Q&A: ‘Art in the Windows’ Kicks Off Friday


Kathleen Weinstock at Léron

A partnership that brings together the New Canaan arts and business communities is set to kick off a popular annual exhibition this week. “Art in the Windows” is a storefront exhibition organized by the Carriage Barn Arts Center in partnership with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. They’re hosting an Art Stroll Kickoff event at Elm Street and South Avenue from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2. 

We put some questions to Carriage Barn Executive Director Hilary Wittmann ahead of the launch. Here’s our exchange.

New Canaanite: What is ‘Art in the Windows’ and what is its history in New Canaan?

Patti Kane at Togs

Hilary Wittmann: Art in the Windows was started 15 years ago with the Chamber of Commerce and has grown into a pretty major and unique exhibit with over 125 pieces of original artwork for sale in the windows of 72 stores and businesses. It started as a relatively small fundraiser and has become a popular annual tradition that highlights local artists and draws visitors to downtown New Canaan. Through sponsorship support from Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as well as Karl Chevrolet, Hutchinson Tree Care, Jones Ferrante at Houlihan Lawrence and the New Canaan Board of Realtors, we’ve been able to further promote the exhibit and host a fun kick-off event and art stoll downtown—June 2 from 5-7pm.

Gabriella Anouk at Merrill Lynch

What are we talking about in terms of the pieces that are placed in storefronts downtown—paintings and drawings, or sculpture or mixed media, or all of the above and more?

Yes—all of the above. There really is something for everyone, ranging from traditional landscapes, still lifes and seascapes to larger abstract paintings and contemporary photography. The exhibiting artists are both established and emerging, so there is a range of price points as well. 

Derek Freres at Shoes n’ More

What is the process in terms of vetting of contributions and placement in storefronts?

Our exhibition committee reviews all the submissions and are very thoughtful about matching the selected artwork with stores that are a good fit. Look out for some charming watercolors in the windows of Eyes on Elm and J. McLaughlin, oil paintings at Léron and The Adirondack Store, small sculpture at Manfredi, Shoes n’ More and Craftbottlz and gorgeous landscapes at Found, Nantucket Monogram, Togs and Sara Campbell. Sailors will want to check out the windows at Vineyard Vines, Claudette and Stewart’s Spirits.

Sally Frank at Handwright Gallery

What is feedback you get from participating businesses and passersby?

It’s one of our most-loved exhibits. The stores are so enthusiastic, and we’re grateful to them for devoting space in their windows to showcasing art. Many such as More n’ More, Found, J. Crew, The Whitney Shop and Earth Garden get creative by designing window displays that compliment the art. We’re also found that many visitors or people new to town “discover” the Carriage Barn through Art in the Windows, so it’s great visibility for the Carriage Barn Arts Center downtown. 

Rosie Forrest at Houlihan Lawrence

What else, if anything, would you like to say about Art in the Windows?

Don’t miss the downtown Art Stroll at the intersection of Elm Street & South Avenue on Friday June 2 from 5-7pm. School of Rock is playing live and many artists will be showcasing their work. Pick up a guide and map and visit some of the 20 stores hosting artist receptions, tastings and open for shopping before heading to dinner in town. All artwork is on display and for sale through June 24—just use the QR code to initiate a purchase or inquiry. Or check out the online gallery at carriagebarn.org.

One thought on “Q&A: ‘Art in the Windows’ Kicks Off Friday

  1. Are there any photos of the old New Canaan art shows? They used to display paintings all over town on the sidewalks. In front of the Town Hall were sculptures. They had paintings in some store windows. In the alley next to the movie house, they displayed children’s paintings along the fence leading up to the staircase that went up to the parking lots. I remember looking forward to that when I was a little kid.

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