At first look, the worlds of art and science can appear fundamentally different, but in reality, they share languages and processes. During the Renaissance, geniuses like DaVinci were both artist and scientist. Over history, paths diverged and the fields became compartmentalized and culturally segregated. With a special Creative Placemaking grant from the state, The Arts Council of Greater New Haven created the Reintegrate project to bring these two worlds back together.
On target with the pilot Creative Placemaking program, our project truly showcased the talents that we have right here at home in Greater New Haven. Reintegrate is a testament to the wonderful innovations happening in the region, an area long recognized for its excellence in the arts and sciences.
In September 2012, the project began with a broadly distributed request for proposals that attracted 42 submissions from artist/scientist teams. We were pleased to receive a wide range of proposals from many different disciplines and with affiliations from various universities and organizations. Teams were selected for the $10,000 grants by an independent panel of artists and scientists and were chosen based on a variety of criteria, with emphasis on the collaborative process. We thank the panelists for their many hours of reading, deliberating, and meeting despite a hurricane and a snowstorm!
The seven exceptional teams of artists and scientists that were ultimately chosen collaborated on projects from November 2012 to June 2013 and were as varied as they were interesting. The scientific disciplines represented range from cell biology to particle physics and geography to medicine. The artistic disciplines include sculpture, glassmaking, dance, design, theatre, and literature. See videos about the teams on The Arts Council’s YouTube page www.youtube.com/user/ACGNH.
Teams independently pursued their projects with the expectation that their progress be documented on our website via blogs. The teams were encouraged to allow their projects to morph and change as the collaborations evolved, with equal input from both sides of the team. Reintegrate also encouraged excitement about the nexus of art and science through the building of a website, reintegratenewhaven.wordpress.com. The site has served as a jumping off point for those interested in the subject and includes a calendar of art/science events, the team blogs, links to other art/science sites, as well as hundreds of posts with audio, video and articles about this fascinating topic.
In the spring of 2013 (February 28/March 1st) Reintegrate sponsored a symposium organized by Wesleyan University, Innovations: Intersections of Art & Science. The two-day event was curated by Liz Lerman and included participation from Reintegrate teams, both as audience members and presenters.
Also thanks to Reintegrate, The Arts Council was also able to sponsor two lecture/workshops to celebrate Night Rainbow / Global Rainbow New Haven, a work of public art by Yvette Mattern commissioned by Site Projects. The last week of April 2013, a laser rainbow brightened the night skies of New Haven and lit the imagination of the community. The lecture workshops, organized by The Arts Council’s Debbie Hesse, recruited two local university professors (Marvin Chun and Matthew Griffiths) to speak to multi-generational audiences about the perception of light and the mechanics of lasers and conduct hands-on craft workshops afterward.
All of the teams also participated in the culminating event, presenting their projects to the public at an Ideas Talk as part of The International Festival of Arts & Ideas on June 19, 2013. It was serendipitous and wonderful that Reintegrate fit in naturally with the 2013 festival theme, “Dreaming New Worlds.”
The capacity crowd at the Ideas Talk held at the Yale Center for British Art on June 19, 2013. Photo by Judy Sirota Rosenthal.