Art Gallery Proposes Illuminated Sign Spelling Out ‘Hopeful’

The owner of an art gallery in the center New Canaan’s business district is seeking permission from town officials to install an illuminated sign. The 24-inch-tall multicolored letters of the sign spelling out ‘Hopeful’ would be located 13 feet above ground on a brick wall facing South Avenue, under an application submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission by Heather Gaudio Fine Art. To be illuminated by lightbulbs in the lettering itself, the aluminum letters form a text-based work of art, Gaudio told P&Z in an Oct. 28 email that forms part of her application for a zoning permit. The work by artist Charlie Hewitt is “a colorful beacon and one meant to raise awareness and spirits in what has been such a challenging time for all of us,” Gaudio said in the email.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm last week fielded a call on Buttery Road about an injured hawk in a pool. At about 1:21 p.m. on Sept. 21, Halm, now head of the NCPD Animal Control section, responded to the call and found that the bird had perished. Halm also noticed that the bird was actually a kestrel, or small falcon sometimes called a “sparrow hawk,” and contacted an area museum that typically wants (as in this case) the carcass for taxidermy. The bird species is said to be declining in numbers in New England.

Did You Hear … ?

The conspicuous commercial space located at a corner of Elm Street and South Avenue, long occupied by Sallea Antiques, will not be vacant for long after that shop closes its doors in the coming weeks. Heather Gaudio Fine Art, for four years located a bit further down South Avenue, is set to move in as early as September. “We’re incredibly excited,” owner Heather Gaudio told “I think it’s an amazing space.” The longtime Sallea space offers Gaudio more operational space (for example, packaging), and more storage, including for wine to be used at a grand opening party that likely will come in October. Stay tuned.

Organizers Suspend Pop Up Park after Some Merchants Raise Concerns

The committee that developed, managed and advocated on behalf of the Pop Up Park downtown—recently securing approval to keep it in place through the summer—is suspending those plans indefinitely after a group of merchants in town voiced opposition. According to a letter obtained by that’s signed by 16 business owners downtown—most of them retailers, including Elm Street Books owner Susan Rein and Pimilico owner Jill Saunders (see full letter below, as well as those who added their names to it)—the Pop Up Park in occupying the final block of South Avenue at Elm Street obstructs traffic, blocks parking and displaces an important loading zone. While complimenting Pop Up Park Committee members for their passion and diligence, these merchants say, the park itself “hampers business” because its visitors do not patronize local shops and restaurants. “If it continues much longer, the small-town charm of New Canaan’s downtown is going to be overrun by big box chains just like many other towns in our area,” according to the letter, dated June 1. “The look of the Park does nothing to enhance the visual appeal of town,” the letter said.