The Westport Arts Center is saddened to learn of the passing of arts activist and philanthropist Howard J. Aibel.
Aibel was a long-time support of the Westport Arts Center and the arts in Fairfield County, with a special affinity for theater, visual arts, and chamber music.
A previous Westport Arts Center Board Member and Chamber Music sponsor, he also sponsored the South Shore Music and Music for Youth programs. He also served as chairman emeritus of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, a theatrical arts service and advocacy organization, and was a Westport County Playhouse board of trustees vice chairman.
In addition to his support of the arts, he had a diverse history of community service, including his role as chairman of the Dean’s advisory committee at the University of Bridgeport’s School of Law and as a representative of the UB Law School on the University’s board of trustees.
Aibel also served as a member of the Conservation Commission of the Town of Weston, and as a trustee of Sacred Heart University, Fairfield. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Unitarian Church of Westport. He served two terms as president of the Harvard Law School Association of New York and is a former vice president-at-large of the Harvard Law School Association.
Aibel was honored by the Westport Arts Center at its 2016 annual gala. View a video featuring our 2016 honoree, Howard J. Aibel.
Of serving as an honoree, Aibel explained, “I became interested in the arts as I traveled a great deal on business [as a lawyer], and I would visit museums in different cities between meetings. When we moved to Westport from New York in the early 1960s, we realized Westport was an artists’ community and we could continue to be involved in the arts. My wife Kathy and I became involved in the early days of the Westport-Weston Arts Council. This gave us an opportunity to be near artists.”
Aibel concluded, “There are institutions in the community that make it what it is, and my wife and I wanted to support the arts and be a part of it. I am happy to be a part of the efforts to keep the Westport Arts Center going for years to come.”
Aibel will be deeply missed by the Westport Arts Center, and our thoughts are with his family.
Images: Howard J. Aibel at Westport Arts Center’s 2016 Annual Gala, of which he was honored.