The Hygienic Art Inc., counterculture identity is built upon a solid foundation of community engagement and grassroots activism. Founded in 1998 by a group of artists and arts aficionados, this fixture in the Greater New London Regional arts scene is the result of a rallying activism effort. It began with the objective to save and restore a historic New London Landmark, the Hygienic Building, at the corner of Bank Street and Golden Street. Originally constructed in 1844, the building had been slated for demolition. The dream was to develop a community oriented hub of art and cultural activity while saving the venerable old structure from the wrecking ball.
The founders of what would become Hygienic Art Inc. had, since 1978, established an annual non-juried exhibition modeled after the Parisian Salon de Independents movement of the late 1800s. This fledgling endeavor has since become an annual open exhibition, attracting, hundreds of participants from near and far and even greater numbers of visitors. The successful saving and renovation of the current building is testimony to the success of a community action initiative..
These early endeavors form the identifying core culture which lives on in Hygienic Art today. It is a culture of openness, access and opportunity connecting diverse creative enterprises and cultural endeavors while building a sense of community and pride as a tool for engagement and place-making. Today, Hygienic stands as a leader and major catalyst in the City’s revitalization efforts and the resurgence of New London’s Bank Street as well as the regional arts movement for which it is known.
Hygienic’s economic, social and cultural impact has had a transformative effect upon the greater New London area community. Since its inception, 17 years ago, Hygienic Art Inc. has staged, promoted and/or otherwise been the instigator of thousands of art exhibitions, musical, theater, literary performances, special corporate, individual and community events, artist(s) residencies, educational programs and cultural initiatives - Over one hundred and seventy this year alone.
A destination for visitors and residents alike, Hygienic Art Inc. is a compelling arts and historical center, linking history, culture and tourism. It serves as a key cultural and economic anchor along Bank Street where it is physically located, and as such is a living monument to the power of community and the arts! It stands as proof-positive of what can be accomplished when the community unites to work together towards a common goal.
Amphitheater Initiative, Raising the Roof
The Revolution Starts With You
The seed for the next phase in Hygienic’s evolution, HYG 3.0, is the construction of New London’s first amphitheater, a covering for the Art Park stage and seating area. The structure with a comprehensive budget of $475,000 expands the Hygienic Art Park from a one season into a three season performance venue while also addressing critical needs for improved infrastructure upgrades including flood / damage control systems as well as major repairs to interior gallery floors.
The project’s base funding for the new Amphitheater roof originated with a $125,000 State of Connecticut Office of the Arts Good to Great construction grant (awarded in 2016) and was matched by the Frank Loomis Palmer Trust, the Kitchings Foundation, as well as sponsors and individual contributions. The design of the new Art Park covering is by internationally known architect, Jason Holtzman. HYGIENIC 3.0 launches the organization’s newest phase and infrastructure upgrades with renewed innovative programming initiatives, increased educational & youth programming, expanded regional partnerships with schools and organizations, new membership and fundraising programs and opportunities.
Why Give to Hygienic?
- Leads economic revitalization in the community as a destination that significantly impacts tourism revenues
- Energized 40,000 square feet of significant prime real estate of historic downtown New London
- Provided over 1,360+ workshops/classes
- Engages 25,000+ people annually through its innovative programming
- Served 2,700+ youth since 1994
- Served approx. 100,000+ peoples since its inception
- Introduced over 150 national and international artists to New London
- Implemented over 700 special events introducing new audiences to New London including Fashion Shows, Theatrical Productions, Poetry Readings, downtown orientations, mural-walks, college-engagement events
- Spearheaded New London's vibrant public art mural initiatives
- Promoted the work of over 20,000 regional artists since its inception
- Provides social, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for broad and diverse audiences
- Presented over 300 art exhibits since its inception
- Presented 250+ original music, performance events, cultural festivals and film viewings
- Significantly enriches the community's quality of life as noted by researchers, government officials and constituent
- Earned National Community Development recognition and was awarded: The model for adaptive re-use of historic buildings
- Serves as resource for social change and activism through the arts
- Inspires innovation and creativity
- Promotes a tolerant atmosphere that recognizes the importance of a culture of inclusion
- Is integral to the identity of New London through its promotion of strong sense of place
- Committed to provide space for over artists to live and work affordably since 1997