Seaport Association; Westport Playhouse; Churches sponsor youth workshops

Gabbie Pisapia, left; Dan Zimberg, right. (Jeremy Daniel)

Announcements of interest.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk announcements for you:

  • Seaport Association awarded State grant
  • Westport Playhouse presents Pete’s Big Hollywood Adventure
  • Local history of slavery to be explored in youth workshops

Seaport Association gets State grant


The Norwalk Seaport Association recently got a $27,900 State Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, awarded by independent funding conduit CT Humanities according to a news release.

Now in its 45th year, the Association maintains the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, Light Keeper’s Cottage, and Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, and offers cruises and other special events such as the vaunted annual Norwalk Oyster Festival.

CT Humanities, a nonprofit National Endowment for the Humanities affiliate, spread more than $8.5 mil. in state funds among 723 Connecticut cultural institutions.  The money came from a two-year, $30.7 million arts and humanities layout ratified by the State General Assembly, approved by Governor Ned Lamont, and administered by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)/Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Seaport Association Business Manager Jerry Toni said, “The Board of Trustees and I are very grateful to the Connecticut Humanities, the DECD/Connecticut Office of the Arts, and the Connecticut State Legislature for providing this crucial funding opportunity to the Seaport Association. This grant gives the Seaport Association the vital support it needs to create programs that strengthen our outreach to our community and beyond. It enables us to share the story of Norwalk’s maritime history and the importance of Sheffield Island Lighthouse, on the National Register of Historic Places and to create diverse events that are inclusive.”

Check out the Seaport Association’s website at Seaport Association.  CT Humanities’ website is at cthumanities.org.

Pete the Cat

In Sarah Hammond and Will Aronson’s children’s musical Pete’s Big Hollywood Adventure, Pete the Cat and Callie the Calico “get lost in movieland” upon sneaking into the Hollywood Studios.  Intended for pre-K through third graders, the one-hour show based on Kimberly and James Dean’s books will be presented at Westport Country Playhouse in a performance directed by Christine O’Grady Roberts, at 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, February 26. Full details are said to be at https://www.westportplayhouse.org/show/petesbighollywoodadventure/.

According to a news release, the show’s producer TheaterWorksUSA has staged 130 children’s programs in more than 440 North American communities over the last 56 years.

Tickets cost $25, at westportplayhouse.org.  or by calling (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.   The Playhouse is on Powers Court, off Post Road East in Westport.

Full details are said to be at https://www.westportplayhouse.org/show/petesbighollywoodadventure/

Sponsor for this Westport Country Playhouse Family Festivities event is Frontier Communications.

TheaterWorksUSA’s website is at www.TWUSA.org.


The Witness Stones Project


The Norwalk area’s history of slavery will be examined in three free secular youth workshops conducted by The Witness Stones Project, “an educational initiative whose mission is to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.”  Students will use documents researched by Wilton Public Library-affiliated archivist/historian Julie Hughes, Ph.D. to create stories honoring the slaves, which will be shared at a late spring ceremony in which a “witness stone” will be placed.

The workshops, open to students of all ages, are particularly recommended for grades six through nine. Parents are welcome as well.

According to a news release, the series is jointly funded by St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport, St. Paul’s on the Green in Norwalk, and Wilton Presbyterian Church, but is “not a religious program.”  Rather, the churches’ support is given “as part of acknowledging their complicity in issues of injustice towards those who were enslaved, many of whom had an integral part in the building of churches at the behest of their early founders.”

In a recent forum at St. Matthew’s, Hughes said that “slavery was of deep significance in our area.”

Westport Unitarian youth faith formation overseer Nathan Pawelek said, “It’s hard to imagine our quaint little towns having a past with enslaved people, working and living here. I try to imagine what life was like for these individuals.”

The workshops are planned for 6 until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays March 1, 8, and 15 at the Wilton Episcopal Presbyterian Corporation (WEPCO) complex, located at 48 New Canaan Road, Wilton.  Info and registration is at https://www.witnessstoneswilton.com, or by email to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church project coordinator Sharon Ely Pearson [email protected].  The Witness Stones Project website is at www.witnessstonesproject.org.

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