Category Archives: Downtown

“Art About Town” Floods Main Street

Once a year, downtown turns into a pedestrian mall. It’s “Art About Town” — one of Westport’s newest traditions.

Part art exhibit, part street fair — and all fun — it’s a great way to kick off a month-long exhibit of art (for sale!) by 65 artists, in 60 locations.

It started an hour ago. If you’re reading this before 8:30 p.m. on Thursday — there’s still time to go.

Just don’t think of parking on Main Street.

There were plenty of great artist demonstrations tonight. But none was more impressive than Rosiejon. She has no arms -- so she uses her feet. Amazingly, she has been painting for just a year.

There were plenty of great artist demonstrations tonight. But none was more impressive than Rosiejon. She has no arms — so she uses her feet. Amazingly, she has been painting for just a year.

Harry Moritz graduated from Staples in 2010 -- and from Pratt less than a week ago. Here's one of his creations.

Harry Moritz graduated from Staples in 2010 — and from Pratt less than a week ago. Here’s one of his creations.

Another kind of artist is performer Jared Rydelek. This was just his warmup.

Another kind of artist is performer Jared Rydelek. This was just his warmup.

This young man may be trying out for Art About Town -- the 2035 version.

This young man may be trying out for Art About Town — the 2035 version.

Joyce Landon is among 65 artists who is showing downtown, for the next month. Her works can be seen in the TD Bank lobby.

Joyce Landon is among 65 artists who is exhibiting downtown, for the next month. Her works can be seen in the TD Bank lobby.

Where In Westport Would You…?

Susan Israel is a new “06880” reader. She does not live in Westport — but over the next month, she’ll pass through here a few times a week.

Susan is sharp. She quickly grasped that “06880” readers know everything — and love to share their knowledge. (Also, their opinions.)

She wants to stop on her way through, and explore Westport. Here’s what she’s looking for: “the coolest, most eclectic shops and cafes, points of interest and interesting pit stops.”

She’s a writer, so she also wants to know “where would you feel most comfortable working on your manuscript while sipping a latte?”

SoNo Bakery has quickly become downtown's go-to cafe.

SoNo Bakery has quickly become downtown’s go-to cafe.

And: “If you were into one-of-a-kind sporty clothes — nothing too expensive — where would you want to spend hours trying on stuff?

Plus: “What is the out-of-the-ordinary attraction that you would say is a must-see?”

Finally: “Where would you park your car?”

I had an easy answer for the “coolest, most eclectic shop”: Indulge by Mersene.

A customer browses (left), while Mersene makes sure all is well. Check out the Westport pillows!

A customer browses (left), while Mersene makes sure all is well. Check out the Westport pillows!

But I promised Susan I’d crowd-source all her questions. So, guy and gals: Get to it. Click “Comments” to answer 1 (or all) of our soon-to-be-frequent-visitor’s questions.

PS: Don’t just provide a list. Tell her why you love these places!

Third Time’s The Charm

A certain artist — painting en plein air — has graced “06880” twice before.

In 2013, alert reader Dawn Matera photographed him at work on the corner of Riverside Avenue and the Post Road.

Last week, Fred Cantor snapped him at Parker Harding Plaza.

But no one knew who he was.

Now we do.

Lynn U. Miller saw him a few days ago, and stopped to chat.

Jim Chillington at work, near Gorham Island. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Jim Chillington at work, near Gorham Island. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

He’s Jim Chillington. He lives in Newtown, but loves Westport’s many scenic views.

His work is currently on exhibit (and for sale) at Rockwell Art and Framing on the Post Road — not far from the scenes he loves to paint.

It Won’t Be Long…

…until the Levitt Pavilion opens for another season.

This guy at the Westport Arts Center — across the river — can hardly wait.

WAC with Levitt in distance

Party On Main Street!

A lot has happened downtown in one year.

“Tunnel Vision” — Miggs Burroughs’ spectacular 16-image transformation of the long-dingy pedestrian tunnel between Main Street and Parker Harder Plaza — was unveiled last May. Today it’s a destination — not a nightmare.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association‘s big sidewalk-and-lamps project is nearing completion.

So let’s party!

Tall, older dancers and shorter, younger ones performed at last year's Art About Town party. They'll be back this Thursday for more fun.

Tall, older dancers and shorter, younger ones performed at last year’s Art About Town party. They’ll be back this Thursday for more fun.

The WDMA’s annual “Art About Town” opening night street celebration is set for Thursday (May 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m.). It’s a unique, family-friendly combination of original works, interactive art demonstrations, funky live music, dancing, street performances, food and drinks at pop-up cafes — all in the middle of traffic-free Main Street.

Westport Arts Center educators will help everyone create small wall signs using crazy colors, funky patterns, buttons and beads.

Artists give impromptu demonstrations in the middle of Main Street.

Artists give impromptu demonstrations in the middle of Main Street.

And — going back to that “Tunnel Vision” anniversary — Miggs gives “tours” of his work at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The party kicks off a 4-week art event. Hundreds of original works by local artists will fill more than 60 shops and restaurants. Downtown becomes one big gallery. All works are juried, for sale, and on display until June 21.

Of course, plenty of art is sold long before then. Some even goes during the opening party.

Hey — this is Westport. We move fast.

Except through Miggs’ tunnel.

 

Miggs Burroughs, in his "Tunnel Vision" creation.

Miggs Burroughs, in his “Tunnel Vision” creation.

Anthropologie Heads To Bedford Square; Tenant Signed For Kemper-Gunn Too

The first 40,000 square feet of Bedford Square has been leased.

AnthropologieAnthropologie — the women’s clothing store owned by Urban Outfitters, now located 2 miles east, next to Balducci’s — will move into the retail/ residential development downtown. Its specific location is the Bedford building and adjacent former firehouse, on the corner of Main Street, the Post Road and Church Lane.

The new Anthropologie will include a full restaurant, clothing, home and beauty stores, and BHLDN, Anthropologie’s wedding brand.

Serena and LilyMeanwhile, across Church Lane, Serena and Lily will move into the Kemper-Gunn house, newly relocated from Elm Street in the Baldwin parking lot. They sell home decor, custom bedding, nursery furniture, rugs and wallpaper. This will be their 3rd US store.

Still on the market: 30,000 square feet of space.

Bedford Square

A rendering of Church Lane, from the Bedford Square website.

Westport: Still An Artists’ Colony…

…or at least, still a place that artists love to paint.

Alert reader/photographer Fred Cantor snapped this shot the other day:

Artist downtown - Fred Cantor

I bet the artist has no idea that this spot is directly across the river from the old Famous Artists School.

WAC Flags Wave

Downtown Westport’s most iconic symbol is the Post Road bridge. For years, residents and visitors have admired dozens of flags flying proudly on both sides.

For much of the year, they’re the Stars and Stripes. On jUNe Day and UN Day, those are replaced by countries around the globe.

This week, the flags are from the Westport Arts Center. They support the upcoming “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” fundraiser, set for Saturday at Vespa and National Hall — the handsome building anchoring the west end of the bridge.

(Photo/Helen Klisser During)

(Photo/Helen Klisser During)

 

This Sounds Like A Very Cool Place To Visit

You and I may never have heard of TheCultureTrip. But the website — which offers “the best of art, food, culture and travel for every country” — has just named Westport to its “Top 10 Beautiful Towns in Connecticut” list.

Although no one from TheCultureTrip has, apparently, ever been here.

Here’s our writeup:

Located on the coast just 50 miles north of New York City, Westport has some of the most stunning scenery in the state. The seafront has a row of beautiful red brick buildings, their warm colour contrasting with the sparkling blue of the sea. The seafront is particularly striking during sunsets, where the light casts a wonderful warm glow onto the houses and their reflections in the water. Further into the main town, old fashioned board houses and impressive buildings dating back to colonial times line the streets, interspersed with large, fresh green spaces, perfect for lazy strolls and picnics.

There is so much BS in those 4 sentences, it’s hard to begin.

But if you’re wondering just exactly where those “beautiful red brick buildings” along our “seafront” actually are, I’m guessing they’re right here, in the photo that illustrates our listing:

Copyright/WestportWiki/WikiCommons

Copyright/WestportWiki/WikiCommons

And if you’re also wondering: We’re 1 of only 2 Fairfield County towns to make the cut.

The other is Greenwich.

(To see the entire “Top 10″ story, click here.)

2 Women Who Believe They Are Cars

The sidewalk/lamppost renovation of Main Street is proceeding nicely. Downtown is looking up.

Unlike 2 women in a photo below, who apparently think the project includes a new pedestrian mall.

Workers were finishing the left-side sidewalk yesterday. But that was not why traffic was snarled.

The cause of the holdup was 2 women — one pushing a stroller — walking side by side. All. The. Way. Down. The. Middle. Of. Main. Street.

Downtown

There was a perfectly good sidewalk on the right, so maybe the ladies were meandering toward a shop on the left?

Nah.

They continued north, oblivious to the scrum of cars behind.

The (very patient) driver who inched her way up Main Street behind these 2 Very Special People turned right on Elm. So we don’t know how far they kept walking, smack in the middle of the road.

To be fair, perhaps they were reenacting the British march to Danbury 238 years ago.

If so — and you’re driving on Route 7 today — watch out!