Tag Archives: Westport-Weston First Night

Daniel Lanzilotta’s Trashy Art

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Which means there are tons of treasures downtown.

Take, for example, the little green (and non-biodegradable) plastic stirrers you get with your Starbucks coffee.

Daniel Lanzilotta says they cause havoc when they get into storm drains, and the nearby Saugatuck River.

So he makes them into sculptures.

That’s just one way he turns “street debris” into art. He’s got many other pieces — and they’re on view right now in the Westport Library Riverwalk (lower level) display case. Fittingly, it’s just a few steps from Starbucks.

Daniel Lanzilottsa wears one of his creations.

On Wednesday, May 31 (6:15 p.m., McManus Room) the library hosts a reception for Lanzilotta. He’ll give a talk on environmental issues at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion with Earthplace representatives.

The topic: How Westport can address and remedy some of the issues raised in his talk.

Lanzilotta is the right man for the job. An artist, environmentalist and chef, he’s seen this town from many different angles.

As a member of Celebrate Westport, he helped create the Farmers’ Market with Michel Nischan. Lanzilotta also helped design First Night Westport’s “Trashin’ Fashion” program for kids.


“My work brings consciousness into the waste stream,” Lanzilotta says.

In downtown Westport, he finds all the inspiration he needs.

(For more information, click here.)

Downtown Mural Finds A Home

Once again, “06880” readers have come through for Westport.

Five days ago, I posted a plea. The “First Night Mural” — 28 feet long, 8 feet tall, created by Kassie Foss and the children of Westport, then hung in the pedestrian walkway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza to celebrate our 1st-ever First Night — needed a home.

There will soon be light at the end of the dark downtown pedestrian tunnel.

There will soon be light at the end of the dark downtown pedestrian tunnel.

The 8 panels will eventually be displayed in the new Bedford Square. But Miggs Burroughs and the Westport Downtown Merchants Association are collaborating on an exciting new “Tunnel Vision” project, giving the grim passageway new life.

In the meantime: What to do with the mural? (Which, by the way, needs some serious refurbishing.)

Up stepped lovely, generous Westport resident and clinical psychologist Dr. Ingi Soliman. Today she and Miggs loaded every panel into her just-big-enough Suburban.

Thanks, Ingi, for giving the “First Night Mural” a new home. We look forward to its unveiling in Bedford Square, a couple of years from now.

And — before that — we hope to see you on May 22, when “Tunnel Vision” opens to the public.

Dr. Ingi Soliman, her Suburban and her new "First Night" mural.

Dr. Ingi Soliman, her Suburban and her new “First Night” mural.

‘First Night’ In Jeopardy

What the economy did not do to First Night Westport-Weston, Mother Nature might.

First Night Westport-WestonLast New Year’s Eve’s wind and cold — along with advisories to stay off the road — sharply curtailed attendance at the 15th annual townwide celebration.  Ticket sales were down a bit — but the terrible weather delivered the real devastating punch.

The loss of revenue means last year’s event might be the last.

As spring arrives, First Night executive director Denise Torv is looking ahead to winter.

“It’s one of the few community events that attracts people of all ages — including teens,” she says. “And unlike a lot of other New Year’s Eve activities, this one is alcohol-free.”

Torv knows that all non-profits are hurting.  But, she says, First Night is different.

Fireworks in winter -- a tradition endangered, along with First Night

Fireworks in winter -- a tradition endangered, along with First Night

“It brings the entire community together — friends, families, neighbors, visitors — to welcome the new year in.”

Fortunately, Torv says, First Night’s budget is “comparatively small.”  It will take only a “modest contribution” from the community to continue.

But, she says, Westporters must decide if they want the tradition to last.  And they must decide now.

How will Torv know if Westport wants a 16th First Night?  Click the “Comments” section at the top or bottom of this story.  Or email firstnight@westportct.gov.

(Click here for the official First Night Westport-Weston web site.)