New Gallery Space ‘Works’ for Stamford:
Franklin Street Works showcases contemporary art
By Mike Lauterborn
Stamford, CT -- Filling a niche and providing a place where locals could think, talk and have a community experience were the driving motivators behind the creation of Franklin Street Works, Stamford’s newest art gallery space.
Located at 41 Franklin Street in one of four connected row houses built in the 1880s, the non-profit business is the brainchild of Kathy Emmett, founder and president of the board. Emmett, a civil attorney for over 40 years who has been operating her office in the gallery building since 1990, hatched the art space concept about 10 years ago. Its official opening was September 22, 2011, celebrated with a reception that attracted about 200 people and coincided with the launch of a first exhibit titled “Fernando”.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 60s, Emmett developed an affinity for row houses and had always been visually oriented. Her family was also in theater. “My mom is actress Kim Hunter, who won the Academy Award for her role as Stella in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’”, she said. “She also wrote a book titled ‘Loose in the Kitchen’, an autobiographical cookbook. As such, it’s important to me to incorporate a café into my gallery.”
The café to which she referred is located on the main level, forming part of the gallery space. It offers a comprehensive menu of salads and sides; wine, beer, coffee and other beverages; paninis/sandwiches and dessert-type dishes. “I’m dedicated to having really good food and making people feel welcome,” said Emmett.
Several people have helped the gallery owner realize her dream. Cynthia Roznoy, who is now at Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, helped form the FSW organization and develop programming.
Architect John Fifield (Fifield, Piaker, Elman) was instrumental in incorporating both the old and new in the space and suggested an outdoor patio in a courtyard behind the gallery.
Joe Whitt manages the gallery while Terri Smith is its creative director. Smith curates the shows, secures the artists and lays out the artwork in the gallery space. The gallery’s mission, as Smith states, is to be a producer of original contemporary art projects. The inaugural show, which will be on display until November 13, is a good demonstration of this objective. “We’re trying to expand people’s worlds in a friendly way and make some great works accessible right in their own backyard,” Smith said.
For more information about Franklin Street Works, contacts and an exhibit schedule, visit www.franklinstreetworks.org or call 203-595-5211.