Calling All Artists

The number of Staples graduates who go on to careers in the arts is astonishing. From Eric von Schmidt and Christopher Lloyd, through Brian Keane and Bradley Jones on through Ari Edelson, Daryl Wein, Gina Rattan — and the hundreds more whose parents will respond wrathfully because I did not name them — Westporters make their marks as actors, artists, musicians, choreographers, stage managers, cinematographers, sound engineers, and in countless other ways.

But they’re not the subject of this post.

Thousands of other Westport students were exposed to music, visual arts, theater and literature, then moved on to careers in law, medicine, technology, blogging, insider trading, and god knows what else.

Yet they still remain involved in the arts.

They act in community theater. Serve on symphony boards. Sing with a church choir. Etc., etc., etc.

Many towns have community theater groups, where non-professional actors continue to take the stage. This scene is from a recent Westport Community Theater production of “The Seafarer.”

Every October, the Westport Arts Advisory Committee honors notable and rising young “artists” (in the broad sense of the word). The brochure — detailing new and past awardees — makes for fascinating reading.

In 2013 — for the 20th anniversary of the awards — the WAAC wants to include as many “non-professionals” as they can find.

That information — recounting the impact the arts had on these bankers, engineers, CEOs and whatnot long after Staples — could be even more intriguing than the usual stuff.

First, though, the committee must find them.

If you — or someone you know — is still involved in the arts, in a non-make-your-living-at-it way, email Ann Chernow at, or Sandy Lefkowitz at

And, just for fun, click “Comments” and let “06880” readers know too. We shouldn’t have to wait 17 months to hear about the arts’ influence on non-artists’ lives.

2 responses to “Calling All Artists

  1. Fred Cantor

    Off the top of my head–just from the class of ’71–Alan Bravin has performed in a number of community theater and/or equity productions in California, Leslie Schine and Cherie Flom Quain have been affiliated with the board at the Westport Country Playhouse, Rob and Julie Aldworth McClenathan have been active as performers/singers at their local church in the Monroe area and have also performed in the Staples Reunion Band with classmates who have made their living in music such as Brian Keane and Charlie Karp. I’m sure I’m overlooking a bunch of other classmates.

  2. Thanks Fred. I did serve on the board of Westport Country Playhouse for 5 years, and have now joined the board of the Fairfield County Arts Alliance. Check out if you get a chance. It’s great for finding out what’s available in our area, and is helpful to artists and to facilities such as the Playhouse.
    🙂 Cherie Flom Quain Staples 71