ArtsWestchester’s hat trick

Call it “When Harry Met Janet.”

There Janet T. Langsam was, an NYU student journalist interviewing former President Harry Truman.

“I don’t remember a lot about Truman,” says Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester in White Plains. “I remember a lot of security, the fuss.”

And one thing more:  She punctuated her look with a hat and gloves.

While people don’t regularly wear hats anymore, she says, “(a hat) is a completion of an outfit.”

That notion stayed with the woman who enjoys finding millinery treasures at antique shows and flea markets. Years later when Langsam was attending one of the councils of Americans for the Arts, she visited a history museum that featured an exhibit of stunning hats worn by African-American women.

“I came back (to Westchester) and said, ‘I want to do a hat show.’”

Ultimately, she enlisted the help of Kathleen Reckling, ArtsWestchester’s gallery director; Tom van Buren, its director of folk arts and performance programs; and  board member Judith S. Schwartz, a professor in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University who also happens to have a millinery degree. Along the way, the Milliners Guild joined in.

The result is “HAT-titude” (Feb. 11-April 12), featuring some 160 hats – ethnic, artistic and everyday.

There’s an opening reception for the show from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9. To RSVP, call (914) 428-4220, ext. 330 or email

And for more on my interview with Janet, check out WAG’s February “Female Power” issue. – Georgette Gouveia

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