2nd Annual L.A.M.P. Festival
Oct. 5, 8-11 p.m., Free, New Haven's 9th Square, Orange and Chapel streets, and surrounding areas, 9artslamp.org.
Lament the end of the long summer days and extended daylight all you want, but there are perks to an earlier sunset. We're able to light candles for both light and ambiance in the evening. Impromptu games of flashlight tag have a greater range of appropriate start times. Lighted holiday yard decorations become visible earlier, giving a purpose to the electricity used to power them. All right, maybe there is only one perk, and it's that light has a point after the sun goes down.
A group of New Haven artists are celebrating all things light at the 2nd annual L.A.M.P. festival in 9th Square on Oct. 5. L.A.M.P., or Light Artists Making Places, aims to show 9th Square in a new light, literally. L.A.M.P.'s Production Coordinator Heather McDonald says the impetus for staging a light festival in 9th Square stems from its location within the city. "It's always been like a harbor to the city, and the people who would come here on ships would hit 9th Square first," McDonald says. "It's always been a welcoming of light."
The idea for the light festival was hatched by Margaret Bodell, a local organizer, volunteer and former 9th Square art gallery owner, Rob Greenberg of Acme Furniture and Paul Mayer of Cafe Nine, who formed the 9Arts organization. Along with a number of local partners, including Project Storefronts, the City of New Haven Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, and Artspace, 9Arts is expanding upon its successful inaugural event with an array of light, music and art that any city would be proud to foster.
This year's festival coincides with the kick-off of Artspace's City-Wide Open Studios, and the First-Friday on9 event, making 9th Square a hotbed of creative energy this Friday. Create on9 runs from 6-8 p.m., afterwhich L.A.M.P. and CWOS take over, hoping to attract and retain revelers in 9th Square. City-Wide Open Studios is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and L.A.M.P. is helping expand the celebrations with a Crystal Ball at the old bank building at 45-55 Church St. Crystal is the standard 15th anniversary gift, and it is also a reflector of light. The Crystal Ball, getting started at 8 p.m., will host a sound and light installation called "Drum on the Light" by Peter Yanowitz and Keith Parham, a photo booth from Kelly Jensen Photography, Erika Vannatta the Human Kaleidoscope and refreshments from Onyx Moonshine and food by LL Catering.
From 8-11 p.m., 9th Square comes alive with nearly two dozen sites hosting installations, projections, performances and more. The rear bank lot at 55 Church St. features "Soul Seasons" by Holly Danger. The Artspace Lot at 812 Chapel St. has photographer Marianne Bernstein's "The Playhouse Cube/Beyond What Was." The parking lot at the corner of George and Orange streets is home to a light garden. The tree grove across from Cafe Nine, at State and Crown streets, will see "Tree Tops" by Nick Neo Martin. Kressege's Lot, at 832 Chapel St. hosts "Zoetrope Furnace" by Carlos Sanchez. "My Grandmas House" by Kelly Bigelow Beccera takes place at the Palladium Building, 53/57 Orange St. at the corner of Chapel Street. Acme Furniture, at 33 Crown St., has a Uber Dami's Circus Delecti and "The Ghosts of New Haven" by Robert Greenberg. Project Storefronts' homebase, 756 Chapel St., has Konjo West African Dance Co.'s projections and drums. And Connecticut's Mates of State play a free show at Cafe Nine, 250 State St., at 10 p.m., with a light projection by Lipgloss Crisis. Other artists will be wandering around 9th Square doing their thing in open spaces, including Peter Konsterlie and Ian Appelgate.
But it's not just the open and artsy spaces that are hosting something this time around. "The merchants are excited and they're participating by either lighting their windows or putting artists in their spaces," McDonald says. Some of the businesses opening their doors to light include Arpaia Lang Fine Jewelry (806 Chapel St., "Viewtopia II" by Drew Cucuzza), Rnini's House of Tapas (40 Orange St., "Terra Saltatio" by Joy Wulke and jamie Burnett of Projects2k), Graffio Jewelers (28 Orange St., "Factory Girls" by Lys Guillorn) and Green Well Organic Tea & Coffee (44 Crown St., "Lightscape" by Brown Gillespie). "There's a lot of participation this year. Everyone's really pumped in the 9th Square," McDonald says.
Last year the weather during the first L.A.M.P. was damp and rainy, but as of this writing the weather looks to be nice and autumn-y this time around. So put on your walking shoes, grab some friends (and maybe your umbrella for good measure) and make a night of it in 9th Square.