Joy Wulke, Sculpture Critic, passes

Joy Wulke (Critic, Sculpture), environmental artist, educator, and public art advocate, died on February 25, 2014 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford after a seven-month struggle with cancer. She was 65.

sublime_climate_1Born in San Bernardino, CA on May 23, 1948 and raised in Long Beach, Joy earned a BA in Architecture from Washington State University in 1970 and a Masters of Environmental Design from Yale in 1974. She was an American Institute of Architects Associate member, the owner of Joy Wulke Studio of Art and Design and founder of Projects for a New Millennium (Projects2K), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the fusion of art and science as means of ecological stewardship. She held teaching positions at Yale, RISD, Montana State and the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, and was a continuing Advisory Council member for the School of Architecture and Design at Washington State. She was on the Cultural Planning Council for the Regional Cultural Plan for Greater New Haven from 1996 to 2000, Project Coordinator for Art in Public Spaces with the Connecticut Commission on the Arts from 1998 to 2004 and Executive Director of the Washington Art Association from 2012 to 2013.

Joy stated that she “thrived on collaboration and community interaction, and strove to create works of wonder”. In her early career she specialized in fabric playscape designs, bringing teachers, parents and children together through the power of creative thinking. She continued to focus on educational and collaborative art throughout her career, creating art and science programs at the Peabody Museum and Barnard Environmental Magnet in New Haven, CT.

Joy’s later photographic and sculptural works explored the environment and light as both materials and subjects. A collection of her studies on abandoned schoolhouses and landscapes in Montana, entitled “The Great Alone”, are in the permanent collection at Yale’s Beineke Library. In her public art works, she manipulated light through fabric, steel, glass and LED, transforming their surrounding spaces. From the atrium of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center to the façade of the Stamford Metro-North Railroad Station, Joy conveyed a sense of beauty and place. Her largest scale projects, multisensory performances with Projects2k, filled the Stony Creek Quarry in CT with light, lasers, sound and fire.

Joy’s work has appeared in New Media Art, The New York Times, Interiors, Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, Sculpture and LA Architect. She received three Connecticut Arts Fellowships, a New England Foundation on the Arts Artist Grant and a 2013 Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. Her sculptural commissions span the country and include work for the Louisiana World’s Fair, the World Trade Center, the Lincoln Center Film Forum, the DeCordova Museum and the American Bar Association.

Joy was a lover of the water and the earth, of the wonders of science and art, of the power of imagination and mermaids. Her creativity, passion, grace, and fabulous cooking enriched the lives of her friends and family. Joy’s generous spirit will be sorely missed by her husband David Connell of Stony Creek, CT, her daughter Gioia Connell of New Haven, CT, her sister Janice Wulke of Long Beach, CA, her Cousin Marleta Warneke Garner of Los Osos, CA and countless friends. A service is planned for early summer near her home in Branford, CT.

> New York Times obituary

Joy Wulke, Sculpture