Marcy Juran’s lifelong fascination with the botanical kingdom began in her parents’ suburban Connecticut vegetable gardens. She fondly recalls her mother’s asparagus beds and a tomato garden her father planted for her to tend at age 6. The images she has hung at Greiser’s this autumn are “ripe with memories,” she says.
Juran, a Greiser’s regular, is visual artist with a practice that includes photography, encaustic painting, and handmade paper. Her focus combines personal narratives with the natural environs of her native New England.
She began her work in photography at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where she concentrated in graphic design. Throughout her design career, Juran collaborated with photographers to create award-winning work grounded in photographic storytelling.
Her own photographs have been exhibited throughout the U.S., including at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Davis Orton Gallery, the SOHO Gallery, Sohn Fine Art, the SE Center for Photography, and the A Smith Gallery.
In Connecticut, her work has been shown at the Carriage Barn Arts Center, the Rowayton Arts Center, The Ridgefield Guild of Artists, The Westport Arts Center, The Bendheim Gallery, The Ely Center, and the Kershner gallery. Her photography has also been published in the online publications Fraction, Lenscratch, and Don’t Take Pictures.
Juran holds an A.B. in Studio Art from Brown University. She pursued additional studies in graphic design, printmaking, and photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cranbrook, and the Maine Media Workshops. A native of Connecticut, Juran works from her studio in Westport, and is an exhibiting member of the New Canaan Society for the Arts, the Rowayton Arts Center, and the Ridgefield Guild of Artists.
All works in this exhibit are Hand-Colored Archival Pigment Prints, copyright 2022 Marcy Juran, and are either 13 x 19-inch prints framed to 16 x 22 inches or 6 x 9-inch prints framed to 12 x 15 inches. Prices are for framed works. Larger works are 1 of 7; smaller works are 1 of 10.
Greiser’s will feature Juran’s “Humble Beauty” exhibit through Thanksgiving. Friends and customers are invited to a free opening reception with live musical accompaniment by Hey Honeybabe on Thursday, October 6 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
The Hot Club of Black Rock Plays Greiser’s mini Oktoberfest, Thursday, September 15
The Hot Club of Black Rock plays the Gypsy jazz music of Django Reinhardt that was popular in cafes at the time Dick Greiser’s grandfather established the Easton Tea and Coffee House here in 1926. We’re delighted to bring the ensemble to our parking lot for a mini Oktoberfest celebration on the evening of Thursday, September 15.
Dan Carlucci & Dan Tressler will play our Cookout August 25
Easton’s finest and Greiser’s favorite two bluegrass musicians team up for a special performance in our parking lot on Thursday, August 25, starting at 6:30 pm.
Dan Carlucci and Dan Tressler, both of Easton and formerly partners in the band String Fingers, are getting together for a cookout & concert at Greiser’s. The incredibly talented duo, aka Dan Squared, play original music as well as Americana, folk, and bluegrass covers. Anyone who has seen them perform knows that we’re in for a special treat tonight.
Enjoy good weather and great music on our front porch with friends Thursday evening!
Newtown cover band Iris Lies – featuring Maggie Ferrari, Andrew Sirois and Chris Des Biens – will perform Americana, folk, and B-side harmonies outdoors at Greiser’s Thursday evening, August 11. Advance purchase for cheeseboards ($24 includes seating) is requested by noon day of show. $5 show-only tickets may be purchased on site or in advance online here.
Event is BYOB and ends at 7:30pm. Store will be open for additional food and drink. Overflow parking is available at the Congregational Church across the intersection.
Free BYOB Happy Hour at Greiser’s Thursday, July 28, 5:30 – 7:00pm
Join us on the front porch this Thursday evening, July 28, from 5:30 – 7:00 for the folk songs of Shannon McMahon.
Admission is free though seating is limited. Guests are welcome to byob. Snacks, sandwiches, and softdrinks will be available for purchase.
Shannon is a singer/songwriter from Stratford, also known as the Easton Public Library Assistant, who creates contemporary folk music with rich vocals and songs that resonate with a strong sense of the human experience. Shannon got her first guitar at the age of nine, and wrote her first song when she was ten years old. She started performing publicly when she was 12, at church, coffeehouses and other functions. At the age of 17, Shannon auditioned for and was accepted into a vocal performance class at the New School, in New York City, taught by Brown Bradley.
Greisers is appreciated throughout Easton for its delicious treats and homey atmosphere, but one of its most intriguing aspects is the mix of special events it offers throughout the year.
On Dec. 14, Greiser’s owner Adrienne Burke hosted a talk regarding the first recorded meteorite to land in North America. It landed in Easton in 1807. But at the time, Easton was called Weston, so the meteorite is known world-wide as the Weston meteorite.
Frank Pagliaro, a local historian, spoke about the story of the Weston meteorite and his role in researching it. Pagliaro worked for months to locate the meteorite’s impact point to correct poorly done documentation of the impact point.
“This is more than just a meteorite,” Pagliaro said. “It was an exciting local event. People talked about it all over the world.”
About 25 people or so were able to hang out and sip sparkling wine while listening to his insightful talk. And Burke, although she’d heard the story many times over, was just as interested as the enthusiasts and eager listeners in the room. Burke has always loved science.
In fact, she moved to Easton in 2010, shortly after leaving a job at the New York Academy of Science. Because of her passion for history, the first thing on her list was to go to the library and learn all she could about her new home.
Digging into Easton’s history proved extremely entertaining, and when she heard about the meteorite, she was ecstatic. Burke was fascinated by it. It also happened to land on her birthday — Dec. 14.
“It made me feel like I belong in Easton,” Burke said.
After continuing her research of the meteorite, she came across a fellow Eastonite who was intrigued by it as much as she was: Frank Pagliaro. So on Dec. 14, the 212th anniversary of the meteorite’s landing in Easton, she organized an amazing event.
There was gorgeous sparkling wine with edible crystals (stardust) around the top, and delicious meteorite-themed snacks.
Burke said she was happy to host events such as this one, and she is proud to live in Easton. Not only because it is her home, she said, but because “it’s a place where a moment attributed to the birth of astronomy in the United States happened!”
Easton Newspaper to Relaunch via Citizen-SHU Partnership
By Adrienne Jane Burke, photos Gregory Golda
The Easton Courier and its former chief editor Nancy Doniger are coming back to town.
Easton’s 7,500 residents have lacked a dedicated news source for nearly two years. Hersham Acorn Newspapers ceased publication of the 38-year-old weekly broadsheet, The Easton Courier, in January 2018. Since then, townspeople have widely lamented the loss of journalistic coverage of town hall, community, and school activities. And during 2019, when candidates campaigned for a local election and the Planning & Zoning Board implemented a controversial new Plan of Conservation and Development, the absence of a trusted source of information was especially noticeable.
If all goes according to a recently unveiled draft plan, however, a spring 2020 Easton Courier relaunch will provide Eastonites once again with fair, balanced, and informative local news.
In late 2018, Doniger and Easton resident and Sacred Heart University instructor Jane Paley began exploring with Jim Castonguay, Director of Sacred Heart’s School of Communications and Media Studies, a way for students and faculty there to partner with the people of Easton to create a citizen-led local news publication. The three formed an Easton Courier Editors’ Group with the coordinator of SHU’s digital journalism master’s degree program Rick Falco, student newspaper faculty advisor Joanne Kabak, and media studies clinical instructor Gregory Golda. Together they hatched a plan for what Paley dubbed “Easton Courier 2.0.”
Last Friday in the Martire Business and Communications Center at Sacred Heart, Castonguay and Doniger presented the Editors’ Group’s vision to an audience of more than 40 Easton residents. Representatives of a range of town departments and committees, clubs, organizations, and businesses as well as private citizens showed up for the event. Among them: Easton’s First Selectman David Bindelglass, Selectmen Kristi Sogofsky and Bob Lessler, Town Treasurer Christine Calvert, Board of Education Chairman Jeff Parker, Police Chief Tim Shaw, Fire Chief Steve Waugh, Easton EMT Board Member Lorraine Mercede, Library Director Lynn Zaffino, and Aspetuck Land Trust Board Member Nancy Moon.
Castonguay sees the ambitious project as a potential national model for community journalism in the age of corporate-monopolized news media and disappearing town newspapers. It is also, he said, a perfect fit for his school’s mission to serve the surrounding community and train students to produce high-quality journalism. But he emphasized that citizen participation is crucial to its success. Falco said, “We’re going to create the structure for you, but it has to be a community effort with a goal to serve the community.”
The Editors’ Group will seek grant funding to support the initiative, and Doniger and Paley will vet and edit all content submissions for factual accuracy and fairness. A mockup Easton Courier website the group demonstrated, included content categories like the original Easton Courier: town news, police news, community voices, education, sports, and events.
To be sure, a few things will be different about the new publication.
For one, the Editor’s Group does not expect to have a budget to print a newspaper. Castonguay said the Easton Courier will be an online publication, and, as a non-profit, it will not be driven by or pursue advertising. There might, however, be simple ways for residents or organizations to print pages or articles from the website, and some in the audience suggested exploring ways to provide access to less digital-savvy citizens.
Doniger noted that a benefit of an online newspaper is freedom from weekly or monthly print deadlines. “We want to cover breaking news and we will be nimble enough to post content as it comes in,” she said. Corrections can be made more expediently online, too. “If you let us know something is wrong, we will correct it,” she said.
Another difference is that a paid staff of professional journalists will not produce the new Courier’s content. Instead, students, community organizations, and other unpaid contributors, including, perhaps, several Easton residents with professional journalism experience, will write the content. Nevertheless, Castonguay and Doniger (pictured below) confirmed a commitment to uphold high journalistic standards and said they will require all contributors to follow submission guidelines. “Most articles will be vetted by Jane or me, and we’ll be training students about how important it is to make sure sources are accurate,” Doniger said.
Falco added that Sacred Heart students who work for the paper will be “doing real journalism,” getting out into the community and covering town events. Castonguay said it will be up to the businesses and organizations in town to do their own public relations–or recruit student interns to do it for them–by pitching student journalists on stories. He acknowledged that the group will face a unique challenge: How to maintain continuity of coverage of town government and ongoing issues when students assigned to those beats graduate and move on.
Overall, the Editors’ Group’s plan was met by enthusiastic support and several rounds of applause from town leaders. SHU professor Joanne Kabak noted that the group’s unanimous “desire to have [the Courier] back tells me that Nancy did an amazing job.”
The Reverend Ellen Huber of Christ Church in Easton noted that it often takes losing something to realize how important it is to us.
Castonguay said the next step will be a Town Hall-type meeting early in 2020 to provide a preview of the new Easton Courier for the entire Easton community. In the meantime, he said to the audience, “you are ambassadors to spread the word.”
“Inclusiveness is critical,” said First Selectman Bindelglass. But how to get the word out without a current newspaper? The Editors’ Group offered to foot the bill for a town-wide postcard mailing to invite all residents to the next meeting.
If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it, the expression goes. If you want something extraordinary done, ask three busy women to do it; they won’t let anything stand in their way.
No one had to ask Adrienne Burke, Patti Popp and Lori Cochran-Dougall to start a Chamber of Commerce in Easton. The idea took root and grew organically, as each woman contemporaneously sought to spread the word that Easton is a wonderful place to visit and call home.
The new chamber made its debut on Memorial Day. Burke asked Phil Doremus, town zoning enforcement officer and longtime Greiser’s customer, how they could get into the parade. Doremus said they would need a vehicle and a sign.
The three women marched in the parade with Cochran’s pickup truck, Uncle Jesse, as their float and a Chamber of Commerce sign perched on top. Burke had picked up the sign at an antiques shop in Saratoga, N.Y.
Popp, founding farmgal of Sport Hill Farm, said she had been thinking about how to promote Easton for some time. She was concerned about all the negativity in town and in the news, and wanted to counteract it with positivity, to show all that Easton has to offer.
“Adrienne took over Greiser’s, and it’s so beautiful,” Popp said. “It was an existing business, but change is good, change is refreshing in moderation, I feel. This place opened a lot of opportunities. Between this store, the farms and the Easton Village Store, I wanted to find a way to bring people to Easton instead of discouraging them, to let people know that Easton is a gem of a town.”
Although the new Greiser’s has an updated feel and clientele, Dick Greiser, the longtime owner, still works there too, selling antiques and gas. The oldtimer “gang at Greiser’s” continues to gather there for conversation and camaraderie, and is welcomed and appreciated.
Cochran-Dougall said the true essence of what she loves about Easton is how the old and the new come together, how Burke worked with Greiser to turn the old deli and store into something new and wonderful, that benefits both parties.
Popp spoke with Burke about her ideas for promoting Easton, and Burke suggested they form a Chamber of Commerce. Popp did some research and discovered it was something they could do on their own, that it didn’t require town approval. As soon as Cochran-Dougall heard Burke and Popp talking about forming a chamber of commerce, she immediately embraced the idea.
Cochran-Dougall moved to Easton 10 years ago and has spent much of her life focused on local-food advocacy. She is the executive director of the Westport Farmers Market and has been looking at the foundations of Easton and how to embellish on that, from the farms to the Agricultural Commission.
Her latest accomplishment was getting the official state designation of Easton as the Christmas tree capital of Connecticut, which makes it more likely to get grants, she said. Even though Popp doesn’t sell Christmas trees, she keeps her farm store open through December and plans to participate in the festivities of making Easton a winter wonderland, along with the Christmas tree capital designation.
“Why do I want a chamber of commerce? Because we have such a unique town,” Cochran-Dougall said. “In sales, you want things that are unique and authentic. You don’t want to look like everything else.”
“For me, it was something I thought of while I was working on the business plan for the store,” Burke said. “There are so many hoops you have to jump through with the town and other things.”
Simultaneously, Shelley Stewart was starting Priscilla’s Place, a daycare center at Jesse Lee Church. “We were comparing notes,” Burke said. “People who were approving her permit through the town and the church were calling me and asking what I had gone through.”
Burke said she and Stewart thought there ought to be a chamber of commerce where people could share information. That weekend Burke was in an antique store in Saratoga and saw the chamber of commerce sign.
“I texted a picture of it to Shelley, and she said, ‘Well, that’s a sign,’” Burke said. “Then Patti and I started talking about starting a chamber, and I gave the sign to her for her birthday and said, ‘You do it. I don’t have time to do it.’”
Popp was getting busy with the farming season and opening her store. But it all came together, and they rapidly got the chamber off the ground over Memorial Day weekend with Cochran’s assistance. To date, 68 business people have joined the Facebook group they started, as interest and enthusiasm continues to grow.
“A lot of people in Easton have businesses that aren’t storefronts,” Burke said. “There’s a tremendous opportunity for people to network and help each other. That’s what I’m interested in, having businesses in the community supporting each other. That’s what a chamber does.”
They want to put Easton on the map, not only so people will discover what a safe and wonderful place it is to live, but also so others in the state and region will see it’s a great place for a weekend drive.
“There are so many things to do,” Popp said. “You can go for a hike on the Aspetuck Land Trust trails come here and grab a sandwich and feel very Vermontish without the long drive.”
Easton has a strong arts community, Burke said, and includes many well-known artists and authors. There are festivals, exhibits and lectures, at Greiser’s and the Easton Public Library.
The ballfields are “gorgeous,” Cochran-Dougall said. “Any weekend you can hear kids laughing.”
You can stop by the scenic farms to pick blueberries, apples or peaches in season, buy fresh milk and grass-fed beef and pork, go for a picnic, hike or bicycle at Aspetuck Park, Popp said. The Olde Bluebird Inn is a favorite spot for breakfast and lunch. The reservoirs are picturesque, and the abundance of open space and forests make for beautiful fall foliage leaf peeping.
Burke, Popp and Cochran-Dougall invite Easton businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, farmers, artists, writers, landscapers, builders, doctors, lawyers, photographers, information technology workers — and everyone who is interested — to check out the Easton Chamber of Commerce Facebook group. They envision a directory and resources in the future, along with meetings and events.
Many residents telecommute from their safe and spacious homes in Easton to jobs that may be headquartered anywhere in the world. The new chamber welcomes them all, Burke said.
“If anybody is interested, reach out to us and be patient,” Popp said. “We are individuals giving time from our busy lives.”