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Artspace records

Call Number: ART 36


The records document the activities of Artspace, a contemporary arts non-profit organization founded in 1984 and located in New Haven, Connecticut. The records primarily document Artspace's administrative history of fundraising, programming, and exhibitions including its annual open studios festival, its public art installations, and its annual benefit gala. Also included are materials related to Artspace's educations programs: Youthview, Summer Arts for Youth, and the Summer Apprenticeship Program. The records contain correspondence, meeting minutes, annual reports, and financial documents, as well as posters, photographs, and memorabilia.


  • 1982-2020


Language of Materials

The materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. The computer files are unprocessed and may contain sensitive information or be in a physical state that would prohibit use. Researchers wishing to request access should contact Arts Library Special Collections at

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by Artspace for unpublished works they have authored or otherwise produced. After Artspace ceases to exist, or until January 1, 2091, whichever comes first, copyright passes to Yale University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Artspace, 2016 and 2020.


The collection is organized into four series: I. Administrative and business records, 1982-2020; II. Exhibits and events, 1986-2020; III. Media, 1992-2016; and IV. Miscellaneous, 1986-2018.


96.75 Linear Feet (196 boxes, 1 broadside folder, and 138 discs)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Organizational History

In the late 1970s, a group of New Haven artists began to conceive of a space for visual and performing arts. This community need was affirmed in 1982 when New Haven Mayor Biagio DiLieto commissioned a task force on community art spaces, which recommended the development of an arts center to provide space for New Haven’s artist community. Initially, an arts space was envisioned as part of the redevelopment of the Shubert Theater, but did not come to fruition due to budgetary reasons. Artists then conceived of an organization of their own, and this was the genesis of Artspace. In 1984, after receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artspace, Inc. was formally incorporated, receiving its non-profit designation in 1987. Early years of the organization were spent searching for permanent space at various locations in New Haven. Artspace operated from a storefront at the corner of Whitney and Audubon streets until 1985 when the Board of Trustees voted to become a tenant in a new building that the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and the New Haven Foundation were developing at the Audubon Arts Center. Artspace officially moved into the space in 1990 and spent several years at the Audubon location until 1998. Between 1998-2002, Artspace occupied 4 different empty storefronts until the City of New Haven and State of Connecticut helped it redevelop and operate from its current location in the historic Ninth Square, in what was a Civil War era furniture factory called the Chamberlain Building.

Artspace officially began holding events and programs in 1987. It presents a cycle of rotating exhibitions and performances each year, including an annual New Haven open studios festival which invites the public to view the work of local artists over several weekends. The largest convening of visual artists in Connecticut, the festival hosts hundreds of artists in spaces across New Haven, including the Marcel Breuer Pirelli Building, the Civil War Era Smoothie Building, and the Goffe Street Armory. Other signature programs include The Flatfile, a rotating collection of works of art on paper from local, national, and international artists. These works are for sale and are the basis for on and offsite exhibitions and academic study. Other sites for programming have included The Lot, an open space at 812 Chapel Street which presented temporary public art installations; and Untitled(space), an artist-run set of pop-up exhibitions in storefronts on College and Chapel Streets. Since 2010 Artspace has also hosted an Artist-in-Residence program.

In addition to supporting working artists, Artspace has offered several programs to foster arts education with local youth: Youthview, the teen docent program; Summer Arts for Youth (SAY), a mentoring program; and since 2001, an annual Summer Apprenticeship Program (SAP) that pairs New Haven Public high school students with artists who collaborate on the production and mounting of an artistic installation. The program was launched with Connecticut artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) and has been led by artists Titus Kaphar, Jean Shin, and Roberto Lugo, among others.


Further accruals are expected.

Processing Information

The collection was originally arranged and described by the donor in 2016. The collection was originally organized into 16 series that generally reflected the order of materials as they were maintained by Artspace staff. The 2021 addition was integrated into the original organization before the entire collection was intellectually, but not physically, organized into 4 series to facilitate discovery and access. The previous description of the collection was only minimally edited. Also in 2021, transactional financial records were appraised and destroyed or returned to the donor. Processing staff have removed duplicate materials. Gaps in box and folder numbering reflect the separation of material.

Guide to Artspace Records
compiled by Magee Lawhorn and Michelle Peralta
December 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Part of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections Repository

Arts Library Special Collections
180 York Street
New Haven CT 06511

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