For years, the pedestrian tunnel linking Main Street with Parker Harding Plaza was one of the grungiest places in Westport. Dark and grim, it seemed like one of the few places in town where you could actually get mugged.
Last year, artist/photographer/creative genius Miggs Burroughs changed all that. His “Tunnel Vision” project — 16 lenticular images showing Westporters connecting with each other, each one changing depending on your viewing angle — turned the Clockwork Orange-ish passageway into a tourist attraction.
Now Miggs is doing the same for Westport’s other skeevy tunnel: the train station, beneath the railroad tracks.
In cooperation with the Westport Police Department Railroad Parking Division, Westport Arts Center and Helen Klisser During, Miggs once again plans 16 lenticular photos.
The LED-lit lightboxes will turn the dreary tunnel into a stunning “Welcome to Westport” gallery. It may even stop folks rushing to or from trains — well, dead in their tracks.
Each lenticular will combine an image from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Downtown, Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all will be displayed in fascinating then-and-now fashion.
The police — who are in charge of railroad station parking — want to bring art to the area. After all, Westport enjoys a reputation as an artists colony — and the Westport Arts Center is just down Riverside Avenue.
For decades too, commuters and civic boosters have wanted to do something to spiff up the horrific first impression of Westport that greets train travelers.
The iconic images come from collections of Police Chief Dale Call, former 1st selectman Gordon Joseloff and amateur historian Bill Scheffler.
You can see one of the lightboxes already. Not yet in the tunnel, it’s mounted outside the westbound waiting room on Railroad Place.
But each lightbox costs $3,000. Joseloff, Scheffler and his wife Ann Sheffer, and Robin Tauck have already funded 1 each. Burroughs and his co-producers need 13 more sponsors. Individuals, families, businesses and corporations are all invited. Contact Marni Katz at the Westport Arts Center (203-226-1806) for more information.
But the east tunnel is not the only one getting an arts infusion.
A project for the newer, less grungy west walkway is also in the works. Set for installation after a similar show at the Westport Historical Society this fall, and sponsored by Andrew Bentley, it will feature New Yorker covers of Westport scenes, paired with photos by Michael Goss of the same scenes today. They will not be lenticulars — but they will be eye-opening.
Here’s one set. The more things change…