The Most Influential People of Litchfield County of 2015
We have among us great artists and shop owners, non-profit organizers and big-time philanthropists. They use their time, talent, and resources to improve this corner of paradise and to weave a certain charm into the majestic fabric of Litchfield County.
One of the great journalists of her generation, Garrels has been a foreign correspondent for more than two decades, is author of Naked in Baghdad, and has won nearly every broadcasting award, including the Edward R. Murrow Award. Locally, she is part of the Susan B Anthony Project and Housatonic Valley Association.
She is a successful business executive and global-market researcher. Since her move to Washington Depot, Setlow has become involved locally and serves as trustee of the Connecticut Community Foundation, helps organize the annual Tea for Two Hundred, is a trustee of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a supporter of the Community Culinary school of Northwest Connecticut, and a member of the International Women’s Forum.
She is Litchfield’s resident architectural historian and the author of several books on architecture and preservation, including Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town. She is passionate about her community and lectures frequently on local lore and history. Carley shares a wealth of knowledge that is crucial to maintaining and preserving architecturally important structures in the Northwest corner.
She has helped turned artists’ dreams into reality by establishing the Steep Rock Art Association. Thanks to her largesse, a budding artist may apply for a sabbatical at the facility she has created on her Washington property. The recipient receives free room and board, a car for transportation, an expansive workspace, and a stipend. In addition, Lauer produces a catalog to promote the artist-in-residence and the work that is created.
Rob Parker & Peter Rogness
Rogness is an Emmy Award–winning art director for film and television; Parker is in banking. Together they helped create a “Celebration of Young Photographers” event for the After School Arts Program. Parker is treasurer of ASAP and they are both great supporters of Housatonic Valley Association, Steep Rock, and the Waterbury Symphony and have established the Parker Rogness Fund to support local charities.
He has won numerous awards as a fashion designer, including Best Menswear Designer of the Year from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His love of animals has made him an ardent champion of animal rights and welfare. He was worked ceaselessly with the Humane Society, the North Shore Animal League, and local organizations to raise awareness of the need for animal care and rescue.
Michael J. Fox & Tracy Pollan
He won our hearts in numerous roles and is the author of three books. Since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he has worked tirelessly to find a cure. Pollan, an actress in her own right, recently penned a cookbook with her sisters and mom: The Pollan Family Table includes over 100 original family recipes.
The historic White Hart Inn has been returned to its former glory, thanks to Chef Wayte and her partners. Author of Keep It Seasonal, she is a great advocate for using fresh, seasonal ingredients. She has created the ideal environment for sharing a meal with friends and family.
Deidre Houlihan Dicara
She is currently director of FISH (Friends in Service to Humanity) and has increased awareness as well as services for the homeless and the hungry. She served as director of Winsted Health Care Center, helped establish the Susan B. Perry Senior Housing, and led the Northwest Girl Scout Council for over 20 years.
A lifelong resident of Torrington, Carbone is the third female mayor in the city’s history. She has served on the Torrington Board of Education, Torrington Development Corporation, and the Blue Ribbon Committee. She is passionate about the care and nurturing of the city’s youth and has been instrumental in the growth of community projects involving students through her work on the Mayor’s Committee on Youth.
Since his days as chef at the original Doc’s, Aamar has been working his magic in the kitchen. The subtle blend of Moroccan and Italian has enticed much of Litchfield County to his restaurant, Oliva. Now located in Bethlehem, it is a smaller, cozier space with the same amazing food, efficient staff, and caring service and attention to detail that makes Aamar, his wife, Joanna, and their restaurant so popular.
& Bruce Weinstein
The authors of more than 20 cookbooks, they have covered every imaginable style of cooking. From making pizza to grilling to making meals in a slow cooker, Scarbrough and Weinstein have educated those who love to cook and those who love to eat. They have won numerous prizes for their work and lecture locally to spread their good word.
Former director of the Little Guild of St. Francis Animal Shelter, her efforts have helped to expand the facility and call attention to the need for protecting and saving abandoned animals. Thanks to her dedication, the guild has received national attention for its work and increased awareness of the plight of helpless animals across the country.
Extraordinary photographer, author, and filmmaker, she captivated us with her provocative and disturbing images of life-size dolls and her tableaus of miniature furniture. She has made several short films involving her art, including The Music of Regret starring Meryl Streep and the Alvin Ailey II Dancers; and Tiny Furniture directed by her daughter Lena Dunham in which Simmons herself stars.
He has written over 30 books, covering subjects from Eric Hoffer to the Founding Fathers to the Amish. His work has appeared in every major publication and his column in the Lakeville Journal garnered a huge readership. A former trustee of the Writers Room in New York City, he also served as trustee on the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area.
Philanthropist and collector of modern and contemporary art, she is President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and a staunch supporter of education, women’s issues, and environmental concerns. She served as chair of the Mayor’s Cultural
Affairs Advisory Commission of New York City and has served on numerous other boards. Locally, she is deeply involved in landconservation and preservation. In 1997 she received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton.
A Kent resident, he is a former senior vice-president at Merrill Lynch and a principal in Geer Mountain Holdings. He is a major collector of African and African-American art, which is loaned out to major museums. Locally, he is active in the Kent Library and the Kent Land Trust.
Danny Meyer &
Audrey Heffernan Meyer
He has raised the culinary bar with his incredible group of restaurants, beginning with Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern. He has now added the immensely popular Shake Shack to the list. She is a stage and television actress who has appeared in many local productions and is a dedicated supporter of Steep Rock Association and other organizations.
Former publisher of Doubleday, Evans was co-founder of iVillage, one of the Internet’s first content sites. She is the co-author of two books and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines. She has been active with the Bridgewater Land Trust and Greenwoods Counseling Referrals.
For over 30 years, Hinkel and his firm have been designing and restoring houses in the Litchfield area. His knowledge of restoration and the history of period houses has made him an important part of the community. In addition to his practice, he serves on the board of the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust and works actively to preserve the innate qualities that make Litchfield and its architecture so unique.
With his discerning eye, artistic director and designer Zaima has curated shows and created venues for some of the most important events in Litchfield County, including exhibits at the Gunn Memorial Library and Museum, the Washington Antiques Show, the Connecticut Choral Society, and the annual Farmers Table dinner in Milton.
McEachern grew up in Torrington and as executive director of the Torrington Historical Society, he has increased awareness of the town’s history. Coupled with his work there, he is treasurer of the Torrington Historic Preservation Trust, which is making inroads to educate people on the importance of redeveloping and preserving local properties.
Ray Baker & Stain Lindner
These Bethlehem artists and designers create stunning and unusual, one-of-a-kind pieces of art for the home. Baker’s work is called “Art from the Garden” and he uses dried leaves, flower stems, cones, and other plant components to make everything from candle holders to napkin rings to spherical sculptures and jewelry. Lindner’s “Circlesculpts” are extraordinary pieces made from rolled cardboard. The work is sold at Pergola and other local establishments.
Jack & Pamela Baker
He is executive vice-president of Crystal Rock Water, where he has been instrumental in product and safety development. He is a partner in Litchfield Distillery and has served on the board of the Connecticut Community Foundation, Warren Planning and Zoning, and is a director of the Warren Land Trust. She is secretary of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council ands serves on the board of the Mattatuck Museum.
Charles Haver & Stewart Skolnick
Their Roxbury-based design firm is known for creating modern rooms with a relaxed country feel. They are respectful of New England architecture and strive to marry that with modern technology. They describe themselves as “one-stop shopping” since they offer services that include architecture and interior and landscape design. Additionally, Haver offers the finest in Americana antiques at his eponymous shop in Roxbury.
Joe & Patricia Lahoud
He made his career as a major-league baseball player for the Red Sox and the Royals. She is the well-respected real-estate agent. Both are prominent community figures involved in various philanthropic causes. Having raised and educated their children in this area they are dedicated to supporting area schools like Rumsey Hall and The Gunnery.
A lifelong resident of Litchfield County, she has served on boards of the Warner Theater, Wisdom House, and Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut,
to name but a few. She is the former director of Philanthropy at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and a founding member of the Litchfield County
Annual Farm Table Dinner, celebrating local farmers and raising the awareness
of local farming.
His photographs and films have been making news for over 30 years, and he is an inspiration to aspiring artists. His work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian, and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam. Recently, he has produced an in-depth presentation called the Harlem Valley/Wingdale Project.
A Roxbury resident, author, columnist, and journalist, he is most noted for his discerning film and theater reviews, appearing currently in the New York Observer. He has been film critic for numerous publications, including Vogue, GQ, and the New York Post.
Since he entered the art scene in the late ’70s, Gummer has become one of the country’s most important and inventive sculptors. Much of his work is composed of geometric layers that show a strong architectural influence. He is a recipient of awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts, to name but a few.
As Washington Montessori marks its 50th anniversary, much of the credit for the school’s success goes to Werner, who has served as director for the past 36 years. From a small startup, the school has grown to an enrollment of over 250 children. Her commitment to the youth of this area and to the importance of education makes her indispensable.
He has been a pioneering retailer, importer, curator, author, and founder of some of the foremost design companies of the 20th century. He has produced architectural hardware and innovative home furnishings and co-founded a design talent agency. He received the Visionaries Lifetime Achievement Award from the Museum of Arts and Design. He and his wife, Louise, reside in Kent and are active in numerous art-related organizations.
In addition to her career as a well-respected and talented photographer, Ashe continues to uphold the legacy of her husband Arthur, the first African-American male tennis player to be ranked number one. In addition to the interactive exhibition she created in his memory, she carries on the Arthur Ashe Learning Center, which continues his commitment to raising public awareness about civil rights. She is opening a gallery in Kent.
A much sought-after American realist painter, his drawings and paintings have been in many major shows and are in the collections of museums and galleries in both North America and Europe. He is the founder of the Water Street Atelier, the Grand Central Academy of Art, and the Hudson River Fellowship.
Investment banker, real-estate advisor, and investor, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and as president of the Board of Directors of Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust. Williams and a group of investors recently purchased the Kent Village Barn Shops in an effort to revitalize the center of town.
He has spent over 30 years in newspaper and other forms of journalism, most recently as the editor of Foreign Affairs. He is vice-chairman of the International Center for Journalists, former chair of Human Rights Watch, and is involved in many other organizations. He will be one of the key speakers at Kent Presents, a new ideas festival taking place in August.
A trustee of the Minor Memorial Library, she is president of Chestnut Hill Enterprises, a textbook development company. An avid gardener, her Roxbury garden has been featured on the National Garden Conservatory Open Garden Days tour. Her community-based volunteering includes working with Animal Welfare Society dedicated to non-destroy animal rescue.
Benjamin & Donna Rosen
He is chairman emeritus of Compaq Computer and currently on the boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Philharmonic, and is a former Columbia Business School board chairman. For years, she owned a contemporary-art gallery in New Orleans, and is now a board member of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Together they have founded Kent Presents, a high-octane ideas festival that launches this August at the Kent School.
An accomplished musician and songwriter, Marlow has taken her love and knowledge of music and applied it to her passion for animals. Her company, Pet Acoustics, has created calming pet music to soothe animals. She works closely with organizations such as the Little Guild of St. Francis, the Fidelco Dog Foundation, and the North Shore Animal League.
To nominate individuals for next year’s list of the Most Influential, go to townvibe.com/litchfields-most-influential