Tag Archives: Elliot Gerard

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, GG & Joe, “In Death” …

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Starting today, outdoor dining returns to Church Lane.

Now through late fall, restaurants like Spotted Horse, Manna Toast, Pink Sumo and Amis are serving underneath the stars.

The Westport Downtown Association plans live mellow dinner music on weekends, starting soon.

Dining al fresco, last year.

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Around the corner, GG & Joe is closed — but only temporarily.

A sign on the door notes that due to a COVID exposure, they’ve shut their doors for a few days. They reopen Thursday, April 22.

Better safe than sorry. And kudos to the acai bowl-and-coffee-and-more spot in Parker Harding Plaza — which opened last spring, as the pandemic raged — for their concern for all customers.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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In Death, The Gift of Life — the powerful anthology of 10 Westporters who embraced death on their own terms — has won two 1st place awards in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual communications contest.

The honors were for editing (Dan Levinson and Alison McBain) and design (McBain and Miggs Burroughs). The book now moves on to national competition.

A community-wide book launch will be held at the Westport Library this fall.

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In the early days of the pandemic, Stan Witkow started an online bingo game. Winners — Westporters, former residents and friends across the country — donate their pots to a non-profit of their choice.

The most recent recipient is Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. Jennifer Pressman donated her $250 to the organization. Her son is a former WVEMS volunteer. Bingo!

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Abilis is hiring. The non-profit, which serves more than 800 people with special needs and their families — holds a job fair on Saturday, May 1 (9 a.m. to 5 .m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich).

Full- and part-time positions include management and assistant management roles, day program and residential roles. Click here to see open positions. Prospective employees should bring resumes. For more information,  call 203-531-1880.

May 1 is also the date of Abilis’ 70th anniversary gala (6:30 p.m., virtual). There’s family entertainment, with comedians, actors, musicians and dancers.

To learn more, register for the show link, see “Giving Garden” needs, check out the online auction or by art by Abilis clients, click here.

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An “06880” reader sits for a 4-hour infusion once a month at Norwalk Hospital. It is often cool in the room, so patients are given a hospital blanket.

The other day, she received a real blanket,  made by a group at Staples High school called Lovee’s Charity. They’re usually given to pediatric patients, but sometimes they’re handed out in the infusion room.

“It was so nice, soft and comforting,” the reader says. She emailed faculty advisor Natalie Odierna, letting her know how much joy the blanket brought.

Now thousands of other “06880” readers know about the joy Lovee’s Charity brings too.

A Lovee’s Charity blanket.

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Major League Soccer has kicked off its 26th season. And for the 5th straight year, Elliot Gerard was commissioned to create the opening day graphic.

The Westport resident Gerard is a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group, a social strategy and creative content agency.

This year’s concept is “Where’s Waldo?” Gerard worked with eMLS to hide Easter eggs in the artwork (below). The campaign is interactive, giving fans the chance to make their own versions on Instagram stories. A customizable background is available. Click for Twitter and Instagram links.

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And finally … I got my 2nd COVID vaccine today. Just sayin’ …

Basketball Players Rock The Vote. Elliot Gerard Assists.

“Hoopers Vote” is a basketball-oriented voter registration and education drive. The point is to use NBA and WNBA players, coaches, retired stars and media members to raise public awareness, as Election Day looms.

The initiative has gotten an important assist from a Westport illustrator.

Elliot Gerard is passionate about sports. When the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title, Gerard designed an enormous mural for their arena.

His work has been featured on ESPN, NBC, CBS, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe and Washington Post.

He spent several years as vice president, creative director at a Westport-based marketing firm. He worked with corporate partners like IBM and AT&T — and (back to sports) the Super Bowl.

Gerard is now a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group. Combining “heart” and “talent,” the social strategy and creative content agency recently snagged that Hoopers Vote contract.

When Rock the Vote — the initiative’s sponsor — first contacted Gerard, his thought was to create a digital “mural” with 50 basketball stars. Each would represent one state.

But the artwork was so compelling that everyone wanted more. So far, Heartlent has created nearly 250 “voter graphics.” The goal is 300 by Election Day.

The expanded campaign delights Gerard. “I wanted to reach as many voters as possible,” he says. “The more influencers, the bigger the campaign.”

The graphics include a checkmark — representing the famous “Rock the Vote” logo — going across each face. Click below for a video:

Gerard wanted to give a consistent but unique look to all of the pieces. He used graphics representing a basketball court, voting form, elements from state flags, even US postage symbols (to encourage voters to mail in their ballots).

Gerard says this is one of the biggest and most important projects he’s ever worked with. He and his former boss, Keith Stoeckeler created Heartlent “exactly for campaigns like this. Our mission is to be an agency that puts our entire hearts in not only all our work, but also in the causes we’re part of.”

“I went beyond just telling the overall story of these voters,” Gerard explains.

“I visually explored each hooper’s career and life.” He added easter eggs and icons representing the teams they played or rooted for, colleges they attended, awards and championships they won, charities they are part of, and other symbols for their lives.

A gallery of Hoopers Vote graphics.

Special stories — like Stephanie Ready as the first woman to coach men’s professional basketball, and Jason Collins as the first openly gay active NBA player — got special representation.

The next step was to create templates that any basketball player — or voter — can use. They can put their face in with their favorite NBA or WNBA team colors.

Now it’s up to the basketball community to get voters registered, and to the polls.

That’s no slam dunk. But thanks to Elliot Gerard, the basketball community will rock the vote.

(To see dozens of “Hoopers Vote” graphics, click here.)

Oldtime Newcomer: Art, Marketing Still Thrive Here

Westport may no longer be chockablock with illustrators.

And we’re certainly no longer the Marketing Capital of the World.

But artists and marketers still work here. Sometimes, they’re the same person.

You just have to know where to look.

Elliot Gerard is still young. He was raised on the Upper East Side. But he remembers the Westport of “old.”

Elliot Gerard

His grandparents Philip and Lillian Gerard had a summer place here. His uncle and aunt, Darko and Jena Maric, are longtime residents. His parents were married here. Gerard spent plenty of time in Westport, and loved it.

After graduating from Pratt Institute, he worked in design for a gaming company.

He loved the New York Knicks. They loved his freelance artwork about the team. So did players, who reposted it on their personal social media accounts.

ESPN called. Then CBS, Vice Sports, Bleacher Report and Major League Soccer.

A Major League Baseball illustration by Elliot Gerard, for Vice Sports.

Soon, Gerard was creating animations for the Madison Square Garden Jumbotron.

As LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the playoffs, Gerard designed a digital magazine cover that perfectly captured the star’s kinetic energy. James used the artwork on his social media.

LeBron James, by Elliot Gerard

“That put me on the map,” Gerard says.

When the Cavs won the NBA title, he was a natural choice to design the team’s enormous mural. It was displayed at their arena.

Elliot Gerard, with his Cleveland Cavaliers’ mural.

That helped land Gerard a job with MKTG. The marketing firm has over 2 dozen offices worldwide. Most are in major cities.

But there’s one in an office park on Greens Farms Road. Over 100 people work there.

As vice president, creative director he works with corporate partners like IBM and AT&T. He’s involved in events like the Super Bowl.

Gerard is well aware of the links between his current job, and Westport’s arts and marketing heritage.

Now he’s a Westporter too. He and his wife Meredith recently moved here, with their young daughter and son.

“I’m a city kid,” Gerard says of his new hometown. “But I played in my uncle and aunt’s backyard. Now my kids play in their own.”

Elliot Gerard’s poster for last summer’s MLS All-Star game.