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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or LinKen2467@aol.com, or call 203-227-5203).