Tag Archives: Sherri Wolfgang

Roundup: Dunkin’ Down, Politico Zoom, Oldenburg Sculpture …

Westport is down one Dunkin’.

The donut-and-coffee spot on the Post Road at Maple Avenue North closed abruptly yesterday.

Some folks thought it’s because there will soon be a new Dunkin’ in Compo Shopping Center, near CVS.

Nope — that’s the new home for the Dunkin’ across from Fresh Market. The shopping plaza there is being renovated, prior to Westport Hardware moving in from its current digs a few yards away.

The “CVS Dunkin'” will drive more traffic to that already gruesome lot. But it’s a toss-up which is more dangerous: Compo Shopping Center, or the angled spots and snake-like exit from the smaller strip mall at the now-closed Maple Avenue store.

The closed Dunkin’.

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A COVID diagnosis has turned tonight’s 7 p.m. Westport Library discussion with John Harris into an all-virtual event.

The founder of Politico — the must-read news site — will talk with Steve Parrish, the Westport public affairs and communications expert. They’ll chat about Harris’ career, his work with Politico, and the future of politics in an increasingly polarized nation.

Click here to register for tonight’s Zoom session, and more information.

John Harris

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Bostonians love Kured. The charcuterie company has a shop in Beacon Hill, and delivers throughout the area. Now it’s opening in the Seaport District, on the Ombrello patio that includes restaurants, retail and entertainment.

Kured is the brainchild of 2016 Staples High School graduate Gilli Rozynek. She captained the field hockey team, and was a Student Ambassador, Best Buddy and SafeRides board member.

Gilli started Kured as a part of the start-up accelerator program at Boston College. She calls it “Sweetgreen or Chipotle for charcuterie.” Expansion to New York may be in the works.

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: David Loffredo)

Gilli Rozynek, at Kured.

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The death of Claes Oldenburg — the pop artist known for his large sculptures of everyday objects — reminded Paul Lowenstein of a local connection.

For nearly 20 years, Oldenburg’s 19-foot, 10,000-pound work of a typewriter eraser surprised and entertained drivers and joggers on a staid stretch of Beachside Avenue. In 2019, the sculpture was moved to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

It now sits in Heyman Plaza. The site is named for Sam and Ronnie Heyman (she’s a Norton trustee) — the Greens Farms couple who donated the massive work. (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” — Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture on Beachside Avenue..

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Speaking of art: Local artist Sherri Wolfgang gets her star turn next month at the George Billis Gallery.

Her show opens with a reception August 4 (4 to 7 p.m., 180 Post Road East). It runs through September 3.

“Same As It Ever Was,” oil on linen (from Sherri Wolfgang’s “American Pathos” series).

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Thursday’s Jazz at the Post (7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue; $10 cove) features legendary bassist Harvie S., with James Weidman,
Tony Jefferson and “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall.

Dinner service begins at 6:30. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzatThePost@gmail.com

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Pam Kesselman is an avid beach-goer. A grossed-out one too, these days.

She writes: “Before I went for a swim. I picked up this debris. I wonder how many fish we’ve hurt with our garbage. It was disgusting!”

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She adds: “Everyone: Please pick up after yourselves at the beach . It can be lovely but won’t be unless everyone works at it.”

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How fierce was yesterday’s storm?

This drain at Stop & Shop could scarcely keep up with all the rain:

(Photo/Jacquie O’Brien)

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Gloria Ann Calise Franco, a member of Westport’s noted Calise family, died last week in New Canaan, surrounded by her family. She was 95.

Born in New York City, she moved with her parents Mike and Catherine Calise to Westport. Her father founded the Westport Game & Poultry Farm on the Post Road.

Following graduation from Staples High School in 1944, she attended Berkeley Secretarial School in New York.

The game farm became Calise’s Market. Her father opened a liquor store next door. A salesman caught Gloria’s eye. With some matchmaking from Gloria’s sister Susie, Gloria and Dick Franco married in 1949.

They moved to New Canaan, where they raised 11 children. She was involved in their school activities, as well as the Democratic Town Committee, UNICEE (chapter president), the New Canaan Women’s Club and Parks & Recreation Commission (board member of both), and the American School for the Dea.

She and Dick were presidents of the New Canaan Dance Club too. She was a faithful churchgoer, and well known for her 3 p.m. tea time.

Gloria was predeceased by her husband; their children Richard A. Jr. of New Canaan; Tom (Yvonne) of Ridgefield, Chris (Christie) of Monroe, New York, Anne Franco McAndrew of Kent, Tim (Marie) of Concord, Massachusetts, Mike (Mary) of New Canaan, Duffy (Megan Collins) of Norwalk, Carl of New Canaan, Claude (Val) of New Canaan, Katie Franco O’Neill (Mike) of New Canaan, and Kelley Franco Throop (Tom) of Rowayton; 16 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren, and her sister Marie Sodaro of Fairfield.

A wake will be held Thursday (July 21, 3 to 7 p.m., Hoyt Funeral Home, New Canaan). The funeral is set for Friday (July 22, 10 a.m., St. Aloysius Church). Contributions in her honor may be made to St. Catherine Center for Special Needs in Fairfield.

Gloria Calise Franco

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Most visitors to the Senior Center are a “certain age.”

Not this family. Jill Grayson spotted the young-looking parent and her children there the other day. They patiently posed for her — and for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … on this date in 1848, the 1st US women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York.

(“06880” is fully reader-support. If you’d like to help, please click here.)

Sherri Wolfgang Masters Painting

As a 12-year-old Queens girl — visiting her divorced father here in 1969 — Sherri Wolfgang fell in love with Westport.

She was a camper at Mahackeno, and later became an art counselor there. Her dad took her to Max’s Art Supplies, where she bought her first drawing pad.

The budding artist always got an “artists’ vibe” from this town. She grew up, earned a BFA at Carnegie Mellon, and embarked on a career as an illustrator.

Sherri got married, and lived in Greenwich Village. When she had kids, it was time to move to the suburbs. But she wanted a place with that same “great, creative environment.”

In 1992, Westport was that place. Through Max’s — and meeting spots like Glynn’s restaurant — Sherri met artists, illustrators and cartoonists. Stan Drake, Curt Swan and many others welcomed her in.

She formed a studio, called Dynamic Duo. She created covers for Time, Barron’s, Sports Illustrated and Business Week, and helped with ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, Burger King, IBM and MTV. She couriered her work to New York by train, just like all the famed illustrators here did.

Sherri Wolfgang, in her Kings Highway South studio. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

In 2004, Sherri turned the studio into an art school. For 2 years she taught her craft to kids and adults.

But she missed painting. Ten years ago she started again. She’s been a full-time painter ever since.

Sherri proudly calls her style “old school.” Figure painting is not as popular today as it once was, she says, but that’s how she was trained. She loves it.

She layers oils and resins in traditional style, like the old masters. But Sherri is not da Vinci, Michelangelo or Rembrandt. Her paintings are contemporary. Many include a bit of whimsy or humor.

She paints large canvases, often in series. “Twisted” — which took several years to conceive, create and complete — portrays women who are addicted to cosmetic surgery. That doesn’t sound funny. But Sherri — who believes that “beauty comes from within” — manages to turn that serious subject on its Botoxed head.

If you recognize some of the women, you should: Sherri used herself as a model.

“Lunching in Westport,” from Sherri Wolfgang’s “Twisted” series. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

She’s had group shows at the Westport Arts Center and Silvermine Guild, plus solo shows at Nylen Gallery here and City Lights in Bridgeport.

Now Sherri is gearing up for her biggest show yet. It opens June 1 at Bridgeport’s Housatonic Museum of Art.

Specifically, the Burt Chernow Gallery. It’s named for the longtime professor, who began his teaching career in the Westport school system. He helped found the Westport Arts Center — where Sherri spent plenty of time, in its studio days at Greens Farms School.

Sherri will exhibit 2 complete series. “Nick.e.lo.deon” celebrates the wonders of the human form. Her model was Nick Daley, a Staples High School 2012 graduate and professional dancer.

One of Sherri Wolfgang’s “Nick.e.lo.deon” paintings. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

She’ll also show “Twisted.”

The Chernow connection to Westport’s old arts vibe is important to Sherri. Glynn’s is gone. Max’s closed too.

“I’d walk in to buy art supplies, and end up hanging out for hours with Shirley, Nina and Jay,” Sherri recalls. “That was our haven.”

When owner Shirley Mellor sold everything in August 2014, Sherri bought its iconic clock. She beat out fellow artist Miggs Burroughs by a minute. He’s still a friend, as is Nina Bentley — reminders that despite many chances, artists still live, work and thrive here.

Sherri Wolfgang (center) with Max’s Art Supplies’ famous Karron’s clock. She’s surrounded by (from left) Max’s famed Nina Royce, Rita Ross Englebardt, Shirley Mellor (owner) and Jay Cimbak.

Ten years after resuming painting, Sherri says she is in “mid-career.” She feels “lucky and honored” to be able to work in her large, bright and art-filled South Kings Highway studio.

After years of study — including lugging large books of the masters home from the Westport Library — Sherri says, “Things make sense now. I’m a more confident painter. My brush strokes are more solid. And I know when a painting is done. When it’s finished, I can walk away.”

With “Nick.e.lo.deon” and “Twisted” done — and preparations underway for her Housatonic show — Sherri is ready for her next series.

Called “American Pathos,” it’s based on what she sees as her daughters and their Staples friends begin their adult lives. (Sherri calls Class of ’12 grad Maya Schumer — a neuroscience major at Carnegie Mellon — and current junior Eden Schumer “my best works of art.”)

Those young women and their friends wear earrings and tattoos. Sherri will paint those — with Renaissance backgrounds.

Move over, Old Masters. I can’t call Sherri Wolfgang a New Mistress — but I sure can be at her Burt Chernow Gallery opening this spring.