Tag Archives: Westport Arts Advisory Council

At The Arts Center: Facing Micro-Aggressions, Head On

In March, the Westport Arts Center opened a new exhibition with an old idea.

“Tête-à-Tête: Reinventing the Conversation Bench” is based on the old Victorian “courting bench.” Its S-shape allows couples to hold intimate conversations without touching. Twenty-eight reimagined contemporary designs and prototypes are on display through May 25.

One of the many tete-a-tete benches at the Westport Arts Center exhibition.

In April, TEAM Westport announced the winners of its annual student essay contest. The topic was micro-aggressions.

Those 2 seemingly unrelated events come together next Wednesday (May 1, 6 to 7:30 p.m.).

The WAC gallery’s tête-à-tête benches are the perfect setting for dialogues on micro-aggressions.

Staples High School students Chet Ellis, Angela Ji, Daniel Boccardo and Olivia Sarno — the 4 TEAM Westport contest winners — will read short pieces from their essays.

(From left): TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey, with essay contest winners Chet Ellis, Angela Ji, Daniel Boccardo and Olivia Sarno.

Former Staples principal and Westport Arts Advisory Council member John Dodig, and Westport’s Human Services director Elaine Daignault, will moderate the tête-à-tête discussions that follow.

It’s doubtful attendees will find solutions to this contemporary problem.

But as they sit facing each other on the WAC benches, they’ll have a unique way of looking at it — both metaphorically, and for real.

(Space is limited. Please RSVP by calling 203-222-7070.)

Celebrate The Calendar

Kids complain there’s nothing to do in Westport.  Parents complain there’s too much to keep track of.

CelebrateWestport.com hopes to help both groups.

Nestled within the town’s official website, the Celebrate Westport Community Calendar is the go-to spot for information on upcoming meetings, lectures, fundraisers, concerts, films, exhibitions, and kids and family events.

The aim, the site says, is to help Westporters “gather together, renew old acquaintances and share in the delight of all our community has to offer.”  But its real value is offering so much calendar information, in so many forms.

Users can click on any event for detailed information, including directions. They can create personalized calendars; forward listings to friends, and request email or text reminders or notifications of changes.

Users can also submit their own events.

Many of the listings — library events, synagogue book fairs, Positive Directions parent training — offer links to the sponsoring organization.

According to Nancy Diamond of the Arts Advisory Council, CelebrateWestport.com is the only townwide calendar without editorial filtering; the only one that accepts press releases; a place where not-for-profits can post dates for future galas (avoiding conflicts with different organizations), and a place where community-minded businesses like Barnes & Noble can promote free events like author talks.

Out-of-town events (like fundraisers) are fine, so long as they are sponsored by a Westport not-for-profit.  So are non-sectarian events (like a knitting circle) at churches and synagogues, though religious services are not listed.

The Celebrate Westport Community Calendar has been around since October.  It’s grown slowly but steadily under the direction of Megan Donaher.  The 24-year-old native Westporter was hired part-time by the town’s Arts Advisory Council, which manages the site.

Megan is expanding the depth and breadth of listings.  It’s not just about the Westport Arts Center and other well-known organizations; the goal is to include smaller groups that have less opportunity to publicize their events.

And, of course, to make the Community Calendar as much a part of every Westporter’s day as morning coffee and “06880.”

Honoring Up-And-Coming Artists

When the 16th annual Westport Arts Awards are presented this fall, some honorees may be not much older than the honors themselves.

The Westport Arts Advisory Committee is seeking recommendations from the community, for its Horizon Awards.  They’ll go to rising artists who were raised in Westport, or now live here.  Candidates can be involved in visual arts, literary arts, film, theater, dance or music.

Ari Edelson, 2005 Horizon Award honoree

Ari Edelson, 2005 Horizon Award honoree (Photo by Emily Hamilton Laux)

They must be younger than 32 years old, and have already “demonstrated excellence” in their field.

Candidates — or those who nominate them — should send a resume, and visual sample if applicable, to:  horizonaward@gmail.com.  The deadline is June 15.