderful job.
More than one hundred artists submitted
their artwork to Cultural Passages, and we thank all of them.
It is from their art that this exciting exhibition has emerged.
We also thank members of the Outreach Committee
Paranteau, who worked hard to involve artists from a wide variety
of communities. Diane Svigals, Chair of the Gallery Committee,
and staff member Sandy Bartle also deserve our gratitude for their
hard work. A special grant from New Alliance Foundation sponsored
Cultural Passages and allowed us to provide auxiliary programs.
Susan Smith, Executive Director
Creative Arts Workshop
THE SELECTION COMMITTEE OF
MARY KORDAK is the
former Jan and Frederick Mayer Curator of Education at the Yale
University Art Gallery, where she was responsible for the overall
planning and oversight of the museum’s education programs
for adults and children. She was the museum’s community
liaison to New Haven area schools and arts organizations. Kordak
has a B.F.A. from The Rhode Island School of Design, and a M.A.
from Yale University in African American Studies. She is a private
consultant to arts organizations, museums and schools.
ANN LANGDON was a
co-founder and board member for Women in the Arts/New Haven, and
the Director and Curator of Erector Square Gallery and Gnossis
Gallery in New Haven. She was also an art reviewer for Art New
England magazine and the New Haven and Hartford Advocate newspapers.
She has lectured and served as a juror throughout the region and
has been active in many local and national arts organizations,
including as a board member of CAW. Her paintings, prints and
sculptures have been included in solo and group exhibitions across
the country. She participated in the International Women’s
Conference in Kenya and has work in the collection of the National
Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
BENJAMIN ORTIZ is
an independent curator who formerly served as the Curator of Art
and Collections at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport. He has
also been a curator for the Connecticut GraphicArts Center, UConn
Stanford Art Gallery, Housatonic Museum of Art and Barnum Museum.
He has coordinated major exhibitions in Bridgeport, New Haven
and Hartford, and has lectured extensively throughout the region.
He has served on committees and boards for several organizations,
including the Hispanic Arts Development Program, Connecticut Commission
on the Arts, Bridgeport Arts Council and Silvermine Arts Guild.
Cultural Passages is sponsored by
NewAlliance Foundation, Inc.
PAST CULTURAL PASSAGES SHOWS:
Cultural Passages: Identity Made Visible,
addressed the many ways that art is used to express personal
Cultural Passages: Celebrating Life Through the Lens of Our Heritage,
the inaugural Cultural Passages exhibition, which focussed on the
diverse heritage of our region.