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State Senator

Gary Winfield

Representing New Haven & West Haven

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Sen. Winfield Announces State Funding for Fine Arts Space in New Haven

Bond Commission set to approve funds at its April 13 meeting

NEW HAVEN— Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) and Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) announced today that the State Bond Commission is expected to approve a $1.2 million grant-in-aid to redevelop an industrial building at 169 Henry Street, the future home of a new accelerated fine arts and mentorship program in New Haven titled Elm City PostMasters. The commission is set to approve the funding at a meeting this Friday, April 13.

“I am thrilled that funding to renovate 169 Henry Street is expected to be approved and I appreciate the governor’s support for this project,” Sen. Winfield said. “Community service through the arts is an important theme in New Haven and no other city does it quite like us. The Elm City PostMasters will be a great addition to our booming arts scene and will also bring jobs and new opportunities for our city youth to learn, grow, and succeed.”

“Our team believes in art as a vehicle for civic dialogue and in artists as exceptional innovators and thought leaders who have the ability to change the world. As a society, we often underestimate art’s ability to unlock our other intelligences,” said Titus Kaphar, the project’s founder. “The creative nuance and out of the box thinking that is integral to the arts is transferrable to all aspects of life. I have lived all over the country; New Haven is the first place that has felt like home. This city has been the catalyst that has helped nourish my family and launch my career. There is no other place in America I would rather start this project than here.”

“Elm City PostMasters will serve as a model for community organizations to follow,” said Sen. Looney. “Creating a space for established artists as well as new and emerging artists will add to the fabric of the community, and the jobs and mentorship opportunities will enrich the lives of so many young people. I want to thank Governor Malloy for his support and commend Mr. Kaphar and his partners for turning this dream into a reality.”

About the Project

Titus Kaphar and Jonathan Brand, both Yale MFA graduates ,with Jason Price and Carrie Mackin, are coordinating a $6 million redevelopment of the 40,000-square-foot former Macalaster Bicknell industrial building, located at 169-181 Henry Street, for an accelerated fine arts and mentorship program titled Elm City PostMasters.

The PostMasters program will provide three types of programming; six to10 Studio Fellowships, two to four Emerging Curatorial Fellowships, and four Artists in Residence Fellowships. Once renovated, the building will also include a gallery, a small café, a co-working space for creative networking, event and meeting rooms, and a small auditorium. The building will also include four residential units to accommodate the artists in residence fellowship.

In addition to career development workshops and networking activities for Fellows, PostMasters will provide afterschool jobs to neighboring high schools for students participating in the Youth Arts Mentorship Program designed for those already engaged in the arts who have shown continued interest in the arts. This program supports the mission of PostMasters to promote and nurture art on an individual and community level while fostering an appreciation for all cultures. Additional events such as visiting artist lectures, workshops, and performances will be available to the public and PostMasters members.

Deborah Berke Partners, whose principal is the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is the architecture and design firm for the project. Both public and private investors have committed to supporting the renovation project and the PostMasters program. Partners include the RISC Foundation (Lin Simon), ConnCat and the Yale Art Gallery, as well as the City of New Haven and the State of Connecticut.

The City of New Haven is granting $200,000 to offset the cost of renovation and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community has already provided a $1,085,000 low-interest Brownfield Loan for environmental remediation and hazardous building materials abatement and interior demolition of the property.

The property was acquired by 169 Henry Street, LLC in May, 2017 and interior demolition and hazardous building materials abatement was completed in November 2017. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by September 2018.

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