Two of Westport’s powerhouse arts institutions — MoCA and the Westport Public Art Collections — join forces soon.
“The Westport Idea” debuts at MoCA January 28. The exhibit features selections from WestPAC’s 2,000-work collection. Most are housed in public schools and town buildings.
They’re amazing treasures. But even before COVID, because of their locations they were not easily accessible to the public.
The exhibit includes several 2021 acquisitions by artists of color and under-represented groups. Examples include “Village @ Ntonso,” filled with colors and patterns from African symbols, architectures and textiles, by internationally known (and Staples High School graduate) Charles Joyner; “Three Shadows” by photographer Adger Cowans of Harlem’s’ Kamoinge Workshop, and “Don’t Judge Me” by Stamford artist Christa Forrest.
The Westport Public Art Collections’ origins date back to 1910. But it became more fully evolved in 1965, thanks to the vision of artist and educator Burt Chernow. His “idea” was to collect original fine art, for students to experience daily.
Simultaneously with “The Westport Idea,” MoCA will showcase the works of students from around the region, in its annual high school exhibition. This year’s title is “Identity.”
It features over 100 works based on the memories, experiences, relationships and values that create one’s sense of self. High school students were invited to submit drawings, paintings, digital and graphic images, photos, sculptures and videos.
Many familiar names will be highlighted in the main “Westport Idea” show. Among the artists included in the exhibit: Lynsey Addario, Ann Chernow, Charles Daugherty, James H. Daugherty, Lisa Daugherty, Stevan Dohanos, Walter Einsel, Leonard Everett Fisher, Jerri Graham, Hardie Gramatky, Robert Indiana, Estelle Margolis, Henri Matisse, Norma Minkowitz, Enid Munroe, Baroness Hilla von Rebay, Robert Rauschenberg and Larry Silver.
The opening reception is January 28 (6 to 8 p.m.). The exhibit runs through March 12. Admission is free, thanks to an anonymous gift.
Supporting programming for “The Westport Idea” includes a talk by co-curator Kathleen Motes Bennewitz (February 3); an in-depth discussion on Tom Wesselmann (February 17), an ekphrastic writing workshop with Westport poet laureate Diane Lowman (February 24)m, and a WestPAC teaching gallery talk (March 3).
All programs run from 6 to 7 p.m. Click here to register.