Bridgeport youth spend day with artist
NEW HAVEN -- An icon in the world of contemporary art, Chuck Close knows a lot about the healing, beneficial aspects of art for young people. In fact, he frequently says, "If I didn't go to Yale, I would have gone to jail. Art saved my life."
On Monday, Close returned to the campus of Yale University -- where he received a master of fine arts degree in 1964 and once taught -- not to lecture art-savvy doctoral candidates, but to hang out "with my kids" at the oldest university art gallery in the United States.
His kids are 34 students in the sixth through eighth grades from Bridgeport's Roosevelt School -- and none had ever before visited the gallery.
The Manhattan-based artist, who turns 73 on July 5, has befriended the students as a volunteer mentor with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its national Turnaround Arts Initiative pilot program. Roosevelt is one of eight schools in the nation to participate in the two-year public-private program, which aims to improve low-performing schools by increasing student "engagement" through the arts.
Monday's tour of the recently renovated and expanded Yale Art Gallery was Close's third meeting with the group. The first was in November at the South End school. In December, the students traveled by bus to view a solo exhib...