In 1956, Max Kaplan opened Fine Art Stationers Inc. on the Post Road opposite the old YMCA. The shop always carried art supplies. In 1975, the store’s name was changed to Max’s artist supplies and framing due to the increased demand of local artists, as there was no art supply store in Westport. Max married his wife, Shirley, in 1975, and Shirley became a fixture at Max’s.

She was ready to help artists who would come in and socialize. The windows of Max’s became a rotating gallery where artists could display and sell their work. Many cartoonists and illustrators frequented Max’s to purchase their supplies. Among them were Mort Walker and Dik Browne, creators of the “Hi & Lois” comic strip. Browne also created “Hagar the Horrible.”

For 59 years, Max’s became a social hub for artists, cartoonists and illustrators.

The changing face of Westport as an artist’s community and the increasing presence of the web for art supplies forced Shirley Kaplan to close her local mom- and-pop shop in 2014.

Max’s was a much-loved local institution, and has been dearly missed by those who enjoyed visiting and seeing the birdhouses and other displays in the window on the Post Road.

Two local artists, Miggs Burroughs and Nina Bentley, have curated a tribute show to Max’s at the Westport Historical Society.

Over 60 original artworks will be featured, along with “Shirley’s Corner” and more.

The opening of “Art to the Max” will take place at the Westport Historical Society on Oct 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friends of Max’s, past customers, and the community are invited to attend.

Written by Margaret Mazer for the Westport Historical Society. Visit for information on membership and programs. Mazer can be reached at 203-571-8704.