Everything about the Westport Farmers’ Market annual photo contest is special.
The name — “Young Shoots” — is quite clever.
The idea — inviting children and teenagers to honor food and farmers creatively, through fresh eyes — is important.
The setting for the awards ceremony — Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, the Market’s winter home — is both apt and beautiful.
This year’s recent evening showed off both the bounty of the Farmers’ Market, and the talent of our young local photographers.
First place winners received a cash prize, special swag and the opportunity to lead a food photo shoot with chef Bill Taibe. Second place winners earned $50. Judging was done by local artists, and the public.
First place in the 8-to-10-year-old category went to Kayla Stanley, for “Berries & Beyond.” Second place went to Juliette Newshel, for “Complementary.”
“Berries & Beyond” (Kayla Stanley)
“Complementary” (Juliette Newshel)
The 11-to-14 winner was Camille Mergenthaler (“Uniqueness of a Vegetable”). Sara Stanley placed second (“A Farmer’s Roots”).
“Uniqueness of a Vegetable” (Camille Mergenthaler)
“A Farmer’s Roots” (Sara Stanley)
There were plenty of entries in the 2 youngest categories. However, only one photographer entered the 15-to-18-year-old group. Dylan Kirsch was awarded the prize for “Scenes Around the Market.”
What a combination! MoCA Westport and the Westport Farmers’ Market are collaborating on a new project. It culminates in an exhibition in late August.
“Between the Ground and the Sky” will feature photography from the “Who Grows Your Food” initiative, a photographic journey celebrating the farms and farmers associated with the WFM.
As part of the collaboration, a Family Day (Saturday, September 11) at MoCA includes art, food and music.
The centerpiece of “Between the Ground and the Sky” is over 50 large photographs of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff. They tell a compelling story of the importance of local farms and farmers.
Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran says, “This program embodies the essence of our organizations. Bringing together art, education, community and knowledge of agriculture, featuring the hands that tend the land, results in more than a fun event – it creates an impact that will last a lifetime.”
MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes adds, “We are thrilled to partner with the Westport Farmers’ Market to share this important aspect of our economy and our lives with the public.”
“Lost Ruby” by Ashley Skatoff — part of the Farmers’ Market/MoCA exhibit.
The Westport Library and Artists Collective of Westport are collaborating on their first live, all-member show since December 2019. The theme could not be more apt: “Community.”
The 2-part exhibit — on view from July 10 through September 28 — will occupy all 3 Library galleries.
“Piece by Piece” is a 5’ x 12’ installation created by 60 Artists Collective members. Each artist received a 12” x 12” blank panel, and a 6-inch square section randomly selected from an iconic painting.
Each artist thencreated an individual piece, replicating a part of the larger painting in their own style. They will not know what the final painting looks like until it is revealed when the exhibit opens.
Each 12” x 12” piece can be purchased online for $100. Proceeds support the Library and the artist. Click here to purchase, and for more information.
Along with the exhibits, there is an art trunk show in the lower parking lot this Sunday (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Part of the Westport Library/Artists Collective show.
The 59th annual event Westport PAL Golf Tournament — named for former Police Chief Samuel Luciano, a staunch PAL supporter — tees off on September 13, at Longshore. With the 4th of July fireworks canceled for a 2nd straight year, this is PAL’s biggest — and most important — fundraiser.
The day begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and putting contest. There are 2 tee times: 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
There’s a shotgun start, scramble format; lunch; more golf, then dinner, raffles and prizes (hole-in-one, hula hoop, longest drive, closest to pin).
The cost is $175 per golfer, $700 per foursome. Sponsorships are available too, from $150 to $5,000 (largest sign at first tee, banner on dinner tent, complimentary foursome). Click here to register, sponsor — or just donate to PAL.
There have been some scintillating games at this year’s Euro 20 (the European soccer championship, postponed from last year).
Games are particularly great on a big screen. There’s no bigger screen than the one at Vivid-Tek. That’s Mark Motyl’s store a few doors from Fortuna’s. He sells 110-inch theater screens — which, with the tap of a button, hides in a customized credenza or bench when not in use.
Mark invited me over yesterday to watch the Spain-Italy semifinal. We were in Westport, not Wembley.
But it was hard to tell the difference.
Mark Motyl, minutes before the Euro 2020 semifinal.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Wally Meyer, former Westport 2nd Selectman and longtime member of the RTM. He served with my predecessor, Marty Hauhuth from 1985 to 1989.
“Wally was also an active participant in making Westport a better place by helping found Project Return, and through his many years of service and leadership with the Westport Rotary Club.
“Wally was a special Westporter — always willing to share his opinion, but also willing to lend a helping hand. He will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences to his many friends and to his family.”
With more and more people wearing fewer and fewer masks, it may seem like that’s one part of the pandemic now in the rear view mirror.
But unvaccinated children still need them. And youngsters in Bridgeport summer camp programs don’t always have access to nice masks.
Since March 2020, Virginia Jaffe and her crew of volunteers has sewn over 8,500 masks. They gave them all away — and they’re still doing it.
Last month, they donated 200 masks to New Beginnings in Bridgeport. A thank-you note cited the “wonderful craftsmanship,” adding, “Their beauty will bring joy to our students. This donation has provided some of the most vulnerable children in the state with the resources they need to thrive.”
Virginia wants those youngsters to feel that brand new, unused masks show they feel cared for, and just a little bit safer.
To help in any way, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two of Westport’s most creative institutions are the Library and Artists Collective.
This summer, they’re collaborating on a very creative project.
“Piece by Piece” is a grid of 60 12-inch squares. Each of those 60 artists contributes one square. When assembled together, they form one image.
The work represents the artists’ response to the isolation they felt during the pandemic. E
Each square is available for sale. For $100, you can select one or more of the squares from a grid. Proceeds will be divided between the Library and the artist. The name of the artists, and the iconic masterpiece on which Piece by Piece is based, will be revealed on July 10th.
It, and more works by the Artists Collective, will be on display at the Library from July 10 through September 28.
For more details — including how to own a piece of “Piece” — click here.
Speaking of the Artists Collective: Their great live (!) exhibit ends this Saturday, with artist talks.
Works hang in the barn gallery at Westport Country Playhouse. Among the participants: Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack and Ellen Schiffman.
When PJ Pacifico plays the Levitt Pavilion June 25 (7 p.m.), the Westporter won’t have far to go. He lives right around the corner.
The singer/songwriter’s new single, “Every Little Heartbreak,” speaks to a world eager to embrace a fresh new day after a time of intense challenges. Sound familiar?
PJ’s perspective on the ups and downs of being an indie artist and songwriter are influenced by his experiences as a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Beating cancer after undergoing months of chemo and radiation, and losing his spleen and part of his liver, made him feel like he had a second chance.
But he suffered with survivor’s guilt and “impostor syndrome.” He’s battled through all that — and is ready to rock the Levitt.
Just down the hill from his home.
The event is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register.
Monday — the first full day of summer — is the longest day of the year.
Recognizing that for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, every day is “the longest” — but also, that art has the power to inspire and excite — RaRa (“Real Art. Real Artists.”) is partnering with the Residence at Westport to produce an art exhibit.
The show (June 21, 3 to 5 p.m., The Residence, 1141 Post Road East), is open to the public. There’s wine and cheese, plus live entertainment. A portion of art sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Can’t get out (even on the longest day)? Click here for information on the virtual version of the exhibit.
In this hybrid summer, the Westport Library offers 2 learning clubs. Both are “blended” — meaning in-person classes at the Library, and a remote option for distance education.
The program for grades 1 to 5 includes week-lonf literacy, math and STEAM sessions. Grades 6 to 8 enjoy STEAM, book clubs, and other programs that encourage academic independence. They beginning June 29, and end August 19.
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo includes a Fresh Mark osprey update.
Carolyn Doan reports: “We checked on the nest Monday and Tuesday. The parents were doing such a great job at shielding the chicks from the rain that they were impossible to see. The next day was a different story. Making lots of noise and waiting for an incoming fish, these two were front and center — literally.”
Start time for the Representative Town Meeting’s special June 8 (Tuesday) meeting to reconsider the Planning & Zoning’s adoption of a new zoning district that would enable a 157-unit development on Hiawatha Lane has been pushed ahead to 7 p.m.
However, the RTM will not address the petition until 7:30 p.m.
The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. To attend by video, send an email to RTMcomments@westportct.gov; include your name and address, to receive participation details.
Emails may be sent before the meeting to RTMmailinglist@westportct.gov; this goes to all RTM members.
It’s called “CT Trails Day.” But Friends of Sherwood Island are actually sponsoring two days — today and tomorrow — of activities at Connecticut’s first state park.
Today, there’s a Wonder of Flight Interactive Air Show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), featuring radio-controlled model planes, helicopters, gliders and drones, followed by a Butterfly Walk with Michele Sorenson (2 p.m.; meet at the Nature Center).
Tomorrow (Sunday), Louis Petig leads a Nature Walk at 1 p.m. along the Sound. It begins at the Nature Center, and includes birding locations, the Connecticut 9/11 memorial, model aircraft airport, trailheads, wetlands and a pine forest.
At last: There’s smooth sailing — well, driving — to the beach.
Just in time for this weekend’s 90-degree weather, Hillspoint Road has been repaved. Residents and beach-goers have been frustrated for weeks, after Aquarion’s work left the street rough and rutted.
Striping should begin next week, weather permitting.
RTM member Andrew Colabella credits teamwork with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, RTM colleague Chris Tait, Joey’s by the Shore owner Hal Kravitz and resident Robin Tauck for helping move the project along.
Speaking of Tauck: The upscale guided tour and cruise company — based now in Wilton, but for many years a Westport operation, where many family members still live — will resume tour and river cruise operations in Europe, Africa and central America, beginning this month.
Some North America tours have already begun. Click here for details.
A limited audience saw Staples High’s first live musical performance of the school year last night.
Thunderstorms moved the first of 2 Pops Concerts was moved from the Levitt Pavilion to the auditorium. After a year of COVID, that hardly mattered.
A variety of choruses, orchestras and the freshman band entertained the socially distanced — but very grateful — crowd. Despite the masks, it was a sure sign that the district’s superb staff had shepherded through a very difficult year.
And that music makes us all truly alive.
The 2nd night of the Pops Concert — with other groups — is scheduled for tonight. All tickets have already been distributed.
Luke Rosenberg directs the Anima Cantorum.
Staples High School music instructors (from left): Luke Rosenberg, Candida Inanaco, Phil Giampietro, Carrie Mascaro, Jeri Muehleise. Innaco retires this year, after 36 years of teaching. (Photos/Dan Woog)
The Artists’ Collective celebrates Westport’s return to actual, live activities with 2 big events.
A pop-up art show opens in the Westport Country Playhouse barn June 12. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. every day, through June 19. An artist’s talk on closing day begins at 4 p.m.
Participating artists include local favorites Lucienne Buckner, Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Jen Greely, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Mary Ann Neilson, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack, Ellen Schiffman and Jahmane West.
The Collective’s very popular trunk show returns in the Westport Library’s lower parking lot: July 11 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
What is the Artists’ Collective of Westport? Click below to learn more.
The return to indoor events came too late for the Westport Country Playhouse to stage its full summer productions.
But the venerable theater welcomes a series of special events, to support next year’s full reopening.
“Cabaret in the Robards” is 3 evenings of shows featuring Broadway talent, with music, song and comedy.
The first one — June 26 — is “An Evening with Brad Simmons and Tonya Pinkins.” She’s a Tony-winning Broadway veteran; he’s a famed music director and concert artist. They’ll combine for show favorites, contemporary covers, classics and more.
When the pandemic struck, Westport’s many artists kept creating. Stuck in their studios, they produced some astonishing work.
The downside: Stuck in their studios, they had little opportunity to showcase it. Galleries shut down. Auctions ended. Art shows stopped.
Sure, they could post images on their websites. But art is 3-dimensional. Technology is only 2.
Fortunately, our artists think in many dimensions. Longtime Westporter and Staples High School graduate Trace Burroughs developed an interactive 3D gallery space, to show his work. It won an innovation award from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.
Since the Artists’ Collective of Westport — a lively, hard-working and fun group of 150+ — could not have live exhibits, Trace’s brother Miggs Burroughs suggested they hire him to create their own 3D gallery.
Working — virtually, of course — with a programmer in the Netherlands, they made it happen.
The Burroughses and Susan Fehlinger created a members’ Call for Entries. Nearly 90 responded.
Of course, digital files are not canvases or prints. There were new details to work out — font and image sizes, gallery lighting and shadows, decor and more, and to simplify things all images are square — but Collective members figured it all out.
Enter the 3D gallery …
The artists are thrilled. And the public — anyone, anywhere, around the world — who wants to appreciate (and buy!) Westporters’ art can now do so, 24/7/365.
No masks or social distancing required!
Click here to enter. For the best immersive experience, use a desktop computer. 3D graphics are robust, so it may take a few seconds to load.
… and then click to view individual works. This is by Jay Petrow.
Some Photo Challenges can be answered by anyone who has once lived in Westport. They’re permanent parts of our landscape.
Others are solvable only by those who live here now. But those bits of town will still be around for a while.
Last week’s Challenge could only be known by the latter grouop. If you haven’t seen it though, you better not wait too long.
Amy Schneider’s photo showed a beautiful butterfly. It’s hidden in plain sight — the alley behind Anthropologie, in Bedford Square — but it won’t be there forever. (Click here to see.)
The colorful charcoal work by Susan Fehlinger is part of an outdoor art project called “Vanishing Species/Vanishing Murals.” Sponsored by the Artists’ Collective of Westport, it’s one of 4 pieces that — exposed to the elements — will disappear.
Which is exactly what’s happening to so many creatures around the globe.
“The process of aging, fading and degradation speaks to the attention span of our fast-paced world, and offers its own lesson on the ephemeralness of art and life itself,” the Collective says.
Rindy Higgins, Nancy Axthelm, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Michael Calise and Jeanne Esposito all knew exactly where to spot the lovely butterfly.
For now, at least.
This week’s Photo Challenge is a lot more permanent. And a lot less friendly.
If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.
“Our ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign was stolen from our front yard. We paid for it; it was up for weeks, and we live on a side street.
“I am stunned, having grown up in this town. We disagreed, we debated, but we didn’t do warfare with political signs.
“The sign was on our property. How is this not an invasion of my property? How is it not the bullying or pummeling in the name of what you don’t like or believe?
“Black lives matter. They still matter, even when you steal signs.”
Speaking of political signs: An Old Hill resident offers this warning to a possible thief:
The Artists Collective of Westport sponsors an outdoor trunk show of “affordable art” this Saturday (October 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Westport Playhouse parking lot).
Artists will display their works from in and around their cars. All COVID restrictions will be followed. But, the Collective says, “we can’t mask our excitement!”
Lindsey Blaivas spotted this house on Long Lots Road. “Instead of hauling away this magnificent tree that fell during one of our many storms, they landscaped around it,” she writes.
“It is a piece of art — and a tribute to the magical gifts that nature sometimes leaves us.”
Like many venues, Longshore has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Yesterday, however, Bruce McFadden spotted a ceremony taking place. It was not big — and there seemed to be plenty of space between guests and tables. Still, it was a nice reminder of a bit of normalcy.
And finally … on Columbus Day, let’s honor the people who knew this land long before the Europeans “discovered” it. Songwriter/saxophonist Jim Pepper adapted “Witchi Tai To” from an ancient chant he learned from his Native American grandfather. It is still the only song in the history of Billboard’s pop chart to feature a Native American chant.
Former CNN anchor Dave Briggs interviews his former colleague — current anchor of CNN’s “New Day” — Alisyn Camerota on Instagram Live today (Saturday, October 3) at 5 p.m. The pair of Westporters will talk about their town, and the world. Just search on Instagram for @WestportMagazine.
The “Playhouse at the Drive-In” event just got more remarkable.
As noted yesterday, the Westport Country Playhouse celebrates its 90th season on Saturday, October 17 (5 p.m.) with a a benefit event and screening at the Remarkable Theater drive-in (the Imperial Avenue parking lot).
Yesterday, The Artists Collective of Westport got approval from the Playhouse to hold their Affordable Art Trunk Show that afternoon, at 3.
Over 25 artists will be masked, in (socially distanced) cars — and as much “affordable art” as they can display on easels and tables.
The volume and flow of pedestrian traffic looking at the art will be carefully monitored by Collective volunteers.
The Playhouse and Artists Collective enjoy a great partnership, including meeting and exhibition at the WCP’s Sheffer Barn.
This Monday (October 5, 8:30 a.m.), the Coalition for Westport sponsors a Zoom talk on “subtle racism in Westport.” TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey is the guest.
To register, email email@example.com.
Lindsey Baldwin is a Staples High School senior. She’s an EMT. And she just received kudos from State Senator Will Haskell, for another type of community service.
Last year Lindsey set up donation bins at various pharmacies and dental practices. She collected 2,000 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss cartridges. She also created a fundraiser on Facebook, and collected $1,430.
In February, Lindsey traveled to Honduras with CapeCARES. The on-profit sends volunteers to remote areas. They provide free medical and dental care.
She brought those 2,000 dental products with her. Many villagers had never had access to toothbrushes. It was an important moment for them — and for Lindsey, who returned to Westport grateful for all she has, and the opportunity to serve.
Everyone talks about those topics. Soon, a pop-up exhibition will bring those controversial topics downtown Westport — and everyone’s screen, anywhere in the world.
The show — called “2020: People Politics Planet” — opens at 23 Jesup Road (next to Green & Tonic) this Saturday (October 3). It will be available online too, at www.2020pppwestport.com.
Local artists Amy Kaplan, Darcy Hicks and Janine Brown organized the exhibit, which includes artists from all over southern Connecticut. They wanted a forum for artists to be heard on themes like climate change, political division, racial oppression and COVID-19 — and a place where others could contribute to the conversation.
2020 Collage #3 (Kerry Long): photography, film scans.
“Throughout history, artists have helped society to make sense of the world,” the organizers say.
“Artwork creates opportunities for communities to engage in safe dialogue. Some of us need the escape of beauty, and others need to feel the power of bold expression.
“This exhibit is a response to the need for humanity and closeness during a time of isolation and uncertainty when it has become clear to many of us how connected we really are. We turn to the arts to help us make sense of all that we are witnessing and experiencing, to teach us things we do not know, and cannot put into words easily.”
“As we confront the realities of the world we have created, now is the time to engage in productive conversations that create understanding among each other. Sometimes art can be a starting point for difficult conversations, and it is the hope of the organizers that this exhibit will show viewers something that is thought provoking or recognizable, even though we may have different experiences.”
“Listen BLM” (kHyal): assemblage with 100% recycled and upcycled objects,
The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center and Artists Collective of Westport sponsor the exhibit. The Westport Library is involved too, planning additional programming to continue the conversation.
Over 140 works were submitted; 35. Another 32 are on the website. Artists include:
The gallery will be open Thursdays (2 to p.m.), and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (12 to 6 p.m.) through November 30. Masks are required, and capacity will be limited.
To continue the conversation: Comment on Instagram (@2020PPPwestport). Or create your own art, and tag it: #2020PPPwesetport.
“America is Full of Plastic” (Louise Cadoux): Mixed media sculpture.
Last week, Peter Gambaccini saw that TCM was running the director’s cut of “Woodstock.”
Peter was there in the Catskills hills, 51 years ago this month. Now in his early 70s, he was not ready to sit through all those hours of music and more (particularly not Ten Years After).
But he tried to time it so that he’d tune in to see some of the Westporters he knew were there (though he never saw them “live”).
In a segment showing people sliding through the mud after a torrential rain, he suddenly spotted Bill Davidson. He was a Staples High School hockey star, and drummer with local bands.
In the movie, Bill had a line about what a “mess” the hillside was. Peter had not seen him in the movie before, so he guesses that was part of the expanded version.
Then — after a brief bit of other business — Pete Krieg and Peter Cannon came into view. Cannon flashed the peace sign at the camera.
They were so close in the footage to Davidson, Gambaccini assumed they’d all gone to Woodstock together.
In a Facebook discussion about another musical topic on Facebook, Gambaccini asked Krieg about the weekend. He said:
“I’ve gotten close to Bill in the past 10 years, since he’s the head bartender at Aspetuck Club. It was just last year (50 years later) that we realized we were 20 yards/60 seconds apart on that road, at that moment, at Woodstock.”
During her 12 years in the Westport schools, Taft has been a leader in the development and implementation of the elementary school science curriculum. She has also played an instrumental role in leading the District’s adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards.
In other education news, 2 Westport teachers — Staples High School’s Suzanne Kammerman and Courtney Ruggiero of Bedford Middle School — were featured on a Channel 8 story about teaching 9/11 to today’s students. Click here to see.
The Artists Collective of Westport is helping another arts group: the Remarkable Theater.
They’re collaborating on Thursday’s drive-in movie. “Best in Show” — a biting satire about dog shows — will be shown September 17 at 8 p.m. at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. The gate opens at 7.
Westport’s Suzuki Music School is beefing up its presence. New Visiting Artist courses have been added, with Grammy Award-winning instructors like percussionist Joe McCarthy, and subjects including the history of jazz, movie soundtrack composition amd contemporary fiddling.
Suzuki is also streaming more free public events, with jazz pianist Sumi Tonooka and cellist Matt Haimovitz and more. The popular children’s Pillow Concert series continues online, and the Connecticut Guitar Festival returns for a 4th year (virtually this time).
Suzuki’s season kicks off this Sunday (September 20) with a master class by Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich. Click here for tickets to that class; click here for an overview of events.
And finally … since we’re honoring Woodstock (above), here’s a “trip” down memory lane. In deference to Peter Gambaccini, it’s not Ten Years After. It’s Bert Sommer. He was accompanied at Woodstock by local resident Ira Stone. If you’ve never heard of them — or at least didn’t know they were at Woodstock — well, they never made it off the film’s cutting room floor. NOTE: The Woodstock recording is poor. I’ve also included a studio version (I’m not sure if it includes Ira).
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