We believe that our public events and local partnerships enrich the regional community as well as the greater culture.
Around 2003, we timidly began opening up to the local community with an Open Studios event at the end of each residency session. Each artist would open their studio to our visitors and show a bit of what they’d worked on during their time with us. For those interested, the artists would also field questions about their creative process and/or about their life as an artist. Around 2005, we took it up a notch by launching an annual Open House. These themed events became progressively more elaborate and drew larger audiences: Illuminations (2006), Environmental Art Biennale (alternating years from 2007-2021), The Pond (2008), Thanatopolis Symposium & Exhibition (2010), Symposium on Ephemeral Art + Architecture (2012), Composers + Musicians Collaborative Residency concerts, including three in NYC (2015, 2016, 2018).
When the pandemic caused the cancellation of all residencies in 2020, we became aware of a critical need in our community for access to COVID-safe, open-air spaces. In response, we pivoted and launched the Open Trails Initiative featuring 13 experimental outdoor events that offered public access to 2.5 miles of hiking trails, including guided bird walks, evening events (illuminated trails) and access to 45+ existing art installations set in the landscape. Visitors took advantage of guided tours or used a map to explore on their own. We shared our resources and created opportunities for inspiration, solace and a psychological reset. Our free Family Day drew families from across the state and provided unforgettable art experiences for kids. In total, more than 800 guests, many first-timers, participated in this 2020 initiative. In 2021, as the result of enthusiastic word-of mouth, I-Park welcomed over 1200 visitors.
We have also established partnerships with the Mattabeseck Chapter of the Audubon Society, the Rockfall Foundation in Middletown, Expressiones Cultural Center (a Latin American art gallery in New London) and the Hartbeat Ensemble in Hartford. We have local relationships with the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Watershed group, DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources, East Haddam Lions Club, East Haddam Leos, East Haddam Fishing & Game Club, Haddam-Killingworth school system, East Haddam Business Association and nearby land trusts.
To preserve the privacy and security of our artists-in-residence, and to maintain a quiet, non-disruptive, retreat-like environment that’s conducive to the creative process, I-Park is not open to the general public except for the following activities:
- Open Studios Events, typically programmed for the last Sunday of each artists’ residency session
- Open Trails Days, when guests are invited to walk I-Park’s unique system of art/nature trails
- Group tours that are scheduled in advance
- Fundraising Events
- Exhibitions, Concerts and Symposia
If you would like to visit I-Park, either individually or as part of a group, please contact the office well in advance. We will make every attempt to accommodate your request at an appropriate, mutually convenient time. Please note that pets are not permitted on the I-Park grounds.
For more information, please check our calendar of events or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-873-2468. We look forward to seeing you at I-Park!