DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
For general information:
Hygienic Art, Inc.
ART PARK SUPPORT
Hygienic Art, Inc. was created as an incorporated structure in the fall of 1979, when artists employed by a federal Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA) grant decided, as a final project, to hold an outsiders' art festival. The show was modeled after the "Salon Des Independants," a late 19th century art movement in Paris in which artists had protested the aristocracy by exhibiting their works in cafes located in the 'seamy' areas of the city. The artists in those exhibitions gave rise to the great French Impressionist movement.
The exhibition was presented at the Hygienic Restaurant, New London's only 24 hour eatery, which had been open since 1919. The rules were simple; no judge, no jury, no fees, no censorship, one piece per artist and all were welcome. The show was an immediate success and the Hygienic Art Exhibition became an annual creative arts festival, attracting over 450 artists and an audience of thousands.
The Hygienic Restaurant closed in 1985 and the show continued in other historic venues in the city. Hygienic Art was formally incorporated in 1987 to save the exhibition from speculators who wanted to use the Hygienic name to promote other festivals in the city.
In 1996 the building that housed the Hygienic Restaurant was slated for demolition to become a parking lot for a bank. Originally built as a whaling company's provisioning store and crews' quarters, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Hygienic Art, Inc. led a statewide grassroots effort to save the building. Enlisting the support of the State's Attorney Generals Office, the Connecticut Historic Commission, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, City of New London, the Governor, State Legislators, the Connecticut Historic Commission, the Chester Kitchings Foundation, Community Foundation of S.E. Conn., Palmer/ Bodenwein Fund and thousands of private donors and volunteers, Hygienic Art bought and historically renovated this landmark building into a residential artists co-op and public art galleries. The building opened in January of 2000 for the 21st annual Hygienic Art Exhibition and stands as a testimony to community activism. Hygienic Art exists today as one of New London's premier community development projects and fine arts venue.