Thursday night at Darien Historical Society: Equal opportunity in the art world

Leading artists from the region will gather at the Darien Historical Society to respond to its latest exhibition “About Time” featuring the life and work of Margaret Brassler Kane on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

The evening will kick off with a reception to celebrate “In Conversation,” featuring the work of several artists who have created pieces in response to Brassler Kane’s works. Following the reception, there will be a panel discussion featuring five award-winning artists who will explore how gender has informed their work throughout their careers.

The discussion, Equal Opportunity in the Art World, will begin at 7:30 p.m., and is co-sponsored by the Darien Arts Center. The discussion will be moderated by the society’s guest curator Kathleen Motes Bennewitz, who has curated multiple exhibitions in the region and currently serves as Westport’s Town Curator.

“One of the major themes of this exhibition, About Time, is Margaret Brassler Kane’s experience as a woman working in the male-dominated arts scene of New York City in the 1930s and 40s,” said Motes Bennewitz. “And while Margaret faced and overcame many barriers, she also discussed being denied equal opportunity as a woman artist.”

Members of the panel include: Peter Layne Arguimbau, a Darien native, painter, and restorer who paints in the Luminist style and is represented in galleries from Maine to Florida. He owns with his wife Arguimbau Art Gallery on Greenwich Ave, Greenwich, and with his son, Mariner Gallery in Newport, Rhode Island. His book, “Rembrandt’s Lost Secret” is currently being edited for publication. Babette Bloch, a sculptor from Redding and a pioneer in the use of laser-cut and water jet-cut stainless steel. Bloch’s monumental works are designed to reflect their environments and her pieces are featured in public parks, museum and private collections in the United States and Europe.

Marc Mellon, also of Redding, is one of America’s foremost figurative sculptors whose works are featured in corporate, private and public collections throughout the world. Mellon's commissioned busts have honored multiple world leaders, and celebrated icons in the worlds of dance and sports. Lisa Thoren, a Darien artist who creates using a graphic approach and explores all mediums. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Thoren is an art director, a member of the Silvermine Guild and past president of the Darien Arts Center. Mary Whalen, a Westport painter and writer who began her career in the 1940s. Whalen will offer a unique perspective on the challenges faced by professional women at that time. She had a long career writing for multiple publications and was Vice President and Corporate Writer for Chase Bank.

Panelist Lisa Thoren, a former society board member, organized the “In Conversation” exhibit as a fundraiser to support the Society and coordinated the effort with the “Concepts Group,” made up of conceptual artists who collaborate, critique and inspire each other’s artistic endeavors.

"The artists from the Concepts Group were really excited to be a part of this exhibition and fundraiser because so many of the subjects of Margaret Brassler Kane’s work still resonate strongly today,” Thoren said. 

The following artists from the “concepts group” will have their work on display: Donna Collins of Darien, a painter, Carol Conze, a freelance artist whose works are in both private and corporate collections, Cate Leach, a painter, printmaker and assemblage artist, Pam Lindberg, a painter, Jane Lubin, a mixed-media artist and board member of Artspace, Mary Manning, an artist whose abstract images are based on the creation and continuance of life forms, Lisa Thoren (also a panelist), Meg Tweedy, a mixed-media, acrylics and encaustic artist, and Mary Whalen (also a panelist). 

Those interested can register online at, or call 203-655-9233 for information. The cost is $5 for members and current students of the Darien Arts Center, $20 for non-members and $30 for non-members and a guest.