The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art recently hosted The Wave as part of our Second Saturdays for Families program. On a hot July day, it was a perfect moment to be thinking about water and its role in our lives. We listened to water moving through our 17th century fountain and looked at how other artists interpreted water in paintings ranging from the Hudson River School to Helen Frankenthaler. Inspired by the visual impact of other participants’ contributions to this community engagement project, children and adults dove in to become a part of The Wave. Susan and Elena are a devoted team behind an exciting project that captured our imaginations.

Anne Butler Rice, Public Programs Manager
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT


The Wave has been a most welcome addition to the New Britain Museum of American Art. Its placement over our outdoor terrace has allowed visitors, staff, and passersby alike moments of wonder and reflection as they pause, gaze, and listen in the presence of this dynamic public art project. Its colors have enlivened our buildings, and the crashing sound created with every gust of wind has brought relief from the extreme summer heat with the mighty waters that it calls to mind.

We are extremely grateful to Susan and Elena for the opportunity to display The Wave in its entirety at the NBMAA. Their dedication to the project is inspiring, and their enthusiasm for it, contagious. Their careful planning and cooperative spirit led to a very successful installation that will live on in the visual memory of everyone who interacted with the project – staff who watched it come together in spectacular fashion, visitors who mused on it while eating their lunch below, children who traced its lively shadows on the ground in sidewalk chalk, and of course, the lucky individuals of all ages who took part in assembling our own portion of The Wave on a Family Day celebrating the project. The beautiful images that came out of that day – the faces of The Wave – are a testament to the joy that it has brought. We thank you for sharing The Wave with New Britain and the NBMAA, and wish you all the best as it continues to reach new shores.

Kathryn Matsuzaki, Coordinator of School and Family Programs
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

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“So great that you find a way to share and talk about this important issue of water. It is really about life…I really appreciate your inspiring and important work.”

Lily Yeh, Public Artist; Co-Founder, Barefoot Artists, Inc. based in Philadelphia, PA; Humanitarian

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“The Peabody Essex Museum worked with Susan Fishman and Elena Kalman to host the first phase of their traveling contributory artwork, “The Wave.” Susan and Elena were exemplary public artists, whose planning and execution were flawless every step of the way. From our initial meeting through to the end of the community art-making session they led, they worked with us to create a customizable, contributory, and social art experience that our visitors loved. Novel materials, great coaching and artistic support, and a well-thought-out display method led to a fun interactive project with high visual impact and led to great discussions about the central nature of water in our lives. Their understanding of the drop-in museum setting and ability to work with a variety of audience members helped make this a great success. We’d be delighted to work with them again!”

Michelle Moon, Assistant Director of Education for Adult Programs
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Atrium of Peabody Essex Museum

We loved having The Wave on-site for our World Oceans Day celebration!  Visitors to the Aquarium (as well as passersby) were drawn to the colorful project area. As the Wave grew, it drew more and more attention!  Families participated together in creating pieces for the Wave. Such a lovely addition to our entire celebration. Thank you!

Nancy Hotchkiss, Senior Director of Visitor Experience
National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Susan Hoffman Fishman and Elena Kalman installed a magnificent, site-specific, permanent version of their interactive public art project, The Wave, in the three-story lobby of my 90-unit apartment building at 40 North 4th Street in Brooklyn during April of 2014. They also created two smaller ceiling sections in the building’s lower, recreational level. As I worked with the artists during the building’s construction, I was so taken with the stunning color and dynamic movement of the installation’s design and its relevance to the building’s location just a few blocks from Long Island Sound in Brooklyn, I decided to call the whole building itself, The Wave. Now that the building is fully occupied, we continue to receive enthusiastic comments from the tenants who are mostly young professionals. They have said that the installation is “so upbeat it makes me smile,” when they enter the lobby, that its “textures and colors capture the light,” and that “it reminds me of waves at the beach.” I say that it enlivens the space and sets the building apart from the average run-of-the-mill lobby space.

Marty Spitzer, Construction Manager
Carnegie Management, Inc., Brooklyn, New York

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A very diverse group of our community attended The Wave event, including many people who came to the library for the first time. Two of our city politicians, a member of the board of education and an entire art class from the local charter school and their teacher were present. This was the first collaborative project we had done with the school…We had many smiling faces in the library that day. Being an urban library, a large number of homeless or otherwise displaced persons hang out here. So many people involved in a creative process together unleashed a positive energy that is unfortunately not often present in our library.

Suzanne Maryeski, Executive Director
Public Library of New London, New London, CT

The Wave at the New London Public Library

The Wave was a fun, unintimidating, open and engaging way for people to come into four of our Connecticut libraries and start thinking about water issues in their communities. Before experiencing The Wave, I always looked at water as simply a place where vacation was. I never thought of water as such an important resource that we could eventually go to war over it. Now I think that water is the way I feel connected to the world. The project’s impact on me personally and on our library staff and patrons was amazing.

Jennifer Keohane, Executive Director
CT Library Consortium, Middletown, CT


“Worthington Hooker 6th graders welcomed artists, Sue Fishman and Elena Kalman, to our library on the 19th of January. We had been studying about water in our science class and were truly thrilled when Sue and Elena invited us to become a part of their ongoing Wave project. Not only was this project a perfect culmination to what my students were learning, but it also broadened their opinions of art and its potential purpose. Art in the eyes of a 6th grader tends to be that of oil on canvas painted 100’s of years ago. Conversely, The Wave is alive, tangible, universal, and THEY made it! Our Wave installment has already encouraged inquiry within our school community. I hear kids asking what it is in whispers through the hallway, and teachers are staring and scratching their heads. This piece of art does exactly what art should: make people think, wonder, and explore. I am so thankful to have met Sue and Elena and been able to become a link in their nationwide project. I know this experience has made a lasting impression on my students and they are even more inspired to spread their newly gained knowledge about water’s impact on us all.”

Dianna Carter, Teacher, 6th Grade Math and Science
Worthington Hooker School, New Haven, CT

The Wave at the Washington Hooker SchoolStudents at the Worthington Hooker Middle School

Integration of the arts is so very important and this is fabulous on so many levels. With water becoming the worlds greatest concern–from drought to tsunamis, and from population explosion and pollution to global warming–this is an area every teacher and parent can incorporate into their lessons. Thank you for all that you’re doing! What a wonderful opportunity to build an interdisciplinary unit that covers so much of what all children need to learn. Wonderful!!

Rhonda Lehman Davenport, Learning and Leadership Consultant, Rootsource Solutions, LLC


“We had a great time making waves! The kids were so excited to be part of a cool art exhibition that will travel all over and that thousands of people will see and enjoy.”

Danielle, Participant
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

The Wave

“The Wave is emblematic of installation art at its best. The Wave has motivated and excited Gaffney’s entire diverse student body, its parents, and its staff to share ideas, work as a wonderfully successful team, and take risks as they explore the process of creating. Using media with varied texture, sound, translucence, and visual appeal, The Wave has brought the school together to engage and intrigue viewers and participants while it inspires personal emotions and opinions. The impact The Wave has had on Gaffney is palpable; the wonderful influence it has had on the school will not soon ebb.”

Ann Marie Stavola, Art Teacher
Gaffney Elementary School, New Britain, CT

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