Tag Archives: Westport Permanent Art Collections

Roundup: Ukraine, Sound Barriers, Trash …

Save the date: Sunday, July 9.

The Ukrainian American Club of Southport — adjacent to the I-95 northbound entrance ramp — is the site of a “thank you” party for Westport’s help with our new sister city of Lyman, Ukraine.

In 3 weeks, we raised $252,000. Funds have paid for building materials, communication equipment, trash and police trucks, meals, holiday gifts and more.

The July 9 event will be a day of music, food and fellowship. There will be plenty of opportunities to donate too — the need in Lyman is ongoing — but all are welcome.

More details coming soon.

Slava Ukraini!


The New York Times marked today’s 1-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine with a retrospective of photos — and the memories of the men and women who took them.

Two Staples High School graduates — both Pulitzer Prize winners — are included.

Lynsey Addario (Staples ’91) stunned the world with this photo, in March:

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for New York Times)

She says:

In war, anything can change in a moment. Leading up to this photograph, mothers were running with their children from the Irpin bridge across my viewfinder toward the relative safety of Kyiv. Mortar rounds were coming in, urgency was in everyone’s step. Pink and blue puffy coats passed with rolling luggage. Surely the Russians wouldn’t target a civilian evacuation route?

But each round came a little closer, bracketing onto desperate people fleeing for their lives. And then I saw a flash, heard the crash and felt the impact from a wave of air being compressed in an explosion that smashed into our bodies as we dived for cover.

The aftermath will stay with me forever. When we stood up, my neck was sprayed with gravel. I asked my colleague Andriy if I was bleeding. “No,” he said. It was dusty and chaotic. We couldn’t see across to the other side of the street, so we didn’t know that a mother, her two children and a church volunteer had been killed. Somehow, we had been spared.

Tyler Hicks (Staples ’88) took this image in November:

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

He writes:

Bakhmut, in the eastern Donbas region, began last year as the home of about 70,000 people. Over the year of war, I’ve watched the fighting chew this city apart, as both sides have thrown masses of troops and weaponry into desperate attempts to control it.

In the earlier months it was always tense, but there were still civilians on the streets; Ukrainians, particularly in the east, have learned to live in the shadow of war. On this visit, it had reached a clear turning point in its militarization.

This armored vehicle passed me as I was leaving a military hospital, and the faces of the soldiers seemed to represent what has taken shape in the city’s shell: a relentless determination to fight.

Click here for all the Times photos, and photographers’ comments.


Want to sound off on sound barriers?

This Monday, (February 27, 11 a.m.), the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee holds a public hearing on Bill #6745. The proposed legislation addresses a statewide plan for the installation of sound barriers. (Click here for the full bill.)

To register to speak about the proposal, click click here. To submit written testimony about it, click here. To watch the hearing, click here(Hat tip: State Senator Tony Hwang)

Sound barrier under construction on I-95 in Darien.


Last week’s trash pick-up at Westport Animal Control was successful.

But there’s still more to do be done on Elaine Road (Compo Road South, between I-95 and the train tracks).

Elaine Road serves as the entrance to the water sewage treatment plant, and public access for boat and kayak launches, along with Animal Control. It attracts plenty of I-95 trash too, from vehicles and their irresponsible drivers and passengers.

All volunteers are welcome on March 5 (11 a.m.). Bring garbage bags, and dress appropriately.

Questions? Email acolabellartm4@gmail.com.

Elaine Road.


Speaking of pitching in: Yesterday was Police Chief Foti Koskinas’ birthday.

Westport’s top cop leads a department of 64 uniformed officers. In his spare time, he pitches in wherever he can around town.

Here’s a typical shot: Police Chief Koskinas helping clean garbage from the I-95 hill, in Saugatuck. It was Sunday — his day off. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)


The Y’s Women had a 2-fer yesterday. They enjoyed a pair of Westport treasures: the Westport Public Art Collections and MoCA.

The women enjoyed a private tour of the museum’s current exhibition, “Paul Camacho: El Ritmo y La Unidad” (which closes Sunday). Camacho was active in Westport’s art life in the 1960s and ’70s.

MoCA also shows 20 other abstractionists, including Alexander Calder and Robert Motherwell. All are from WestPAC’s holdings of more than 1,800 works.

Because most of their art is in schools and town buildings — not always available to the public — the Y’s Women were thrilled to see so many outstanding works. (Hat tip: Jilda Manikas)

Y’s Women at MoCA. (Photo/Leslie LaSala)


Also yesterday: Dr. Winston Allen drew a large crowd to the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

The longtime Westport resident spoke about — and signed — his new book,  “I Pried Open Wall Street in 1962.”

Dr. Winston Allen, last night at the Westport Museum for History & Culture. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Sorelle Gallery’s first “On View” feature of the year opens March 3. Artists Ned Martin and Pete Sack will be showcased on the main wall of the Church Lane gallery, through March 25.

Both artists create abstracted work with an emphasis on color and geometric design elements.

To learn more about the artists and the show, click here.

Hanging the Sorelle Gallery show.


Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery may have moved to Fairfield (1700 Post Road). B

But the upcoming spring show is true to its Westport roots.

Local resident Dala Najarian is one of the 8 featured artists — and it was curated by fellow Westporter Amy Zoller.

Najarian works in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, acrylics, mixed media and oils. A passionate photographer, her Shadow Series merges the realistic quality of a photo with the abstract translation of a scene, to depict a dreamlike painting.

The opening is March 2 (5 to 8 p.m.). It runs through April 16.

“Jewel Shadows” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)


It may not have been a long, brutal winter. (Sorry, Buffalo and Minnesota.)

But, like clockwork, we’re headed toward that ugliest time of the year: the not-quite-end-of-winter-but-not-yet-start-of-spring.

Still, there’s a certain kind of stark beauty to the season. Frank Sisson captured this “Westport … Naturally” scene at Winslow Park:

(Photo/Frank Sisson)


And finally … today is both Rupert Holmes’ 76th birthday, and World Bartender Day. So of course:

(If you like pina coladas — drink up! If you like “06880” — please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

MoCA’s Westport Art Show Ends Saturday

Last summer, the Westport Arts Advisory Committee and MoCA Westport began work on the first in an annual exhibition drawn from the Westport Public Art Collections.

The inaugural show — “The Westport Idea” — opened in January. It ends this Saturday (March 12). WAAC chair Nancy Diamond writes:

In 1968 Ann Chernow moved from New York to Westport, where her art school friend and future husband Burt Chernow already lived. Ann had no idea there were artists in Westport; she was looking for a good school system for her children.

She also did not know that since 1964, Burt had been collecting works from his artist friends and colleagues to create the Westport Schools Permanent Collection.

“Burt’s dream was to make fine art a daily part of students’ lives,” Ann says. He was an artist himself and a teacher at Greens Farm Elementary School. With no assistance and no budget, Burt began the collection that has grown to more than 2000 works today.

Walking around the Gallery at MoCA, Ann is flooded with memories.

Standing before a colorful painting (Boy’s Head, 1964) by modernist painter Paul Camacho, Ann recalls. “Burt, our children and I were good friends with Paul and his family.” WestPAC now has more than 30 of Paul’s works. Three are on exhibit at MoCA.

“Boy’s Head” (Paul Camacho)

Of her own work in the gallery, (Hercules, 1976), Ann explains, “It’s the only silk screen I’ve ever done. It turned out I was allergic to the materials.”

The piece is based on Bette Davis. When the legendary actress (and Westport resident) heard Ann was working on it, she visited the studio to check up on it.

Ann Chernow with “Hercules” (top).

Ann is riveted by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s crayon and pastel work, Chalk Composition (1946). “One day Baroness Hilla von Rebay, who was instrumental in developing the Guggenheim Museum, called Burt,” she says.

“Hilla asked whether he could stop by her Greens Farms home and possibly fix some paintings she had that were practically ruined. When he got there, Burt found this Maholy-Nagy, as well as a Kandinsky, rolled up on the windowsill.

“They were badly creased. Burt brought them home and flattened them, but you can still see the wrinkles behind the glass.

Photographer Larry Silver arrived in Westport a few years after Ann. When he got out of his car in 1973, he says, “I looked around and all I saw were pictures. The sky, the grass, the trees. I hadn’t even seen the water, but everything was a picture waiting for me to shoot.”

That day he and his wife Gloria found the least expensive house they could afford. He pulled out a check that he had received from a recent advertising campaign and handed it to the broker. “She probably was surprised when it didn’t bounce,” he says.

In 1996 he was invited by the Chinese city of Yangzou (now Westport’s sister city) to photograph their lifestyle. Six Dancers shows 6 deaf girls from the School for Blind and Deaf. They danced for us to a song called Mother, if I could only hear Your Voice Just Once. Larry says, “We all teared up. To do a portrait of the girls, I had to design this photo so each of the 6 faces were important.”

In 2021, Larry donated 30 compelling black and white photographs of his China trip to WestPAC.

Hanging below Larry’s photo at MoCa is a work by Bridgeport photographer Adger Cowans (Three Shadows, 1968). Larry met him 3 years ago. “His is a wonderful picture, reminiscent of the 1960’s styles of life in the streets. It’s beautifully designed.”

Larry Silver with Adger Cowans’ photo (top).

Larry had similar praise for Westport photographer Jerri Graham (Sisters, 2020). “This also is a beautifully designed, well-done picture. The girls look so carefree dancing, even wearing their COVID masks.”

In 2000, Westport’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Lynsey Addario made her first trip to Afghanistan to document the lives of women living under the Taliban. She returned there almost annually until 2014.

A Girl Visits a Shiite Shrine (2008) shows a young woman defiantly not wearing a veil. “The girl is centered in the picture and your eye goes right to her,” Larrysays. “It’s really good.”

Lynsey donated 33 images from her Afghanistan series to WestPAC in 2021.

The works of these Westport artists, as well as of their friends and colleagues, are on exhibit at MoCA in The Westport Idea through Saturday March 12. Click here for more information.