Be Part Of Westport’s Photographic History!

In 1981, Max Kaplan had already owned his art supply store for 24 years.

Shirley Mellor had worked there for over a decade. She and Max had been married for 5.

That July, Westport photographer Nancy Wayman assembled Max, Shirley, the staff at Max’s Art Supplies, and 100 or so artists who made the store their own personal hangout.

The result was a photo that captured Westport: its arts colony sensibility, its mom-and-pop shops, its downtown funkitude.

The famous 1981 photo. Max Kaplan and Shirley Mellor are in the center of the front row.

The famous 1981 photo. Max wears a tie in the front row; Shirley Mellor is next to him, on the left.

A lot has changed in 34 years. Max and Nancy Wayman died. Max’s closed in August.

In a few days, the sign comes down for the final time.

But before it does, there’s time for one last group photo.

All Westporters — artists, loyal customers, friends, and folks with no artistic talent whatsoever — are invited to gather in front of Max’s this Saturday (May 30), at 5 p.m. There will be one last photo — and Shirley wants as many people as possible to squeeze in. (If you want in, be there by 4:30 — the shutter clicks at 5 sharp, and it will take a while to organize.)

If you don’t know where Max’s was: It stood directly across from the old Y.

And if that sentence doesn’t say something about the changing face of downtown Westport, I don’t know what does.

4 responses to “Be Part Of Westport’s Photographic History!

  1. Sorry I’ll be out of town by then, promoting my memoir Nigeria Revisited My Life and Loves Abroad on the West Coast. Have fun at the photo.

  2. Wonderful post. Let’s make it a happy, albeit bittersweet day.
    4:30 it is…

  3. Wendy Cusick

    I’m not from Westport, I live on the border of Norwalk/Westport. I just drove down Main St before the stores opened one quiet morning before all “hustle and bustle” driving slowly down reflecting on the Main St from what it was in the late 70’s to now. I remember a very different Main St. Wow blows your mind what is gone.

  4. John Kennedy

    This is the end of an era. However, it is not the end of the Arts. As a director, I was responsible for holding excellence in everything and in today’s world of rationalization, crap is published, crap is painted, and crap is written, sculpted or built. There will come a day when real art will once again return, Max’s was a shining example or real art and artists. I am proud to be one of Max’s Army!