Creativity Connects Ridgefield: Meet Debbie Katchko Gray

Creativity Connects Ridgefield

What fuels a vibrant, connected, and creative community? What makes people feel good about living in Ridgefield?

When locals share the creativity that they uncover in the nooks and crannies of their community it brings about connectivity and makes us all feel good. Believe it or not, you discover creativity every day as you walk, shop, work, and play in Ridgefield. 

Creativity connects us.

Meet Debbie Katchko Gray,  fourth-generation cantor currently serving at  Congregation Shir Shalom of Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

Is there a person or organization using creativity to provoke change in Ridgefield?

There are lots of wonderful changemakers in Ridgefield, but the ones that stand out for me are Allison Stockel, Executive Director of the Ridgefield Playhouse and Daniel C. Levine, Katie Diamond, and Bryan Perri of the ACT of Connecticut Theater. Every time I attend a concert or a musical theater production right here in Ridgefield, In addition, Barbara Manners the CHIRP concert founder and director has done an incredible job bringing outdoor performances to town. I am awestruck by the talent and creativity. I feel so lucky to be able to access world-class entertainment and theatrical art five minutes from my home.

Any place in town where you go for inspiration and creativity?

When I walk to town from Olmstead Lane to Main Street,  I’m always struck by the incredible beauty around us here in Ridgefield. The stone walls, beautiful old majestic homes, gardens, Keeler Tavern, Aldrich Museum, Lounsbury House, all inspire me to see the gem that is Ridgefield, and it all sparks gratitude for the privilege of living here.

Is there an organization in town that makes you feel good?

Well, one obvious place that makes me feel good every day for the last 21 years is my spiritual home, Congregation Shir Shalom. Every time I walk into the old mansion, I know I’m home. It is the center of the Jewish community in our area, and I’m so grateful to be part of it.  The other special place I love to be in is our incredible Ridgefield Library. It is a stunning place full of inspiration, energy, families, seniors, students, welcome to all. I always get a good feeling being there. I’ve presented folk singalongs and a stitching workshop there and the staff is absolutely wonderful!

Finish this sentence: When I think of creativity in town I think of … 

When I think of creativity in town I think of the Main Street festivals for each season - the wonderful town events where everyone feels welcome and nurtured. There’s one for each season- and the town really comes together- supporting our Main Street businesses is crucial for our town, and these festivals bring more people to the small businesses that need them.

How does creativity connect you to Ridgefield? 

Being in a beautiful town with so many artists, producers of art and theater, musicians, is inspiring. I’ve met so many incredible people- and learn from all of them. The Enchanted Garden is one important example of a creative artistic and musical family that can make a difference in lives of all ages. My boys attended the toddler music with Judy and I’ve sung in the adult coffeehouses. There’s so much to be inspired by! Stephen Schwartz lives right here in our town, WOW! My dream is to sing harmony with Bryan Perri and Daniel C. Levine one day! Let’s not forget the writers in town. We are so fortunate to have many top-selling writers in town including Jane Stern, Rich Cohen, Aron Hirt- Manheimer and Howard Blum. I am so lucky to know them and have been inspired by their writings. Creativity in town? It’s unbelievable!

Creativity Connects Ridgefield is made possible by LIFEWTR.

If you have local creativity to share and would like to be featured in this series, feel free to email    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 



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