Every Saturday, we share readers’ artwork. Professional, amateur, old, young — send us your painting, collage, sketch, photo, sculpture, chalkwork, cartoon, whatever.
The only rule is it must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through. We’re all experiencing tons of emotions, and art is a wonderful way to express (and share) them. Email your submission to email@example.com.
Here is today’s gallery.
PS: Keep the submissions coming. If yours is not posted yet, be patient. There will be more next Saturday. And, unfortunately, for some time to come.
Nell Waters Bernegger took this Winslow Park photo last summer. She calls it “the gateway to hope.”
Susan Joy Miller explains, “These are Tai chi moves I miss doing as we shelter in place. Fair Lady works her shuttle, hands moving like clouds, white crane spreads its wings, sweep the lotus with a kick, repulse the monkey and snake creeps down.”
“Monet Moment on the Saugatuck” (Tom Kretsch)
“Still Life with Sanitizer” (JoAnn Davidson, former Westport teacher, age 89)
“Social Isolation is Getting Old” (Beth DeVoll, who notes that the Kewpie Doll was created by Westport’s own Rose O’Neill in the early 1900s).
This represents Hugo Arber’s full house, and all the card games his family is playing. He’s a 3rd grader at Coleytown Elementary School — and today is his 9th birthday!
“Anxiety” (Lawrence Gordon)
The Mannino kids’ chalk art message.
East 1st Street, New York City (Susan Thomsen)
“Is baking art?” asks Amy Saperstein. “Some meringues and Oreo chocolate chip cookies were made completely independently by Myla Saperstein, age 11, but eaten by all the Sapersteins.” The “06880” answer: This is GREAT art!
Irene Mastriocovo says, “My yard is now my go-to for walks. I’m enjoying the little things in life, like the birth of spring. The budding plants and flowers bring hope.”
Through the efforts of many people and organizations, breast cancer awareness is high. It affects 1 in 8 women, and kills more than 40,000 Americans each year.
But there’s less awareness that less than 10% of all money raised for breast cancer goes to research. And just pennies of that goes to Stage IV.
AWARE is raising awareness of the lack of funding allocated to metastatic breast cancer research. There is no better local organization to take on the task.
The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.
In past years, AWARE CT has aided the International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education), Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans) and Malta House (pregnant and new mothers).
Their current partner is the Cancer Couch Foundation. Since 2016, the group has raised over $3 million for Stage 4 breast cancer research.
AWARE’s commitment is total, and strong. The centerpiece is a series of portraits of Westporters, by talented photographer Jerri Graham. Each image includes text, with the subject describing how she or he has been affected by the disease.
The original idea was for each subject to also make a donation to the Cancer Couch, through AWARE. The portraits would be posted on social media, then shown at a fundraiser; afterward, each subject could take her or his photo home.
But AWARE did not stop there. For greater visibility — and awareness — they’ve gone door to door. Over 80 stores, restaurants, salons and medical offices agreed, quickly and enthusiastically, to show one or two portraits inside, or in their windows.
AWARE co-directors Amy Saperstein and Nicole Gerber, with a photo at Aux Delices’ Post Road East location.
AWARE then took photos of the merchants, chefs and doctors, and posted those online. It’s one more special way to raise awareness, of both Cancer Couch and the lack of metastatic breast cancer funding.
Winged Monkey — the first store to join the project, even before there was an image to display — offered to host a fundraiser there.
Joyride joined quickly too. Owners Amy Hochhauser and Rhodie Lorenz are all in. Instructor Mackenzie Pretty led a “Spinraiser” at the studio. She wove breast cancer statistics and information about Cancer Couch between songs — and gave shout-outs to AWARE members who were in the room, on bikes.
All 4 women posed for photos. Pretty’s mother — herself a breast cancer survivor — had her portrait taken too.
Other avid supporters: 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran-Dougall.
2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker
When they began, AWARE co-directors Amy Saperstein and Nicole Gerber hoped 25 people would want their portraits taken. Well over 80 responded.
The photos are stunning. Jerri Graham — a very talented Westport portrait artist — captures subjects’ faces and feelings beautifully.
Coupled with each person’s words — about breast cancer’s impact on themselves, loved ones and/or friends — the effect is powerful and immediate.
It’s also, Gerber says, “a call to action.”
Just before Christmas, AWARE’s project took on a life — and death — of its own.
Four years ago, Rebecca Timlin-Scalera of Fairfield was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. It was re-diagnosed later to Stage IIIc, but she did not want to leave Stage IV women behind.
Timlin-Scalera started Cancer Couch, dedicated to Stage IV research. She was looking forward to having her photo taken, for AWARE.
It never happened. Just before Christmas, she died.
The Cancer Couch founder’s death stunned AWARE. In her honor, they’ve set a fundraising goal of $50,000. An anonymous donor pledged to match it.
Timlin-Scalera was not the only person unable to be photographed. A woman planned to pose with her husband. Cancer treatment interfered. Her 8- and 6-year-old daughters will take her place.
That’s one of many inspiring stories. Wilson Herrera — the Staples High School custodian/ college student who was profiled on “06880” last fall — and his brother William, a Bedford Middle School custodian — wanted to be photographed. Their mother battled breast cancer twice (and now has ovarian cancer).
Wilson and William Herrera
The sons gave her their photo in December, as a Christmas gift.
But the photo displays in stores, restaurants and medical offices are not the end of AWARE’s involvement with Cancer Couch. They’ll be displayed in another important venue: a fundraiser on Saturday, March 7 (6 to 8 p.m., POPT’ART Gallery, 1 Main Street).
As with everything AWARE does, this is a team effort. Lori Winthrop Dockser — who lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age, and has also been diagnosed with the disease — is donating all the catering staff.
Jesup Hall owner Bill Taibe — another portrait subject — offers free cocktails on the day of the fundraiser, at his restaurant.
The fundraiser will include light bites and wine.
And — most importantly — an AWAREness that the fight against Stage IV breast cancer needs all of us.
And you’ll not only honor some outstanding women — you’ll help young refugee girls.
Rebecca Rose is a photographer. She specializes in “classical painterly portraits” — photographs that look almost like paintings. In fact, she provides dresses, gowns, hair and makeup for her subjects.
On Friday (March 15) she’ll open an exhibit at Suzuki Music School. She’ll show some of our state’s most remarkable women: senior journalists, presidents of non-profits, Mrs. Connecticut — you name it, Rebecca has photographed her.
Two Westporters are among those honored.
Amy Saperstein and her daughter. (Photo/Rebecca Rose)
Amy Saperstein is a founder and co-director of AWARE, both in New York and Fairfield County. The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.
AWARE CT has already aided the International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education), Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans) and Malta House (pregnant and new mothers).
Previously, Amy — who earned an MBA at Columbia — was executive director of Project Sunshine. She grew the nonprofit, which serves children in hospitals, from a small community group to an international organization, with programs in the US, Mexico, Israel, Africa and China.
Nicole Gerber (Photo/Rebecca Rose)
Nicole Gerber will also have her Rebecca Ross portrait hung at Suzuki. With over 20 years experience in project management and event planning, she’s currently director of operations for AWARE CT.
Nicole also sits on the board of advisors for Unite the World with Africa, a foundation that provides opportunities for marginalized women and youth in Tanzania. She has raised over $25,000 a year for Unite, for the past 3 years.
Amy and Nicole’s connections with AWARE are not coincidences.
Soon, Rebecca will take photos of immigrant girls. They come from Eritrea, Congo, Tanzania and Sudan, and live in Fairfield and New Haven Counties. They’re sponsored by the Connecticut institute for Refugees and Immigrants — the organization that AWARE is partnering with this year.
Portraits are something tangible, Rebecca says, that they are their families and cherish for generations.
Portraits are dear to Rebecca’s heart. Her great-grandfather lived in Czechoslovakia, when World War II broke out. He prepared his family as best he could — including having a family portrait taken just before Germany seized the country.
That family portrait is all Rebecca’s mother knew of her grandparents. They were killed by the Nazis.
Rebecca’s mission is to ensure that all generations can admire their families, remembering them through portraits that bring out their true beauty and personalities.
(The portrait show opening is this Friday, March 15, 6 to 7 p.m. at Suzuki Music School, 246 Post Road East — the lower level of Colonial Green.)
Everyone in Westport should be “aware” of Nicole Gerber.
A resident since 2009 and mother of 2, Nicole got involved with AWARE CT at its inception 5 years ago. In 2015, she became director of operations.
AWARE stands for Assisting Women with Action, Resources and Education. Every year, they partner with a local women’s-oriented non-profit by organizing an educational event and hosting a fundraiser.
Nicole brings creativity and passion to her volunteer efforts. Last year, she single-handedly developed a video project, to raise awareness of AWARE. She runs AWARE’s day-to-day operations, while providing vision and drive.
She’s taking this year’s partnership with Caroline House — the Bridgeport organization that provides English lessons and life skills to immigrant women — to a new level.
Nicole is making a cookbook, featuring family recipes contributed by Caroline House students from around the world, and AWARE members from across Fairfield County.
She’s gotten many Westporters involved. International best-selling author Jane Green is writing the foreward. Noted photographer Jerri Graham is taking pictures. The Westport Library’s MakerSpace team is doing the layout.
Nicole also plays a huge role on the board of advisors of Unite the World with Africa. She traveled to Tanzania last year, and will return next year. She hosts events in her home to raise awareness about the issues facing families in that nation.
Nicole Gerber, at a Tanzanian orphanage.
Nicole is passionate about everything she does. She is tremendously organized. And extremely thorough.
She’s personally testing every recipe in the cookbook she’s assembling, to make sure they are 100% accurate.
Well-run organizations and great fundraisers don’t just happen.
They need the help of people who are very aware.
People like this week’s Unsung Hero, Nicole Gerber.
(AWARE’s fundraiser on behalf of Caroline House is Saturday, June 9 in Westport. For tickets and more information, click here. To nominate an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hat tip: Amy Saperstein)
Westporters pride ourselves on being aware. We’re aware of world events and local issues. We’re aware we need to reach out to others in need, whether far away or right in our own little bubble.
Some Westport women, though, are really AWARE.
That’s the acronym of a group started in New York, to support women’s causes. Each year they partner with a local non-profit, by volunteering, organizing an educational event and hosting a fundraiser.
AWARE — the acronym stands for Assisting Women with Action, Resources and Education — came to Fairfield County in 2013 via transplants from the city. Amy Saperstein, a founding member in New York, was instrumental in opening a local chapter in her new home here.
AWARE CT has already aided the International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education) and Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans).
AWARE members at a recent event.
This year’s partnership is particularly powerful.
Malta House is a Norwalk-based organization offering a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and new mothers. It’s low-key — and life-changing.
AWARE members are all in. Nicole Gerber — a mother of 2 young children, who last year became AWARE CT’s chief operating officer, then returned to school for a degree in non-profit fundraising — is also a professional caterer. She’ll teach healthy cooking techniques at Malta House next month.
Galia Gichon Clements — another mother of 2, with a background in finance — volunteers in the nursery, and teaches the young moms about money management.
Dr. Nikki Gorman is a mother of 3, and a pediatrician. She attended AWARE dinners at Malta House in the fall, and quickly took on several newborns as patients.
Other AWARE members host events, including small monthly dinners and larger panel discussions on topics like homelessness in Fairfield County (with representatives from Project Return and Homes With Hope).
AWARE members also serve monthly dinners at Malta House. They include get-to-know-each other activities, great dishes, and activities like decorating t-shirts for the residents’ children.
One of the AWARE activities was helping Malta House residents make dreamcatchers for their rooms.
It’s important for AWARE to be aware of what their partner organizations truly need. Malta’s program director Claudia Nixon says that many residents never experienced female friendships. So AWARE members model support for each other.
They also involve their own children, through a special AWARE KIDS program. Youngsters have organized bake and book sales, and made blankets for the Malta House moms.
Next up: a fundraiser.
Next Saturday (June 3, 6 p.m., Wells Hill Farm, Weston), there’s a “Party in the Pasture.” The sustainable farm is the home of AWARE member Michelle Fracasso.
A DJ is donating his time; local chefs are contributing food, and vendors are offering prizes.
Proceeds help women like Autumn Corley. Five months ago the 20-year-old and her ill mother were evicted from their Stamford apartment. She had never heard of Malta House. But it was a godsend.
Autumn Corley and Ameerah.
Autumn ticks off what she’s learned: “Self-respect. Budgeting — I’m saving money now! And how to be a better woman, for myself and my daughter.”
She appreciates Malta House’s many resources, like speakers on child development, cooking and gardening.
And, she says, “the AWARE ladies are awesome. They all have different backgrounds, but they all motivate me. They love talking with us. There’s never a dull moment.”
“Dr. Nikki” is her infant Ameerah’s pediatrician. But she’s more than just a doctor.
She made 5-week-old Ameerah a onesie, with her name on it. Earlier — before the baby was born — Gorman helped Autumn write a note for Ameerah to read when she’s older.
In September Autumn will go to school, to become a dental assistant. Until then, she’ll stay at Malta House — “breastfeeding, and saving money.”
(For tickets and more information on AWARE’s June 3 “Party in the Pasture” fundraiser, click here.)
One of the joys of publishing “06880” is the chance tell stories of Westporters who quietly — but very effectively — do wonderful things for others. Many folks volunteer their time with organizations that — while very important — many of us never hear of.
Were you aware of AWARE?
Founded over 20 years ago in New York by Amy Saperstein and friends, the goal is to make a difference in the lives of women and girls. (AWARE stands for Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education.)
When Amy moved to Westport, she launched a local chapter.
AWARE women, at a fundraiser for Mercy Learning Center. From left: Deb Parnes, Kim Perlen, Amy Saperstein, Erica Davis, Johanna Kiev and Jennifer Seymour.
Each year the group selects a women’s cause, then partners with a charity to benefit it. Through a fundraiser, hands-on activity and educational event, AWARE shines a light on a different meaningful women’s issue. Previous partnerships have included Mercy Learning Center, and an organization to aid victims of sex trafficking.
Once a month, AWARE volunteers serve dinner to homeless female vets there. They work with “AWARE kids” to assemble diaper bags filled with newborn supplies, for pregnant veterans in need. And they organized a panel discussion in Westport, with female veterans from 4 military branches.
“AWARE Kids” filled diaper bags for pregnant female veterans.
Westport Michelle Hogue says it is “refreshing to volunteer with a diverse group of women. We learn and listen first, then engage and assist.”
Hogue hosts this year’s cocktail party fundraiser (Saturday, April 30, 7 p.m.).
But that’s not the only big event to be “aware” of.
In June — at the National Organization for Women’s 50th anniversary gala — they’ll receive NOW’s Intrepid Award.
That’s pretty cool.
But nowhere near as cool as the work these Westporters do — under the radar, but way over and above — for women beyond our town borders.
(For tickets and more information on AWARE’s April 30 fundraiser, click here. To learn about upcoming meetings and events, email AwareCt@gmail.com.)
It’s been a mild winter so far. (We’ve already forgotten about that 1-day blizzard.)
That’s good news to everyone. Except maybe Larry Saperstein.
The Westport resident — a radiologist on the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine — wanted to protect his own immune system. For years, he suffered from debilitating winter colds.
Saperstein knew the benefits of zinc and vitamin C. But he wanted more.
He learned about liposomal formulations. Ingredients are enclosed in hollow spheres (liposomes) that enter the bloodstream more easily than conventional water-soluble supplements. In addition, many more active ingredients are absorbed by the body.
Saperstein added an all-natural patented black pepper fruit extract. It’s believed to enhance absorption even further, and give an energy boost.
Saperstein has 3 school-aged kids. He works in a hospital. Since taking Zyta-C, he has not had a cold in 4 years.
There are plenty of nutritional supplements. Most taste icky. Saperstein and his wife Amy — a marketer — convened a group of Westport preschool moms to test different flavors. They settled on citrus.
The Sapersteins named their company High Point Laboratories, for the road they live on. From her home, Amy is spreading the word about their product.
She’s starting by giving out Zyta-C at health-conscious spots around town. Westport Tennis Club and Joyride have already signed on.
Amy wants to include “06880” readers. For a free box (a 1-week supply sells for $14), go to http://www.zyta-c.com, then enter the code “zytafree06880” at checkout.
Let’s hope the mild winter continues. But whatever the weather, let’s also hope that Larry and Amy Saperstein continue to prevent common colds.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Thanks!)