As the season of entertaining ramps up, the Darien Nature Center is asking community members and businesses to save their bottle corks during the holidays. Why? Not only is it your gift to the environment, it will also help raise funds for the ongoing care of more than 40 resident animals at the Nature Center.

The Nature Center has partnered with Yemm & Hart Green Materials, who recycle cork and make a financial donation in exchange for large cork collections. Cork can be used as a renewable and earth-friendly replacement for plastics in home flooring, walls, furniture, tableware and more.

The Nature Center, which has a goal of 100,000 corks, has set up a collection bin in the entrance of their lobby at 120 Brookside Road. WinePort of Darien is also collecting corks on behalf of the Nature Center and people can drop them off there during regular business hours.

All money raised will directly fund animal care including food, shelter, and veterinary expenses.

The halls are decked at the historical Bates-Scofield Homestead, which, along with the Scofield Barn and the Memorial Herb Garden, will be dressed up for the Darien Historical Society’s annual holiday soiree Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The cost is $30 for members and $45 for non-members and includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

The Historical Society is also hosting an event Dec. 6, an early dismissal day.

A wreath or ornament “crafter-noon” will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. For ages 4 to 12.

The cost is $15.

Register for both events at or call 203-655-9233.

The Darien Boy Scouts and the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust will be hosting a holiday bazaar at the Scout Cabin, 140 West Ave., on Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

An extension of their popular spring tag sale, the bazaar will feature new and gently-used holiday decor, tree trimmings, teacher gifts and holiday dishware, as well as antique, unique and rare retro items.

“The Buddy System: A Dog Makes A Difference” is an uplifting award-winning documentary made by the Wilton-based filmmaking team of Megan Smith-Harris and Bill Harris about the extraordinary bond between specially-trained assistance dogs and children on the autism spectrum. It will be shown from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Louis Parker Berry Community Room of the Darien Library, 1441 Post Road.

There will also be guest appearances by the filmmakers and stars, which includes a dog. The event is free, but seats are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The Buddy System” follows the story of Buddy, a pup who is raised and trained by a Connecticut mom, Patty Dobbs Gross, who first recognized the benefits of an assistance dog while raising her son, who was on the spectrum. She went on to get her master’s degree in psychology and created an innovative breeding program to raise, train and match specific dogs to specific children; Buddy is the 250th dog she has placed.

The event is organized by STAR, Lighting the Way of Norwalk, and the Darien Library. To RSVP, go

Bankwell invites the community to help spread some extra holiday cheer this season through three collections in Bankwell’s Fairfield County branches.

For Person-to-Person’s “Keeping Warm” annual coat drive, Bankwell is collecting new and gently-used winter outerwear for all ages and sizes to benefit the those in need through Dec. 31.

Through Dec. 6, the bank is also collecting new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls of all ages. All donations will be distributed to kids and families in need throughout Fairfield County as part of Inspirica’s holiday gift collection.

Drop-off locations:

Bankwell in Norwalk: 370 Westport Ave.

Bankwell in New Canaan: 208 Elm St.

Bankwell in Wilton: 47 Old Ridgefield

Bankwell in Fairfield: One Sasco Hill Road and 2220 Black Rock Turnpike

Bankwell in Stamford: 612 Bedford St.

Finally, Bankwell is helping out Kids Helping Kids and their annual “Gift of Giving” collection.

Through Dec. 7 Bankwell is collecting gently-used and new toys, sports equipment, games, crafts, puzzles for kids, and jewelry, frames, household items, wallets, like-new clothing, accessories for adults. Please label all bags and boxes “KHK Gift of Giving Event.” KHK creates a pop-up store on Dec. 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Boys and Girls Club in Stamford.

Drop-off locations:

Bankwell in New Canaan: 208 Elm St.

Bankwell in Stamford: 612 Bedford St.

Darien’s Dana Goodfellow, an award-winning painter and instructor, generously donated her painting, “Island Lighthouse,” to the Rowayton Arts Center’s holiday raffle.

The Holiday Gift Show, which opens Saturday, is a Rowayton tradition. Goodfellow’s painting, valued at $3,200, will be included the the annual raffle, which supports the Art Center and its educational outreach projects.

Raffle tickets will be available online ( and at the Holiday Gift Show in the gallery until the drawing on Dec. 24.

Jan Dilenschneider, a Darien landscape artist who has championed the cause of preserving the environment in exhibits worldwide, will display her paintings in a new show titled “Paint the Beautiful World” at Stamford’s Palace Theatre.

The show, which will runs through Dec. 31, is in the recently-refurbished Sackler Gallery and in Café Teatro at The Palace Theatre.

For her exhibit at The Palace, the expressionist painter has divided the paintings into themes based on the idea behind the works:

Decalcomania is a series where one surface is painted and then pressed onto or printed onto a second surface, either canvas or aluminum. This gives texture and a haunting mirror image that can be worked on.

Homage to Leaves is themed to help the viewer appreciate the beauty of the everyday leaf.

Reeds, Rivers and Reflections highlights her fascination with the landscape, its colors, variations and the reflections in water.

Dilenschneider, who with her husband, Robert, developed The Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts, which rescues artists and arts scholars from repressive regimes around the world. The award is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the largest international exchange organizations in the world, and has provided life-saving fellowships that have taken oppressed artists and their families out of danger and allowed them to create and flourish.

The Fairfield Museum invites professional, serious amateur, and student photographers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to participate in the IMAGES 2018 Juried Photography Show.

Submissions will be accepted from Dec. 1 through Jan. 22. IMAGES 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for artists to connect with prominent collectors, gallery owners, fellow photographers, and the public.

A jury of artists, photographers, and curators selects approximately 40 submitted photographs for exhibition in the IMAGES 2018 show, which will be on display at the Fairfield Museum and History Center from March 1 to April 15, 2018.

For rules and details,

The City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery is inviting submissions from artists 18 and over for a new exhibit at the Maritime Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words.”

The exhibit will run from Jan. 29 to May 11 at the gallery, located in the Maritime Parking Garage exhibit space in Norwalk.

Every picture tells a story — it can communicate to anyone in the world a complex idea with just a single image, no translation needed. The Maritime Garage Gallery is seeking work that captures how the artist would communicate their stories, emotions, concerns, memories, and ideas about life, nature, hope, world events, humanity, etc. into works of art. The exhibit will be curated by Nadia Martinez.

For online guidelines and submissions, go Please email with any questions. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 16.