Cynthia Gibb And The Healing Arts

There was plenty to love about last weekend’s Westport Arts Center gala.

A full house at the Westport Country Playhouse honored Joyce  Thompson, and Cindy and John Vaccaro, for their many contributions to cultural life.  The WAC announced a $1.2 million gift from the Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation.

There was even time to tango.

But the highlight of the evening may have been Cynthia Gibb‘s passionate speech about the importance of the arts to her life — and to Westport.

Cynthia Gibb, honoring the arts last weekend. (Photo/Kathleen O'Rourke)

The actor/singer/dancer — whose career includes TV (“Search for Tomorrow,” “Fame”), movies, commercial and voice-overs (and who got her start as a model while still at Staples, and dating “Blue Lagoon” star Christopher Atkins) — says that her talk helped her realize how much her youth in Westport impacted who she is today.

“I realize now that the arts were very healing for me,” she said earlier this week.

“They gave me the freedom to explore my life in ways I might not have.  The arts have been joyful, cathartic, painful, and ultimately a gift that’s been so emotionally satisfying.”

In fact, Cynthia — whose parents moved from Vermont to Westport in 1967 specifically for the arts — said, “I don’t know if I’d had done all this if I hadn’t grown up here.  From the beginning of school, and throughout the years, I was exposed to drama, music and dance.  Dorothy Straub, John Hanulik, Al Pia — where would I be without those people?”

She noted that it’s not just artists who benefit from the arts.  Westport history classes, for example, teach that what goes on in society — politically, religiously and economically — is reflected in its art.

Cynthia Gibb

Cynthia spent 30 years in Los Angeles, “surrounded by people who make their living in the arts.”  Even there, though, she did not find the same support for the arts as here.

People still move to Westport for the arts, she said.  Two years ago, she did too.

Her children are enjoying arts education here — and academics, and athletics.

Meanwhile, Cynthia offers singers, actors and public speakers instruction in vocal technique, performance coaching and career management advice.

So there she was onstage at last weekend’s event.  She talked about Westport and the arts, and appreciated the chance to give back to the town.  She’s still doing what she loves, in the town that instilled a passion for it in her.

Though, she said, “I had a tough time doing the tango up there.”

11 responses to “Cynthia Gibb And The Healing Arts

  1. Thanks Dan. I woke up to a sweet text message from Ruth Sherman saying that this was up. Had to tell you how special it is to know you again!

  2. I have seen Ms. Gibb at the Y. She has some fantastic Yoga moves!

  3. Wonderful to know that Cindy has returned to Westport and is active in its creative life. For those of us in Westport that grew up with her, it was thrilling to see her career take off, taking her to Hollywood and back…and really no surprise to see that she is reinvesting herself in passionate advocacy for the arts back where it all started. It should be noted that during high school, as her talents gained traction in Manhattan, Cindy stayed an enthusiastic participant in Staples’ creative life…1st violinist etc. maintaining what must have been an exhausting schedule….and whip smart! She and her childhood friend Suzanne Sherman Propp certainly top the list of reasons I’d give for celebrating the class of ’81 as an example of the enormous long term value to communities wise enough to sustain and support arts education.

  4. Estelle Margolis

    It has been our pleasure to have known this beautiful young woman and her family for 46 years! She may not have been born when we moved in.
    Her gracious modesty and real warmth shine thru. Unlike many actors she is completely “real.”
    Lovely article, thank you, Dan.

  5. One of Ms. Gibb’s most prominent roles was in Oliver Stone’s “Salvador,” in which she played a character based on another notable Westporter, Jean Donovan. I know Dan has written eloquently about her as well.

  6. Oh my goodness, thank you to everyone who wrote such beautiful comments. I am so humbled. I am so blessed….CG

  7. P.S. SHS class of ’81 has some celebrating ot do this summer!

  8. considering the names in this thread, Gibb, Sherman, Margolis…I’m wondering if I haven’t stumbled into a clandestine old Bedford El reunion, class of ’74….maybe the real reason they closed that school was to more equitably distribute the creative kids throughout the district! I love Dan’s blog…so much fun for an ex-Pat to keep tabs, see names, faces and wonderful to hear/read your voices too (hello Mrs. Margolis!)

  9. david Scott Schmalholz

    Way to go Cynthia Gibb! Congrats. And to Doug Bond, I am up for a Bedford Junior High School Reunion anytime! And Dan Woog, remember the Tigers? Best, David Scott Schmalholz

    • Of course I remember the Tigers!

      • Ha! Good!

        Hey, I moved my show from NYC after 15 years and built a TV studio in Stamford. If you ever want to come by for lunch with the Judge and cast, give me a call at below number. Would love to catch up.

        David Scott The People’s Court

        Sent from David Scott’s iPhone (646) 245-4938