Week 11 of our online gallery features another wide variety of local Westport artwork.
Watercolors, charcoal, photos, videos, even furniture-making — it’s all here in our regular Saturday feature.
Each week, you show off your creativity and spirit; each week, we gain insights into your COVID-filled moods.
Keep sending your work. Professional, amateur, old, young — we want your paintings, collages, sketches, photos, sculptures, cartoons, whatever. Student submissions are particularly welcome!
The only rule: It must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through. Email email@example.com.
“Empty Beach” (Martin Howard)
“Staying Strong” (Elizabeth Devoll)
Staples High School art teacher Angela Simpson says, “As part of distance learning, I make demo videos for my students. For the one on how to make a multi-color registered silk screen print using an adhesive film media, I created a print of my beloved dog, Teddy. The print was a hit at home. Now I’ve been ‘commissioned’ by my son to create a version printed on a black hoodie.”
“Backwards and in Heels” (Lawrence Weisman)
Amy Saperstein made this table in her garage workshop. She says, “I must be honest. It is extremely flimsy, and likely to collapse at any moment! I found the white branch in my yard, and had the wood for the top in the garage.”
“The Beach is My Happy Place” (Amy Schneider)
“Not Venice Carnival” (Lisa Weinstein)
“Unconnected Now” (Karen Weingarten)
Susan Lloyd says, “This is Saint Dymphna, an Irish gal with a horrible backstory; patron saint of depression and anxiety. I am not Catholic; I just like saints and their histories, and of course shells.”
A video tribute, from Rob Feakins:
Ann Chernow’s garden, near Main Street. “People walking by feel good seeing these,” she says. (Photo/James Walsh)
Roseann Spengler says, “Under house arrest like Cinderella, I have discovered new friends. Making them masks is more important than making them clothes.”
“Seagulls Above a Watercolor Sky” (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
Thirty-five years ago, the Susan Fund awarded its first grants.
The recipients were special: young men and women battling cancer who — besides facing staggering medical bills — needed help paying for college.
This year, the Susan Fund — named in honor of Susan Lloyd, a popular, multi-talented Staples student who succumbed to bone cancer while at Colgate University — reaches a milestone. It has distributed $1.5 million, providing hope (and education) to hundreds of Fairfield County residents.
Every awardee’s story is unique. But Kendall Mather illustrates just how powerful an impact the Susan Fund can have.
Kendall grew up in Westport. She attended Greens Farms Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools. At Staples she was on the tennis team, and active in the St. Luke Church youth group.
Two years ago, near the end of junior year, the back, hip and leg pain she’d experienced for a while grew intolerable. The morning of her Advanced Placement Economics test, she could not walk.
Several doctors thought it was a sports injury. But at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Kendall was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Kendall’s cancer has a very high cure rate. Still, she underwent several rounds of chemo, and a few surgeries due to complications. She’ll finish her treatment in October — soon after entering the University of Miami. (She took this year off, to focus on her health.)
Friends and family have provided tremendous support. “When I was in my worst shape, they treated me normally,” Kendall says.
The Susan Fund offers a different kind of support: financial.
“Medical bills are a huge burden to many families,” Kendall notes. “Even the scans to see if treatment is working are enormous. It’s amazing what this fund can do for families.”
Kendall is gratified to be one of the recipients. At Miami, she plans to major in business, with a focus on real estate.
Then — when she embarks on her own career, with her degree (and a cancer-free diagnosis), Kendall looks forward to giving back to the Susan Fund.
“They’ve helped so many people,” she notes. “It’s the least I can do.”
(On June 26, the Susan Fund holds its 35th annual reception. They’ll distribute more than $75,000 in college scholarships to 29 Fairfield County students — including 4 Staples grads — diagnosed with cancer. For more information, or to contribute, click on www.TheSusanFund.org)
A native Westporter who has spent the last 30 years in Green’s Farms — and whose father grew up in the neighborhood (her mom is from Fairfield) — Lloyd passes 4 structures slated for destruction nearly every day.
Although 3 of the structures are old — very old — she knows that halting the process will not be easy.
One of the buildings dates back to 1700. Once classified as a blight house, she says it has been empty at least 20 years.
This house, at 21 Center Street, was built in 1700. It is one of the oldest homes still standing in Westport.
The 2nd house is 233 years old. Built in 1782, it belonged at one point to Joe Avery (a horseman who worked for the Bedford family and Fairfield County Hunt Club) and Marjorie Rippe Avery (a longtime Klein’s employee).
The house at 25 Center Street was built in 1782.
The 3rd home was built in 1880.
This house — on the corner of Center Street and Brightfield Lane — dates back to 1880.
The youngest one — from 1938 — is still 77 years old.
“I realize these houses are not of major historical importance,” Lloyd says. “They’re not on Jennings Trail. George Washington didn’t sleep there.” (He did apparently sleep nearby, in a long-gone house at the intersection of Center Street and Lazy Brook Lane).
However, Lloyd says, “redone right, they would be perfect homes for the empty nesting baby boomers who want to stay in town. Or someone looking for a small, reasonably priced home.”
The developer is scheduled to ask the Historic District Commission to waive the balance of the demolition delay.
Lloyd hopes anyone interested in maintaining the demolition delay, and/or requesting that the developer conserve the oldest house (or at least its bones) for use in the new structures planned for the site, and/or that the structures be professionally and sensitively deconstructed by a company doing professional, historic reclamation work — attend the HDC work session and public hearing on Tuesday, January 12 (7 p.m., Town Hall Room 201).
Some of the houses on Center Street are listed on Westport’s Historic Resources Inventory. “This is good,” Lloyd says.
“But it provides no protection, other than the demolition delay (which can still be waived, so it’s no guarantee either). Maybe if the public spoke up about all the demolition of the oldest houses in town, it would be more difficult to demolish them.”
When Staples grad Susan Lloyd lost first her leg, and then her life, to bone cancer, her family could have wallowed in self-pity.
When Fairfield native Jeff Keith lost a leg to cancer at age 12, he could have limped along and watched life from the sidelines.
They did not.
And countless area cancer patients and their families have benefited as a result.
Since 1982, the Susan Fund has awarded hundreds of college scholarships to young people suffering with cancer. Since 2005, Jeff’s CT Challenge has helped cancer survivors live healthier, happier lives through fitness, nutrition, health and support programs. Fittingly, Jeff was one of the first Susan Fund recipients.
The 2 organizations work closely together. For example, the CT Challenge’s Center for Survivorship in Southport hosts the Susan Fund awards ceremony.
And on Saturday, July 26 there are 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile bike rides, all starting at the Fairfield County Hunt Club. A 2-day ride starts the day before in Lakeville, Connecticut, and ends at the Hunt Club.
Over 1,000 riders — all of whom raise money to participate — are expected for this year’s 10th annual event. Last summer, they raised a record $1.65 million.
Part of the funds raised by the bike ride support the Susan Fund. The bulk goes to the CT Challenge Center for Survivorship. It’s the only standalone center of its kind in the country not affiliated with a hospital.
Other money goes to CT Challenge’s yoga program, camp and college scholarships for young cancer survivors, adventure outings for young adult survivors, support for women in lower socioeconomic areas, research projects, outreach services, a speaker series and more.
Last year, nearly 54,000 cancer survivors benefited from CT Challenge programs.
Among the riders this year is Jessica Ellison. A Staples grad and Susan Fund recipient, she’s majoring in molecular biology at Georgetown University. Jessica spent several years at Camp Rising Sun, inspiring youngsters with cancer. She’s now a counselor there, and will join the camp team at the CT Challenge.
Last year, Jessica and her parents rode with the Susan Fund team. This year, there are 2 Susan Fund teams entered in the ride.
Of course, you don’t have to be part of any team to participate. All you have to do is support a cyclist — or get on a bike yourself.
It’s a beautiful ride. Plus, the Lloyd family and Jeff Keith have already shown you the way.
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