For nearly a hundred years, Westport and the wooded farmland and beaches nearby attracted some of the country’s finest artists. Writers, sculptors, ballerinas and painters summered here, finally stuffing the walls with horsehair and newspaper for insulation and staying through the winters.
The Famous Artists and later the Famous Writers Schools started here, and as the years passed by, the bohemian atmosphere and easy New York commute pulled in television producers, actors, directors and fashion designers. No matter who settled here, the community would always be known for its creative verve.
But these artists were primarily commercial artists, magazine illustrators and advertising art directors,” says Miggs Burroughs, a Westport graphic artist, painter and innovative photographer. “The guy who designed the buffalo head nickel lived here. Stevan Dohanos, who created over 150 covers for the Saturday Evening Post and designed fifty U.S. postage stamps — he lived here. But back then even though they may have created fine works of art in addition to the assignments they had for their jobs, there was no place to display it. There were no galleries here. If anyone wanted to hang his art — if anyone wanted to look at fine art or buy it, you had to go to the city.”
That changed over the years, beginning with the Westport Arts Center, created in 1934 by a group of artists with a passion to share their work with others, and much later, forty years later, the opening of Art/Place, a cooperative of fine artists in Southport.
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