Tag Archives: Dora Stuttman

Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop Opens Soon — In Fairfield

As a child of the 1960s and ’70s, Mike Stuttman knew Westport when it was filled with creative artist-types, and was a marketing mecca too.

He followed both paths. After Staples High School and the Cambridge School, Stuttman headed to the Rochester Institute of Technology for photography. “I loved it, but I couldn’t make ideas appear,” he says. Along the way, he was exposed to animation. So when he transferred to the University of Colorado, he majored in…

…math.

(Coleytown Junior High School teacher Otilia Malinowski had sparked that interest, years earlier.)

Mike Stuttman

Mike Stuttman

Stuttman embarked on a long career in direct marketing. He worked in New York and, locally, for the Ryan Partnership and Barry Blau. For the past 10 years, he’s consulted.

But around 2008 — when the recession hit — his phone stopped ringing. Stuttman — who’d never lost his passion for animation and computers — had an epiphany: Photoshop was just like cel animation.

He taught himself the software. Then in 2010, on a whim, he applied to New York’s School of Visual Arts, for an MFA in computer art.

It was a wonderful experience. Stuttman — newly energized — particularly enjoyed his technical classes, using software like After Effects. “I learned the craft of making digital art,” he says.

Next came a vision: replicating a space like SVA, to offer digital art classes locally. He could fill it with talented instructors, and students who want to make art with animation.

Westport — where his politically active mother Dora had run the Top Drawer store, and his father Burt owned a direct marketing firm — was the perfect spot. Stuttman — who loved the river — even had the perfect name: Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop.

Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop

He searched everywhere for the perfect location. He could not find one.

Finally, space became available in the old Fairfield Department Store building. It was within walking distance of the train station (he thought most instructors would commute from the city). There were great restaurants nearby.

“I’ve become that guy: a Westporter who’s a Fairfield convert,” Stuttman says.

He’ll offer software classes in computer art basics, digital darkroom, digital storytelling, digital sound for artists, computer sound, animation, editing and post-production, motion graphics, graphic design and small business marketing.

Classes typically run once a week for 2 hours, over the course of 6 weeks.

His potential audience includes “self-identified artists, and aspiring and working creative professionals” is vast: photographers, film and video makers, painters, graphic designers, musicians, sound designers, animators, editors, compositors, VFX artists, podcasters, DJs, makers and coders — and “the curious and creative.”

Students will use 8 “sexy, great and fully loaded 27” iMac workstations.

As it turns out, Stuttman has found a great pool of instructors right around here. They won’t need the train.

“And they’re excellent teachers — not just accomplished professionals,” Stuttman notes.

So when he opens right after Labor Day, why will Stuttman’s Fairfield space be called Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop?

“I love rivers. The Saugatuck is not only in Westport, you know. I would have loved a red-brick, individual space. But it’s tough to find an inexpensive, small place in Westport.”

Besides, he’s not the only Fairfield business with a Westport name.

Saugatuck Sweets is around the corner.

(To learn more about Saugatuck Digital Arts Workshop, click here.)


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[UPDATE] Remembering Dora Stuttman

Dora Stuttman — a tireless volunteer in Democratic politics for over 50 years — died yesterday. She was 90 years old.

Dora Stuttman

Dora Stuttman

Former managing editor of a national fashion magazine, Dora joined the Westport Democratic Town Committee soon after moving here in 1962. Her organizational skills were a hallmark of her more than 50 years of service.

She served 1 term as DTC chair, organized Democratic headquarters and volunteers during numerous elections, and ran several individual state campaigns.

She also headed Diane Farrell’s successful campaign for first selectman, and Farrell’s 2 unsuccessful runs for Congress against incumbent Chris Shays.

Last fall, the Democratic Town Committee honored her by creating a Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award.

Dora was also a PTA president, PTA Council member, and head of several local boards and commissions.

Dora’s funeral will be held on Thursday, July 9 (11 a.m.), Abraham Green & Son in Fairfield. Following the service, internment will be at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. Refreshments will be served afterward at the Stuttmans’ home: 2 Cardinal Lane, Westport.

 

Click below to see Dora Stuttman and Martha Aasen talk about 50 years of local politics: