Ted Salmon: Championing the Arts in East Haven
Earlier this month, Edwin “Ted” Salmon’s work was chosen among a highly competitive lineup of artist submissions for the Green Light Project. The East Haven resident had responded to a call for a piece that would symbolize community and the human spirit.
“The Yale Humanist Community [YHC] wanted something to do with community and bringing people together,” says Ted.
Ted describes his project, The Lighthouse, with many sides, each representing a different New Haven neighborhood. The faces will come together to form a 15-foot-tall sculpture visible from all sides of the Green.
“It’s about bringing people together—not [about] religion or race—and humanity and compassion,” says Ted. “A lot of what I’m pursuing is about community and how arts should be a vital part of our community and that’s what this sculpture is so much about.”
To help ensure a place for the arts in the community, Ted has served as chairperson of the East Haven Arts Commission (EHAC) for the past five years. Noting that the EHAC stages two theatrical productions a year in rented space at Melillo Middle School, Ted says he was “thrilled” with the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendation for the 200 Tyler Street property.
“Our main objective right now is to have the developers of the high school preserve the theater and the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended that the developer include the restoration of the theater as part of the scope for the work and that the arts commission have use of the theater,” says Ted. “I’m glad they recognize how much the arts can contribute to the local community.”
The EHAC meets on the third Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center with its next meeting scheduled for Monday, April 18. The meetings are open to the public and the EHAC is “eagerly looking” for volunteers.
Ted and the EHAC have also received tentative approvals for the creation of a sculpture trail in Farm River State Park. His goal is to feature a juried show of about a dozen artists for a year or two. Despite already having tentative approvals, the project still wouldn’t come to fruition for a few years as it still needs more approvals and endowments.
“The sculpture trail would pay homage to the family that donated that property. The Lippincott family operated a sculpture fabrication facility in North Haven for years,” says Ted, who was raised in the Midwest by his parents, one a skilled painter and the other an architect.
Ted has two children who attend East Haven Academy, which he chose based on its arts-based curriculum. His children play in the band and his daughter is involved with the school’s plays.
“We’re really lucky that our kids go into the Academy,” says Ted. “The principal, Mrs. Johnson, is fantastic heading up a school that gives the kids the opportunity to study visual and performing arts. It is also great that the superintendent has made a commitment to the arts with things like Heart of East Haven that showcases all of the artistic talent that our town’s kids have to offer.”
The Heart of East Haven is a district-wide art show that will feature artwork from students in every grade in every school. The opening celebration for the district-wide show will be held on Wednesday, April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ted’s involvement in art is more than his volunteer work. He is the owner of EWS3D LLC, a high-end architectural metal fabrication company. The Green Light Project will be created at EWS3D, where he has nine employees.
“The Green Light Project will go through the business like a job,” says Ted. “I will design it and everyone in the shop will work on it.”
The Green Light Project isn’t Ted’s first large outdoor sculpture. In town, he also donated a sculpture as part of the Judson Dougherty Memorial Garden in the courtyard of the East Haven Academy. One of his sculptures is also displayed in the Bushnell Plaza across the street from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. His work is also on display at the Greene Art Gallery in Guilford.
The Green Light Project’s crowd-funding campaign launch celebration is Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Happiness Lab at The Grove as a part of YHC’s third annual Yale and New Haven Humanism Week, which runs from April 2 to 9. On Friday, April 15, there will be another crowd-funding event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Overshores Brewing Company in East Haven.
Ted will then host an artist talk for the Green Light Project on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the New Haven History Museum. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the sculpture is scheduled for Nov. 13 on the New Haven Green.
“I want to be a champion of the arts on all aspects. I want to engage the community and the arts through my work, my art, and my position on the council,” says Ted. “I would like to see more people in East Haven interact with art and realize how vital it is for the economy, our quality of life, and for the education of our kids.”
For information about the Green Light Project, visit glpnh.com. For information about Salmon’s work, visit edwinsalmon.com.