Many cities have experimented with art openings and related cultural events in a given district or neighborhood engineered to coincide on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, such predicability can lead to ennui among scenesters. New Haven is trying something new in its Ninth Square.
The organization on9 has a plan for September which brings to mind a large note-to-self displayed in a former boss’s office: Remember to Breathe! The public is invited to use this idea as both a prompt and a lens through which to experience culture.
Breathe On9 happens tomorrow evening, September 7th, starting at 6pm in Pitkin Plaza (behind Bru Cafe, in front of Devil’s Bike Gear). See http://www.on9newhaven.com/ for a full schedule of offerings.
The First Friday event celebrates reinvigorated streetlife and the change of season with a concentrated sampling of body/mind alignment systems. It will also show off the district’s lean and green foodscape, e.g., Elm City Market, a new(ish) coop where membership is not required and the vast majority of products come from within a 250-mile radius.
A closing reception for three exhibitions at Artspace is fitted within a panoply of experiential services that promote wellbeing. The art is not on display in the casual manner of a craft fair nor necessarily on view to be “read” and deconstructed by critics (though both can be fun, when done well). Rather, in this context art is assertively occupying its place as a source of mental nourishment and aesthetic satisfaction without which urbanity would be incomplete.
Do people really want to be this heavily curated? Is the theme idea working to boost business from pedestrian traffic? Is the Ninth Square authentically a special place? Do such events reinforce cultural coolness? Last month’s photo display from the Noise on9 event appears validating…but I just may check in for follow-up with a few of the participating artists and organizations.
First Friday themes upcoming this fall:
October / Creative on9
November / Faces on9
December / Shine on9