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Westport Comes Alive for 'Art About Town'

WESTPORT, Conn. – Despite the gloomy weather, Main Street in Westport filled with pedestrians Thursday night for the opening ceremonies of the annual Art About Town.

“We had our fingers crossed about the weather, but it looks like everyone is ready to kick the summer off,” said Lee De Monico, public relations director of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.

Although festivities weren’t scheduled to start until 5:30 p.m., crowds began showing up by 5. At 6 p.m., hundreds of onlookers took over the street to watch as dance groups performed and artists demonstrated their creative processes. Stores on Main Street kept their doors open and invited guests in to view the local art displayed on their walls.

“The merchants were so excited about being a part of this. They are staying open late, and it’s just a great opportunity for the artists,” said De Monico.

The goal of Art About Town is to infuse art into Westport’s downtown culture and to bring a walkable gallery of local art to the community.

“We participated in a number of these events over the years, and it’s just a terrific way to come out, meet the public and let them know about our organization,” said Laura Roberts, program and marketing director of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.  “We are an organization that support artists, the creative community and nonprofit organizations that support the arts.”

All of the artists featured in Art About Town are local. Wendy Hower of New Canaan is participating again as a demonstrating artist.

“It’s about all of these kids coming around, and it’s important to get a little bit of the mystique of art and let the little kids know that everyone starts somewhere,” she said.

The Westport Downtown Merchant Association said the opening ceremony has grown five-fold since two years ago and doubled since last year. It plans to continue to grow the event each year.

“It’s tough to put in on one half of the block it’s gotten so big,” De Monico said. “The actual art goes along the Post Road, Sconset Square, along Elm and Church, too. So it’s not really just here, but this is all they let us close. But maybe they’ll let us close up the next street next year if it gets bigger.”

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