Deck The Halls With Westport Artwork

In 1964, Green’s Farms Elementary School art teacher Burt Chernow donated 100 works — from friends and fellow artists — to the Westport schools.

He envisioned a “museum without walls” where youngsters were surrounded by a visually stimulating arts environment — a part of their daily lives.

Today, the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection includes over 1,000 paintings, drawings, cartoons, photographs and sculptures.

It’s hung in hallways and offices of every building. It’s available to teachers and students, for integration into lesson plans, presentations and projects.

Stevan Dohanos' "Christmas in Westport" is one of many local works in the Permanent Arts Collection.

Stevan Dohanos’ “Christmas in Westport” is one of many local works in the Permanent Arts Collection.

There are Miros and Picassos, Christos and Warhols. There’s Stevan Dohanos’ famed “Westport Post Office at Christmas”; Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey comic strip, and good ol’ Horace Staples.

The collection is the envy of museum curators and directors, who only wish they had the works Westport has — and the halls, walls and classrooms of our schools to display them.

Green's Farms School is filled with works from the permanent collection.

Green’s Farms Elementary School is filled with works from the permanent collection.

Of course, it takes money to maintain this wonderful collection. And though we’re all besieged by end-of-the-year pleas to fund worthy causes, this is a great time to ask for donations.

Susan Malloy and Ann Sheffer — longtime Westport arts patrons and philanthropists — have offered a $5,000 matching grant.

Horace Staples hangs outside the main office of the school that bears his name -- though usually without a Christmas hat.

Horace Staples hangs outside the main office of the school that bears his name — though usually without a Christmas hat.

Chances are, you’ve wandered through Westport schools, and wondered about the intriguing artwork that seems to be everywhere you look.

Now that you know where it comes from, and how it gets there, why not do your part to make sure it stays there.

(Checks made payable to “Westport Schools Permanent Arts Collection” can be sent to Linda Gramatky Smith, 60 Roseville Rd., Westport, CT 06880. To donate via credit card, send card number, expiration date, street address and phone number to Linda Smith; she will call you to finish processing the donation.  Questions?  Email kmbennewitz@gmail.com or LinKen2467@aol.com, or call 203-227-5203).

One response to “Deck The Halls With Westport Artwork

  1. Ginny McGovern, PTA Council Co-President

    Thank you Dan. WSPAC is maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers at our 8 schools, co-chaired by Kathie Bennewitz and Victoria Sybelnik this year. Burt Chernow’s vision enriches thousands of minds daily and enhances our curriculum in countless ways. We’d like to thank Susan Malloy and Ann Scheffer for the generous gift, all of the WAPAC representatives and all who donate to our “museums without walls”.