During this extraordinary time in our lives we have all had to reset our priorities and examine how to do the best with what we have. This applies to our local artists and arts organizations as well. Does art really matter in a crisis like this? We submit that the arts are now more important than ever. They can entertain, provoke, heal and comfort us during these anxious times. With that in mind we have compiled the following virtual events and activities initiated by our local art organizations. Please support them in any way you can.

From Kathie Motes Bennewitz , Town curator, concerning WestPAC (Westport’s Public Art Collections: With Westport’s schools and town buildings closed, the Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC) is keeping its collections accessible by bringing the artwork to the community virtually.. Two online mini exhibits drawn from its new Learning Galleries which are spaces at each school for displays responding to teacher requests-(supported by Friends of WestPAC and the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.) Even after this extended period of social distancing, WestPAC will continue online exhibits posted on the WestPAC website; also via Facebook@WestportpublicArtCollections, and Instagram@westportpublicart. While staying safely at home, students can digitally submit their art for the 2020-2021 Westport School Art Calendar by

sending to: https://www.westportps.org/community/westport-public-art-collections/annual-student-art-calendar.

From Nancy Diamond, Co Chair, Westport Arts Advisory Committee:

Westport’s Arts Advisory Committee continues its work behind the scenes to keep the arts alive and visible in our community. Take a virtual tour of Westport’s artistic gems by loading the Otocast app for either Apple or Android. Plans for the annual TEA (Thinkers, Educators, Artists Talk are in the works for Sunday, October 25. The topic will be Arts Go Green.”

From Carole Erger-Fass, Exhibits Curator at the Westport Library: We are focusing on making our exhibitions accessible to the community even though the Library is closed .We just launched our first online exhibition: ”Westport Suffragists-Our neighbors, Our Crusaders.”And, we have developed a new online version of our “Artist to Artist” interview series aptly named ”Artists in Residencies” to learn how artists are continuing to be creative during this difficult time. Subscribe to the Library’s YouTube channel ; watch for upcoming episodes- here’s our link:

https://www.youtube.com/user/WestportPubLib.

From Dorothy Curran, representing the Westport Woman’s Club : Due to the current situation, the Woman’s Club has cancelled its Sixth Annual Art Show which was to held at the end of April. It is now a virtual exhibition and can be accessed by this link: WestportWomansClub. Scroll down and click on “Virtual Art Show.org We encourage you to look at their art and buy something you like to support the WWC Scholarship Fund. We are hopeful of regrouping and holding a show in the Fall.

From the Westport Artists Collective, the nonprofit group of 150 local artists:

Many members are responding to the current situation by participating in online discussions, art classes, and demonstrations. The Collective’s website with all artists listed is: www.artistscollectiveofwestport.org.

From Dan Woog, 06880 : “0*6*Art*Art*0: An online art gallery featuring work created during the pandemic, or relating to it, by artists of all ages, professional and amateur using a variety of media. It’s posted on 06880 every Saturday morning.

Beechwood Arts: “Wednesdays at Home with Beechwood.”April events are called “The WE Events.” Each immersive WE Event includes all of the following: live music, Art, special guests, video shorts and Interactive Community Converstion. On June 14th and 15tth we will host our “Secrets of Beechwood” fundraiser, a competitive, fun and unique scavenger hunt for some truly shocking secrets buried on the Beechwood grounds. We are still hoping to host this actually, but we’ll now figure out how to make it a compelling online experience! For more information call 203 226 9462.

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And beyond the Visual Arts:

From Michael Barker, executive Director of the Westport Country Playhouse:

Our first virtual project is a master class with Kelli O’Hara featuring Fairfield County kids performing number from their cancelled school musicals.

From Diana Mller, Producer, “Play With Your Food”: Videos of our short, theatrical ‘nuggets’ are available for viewing on JIB’S website: JIBproductions.org.