Category Archives: Arts

Remembering Shirley Mellor

Shirley Mellor — the beloved former owner of the almost-as-beloved Max’s Art Supplies — died yesterday. She was 92 years old.

Three years ago in March, over 100 people — from across town and across the country, and from Westport’s artistic present and past — paid tribute, on her 90th birthday.

Shirley Mellor (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Though she closed Max’s 7 years ago, she still did yoga 3 times a week, nearly until her death. She told wonderful stories, and dispensed excellent advice.

Among the attendees at her birthday celebration were longtime Max’s employees Nina Royce, Rita Engelbardt and Jay Cimbak. Miggs Burroughs called Max’s — one of the anchors of Post Road East, next to the former Restoration Hardware — “Westport’s town square for artists.” Much of that was because of Shirley’s care and concern for our town’s artists. Professional or amateur, she loved — and helped — them all.

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In May of 2014, I wrote about Max’s closing. It’s a fitting epitaph for a remarkable, much-admired woman.

In mid-September the Westport Y leaves downtown, for new digs at Mahackeno.

A few days earlier, another longtime Post Road anchor will also go.

Max’s — a legendary art supply store (and, just as important, social hub for painters, illustrators and cartoonists) — closes on September 1.

Max's Art Supplies -- a long and familiar Post Road store.

Max’s Art Supplies — a long and familiar Post Road store.

For 59 years Max’s has occupied prime real estate, directly opposite the Y. But the end of Westport as an “artists’ colony,” coupled with the increasing role of technology in both art and commerce, spelled the end.

Owner Shirley Mellor has held on longer than any other merchant would. It’s been years since she’s made any money. But — as much as she loves her employees, her town and her dwindling customer base — she can’t lose money forever.

Max’s dates back to 1956, when Max Kaplan bought Fine Arts Stationers. He replaced paper and candy with pens, sketch pads, paints, brushes and canvases.

Part of a shelf at Max's, last Friday.

Part of a shelf at Max’s, last Friday.

Shirley was Max’s wife. He died in 1983. The next year she married artist Gordon Mellor, a widower. He died in 2001.

“We played a huge role in the art life of Westport,” Shirley says proudly. “All the artists knew us. And they were a sizable number.”

They came to Max’s for supplies, and stayed to socialize. Whitney Darrow Jr., Stevan Dohanos, Bernie Fuchs, Mel Casson, Dik Browne, Mort Walker, Stan Drake, Leonard Starr, Eric von Schmidt, Constance Kiermaier, Tom Funk, Gill Fox, Naiad and Walter Einsel, Ward Brackett, Neil Hardy, Miggs Burroughs — the names roll off Shirley’s tongue, like the old friends they were.

She points to a photo from 1981. It was Max’s 25th anniversary. A hundred artists posed on the sidewalk outside.

The famous 1981 photo. Another was taken in 2006, for Max's 50th anniversary.

The famous 1981 photo. Another was taken in 2006, for Max’s 50th anniversary.

Today, at least half are dead. That’s one reason Max’s is closing.

Another is the new nature of the art industry. The advent of computers changed the way illustrators worked. The rise of e-commerce changed the way they bought supplies.

Through the 1980s too, Westport was known as a marketing mecca. Industrial designers and marketing corporations were steady customers. When they moved out, Max lost more business.

For longer than she cares to recount, the store has not made money. At age 70 — well over a decade ago — Shirley took herself off the payroll.

Shirley Mellor at her desk, surrounded by original art from grateful customers.

Shirley Mellor at her desk, surrounded by original art from grateful customers.

Then she started subsidizing Max’s, out of her own pocket. She’s lucky, she says — she owns half of the building, as well as those that house neighboring Fig (formerly Schaefer’s Sporting Goods) and Dovecote (the old smoke shop, Quick Copy and beauty salon). “It was a good investment,” she says.

But it does not make up for the money that Max’s has been losing for so long.

Things were different, back in the day. The Fine Arts Theaters (now Restoration Hardware and Matsu Sushi) brought people downtown. So did the popular Ships Restaurant (now Tiffany).

“People were around. Now they’re not,” says Nina Royce.

Nina Royce, with plenty of "stuff" still left at Max's.

Nina Royce, with plenty of “stuff” still left at Max’s.

Nina has worked at Max’s since 1969. In 1975, she created the first window display of Westport artists. Since then — every month — Nina has made that spot an ever-changing, always-intriguing exhibition of local creativity.

New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer — a former Westporter — once wrote of a New York City gallery, “I’ve seen better shows at Max’s than this one.”

Nina — whose husband David died last month — does not know what she’ll do now. Neither does 10-year employee Rita Ross Englebardt (whose husband died just a few days before Nina’s).

Talented framer Jay Cimbak is lucky. He will work on his own, once he finds a spot.

“We just can’t do it any more,” Shirley says wistfully. “We absolutely can’t make a living here. It’s a whole different world. We hung on as long as possible. Every day I lose money. Kids still come in with school projects. But we can’t make money on crayons.”

When the Fine Arts Theaters closed in 1999, Max's next door felt the effects. (Photo/ Miggs Burroughs)

When the Fine Arts Theaters closed in 1999, Max’s next door felt the effects. (Photo/ Miggs Burroughs)

So there is no longer a place for an art supply store in downtown Westport. But what does that mean?

“You’ll lose the personal touch, the interactions,” Nina says. “Our customers are familiar to us. We’ve watched them grow. You don’t get that in a chain store, or on the internet.”

“It’s a different Main Street now,” Shirley adds. “There’s no hardware store, drugstore, grocery store or gas station. That’s where you get the personal attention.”

She says — trying to smile — “We’re heartbroken. We’ve been so happy to be here. We want to thank our customers. We will sure miss them. Hopefully, they’ll miss us.”

Shirley looks at the wall full of art — gifts from grateful cartoonists and illustrators — hanging above her desk. She hopes to donate it to the Westport Historical Society.

It’s a history of Westport art, over the past 6 decades. It’s great, and all original.

But nowhere near as great, or original, as Shirley, Nina and Max’s Art Supplies have been to us.

If your browser does not take you directly to the Westport Historical Society’s oral history interview of Shirley Mellor, click here. Hat tips: Betsy Pollak and Miggs Burroughs.

Roundup: Library Reopening, Light Up Westport, More

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The Westport Library returns soon to its December COVID schedule.

Effective Monday, February 8, appointments will no longer to browse the adult collection, speak with a librarian or use an Express computer.

Patrons visiting the Children’s Library, MakerSpace, media studios and store must still make appointments. Click here for more information.

The Library will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will remain closed on Sunday. Entrance is only through the upper parking lot doors.

Late fees will continue to be waived. Conference and meeting rooms will remain closed.

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For 4 years, WestportMoms has lit up Westport online. Now the multi-platform group wants to do so — literally.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post have launched “Light Up Westport.” The “appreciation project” charity fundraiser encourages people to send luminaries and personal notes of gratitude to friends, local businesses and first responders.

On February 4 (7 p.m.), participants should place their luminary in front of their homes or stores. They’ll light up the town.

They’ll then share photos on social media, and tag #lightupwestport.

Click here to order luminary kits. They include a WSPT luminary, note card and LED tea light. Volunteers will deliver them the day before the event.

All proceeds will go to Filling in the Blanks. The organization provides weekend meals to needy children throughout Fairfield County. WestportMoms have partnered with Ali Dorfman of Purpose 2 Purchase on this initiative.

WSPT luminary. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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If you haven’t visited George Billis Gallery, you’re missing a great addition to Westport.

The newest addition to Main Street — in space formerly occupied by Jonathan Adler — announces its first big events.

An international exhibition, is set for February 5-28. There’s an opening reception from 3 to 7 p.m., including a Zoom walk-through with juror Lisa Cooper from 3 to 3:30.

The exhibit features over 30 national and international artists presenting painting, photography, sculpture and works on paper.

George Billis Gallery, 166 Main Street.

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“06880” is looking for stringers/interns to cover town meetings: Board of Education, Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen. Town knowledge, enthusiasm, writing chops, ability to watch for hours needed. Perfect for bored college students and anyone else interested in town affairs. Interested? Email dwoog@optonline.net

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Bernie Sanders is a very impatient guy.

He was spotted yesterday outside Gold’s, waiting for bagels and lox …

(Meme courtesy of Our Town Crier)

… and then at Loeffler Field, waiting for the 2021 soccer season to begin.

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And finally … on this day in 1996, “Rent” opened officially at the New York Theatre Workshop. It was a bittersweet moment: composer/playwright Jonathan Larson died hours before, from an aneurysm.

Twenty-five years later, his work is considered one of the most monumental and important musicals of all time.

Roundup: Theater, Sports, Bernie, More

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Good theater is hard to find right now.

But a pair of Staples High School graduates are collaborating on an intriguing work, available from the comfort of your home. And it was filmed right in Westport.

Class of 2016 graduate Adam Riegler is directing a virtual play. “Albert Names Edward” by Louis Nowra is a taped theatrical production about 2 men who meet unexpectedly. One has no memory; the other is at the peak of his philosophical musings. Albert teaches Edward about the world he has forgotten, and introduces him to new ways of thinking that Edward does not always accept.

The company of recent graduates of Dartmouth College includes Max Samuels (Staples Class of 2011). They rehearsed on Zoom before getting tested for COVID. They took all precautions as they to met to film the show here.

The budget was low. Riegler built a camera dolly out of medical equipment from his father’s office. But the quality is high.

Riegler is finishing the footage now, with an original score.

“Albert Names Edward” will be available on demand on January 29 and 30, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but should be reserved ahead of time (click here). 

Max Samuels (right) in “Albert Names Edward.”

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Last month, the Hackett family collected new and gently used sports equipment for a group called Leveling the Playing Field.

This was not just a bin-ful. Westporters donated enough cleats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, bats, skates, footballs and softball gloves to fill a truck. It’s all been delivered to youngsters who want to play, but could not afford to.

The Hacketts thank The Granola Bar, WestportMoms (and “06880”) for getting the word out — and to everyone who contributed.

Play ball!

hloe Hackett (organizer) and Max Levitt (founder of Leveling the Playjng Field), Chloe Hackett and Marley, the Hacketts’ rescue dog.

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Patricia Wettach — a 50-year resident of Westport — died peacefully at home on Wednesday. She was 97 years old.

The Pennsylvania native and World War II Navy WAVES veteran met her future husband, Bob, in the service. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, and they married in 1951.

In 1971 GE transferred Bob to New York from Cincinnati. Patricia lived in that house ever since.

Gracious and warm, she built strong, loving friendships everywhere. She welcomed everyone to her home, and fed them well. She enjoyed bridge, book and gourmet clubs, and was a longtime member of the Westport Woman’s Club, St. Luke New Horizon Society, Delta Gamma of Fairfield County Alumnae, and Food and Friends. Patricia also volunteered with Fairfield County Hospice, and was a liturgical minister at St. Luke Church.

She traveled internationally with friends and family, but her favorite destination was the Wettach cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, overlooking Lake Erie. She spent many hours on the front porch reading, talking and enjoying the view.

Patricia is survived by her children Mary Ann Roehm (Edward), Jane (Paul Baldasare Jr.) and Robert III (Gayle); 6 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; sister Mary Werbaneth; stepbrother Colman Studeny, and 6 nephews.

She was predeceased 27 years ago by her husband Bob, whom she missed intensely.

As she approached her 90s Patricia was joined by Inga Durante, an aide whose tender care allowed her to stay at home until she died. Patricia’s family is deeply indebted to Inga for her service.

In lieu of flowers, Patricia asked that donations be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County (22 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897). Click here to leave online condolences.

Patricia Wettach

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Cohl Katz is a hair stylist and makeup artist to the stars.

Her clients literally span A (Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin) to Z (Zelda Williams) — with everyone from Jodie Foster, Tracy Morgan, Al Hanks and Bill Clinton thrown in.

But on Wednesday, Cohl — who counts many Westporters among her devoted fans — had one of her most demanding clients ever.

Look familiar?

And after that, Bernie headed off to Compo Beach …

(Posted by Todd Zegras to Facebook)

(Courtesy of Mary Lou Roels)

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And finally … today is January 23. In other words, 1/23. So …

 

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 44 Gallery

This was a busy week. Most readers held their breath — then exhaled — as we changed presidents and power.

There were not many submissions to this week’s art gallery. But as always, we celebrate Westport’s creativity.

And hope. In late January, there is one work titled “Spring.”

Send us your art — in whatever form you create it. You don’t have to be a pro, or even experienced. We want it all!

Art should be inspired by, relevant to, or somehow, in some way, connected to our current lives. Student submissions of all ages are especially welcome.

Email dwoog@optonline.net, to share your work with the world.

“Illnesses and Remedies” (Amy Schneider)

“Shayna Punim” (Karen Weingarten)

“In the Living Room” (Lawrence Weisman)

“Spring” (Jennifer Skarupa)

Hindsight Is 2020; Student Art Is Timely

Hindsight is 2020.

That’s an old saying — made new and (perhaps) clever as we stumble into this new year 2021.

But it’s also the name of the soon-to-open MoCA Westport exhibition — the first to showcase high school student art.

“Enough” (Nate Kolek, Staples High School senior)

Beginning Saturday (January 23), and running through March 13, “Hindsight is 2020” features submissions created during (duh) 2020.

The nearly 200 entries from across Connecticut and New York — including painting, photography, digital art, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and more — offer a diverse portrait of what young people have experienced in these challenging times.

A number of Westport students are represented in the exhibit.

“Ronnie” (Miles Kennedy, Greens Farms Academy sophomore)

MoCA Westport’s Teen Council played an important role in the exhibit. One member — Staples High School student Tessa Moore — serves as a juror.

“We were so impressed by the quality and diversity of work we received from the high school artists,” says MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes.

“We know students have had a challenging year, and that art and creative expression have helped many students with coping and resilience.”

“Summer 2020” (Sabrina Paris, Staples High School sophomore)

Director of exhibits Liz Leggett adds, “It was very meaningful to have teachers so engaged in this process. We heard from several that entering this exhibition was a highlight of the year for many students.” Many teachers physically delivered works to MoCA.

The exhibit includes cash prizes for the top 3 pieces.

“Stalker of the Night” (Shivali Kanthan, Staples High School freshman)

“Hindsight is 2020” is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, 12 to 4 p.m. Click here for reservations, or visit on Free Fridays when no reservation is required.

The art can also be viewed on mocawestport.org in a digital gallery.

BONUS MoCA DISPLAY: the world’s largest abstract painting. It was created by the community during a MoCA Westport Family Day event in October. Westport artist Trace Burroughs helped the work set a new Guinness world record.

“Masked” (Ian Chow, Pierrepont Academy freshman)

Roundup: Capuli Restaurant, Suzuki Music, Starbucks, More

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Despite the pandemic headwinds, new restaurants continue to open in Westport.

Don Memo, Walrus Alley, Manna Toast, Hudson Malone, Outpost Pizza and Basso have all opened their doors, despite restrictions on dining.

Yesterday, Capuli joined them.

Like its predecessors in the Post Road East space opposite Bank of America — Westport Pizzeria, and before that Joe’s Pizza and S&M Pizza — it will serve pies.

But the cuisine is called California-Mediterranean fusion, featuring “a variety of fresh ingredients, low in saturated fats, whole grains, seasonal vegetables, lean meats and seafood.”

They plan on primarily takeout meals at the start. Call 203-557-9340, or email capuli.westport@gmail.com for more information.

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The pandemic has also affected Suzuki Music Schools. But their classical music education and performance schedule has simply moved from Colonial Green to cyberspace.

The popular children’s Pillow Concert” series returns January 24, and continues through spring. Family-friendly concerts give children a chance to be up close and personal with performers beyond the front row (and they’re encouraged to bring pillows to create seats at the artists’ feet).

Online master classes and interactive workshops will be conducted by widely acclaimed artists like violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Regina Carter. They’re open to audit for non-students for the first time (for a small suggested donation to the school).

The 4th annual Connecticut Guitar Festival returns March 5-7. It goes global virtually this year, featuring international artists. Attendees can tune check out Suzuki Schools’ social media pages every week leading up to the festival for discussions famed guitarists about how they’ve performed during the pandemic.

For more information on Suzuki Music Schools, click here.

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To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the Westport Public Art Collections announced a series of small rotating exhibitions. They’re part of a larger initiative to support nondiscrimination in the arts.

The first — opening at Town Hall on February 1 — explores longtime Westporter Tracy Sugarman’s civil rights activities during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.

The artist-reporter wrote, “I was determined to bring back real images of real people and real places so everyone could see American apartheid for what it really was.”

Tracy Sugarman died in 2013, at 91. To learn more about him, click here.

“July and 100 Degrees in the Shade at the Sanctified Church for Freedom School Kids, Ruleville”

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Colin Livingston writes:

“Has anyone ever mentioned the overflow Post Road traffic at the Starbucks drive-thru?

“I can’t tell you how many time I’ve driven by and thought it’s an accident in the making. I snapped this the other day leaving the Bank of America ATM next door. I could barely see the approaching traffic.

“I’ve got nothing against Starbucks. I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

Colin, the topic has been addressed before. This has been going on for months — ever since the pandemic began.

I am stupefied that anyone would sit in a car for so long at any drive-thru. It’s particularly mind-boggling because there is a perfectly good Starbucks a mile or so down the road, at Stop & Shop. The biggest line I’ve ever seen there is one person.

You could drive, park, get your coffee, drink it — and do all your grocery shopping — in the time you’d spend on that Post Road Line.

Of course, it would mean getting out of your car …

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And finally … Phil Spector — the influential record producer who went from creating the famous Wall of Sound to prison for the murder of a woman in his home — died Saturday, of complications from COVID. He was 81.

Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel

Less than a year ago, I wrote a story about Steve Lyons.

The award-winning artist had just opened Bankside Contemporary, opposite Winfield Deli on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful Chatham, Cape Cod gallery, he called this a “communal gathering space.” Steve wanted people to wander in, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

Steve and his life and business partner, Peter Demers, sold 6 paintings right after COVID struck, between mid-March and April. But they closed in late October — though not because of sales.

The “Steve Lyons team” writes: 

In early March, while painting in his studio, Steve saw a flash of light on the left side of his peripheral vision. Spots were found on his brain, but cancer was not diagnosed.

Steve’s symptoms persisted. He sought a second opinion. A biopsy revealed glioblastoma. He began treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Steve Lyons, outside Bankside Contemporary.

Through a medical professional Steve knows socially, he learned of an opportunity to undergo surgery and enroll in a promising new clinical trial,  available only at UCLA.

Steve and Peter headed to California in September. The initial surgery was a success. Rehabilitation followed, with many ups and downs.

But while caring for Steve in Los Angeles, Peter contracted COVID-19. After a fierce struggle in the hospital, Peter died on January 10.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

Peter was a cherished member of the Chatham community, and a stalwart, gentle, guiding hand for the gallery. He was a friend to so many, whose generosity and genial presence touched all who encountered him.

Steve’s love and passion, shared and promoted at all times by Peter himself, is a worthy testament to both of them, whether they are present with us or not.

We want to thank all the lovely Westporters we got to know along the way. Steve and Peter loved the town so much.

They felt immediate warmth when they decided to open Bankside Contemporary at National Hall. We wish all Westporters and friends a healthy and happier 2021.

(For more on Steve Lyons and his art, click here.)

Steve Lyons’ art, at Bankside Contemporary.

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 43 Gallery

Art makes us think. This week, we’ve had plenty to think about.

Recent and ongoing national events influenced this week’s art gallery — both subtly and unsubtly.

Each week, “06880” highlights works from local artists. You don’t have to be a pro, or even experienced. We want it all!

Art should be inspired by, relevant to, or somehow, in some way, connected to our current lives. Student submissions of all ages are especially welcome.

Email dwoog@optonline.net, to share your work with the world.

“Our Divided Nation” (Amy Schneider)

“Homework” (Jo Ann Davidson)

“COVID Still Life” (Molly Alger — she made the hat)

Untitled (Greg Puhy)

“Sand Fish at Compo Beach” (Karen Weingarten)

“The View From My Couch” (Lawrence Weisman)

“Just a Little Pinch … Saves Lives” (Ellin Spadone)

“Trying to Stay Positive” (Roseann Spengler)

Untitled lithograph (Ann Chernow)

 

Roundup: Vaccine, Scavenger Hunt, Art, More

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The COVID vaccine is now available in Connecticut for people 75 or older. They (or someone helping them) can sign up online (click here). After registration, they’ll get an email detailing next steps.

There may be an initial delay in scheduling, but access should grow quickly soon.

More than 100 healthcare providers statewide will offer the vaccine. More locations and a map of them will be available in coming weeks.

The scheduling link also contains a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

People without internet access, or who need help, can call 877-918-2224 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Brendan Murphy’s works are drawing raves at his one-man show at the POP’TArt gallery downtown.

In return, the fast-rising contemporary artist asked curator Jennifer Haviland how he could support Westport. She chose an organization she loves: Wakeman Town Farm.

Murphy chose one of his 8-layer silver-based chrome heart sculptures, and offered it for auction. Measuring 24 x 24 x 8 inches, it’s valued at $18,000.

The heart is on display with Murphy’s show, “96% Stardust” at POP’Tart (1 Main Street).

Auction co-chair Nicole Gerber says, “Wakeman Town Farm has a rich history in Westport, and resides at the heart of our community. The Farm is committed to inspiring local residents through sustainable practices, education opportunities, and community service. In this crucial time in our history, The Farm is actively supporting local organizations focused on alleviating food insecurity in our area. We are honored to support a nonprofit that allows the people it serves to serve others as well.”

Bidding starts at $5,000, by email: BrendanHeartWakeman@gmail.com. For more information on the auction, click here. For more information about Brendan Murphy, click here.

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Department invites you to participate in a socially distanced “scavenger hunt”, hosted by the Goosechase App!

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department is organizing one, for families or teams.

Registrants first download the GooseChase app on their phones, search for the “Westport Winter Goose Chase,” then click here to receive a game password.

Winners get a gift basket of items from Westport businesses. For more information, click here.

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One River — the art and design school — is sponsoring a downtown show. The opening next Sunday (January 24, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.).

David Waldman and BTS Realty donated their storefronts: 33 Elm Street, Brooks Corner and Sconset Square. Two hundred works — from children to adults — will be on view through February 7.

Also included: One River’s high school portfolio development class, with traditional and digital works.

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It’s official: Most high school winter sports can begin tryouts and practices this Tuesday (January 19). Basketball, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and indoor track got the go-ahead yesterday from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Games may begin February 8, except for track which cannot compete until March. The number of games is limited; there will be no state tournaments, though a “post-season experience” can be held (similar to fall sports).

In addition, athletes will be required to wear masks during competitions. Coaches and players will also have to wear masks and be socially distanced on the sidelines. Officials are required to wear masks at all times.

There will be no wrestling or competitive cheer, however. The state Department of Public Health categorized those as “high-risk activities.”

Football — a fall sport — had hoped to play a shortened late winter/early spring season. However, the CIAC canceled that option yesterday.

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And finally … happy 87th birthday to the brilliant mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne!

MLK Celebration: A Week Of Introspection And Inspiration

This year more than ever, it’s important to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And — now more than ever — it’s vital to do it on more than just Martin Luther King Day.

Layla F. Saad

The town is already gearing up for next Sunday’s conversation with Layla F. Saad, author of the compelling “Me and White Supremacy.” The livestreamed event is set for 12 noon. (Click here to register. Click here for more details.)

But that’s just the start of a week-long series of virtual events. For the first time, Westport is expanding its MLK celebrations beyond a single keynote.

Rev. Alison J. Patton of Saugatuck Congregational Church says, “In recent years we have shifted the focus of the Dr. King celebration from a remembrance of his groundbreaking leadership to an occasion to deepen our understanding of the continuing impact of systemic racism. There’s a need to equip ourselves to more effectively unmask and dismantle racism in our lives and community.”

Saad’s talk will be followed 2 days later by a panel discussion on “Me and White Supremacy: What Can I Do Next?”

The January 19 session (7 p.m.) focuses on the process outlined in Saad’s best-selling workbook, a 28-day challenge “to combat racism, change the world and become a good ancestor.” Click here to register.

The week culminates with “New Works/New Voices,” an evening of original monologues in response to Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy” (Thursday, January 21, 7 p.m.). It’s a world premiere, with Gracy Brown, Tenisi Davis, Tamika Pettway and Terrence Riggins sharing new works exploring themes surrounding racial justice. Click here to register.

Monologue authors ready for world premiere.

There’s more next month. February will include many opportunities for “profound personal engagement on the impact of white supremacy and privilege,” says TEAM Westport’s Bernicestine McLeod Bailey. Details will be announced soon.

TEAM Westport is co-sponsoring the Martin Luther King celebration, with the Westport Libraray, Westport Country Playhouse, Westport Weston Interfaith Council and Westport Weston Interfaith Clergy.