New Haven's Arts and Culture

New Haven’s Arts and Culture

I’m really excited—tomorrow night I’m going to my first New Haven Symphony concert at Woolsey Hall in close to 15 years. For over a hundred years, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra has been playing for the citizens of the Elm City, and I really can’t wait to re-expose myself to some of the cultural history of New Haven. Something about entering a space like Woolsey Hall (see the picture!), and being transported to another place through sights and sounds… it is just an occasional indulgence into the arts for me (I’m more of a sports girl), but one I really look forward to!

When living in New York City, my favorite thing to do every summer was claim a piece of grass as my own for a few hours in Central Park for the annual free concert by the New York Philharmonic. It felt like a quintessential NY thing to do—gather with thousands of other New Yorkers, camp out with a picnic basket, and enjoy a free, incredible concert as the sun goes down in Central Park. My biggest concern when moving back to New Haven was that I just wouldn’t have arts and culture readily accessible to me like in NYC. Although I’m just an occasional indulger, it still is important to me to have the access. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the constant, varied and amazing things going on in town; so much so that I can’t possibility participate in everything happening.

First, MUSIC: Aside from the New Haven Symphony, there is no shortage of live music events. Yale has its own Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony, but essential to your Yale experience is at some point catching the famous Yale Whippenpoofs. Toads Place says about itself “where the legends play” and to its credit, it has hosted its fair share of legendary artists. It isn’t a huge place so you’ll have to go to Hartford for the really big acts, however there is no shortage of musicians coming through who are either up and coming, or have well known music, but like smaller venues. Firehouse 12 , Stella Blues, and Café 9 are also great smaller venues that host both local and touring bands for Jazz, Reggae, Rock, etc. We also have summer Concerts on the Green—including the lunchtime series—which are also free!

THEATER: New Haven is home to the world-renowned Yale Drama School, which gives us access to plays at the School, at the Yale Reparatory Theater and the Yale Cabaret. We are also a stop for national Broadway tours at the Shubert Theater—this Spring they have both South Pacific and Beauty and the Beast. A summer STAPLE (can you tell how excited I get about summer park events?) is Shakespeare in the Park—a free concert in Edgerton Park over a few weekends in the summer. Once again, bring your picnic basket, spread a blanket and enjoy a generally excellent Shakespeare play (for free!). We also have the Long Wharf Theater, A Broken Umbrella Theater, and the New Haven Theater Company who are always offering selections for us to enjoy.

MUSEUMS: Within the city limits are also incredible museums—the Yale Art Gallery (oldest university art museum in the US) and Yale Center for British Art (largest collection of British art outside of the UK!) are our two main art museums. There is also Artspace (contemporary art) and Creative Arts Workshop (an educational institution that also displays work related to their educational mission). In addition, our history buffs will appreciate the Peabody Museum of Natural History (one of the largest and longest established natural history museums in the US), the Knights of Columbus Museum (religious art and history) and the New Haven Museum and Historical Society (learn about New Haven’s past!). As a Yale student, access to most of the Museums in New Haven is free!

FESTIVALS: Finally, New Haven has some great festivals based on our main Green and Parks, including the Jazz Festival (August), the International Festival for Arts and Ideas (June), New Haven Food and Wine Fesitval (August), and CT Folk Festival (September).

Obviously just a small snapshot (and I certainly can’t claim this to be comprehensive) shows you that there is plenty to do on the arts and culture end when you need a break from your studies. I know I’ve promised at least one more edition to this “Why I love New Haven” series on the great outdoors—which I promise will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. To keep you warm, check out the updated “Student Life” pictures on our facebook page–they are pretty great:

In the interim, know that we are working diligently on reviewing your applications, and be on the lookout for your decisions in mid-March. You’ll receive an electronic message that a decision has been made, which will direct you to your online application account where you can access your official decision letters. In the tradition of trying to be more environmentally friendly—all materials regarding your admission status will be sent to you online.
Best of luck!