The New New Haven – The New York Times
NXTHVN, as such, is not an alternative to an MFA program (the majority of its cohorts have previously attended art school, although that is not a requirement) but a place where the conversations it wishes to have been part of his artistic education – including with lawyers and business experts – takes place alongside intensive studio practice. While Self recalls that during his time at Yale students were encouraged to ignore the market and just focus on their work, Pinder tries to supplement the MFA curriculum with modules similar to those in NXTHVN’s course curriculum, including including a financial literacy workshop. “A student needs to know how to evaluate their work, and I think it’s our ethical responsibility to provide those kinds of skills as well. There’s no reason you can’t perfect your craft and also learn to be a working artist,” the Yale dean told me.
When artists land in an area, high-end developers are usually not far behind, and in cities around the world, recent history shows that artists can be pioneers of gentrification. Their arrival often spells the end of the affordability that drew them to an area in the first place, displacing low-income communities and uprooting the tenuous, frayed fabric of small businesses and social support networks that have taken decades to develop. to build. According to Crystal Gooding, chairman of Dixwell’s community management team, the area’s remaining black households are being squeezed out on all sides, both by developers and private management companies, as well as by Yale, all of which own properties. local real estate. Kaphar is aware of this. “Look at what happened in parts of Brooklyn and Los Angeles,” he acknowledges. “Of course, people should be wary, especially in New Haven where projects start with the idea that they will engage the community and, next thing you know, that same community can’t afford to stay home. .”
For now, Kaphar’s personal investment in Dixwell and its people makes it unlikely that NXTHVN could break its stated promise to have a positive impact on the region. “We are attached to this neighborhood,” he says. “We want to be the kind of place where artists come to work and feel they have the freedom, they’re supported and it’s economically viable for them, but it’s also important to us that the people who live here have access to what we do.. The greatest proof of success is when local people walk into this building and feel like it’s a place for them.
Kaphar says artists looking for a stage, in a superficial sense (“people who would come to your studio just to be curious and waste your time,” as Self puts it), might come to New Haven and be disappointed. “But if you’re an artist who’s a creator, you seek inspiration in an engaged community, and you don’t want to be confined by the structures and expenses of New York, then you’re going to think, ‘This is the place. good time to be here.