The Westport Arts Center is holding an exhibit titled "Pen Pals and Dreams" through Sunday, Jan. 13, in the center's Project Space, 51 Riverside Ave. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
It will display children's letters and drawings featured in "Brownstones to Red Dirt," a Copper Pot Pictures documentary on pen-pal friendships between sixth-graders from housing projects in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section and war orphans from Freetown, Sierra Leone. In the film, the children realize through their letters that they are more like each other than they thought as they share about lost parents, racism and violence, according to a release.
A reception with a screening of the documentary and a filmmaker Q&A with guest Malik Adamson, one of the Brooklyn pen pals, will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, in the WAC Gallery. It will include refreshments.
Copper Pot Pictures will also hold a silent auction to help Schools for Salone, its partner nonprofit, to build an orphanage for the children in the documentary, the release states. Auction items will include: Jewelry from Sierra Leone; posters and films signed by Wes Anderson and Ken Burns; tickets to a New York Knicks game; World Series memorabilia; artwork from Connecticut artists; and an autographed drawing from Big Bird puppeteer Caroll Spinney, the subject of Copper Pot's next film.
Copper Pot Pictures previously raised more than $53,000 to build a new school for the children featured in "Brownstones to Red Dirt." Schools for Salone, a Seattle nonprofit that has built more than 15 schools, worked with local businesses to build the Freetown school, which opened last year.
Tickets to the reception, $15, $10 for members, can be bought at the center at 203-222-7070 or westportartscenter.org.