New London, CT - June 5, 2006 - The community of New London joins artist, Joe Standart, to present Portrait of America: The New London Project, a monumental public art event that will immerse the city's downtown district in a vibrant photo and video exhibition June 23 - August 13, 2006. Portrait of America, which will ultimately land in other communities across the United States, will kick off in New London when over 100 portrait prints, ranging from life-sized to 20 ft. murals, are mounted in the streets, cultural institutions, work places and galleries throughout the City.
A festive welcome celebration, hosted by New London Main Street, will be held on June 23 in collaboration with the arrival of the Tall Ship Mystic Whaler to its new home port of New London. The Mystic Whaler will arrive at City Pier with a reception, open to the public at 5pm, followed by an opening celebration of The New London Project at Union Station (just behind City Pier) at 6pm.
Can Art be a catalyst to self-understanding and self-respect? Can Art allow us to recognize the uniqueness in each one of us, allowing us to respect each other and our individuality? Can it be the catalyst to economic growth? Photographer Joe Standart asked himself, "How can I use my skills as a photographer to inspire, change, and make a difference?" Out of that question he decided to create a Portrait of a City: The New London Project, the first of several exhibitions planned throughout the United Sates to form the much larger Portrait of America.
"Celebrating the city and its people, and inviting community engagement, Portrait of America brings together art and community development to enrich the cultural experience of New London," says Standart. "It is my hope this project can help to invigorate the city; inspiring, informing, and challenging us to see our neighbor and our environment in new ways."
Compelled to photograph New Londoners of all ages, literally pulled off the street, still sipping coffees and writing traffic tickets, Standart's work contemplates the individuals' spirits and the universal dignity we all share. The diversity he reveals shares a common ground of humanity and creates opportunity for understanding. Through its uniqueness and monumentality, the project creates public engagement in a thriving arts community that is playing a powerful role in the rejuvenation of the Downtown. "The New London Project enhances the city's blossoming cultural environment while fostering economic growth," states Elizabeth Sabilia, Mayor of New London. "Through its breadth and experience, the Project seeks to unify and promote the art community, including musicians, artists, and photographers and those with a passion for the arts."
Educational and cultural programming will accompany the exhibition through partnerships with the New London Public Schools and the Drop-In Learning Center. The student's work will be featured alongside that of Standart. In essence this is a work of process and performance that will continue to grow through the dynamics of community and viewer interaction.
"We are excited about the combination of celebrating New London as well
participating in the magnificent public art display." - Richard Brown, City Manager, New London, CT
"What I think is most inspiring about the New London Project is the opportunity for us to take a fresh look at ourselves individually and ourselves as a community." - Alva Greenberg, Owner/Director ALVA Gallery
"This project is about the unique personalities that make New London
such an interesting place."
- Penny Parsekian, Exec. Director, New London Main Street
A professional photographer for 30 years, Standart is acclaimed for capturing the ever-changing subtleties of light and mood. His award-winning career includes individual and group shows across the country and his work is included in many private collections and museums. Recently, his work has been exhibited at New York's Beadleston Gallery, The Williams College Art Center, The Cooley Gallery, and The Duggal Art Space. His commercial work includes Architectural Digest, House & Garden, General Electric, LL Bean, Viking Range Corporation, and The Cindy Crawford Collection. Standart has published two books, The Scented Room and Passion for Detail, and he has contributed to many more.
Portrait of America: The New London Project, a collaboration between Joe Standart and the art community of New London, will be on view throughout New London from June 23, 2006 through August 13, 2006. Exhibiting venues include: the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, ALVA Gallery, New London Youth Courthouse, Garde Arts Center, Kente Cultural Center, Muddy Waters Café, Hygienic Art Gallery and Art Park, Mitchell College, Golden Street Gallery and Union Station.
There are numerous events planned for the opening and throughout the exhibition, including: opening receptions at each of the venues on June 23, performances at each venue by artists from New London's rich reservoir of musicians, artist talks by Joe Standart, Alva Greenberg and others, public portrait events to be announced, and other exciting events. Details will be posted on the project's website. For more information, please call 860-701-0721 or visit www.thenewlondonproject.org.
The New London Project is sponsored in part by the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Cummings & Good, Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, LLP, The Kitchings Foundation, The Day Publishing Company, ALVA Gallery and The New York Foundation for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by Dime Bank, the Gimbel Foundation, Lebworth Foundation and Pfizer, Inc.