Community Channel: Country Playhouse awarded $20K grant; Photo series showcases natural art

UBS Westport employees participated in the Season of Service activities with Bridgeport-area families at the Wing Ding parade in June.
UBS Westport employees participated in the Season of Service activities with Bridgeport-area families at the Wing Ding parade in June.Contributed photo

Country Playhouse awarded $20K grant

Connecticut Humanities has awarded a grant of $20,000 to Westport Country Playhouse to support a series of free community engagement events surrounding “Thousand Pines,” a world-premiere drama that brings the national dialogue about gun violence to the Playhouse stage, from Oct. 30 through Nov. 17.

Written by Matthew Greene, and directed by Austin Pendleton, the play was developed in early 2017 by the Playhouse’s New Works Circle Initiative.

The series of community events to examine the work on stage will include symposia, panel discussions and a talkback with artists involved.

“We programmed ‘Thousand Pines’ to close our 2018 season because of its deft artistry and topicality, as it holds up a mirror to this uniquely American phenomenon in a way that is complex and nuanced,” said Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director. “This vital grant from Connecticut Humanities will allow the Playhouse to offer additional opportunities to further explore this play’s important themes, in dialogue with our audience.”

“Thousand Pines” tells the story of Thousand Pines Junior High School, six months after a student brought a gun to school and killed his classmates. The families of the children who died struggle with their need for answers and closure.

“The play does not delve into the politics of gun violence but instead emphasizes our common humanity when dealing with unspeakable tragedy. While the Playhouse production addresses a national epidemic, it is especially relevant for our community with the proximity of Newtown, Conn.,” Barker said.

For information about the Westport Country Playhouse and to buy tickets, visit or call the box office at 203-227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport.

Churches participate in Undie Sundays

For the third consecutive year, The Undies Project Inc. held its Undie Sundays donation drive.

Thirteen area churches and synagogues have participated in Undie Sundays, collecting over 4,200 pairs of new underwear for those in need.

“This is incredible,” said Laura Delaflor, co-president of The Undies Project. “In our first year, we collected 1,443 pairs of underwear with the drive being hosted only in Greenwich in May. Now, in addition to Greenwich, houses of worship in Darien, Westport, Wilton, Norwalk, Stamford are participating as well. We hope to add even more towns next year.”

The underwear collected is distributed to 20 organizations The Undies Project helps in lower Fairfield and Westchester counties.

In Greenwich, Congregation Shir Ami, First Congregational Church of Old Greenwich, St. Catherine’s of Siena, First United Methodist, HolyTrinity and St. Roch’s have participated in Undie Sundays. In Stamford Zion Lutheran, St. John’s Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches held collections. In addition, St. John’s in Darien, Christ & Holy Trinity and Green’s Farms in Westport and Zion’s Hill United Methodist in Wilton have all held Undie Sundays drives.

For information about The Undies Project, visit

Photo series focus is natural art

“Impressions in the Sand,” a new photo exhibit by Nancy Breakstone will open on July 25 in Danbury.

Breakstone, a Westport resident, will showcase her work as part of the Accessible Art Project, a series of solo art exhibits produced by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. Shot in Costa Rica, “Impressions in the Sand” captures the relationship between the ocean and the beach.

“My photographs show the natural art created by the receding tide of the Pacific Ocean on a volcanic beach. The ocean is the artist. The sand is its canvas. As the tide recedes it pulls these images out of the sand, and I shoot them. All natural. They are shown exactly as I saw them,” Breakstone said. “These photographs show things people have never seen before. They are both realistic and abstract, but people are amazed to discover they are all sand.”

A self-professed water woman, Breakstone has spent more than 50 years on the water, including the last nine years teaching stand-up paddleboarding. So far this year, she has been in 20 major juried shows, winning two second-place awards in photography. Her shows include the Carriage Barn Arts Center in New Canaan, Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Limner Gallery in Hudson, N.Y., and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. Breakstone’s images are featured in private collections across the U.S. from Martha’s Vineyard to Maui, as well internationally in Rome and Sydney, Australia. She is a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists and an exhibiting artist at the Rowayton Arts Center.

The opening reception for “Impressions in the Sand” will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Pour Me Coffee & Wine Cafe, 274 Main Street in Danbury. The exhibit will run until Sept. 14. To see more of her work, visit or email

Among the graduates

Max Kupperberg, of Westport, graduated from Purchase College on May 18 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Westport residents Madison Kaela Lavoie, Elizabeth Mcvaney and Matt Christian Mula graduated from the University of Rhode Island in May.

Dean’s list recipients

The following Westport residents were named to the spring 2018 semester dean’s list at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: Harry Garber, Samantha Gebicki, Molly Liebergall, Jack Morrison, Sara Parower and Channing Smith.