I’m a jeweler and photographer based in New Haven. I was born and raised here so I can definitely say that the city’s art scene has molded me in a significant way. I started my career in the arts at the Yale Art Gallery. I was able to land an internship there through New Haven Promise and they were my first introduction to the idea of how art can affect community and vice versa. I was able to learn from people who’ve been running programs there for years, but even they admit that they sometimes run into issues with the way art is generally perceived as an elitist institution by the general public.
After graduating from undergrad and serving for Public Allies during the lockdown, I was able to land a permanent job at Artspace. At first, I was just doing little projects and assisting the gallery but over time I felt empowered enough to create and foster programs myself. I’ve made it my mission to make sure that the public knows that art is for everyone and that art is healing and I hope that the programs I help maintain at Artspace reflect that. What I really like about my position there is that it’s allowed me to become more connected to the local arts scene around New Haven. I was able to see just how much talent and culture lives here and that there is a real arts community that’s alive and well.
When people ask what it’s like to be a part of the New Haven arts scene, I say it depends on who you are and what connections you have. I’m fortunate to have the professional opportunities that have been granted to me, but I recognize that not everyone is so lucky and have had to make a name for themselves all on their own. However, there is an entire community of Black artists who want to work to uplift creative Black voices so you never have to develop your art career completely on your own. But if you’re someone who just appreciates art, New Haven is absolutely the right place to be. You can’t even turn a corner without seeing murals and poster ads for performances and art shows.
-Annissa Carter, Hillhouse ’14 & UConn ’19