“Spirit Animal” Art At Powell Place

Art lifts. Art energizes. Art inspires.

So does the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center. The non-profit — funded by a $500,000 bequest from the late downtown landlord and Cobb’s Mill Inn owner — has quietly but strongly impacted the lives of young Westporters. Led by passionate volunteer artists, these boys and girls create their own art — right where they live.

Homes with Hope runs an after-school program for children and teenagers living in the organization’s Powell Place housing, and the surrounding neighborhood Saugatuck Avenue neighborhood.  It provides positive role models, academic support and enrichment, 4 days a week.

First, with the guidance of Miggs Burroughs, the Drew Friedman Center helped kids in the program create a mural of their self-portraits.

Recently, they embarked on their 2nd project. Each student chose a “spirit animal,” then created their own interpretation of that animal and its environment.

Hard at work on the mural.

Artist Katherine Ross and her daughter Rebecca worked with them to devise a layout and composition for the mural, then helped them realize their visions.

Art is a collaborative process.

The mural now hangs proudly in the Powell Place community room.

Artists young and old, and their mural. (Photo releases were not obtained for all young artists.)

This project — run by Lynn Abramson — is just the latest for the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center. They’ve already sponsored art classes at Project Return, in Randy Herbertson’s studio, and for developmentally disabled youngsters at CLASP Homes.

Art lifts, energizes and inspires. Thanks to Drew Friedman’s generosity, it’s also accessible now to every child, no matter where in Westport they live.

This young artist’s work began as a sketch.

4 responses to ““Spirit Animal” Art At Powell Place

  1. Rozanne Gates

    Look at the smile on that young man’s face. I have fallen in love.

  2. Frannie Southworth

    This is a wonderful story! Thanks Miggs, Katherine & Rebecca for guiding these young artists and giving them a creative outlet to express their inner wisdom through art and their spirit animals. The mural speaks for itself and shows what a great experience it was for all!!!!💜 Thanks for spreading kindness, compassion and shining your light to bring joy to others!!!
    Tikuun Olam, repairing the world, in action.

  3. We are so fortunate to have the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center! In just a short time, this organization has become integral in the efforts of our local artists to create community and connection, building on Westport’s proud legacy, and encouraging a creative dialogue amongst all of us.

  4. Sharon Paulsen

    I am honestly gobsmacked by the creativity exhibited here by these young artists.

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    Thank u Dan for posting this!

    And thanks to Miggs B.!

    P.S. – I am not necessarily familiar with some of the other influencers mentioned in this article, so just a global “shout out” to everyone else involved.