Police Commission Approves Use of Former ‘Pop Up Park’ for June 4 ‘Art in the Windows’ Kickoff


The appointed municipal body that oversees road closures in New Canaan this month voted unanimously to approve use of the former “Pop Up Park” area at Elm Street and South Avenue for an all-day art celebration in June.

The Police Commission voted 3-0 to approve use of the Pop Up Park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 as a kickoff for the annual Art in the Windows event (rain date June 11).

Presented by the Carriage Barn Arts Center and organized in partnership with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, the annual exhibit sees dozens of pieces of art work displayed in the windows of downtown stores. 

“It’s just a fabulous event for the town,” Commissioner Shekaiba Bennett said at the group’s March 16 meeting, held via videoconference. 

Bennett, Commission Chair Paul Foley and Secretary Jim McLaughlin voted in favor of the road closure. The event will run through 4 p.m., and will require about one hour for cleanup, according to the organization’s executive director, Hilary Wittmann.

Art in the Windows is the Carriage Barn Arts Center’s one big event that’s not at the organization’s headquarters in Waveny “that we do downtown,” Wittmann said.

“And it’s an important way for us to sort of do outreach and have visibility downtown and also to just bring a lot of excitement into the town with art in almost all of the store windows along Elm Street and Main Street, Forest Street,” Wittmann said. “So this is actually the fifteenth year that we are doing this exhibit. Every year, we have done sort of a kickoff evening event—usually on a Thursday evening before the exhibit starts. Last year we expanded that to take place in the Pop Up Park area at the corner of South Avenue and Elm Street and we got permission from you to close that street for the evening, and we had lots of activities taking place there and it was very successful. So we are looking to sort of expand on that this year and for our 15th year, rather than a Thursday evening to make this a day-long Saturday event where we can have not only promote Art in the Windows but really have a downtown celebration of the arts and have many of our artist members out there with demonstrations and workshops showcasing their work, activities for the community.”

New Canaan Music owner Phil Williams, a Carriage Barn board member, is helping lead the effort for day-long live music performances for the kickoff, Wittmann said. The day is run entirely by Carriage Barn staff, board members and community volunteers, she said.

Wittmann said that event organizers learned from prior years that a central location was needed, and that last year’s use of the Pop Up Park for a few hours showed that “it was a lot of set up and coordination for really just an hour-and-a-half event, so I think we would be able to accomplish a lot more by making it a day-long event.”

Foley thanked Wittmann for putting on the Art in the Windows with the dedicated kickoff. 

“This is an important town event,” he said. “Having it on a sidewalk isn’t quite the emphasis that it deserves.”

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