“Art to the Max”, features original art that graced Max’s windows from 1975-2014, including hand-drawn calendars by Nina Royce. Curated by Nina Bentley and Miggs Burroughs, includes a recreation of Shirley Mellor’s “back office” decorated with cards and original art gifted to her by various local artists. Shirley was Max’s wife. “We played a huge role in the art life of Westport,” Shirley says proudly. “All the artists knew us. And they were a sizable number.”
This promises to be a sentimental journey as well as an enriching one, with some of the best Westport art on display. Approximately fifty artists will be represented.
According to Dan Woog, Max’s — a legendary art supply store (and, just as important, social hub for painters, illustrators and cartoonists) — closed on September 1. For 59 years Max’s had occupied prime real estate, directly opposite the Y. But the end of Westport as an “artists’ colony,” coupled with the increasing role of technology in both art and commerce, spelled the end. Max’s dates back to 1956, when Max Kaplan bought Fine Arts Stationers. He replaced paper and candy with pens, sketch pads, paints, brushes and canvases.
Woog also said they came to Max’s for supplies, and stayed to socialize. Whitney Darrow Jr., Stevan Dohanos, Bernie Fuchs, Mel Casson, Dik Browne, Mort Walker, Stan Drake, Leonard Starr, Eric von Schmidt, Constance Kiermaier, Tom Funk, Gill Fox, Naiad and Walter Einsel, Ward Brackett, Neil Hardy, Miggs Burroughs — the names roll off Shirley’s tongue, like the old friends they were.
In the Molly Donovan Gallery “Up the street from Max’s” features highlights from Westport’s retail history from 1975-2014. The exhibit will display content from local Westport shops, restaurants, and businesses that were active from 1975-2014. This promises to be a walk down memory lane for many visitors. Curated by Eve Potts.