Despite its name, the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center is not a place.
It’s an organization, named for a bequest by the longtime restaurant owner (Onion Alley, Cobb’s Mill Inn, Stonehenge Inn) and downtown landlord (much of Main Street).
His first wife, Bobbie, was an accomplished artist who died in 2011. Drew was a great supporter of her work, and her many local artist friends.
After his death in 2016, his estate funded the Community Arts Center. Administered by Drew’s business partner Nick Visconti, it supports non-profit art programs, with a special emphasis on youth.
One of its centerpieces is a scholarship program. For the 3rd year in a row, Friedman’s endowment has provided college grants — totaling $25,000 — to 4 Westport students.
The committee has chosen well. Here are samples of the works of the 4 awardees.
Thanks to Drew Friedman, the Westport school system — and our entire arts-loving town — the creative future is in great hands.
Meanwhile, in other art news, the Board of Selectmen voted this week to accept 30 works of art sought by Westport’s Public Art Collections.
This is the first time the Westport Arts Advisory Committee — which oversees WestPAC — has purchased items for the collection.
Until now, donations have enabled more than 1,500 artworks to hang in public buildings. Schools, Town Hall, the Senior Center, Parks & Rec office — everywhere in Westport, you see public art.
Now, the WAAC is proactively contemporizing and updating the collection. Most of the 30 works accepted by the selectmen this week were donations. They include the mixed media collage “Village @ Ntonso” by 1965 Staples High School graduate and retired North Carolina State University professor of design Charles Joyner.
However, 4 were purchased, thanks to Friends of WestPAC. Two are by Westport photographer Jerri Graham; one is by Stamford painter Christa Forrest, the other by nationally renowned photographer Adger Cowans of Bridgeport.
The goal of the purchasing program is for “residents, students, and school and town staff to be able to see themselves reflected in – and inspired by – a more diverse range of original works of art,” says town arts curator Kathie Bennewitz.
“We hope too that these works will help foster community dialogues.”
To learn more about how to donate art, or make tax-deductible contributions to WestPAC, click here.