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As the warm months of spring finally arrive here in New Haven, my colleagues and I wish to offer the Yale University Class of 2014 our congratulations and best wishes.
We have come to know many of its members over the last four years, welcoming them regularly for class visits, individual research, service as Gallery Guides and in essential bursary positions, and the visits they make for the sheer pleasure of spending time with the great artworks they have come to love and which they return to time and again. Soon after these fine young women and men celebrate their commencement and take leave of campus, we will welcome multiple generations of Yale alumni and their families for class reunions. Many of these classes have arranged tours of the Gallery and special panels and programs, highlighting the continuous engagement they have sustained with art throughout their adulthood and giving proof to the notion that active learning can be a rewarding lifelong endeavor. Public visitors and university guests from near and far are enjoying the newly expanded Gallery in great numbers; they have been delighted to find high-quality exhibitions and collections and pleased to discover that admission to the museum and its programs is free of charge.
The Gallery is part of a strong arts community in New Haven that abounds with cultural collaborations that are stronger than ever. Now in its nineteenth year, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas actively continues to partner with the Gallery, Yale, and other arts organizations to stage a wonderful forum for continuous learning, open to our entire community and to all visitors. From June 14 to 28, more than 100,000 people will congregate in New Haven for events on the Green and elsewhere, to enjoy presentations of new artistic ventures in dance, music, the visual arts, and drama, and engaging intellectual conversations—many of which are free. The Gallery and its Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Lecture Hall serve as the venues for many of the festival’s “Ideas” talks, which always stimulate interesting discussions in the galleries. Audiences are also drawn to the Gallery for the range of exhibitions on view.
New Haven’s intellectual community includes the many talented youth educated by the New Haven Public School system. In 2010 Yale introduced New Haven Promise, a program that covers full tuition for up to four years for any New Haven child who graduates from a New Haven public high school with a 3.0 or higher grade point average, participates in community service, and goes on to attend a Connecticut two- or four-year public college or university. The Gallery and other Yale departments are now engaging this growing legion of promising young scholars through summer internships, which we hope will encourage some of the best and brightest of these young citizens to return to live and work in New Haven after completing their college educations. So if you see a new face at the Gallery’s Information Desk or elsewhere throughout the museum this summer, it may well be one of these New Haven Promise students.
Frequent visitors to the Gallery will also encounter some familiar faces—our outstanding security guards, who are active members of the local community. The security guards play a vital role in ensuring a safe environment for all visitors while allowing them the opportunity to look closely at the art. As the museum’s staff has grown to more than 150 in number, we are eager to recognize the individual talents and contributions of each and every Gallery employee as he or she serves our students, teachers, and all other visitors, collectively helping to make everyone feel welcome here.
During your visits to New Haven’s downtown arts district this summer, we also hope that you will take advantage of the new outdoor café tables and chairs along the sidewalk on Chapel Street. The tables offer a pleasant and convenient place to meet with friends and family members before and after your visit to the Gallery. So, please continue to come our way to enjoy the many opportunities that are freely afforded to you to look, learn, and linger in the presence of great art.
Henry J. Heinz II Director
Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director, in the newly installed galleries of contemporary art