On June 5th, over 175 dedicated arts and culture patrons, from across Fairfield County and beyond, attended the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s “FCBuzz Gypsy Jazz Night,” at a stunning location on Fairfield’s Sasco Hill Road. The night was not only a celebration of the Cultural Alliance’s work supporting the more than 300 artists and cultural organizations that make up its membership, but an opportunity for patrons to share in the honoring of two unwavering supporters of arts & culture in Connecticut: Two-time Tony winner and Fairfield County resident, Actor James Naughton and Arts Patron extraordinaire, Elisabeth Morten.
The benefit was hosted by Liz Fox, who co-chaired the event with well-known arts supporter Ann Sheffer of Westport, along with corporate sponsors from Westport Resources, Cohen & Wolf, P.C., Berliner Law Offices, LLBH Private Wealth Management, The Tallman Building Company, and Fairfeld County Bank.
Held at Fox’s stellar estate, with panoramic views of Long Island Sound, supporters, members and friends of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County celebrated the work of the Alliance while enjoying sangria, a bohemian inspired buffet and the lively and enchanting gypsy-swing four-piece band Caravan of Thieves, fresh off a national tour.
State Senator Bob Duff honored actor James Naughton (who won Tony Awards for his roles in City of Angels and Chicago) and Elisabeth (Liz) Morten, past president of the Cultural Alliance and current Board Member of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Senator Duff presented the two honorees with a legislative citation for their service to, and advocacy for, the arts and culture sector of the region, and for the state as a whole. Duff stated that it was his privilege " …to honor two great people I've come to know who give so much back to our area and present them with these legislative citations. It is with deep respect and appreciation that I give thanks to Elisabeth Morten and Jim Naughton for all of their work to support arts and culture in Fairfield County through the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.”
Elisabeth Morten, who was deeply moved by the honor, stated that advocating for the arts is a necessity for Fairfield County’s well being as they “…stimulate the economy , attract businesses as well as creative, educated and skilled employees. They also improve academic performance of young people and enhance our quality of life.” Morten went on to emphasize the importance of creativity, which is the fuel behind much of what arts and culture is all about, urging guests to honor the creativity within themselves.
This sentiment was echoed by Naughton, who bracketed his animated stories with a quote from writer George Bernard Shaw who said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” Naughton cited that this kind of sentiment is the fuel that keeps him engaged in his work - as well as his continued support for the vital work of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County on behalf of the County’s arts and culture sector.
The evening also featured one auction item which was a package deal: the use of a Maserati for a weekend, donated by Maserati of Westport,, along with a meal at the celebrated restaurant Community Tables, in Washington, CT. The item was enthusiastically purchased by the Ridgefield Playhouse's Executive Director Allison Stockel, whose organization has been a member of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County since 2010.
More about the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s crucial regional support and promotional work creates powerful connections between communities of diverse audiences, artists and organizations, big and small. Its website, FCBuzz, has become a key resource for members and audiences alike. In addition to FCBuzz, the organization manages special programs for capacity building and professional development such as the Executive Director’s Network, Marketing Roundtable, the Fairfield County Preservation Network, and Make.Art.Work. The Cultural Alliance also provides cultural leadership on matters of advocacy, grant making and creative place-making
From a commitment to umbrella marketing for hundreds of its members, to creating networks for leadership/organizational development, to advocacy at the state and local level, the Cultural Alliance strengthens the delivery of our region’s vibrant arts and cultural resources and events, making a continued impact on the economic vitality of our creative sector and celebrating the breadth and diversity of our regional offerings.
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Photo credits: Rose Marie Wallace