The Westport Arts Center is dedicated to creating arts experiences that contribute to individual growth and enrich the community. We believe that encouraging the arts is essential to the renewal and the well-being of society. Accordingly, the Westport Arts Center believes it must:
- Present the highest quality performances, exhibitions and programs.
- Enhance the understanding of the arts through lectures, demonstrations and classes that contribute to cultural awareness.
- Advocate for arts education to maintain a vital cultural life.
- Help sustain local artists through exhibition opportunities, events and our website registry.
- Develop knowledgeable and supportive audiences so that artists in all disciplines will be inspired to create at their highest level.
The Westport Arts Center is located in a beautiful gallery space on the banks of the Saugatuck River in Westport. In addition to presenting exhibitions, concerts, lectures and film screenings in our 2000 sq. ft. gallery, children's workshops are held in a studio on the premises and a smaller Studio Gallery "annex" hosts smaller exhibitions. Our galleries are open to the public, and are handicapped accessible with a ramp and parking in our rear lot.
As early as 1929, it was reported by several major newspapers that Westport was "the home of the most distinctive community in the world." In 1934, the town appropriated $3,000 (a huge amount of money in those days!) to form Westport's first official arts organization. Since then, the arts have continued to feed Westport's reputation as a highly charged, intellectual community -with a focus on multiple artistic disciplines.
The history of the Westport Arts Center dates back to 1969, when it was first incorporated as the Westport-Weston Arts Council "to sponsor and encourage cultural and educational activities in the creative and performing arts in the towns of Westport, Weston, and the surrounding areas."
The organization was renamed Westport Arts Center 1986 and until 1999 was housed in the Greens Farms School, which offered gallery and performance space as well as studio space for member artists. In June, 2002, with substantial support from its Board of Directors, the Arts Center moved into its current 3600 square foot gallery space on Riverside Avenue.
In keeping with its mission, the Arts Center continually strives to advance its arts education and outreach programs, and offer opportunities for local artists to share their work. Within the larger community, WAC offers an educational outreach program, Connections, which is designed to enhance arts education in under-served urban schools through artist residencies.