Introducing ECOCA

Opening soon and once again at 51 Trumbull Street, New Haven.

1,250 signatures strong—it made all the difference.

As a result of the efforts of the Friends of John Slade Ely House for Contemporary Art, Inc, New Haven Paint and Clay Club, the Brush and Palette Club, along with the guidance and support of Jackie Downing of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (CFGNH), Andrew Wolf of the City of New Haven’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism Commission, and Tom Danehy of Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES), Probate Judge Frank Forgione halted the unfettered sale of the John Slade Ely House by its Trustee, Wells Fargo, after the Trustee closed the building in July 2015.

Early in the negotiations, it became clear that an organization like Friends needed to as act as a stakeholder of the public’s interest. Friends incorporated and became a 501(c)(3).

ecoca logo


Friends is working to reestablish the Ely Center of Contemporary Art to take its place once again as the centerpiece of the New Haven Arts District and the Greater New Haven area. Our mission is to reaffirm Grace Ely’s testamentary wishes for an art center where arts organizations and the public could assemble, exchange, learn, and engage through exhibitions, performances, and emerging contemporary practice.

Support and Engagement

Wells Fargo granted $30,000 for start-up activities and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven awarded a $5,500 matching grant challenge. With this positive momentum behind us, we need your help:

  • First and foremost, show your support and continued interest by emailing us so we can keep in touch.
  • Let us know if you’d like to serve on a committee or volunteer for activities. We are a volunteer organization, and we need help carrying on the Ely legacy.
  • Help us meet the monetary challenge offered by CFGNH! If 55 individuals contribute $100 each, we can match the funds in no time. Can we count on you?
  • An easy way to make a gift (that will be matched) is to participate in The Great Give on May 3-4. Visit our page to make a gift, and please send the link to your family and friends who care about the John Slade Ely Center for Contemporary Art.

Doll Show

A Look Back

The John Slade Ely House is an English Elizabethan style house built in 1905 by S. G. Taylor. It was home to John Slade Ely (1860-1906) and Grace T. Ely, who came to New Haven in 1897. From 1897 up until his tragic death in 1906, he held the Theory and Practice of Medicine chair at Yale School of Medicine. Grace, an active community member and supporter of the arts, left the house in Trust as an art center after her death in 1960. The first exhibition opened in April 1961 with works from New Haven Paint & Clay Club.

Founded in 1961, the John Slade Ely House is New Haven's first major arts center curating hosting many regional arts organizations.