Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Evan Bieder '11: Bridging the Gap

Evan Bieder and friends

Art is known to bring people together — whether it's physically at a gallery or metaphorically, bridging gaps of socioeconomic status, race, or gender. In an effort to do just that, GFA alumnus Evan Bieder '11 celebrated the opening of lionheART Bridgeport. 

lionheART is an art space in loving memory of Bieder’s grandparents, combining his grandmother's joy, laughter, and love of the arts with his grandfather's humility, honesty, and sense of justice. The gallery offers free space for Connecticut artists’ openings, free weekly painting sessions for children and adults, and a free arts & social justice library.

lionheART gallery

While art is what’s currently defining his career, it was but one of the passions Bieder explored while on the GFA campus. “With a small student body I was able to get into a lot of different things,” he said. “I was big into cross country, played in the orchestra, did theatre, I was in the jazz combo, in student council, played lacrosse and basketball.”

His wide range of talents and passions made Bieder’s post-grad path anything but ordinary. Before the concept for lionheART presented itself, he was a part of Teach for America in North Carolina for several years, spearheaded a lacrosse mentorship program in Boston, and most recently returned to GFA to assist in the arts programs and coach the cross country team.

“[Being back at GFA] has been nice, especially seeing a lot of familiar faces. It can be surreal at times — calling my teachers by their first names doesn't come naturally,” he laughed.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

lionheART gallery

“Even as an adult, I still feel that same sense of teachers’ huge commitment to the students going beyond the classroom. Whether teachers are attending sporting events, the musical, or play, they go above and beyond to have that partnership with students. There's real care for the student body.”

It’s this partnership with his English and History teachers that in part inspired his career. 

“I’ve learned about and lived the interesting dynamic in Fairfield County in terms of the socio-economic disparity and racial divide. Bridgeport is a place I really enjoy being in — there's a lot of grit and hard work that goes hand-in-hand with the city and a great art scene where galleries are doing very cool things.”

What’s next for Bieder? lionheART is taking part in the Bridgeport Art Trail coming up this month and continues to provide free gallery openings to Connecticut artists. If GFA alumni would like to display their work in a solo or group show, please visit the website lionheARTct.com, connect on Instagram @lionheartct, or email lionheartbpt@gmail.com.